Agreement between Fécamp Abbey and its men of Rye

Abbaye de Fécamp
France - Rouen - Archives départementales de Seine-Maritime
7 H 24
Middle Ages
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The land at Rye was probably given to Fécamp Abbey by Canute the Great shortly after 1017, and it is listed among the abbey’s holdings in the Domesday Book. Under this charter, the abbot of Fécamp, Henry de Sully (1140-1187), waives the custom known in old Anglo-Saxon as ledtschet childwitefeld, and the customary duty on the sale of houses, on behalf of his men of Rye and their heirs in return for an annual payment of two and a half marks. They are also required to pay a fee, varying according to boat size, for each fishing trip they undertake. This deed on parchment is a chirograph, that is to say that it was written twice onto the same skin, with the two copies separated by a text called a device (in this case, the beginning of the alphabet. The parchment was then cut in two through the device so that each party had one copy of the original deed. In 1247 the king of England Henry the Third exchanged the ports of Rye and Winchelsea for other less strategic lands.



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