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YEAR 1176 A.D.


The Charter of William, king of Sicily, which he executed in favour of Joanna, daughter of Henry, king of England, as to her dowry.*

„In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. Amid the other blessings of peace, the nuptial tie binds and fastens the most strongly the unison and the concord of human affairs; a rite, both venerable from the weightiness of its obligations, remarkable in the circumstances of its institution, and sanctioned by universal usage, from the beginning of the world and of time; of which the virtues and the comeliness, inasmuch as it has derived its origin from Divine institution, have neither contracted blemish from sin, nor have been sensible of any diminution by desuetude, through the lengthened ages of past time. Moreover, to the venerable and mysterious institution this honor is added, that the consent of the man and of the woman to enter matrimony, typifies the sacramental bond of Christ and His Church. Being therefore led by the nature of this great and mysterious institution, and by veneration for the same, we, William, by the favour of the Divine grace, king of Sicily, and of the dukedom of Apulia, and of the principality of Capua, do unite unto ourselves by the laws of matrimony and the bond of wedlock, with the Divine sanction and under happy auspices, the maiden Joanna, of royal blood, and the most illustrious daughter of Henry, the mighty king of the English; to the end, that her fidelity and chaste affection may produce the blessings of the married state, and that by her a royal offspring may, by the gift of God, hereafter succeed us in the kingdom, which, both by reason of its endowment with all virtues, and of its title by birth, by the Divine grace, both may and ought to be raised to the throne of this realm. But, inasmuch as it is befitting our exalted position that so noble and illustrious an alliance should be honored with a becoming dowry, by this present writing we do give, and as a dowry, do grant to the before-named queen, our most dearly 415 beloved wife, the county of Mont Saint Angelo, the city of Siponto, and the city of Vesta, with all the rightful tenements and appurtenances thereof. We do also grant for her service, out of the tenements of count Godfrey, Alesina, Peschiza,13 Bicum, Caprile, Barano, and Filizi, and all other places which the said count is known to possess as of the honor of the said county of Mont Saint Angelo. In like manner, we do also grant for her service, Candelari, Saint Clair,14 Castel Pagano, Bersenza, and Cagnano. We do also grant, that there shall be as of the honor of the said dowry, the monastery of Saint Mary de Pulsano, and the monastery of Saint John de Lama, with all the tenements which those monasteries hold of the honor of the aforesaid county of Saint Angelo — upon condition that the queen, our aforesaid wife, shall always recognize all the rights of our heirs, who by our ordinance shall succeed us in the kingdom, and shall do unto our said heirs, fully and unreservedly, all services for the tenements above-written, according as the tenure in fee thereof shall require, and shall always observe her fealty to them. Wherefore, in remembrance of the said gift and grant, and for the inviolable establishment thereof, we have commanded this present charter15 to be written by the hand of Alexander, our notary, and, the golden bulla, our seal, being impressed thereon, to be confirmed with our said seal, and graced therewith. Unto which, by our command, the personages of our household and others have subscribed their names in manner following:

I WALTER, archbishop of Palermo.

I ALFANUS, archbishop of Capua.

I RICHARD, bishop of Syracuse.

I BARTHOLOMEW, bishop of Agrigento.

I REGINALD, archbishop of Bari.

I NICHOLAS, first archbishop of Messina.

I RUFFUS, archbishop of Cosenza.

I THEOBALD, bishop and abbat of the royal monastery of Saint Mary Nuova.

I ROBERT, bishop of Catana.


I GUIDO, bishop of Cephalea.

I EBIAS, bishop elect of Troia.

I JUSTUS, bishop of Massa.

I ROBERT, bishop of Tricarico.

I PETER, bishop of Caiazzo.

I JOHN, bishop of Potenza.




I MATTHEW, vice-chancellor of our lord the king.

I ROBERT, count of Caserta.

I AMPHUSUS, count of Scrulac.

I JOCELYN, count of Loret.

I HUGH, count of Cattazaro.

I RICHARD, count of FUNDANO, admiral.

I WALTER DE MOAC, admiral of the kingős ship Fortunatus.

I ALDEWIN DE CANDIDA, seneschal of our lord the king.

I BERARDUS GENTILLI, constable of the private palace of Maisnede.

I RICHARD SACRI, keeper of the records in the royal palace.

I BAMALIS DE MONTEFORT, chief justiciary.

I PERSICUS, chief justiciary of the royal court.

I FREDERIC, justiciary of the royal court.

Given at the flourishing city of Palermo by the hands of Walter, the venerable archbishop of Palermo, Matthew, vice-chancellor of the king, and Richard, the venerable bishop of Syracuse, members of he household of our lord the king, in the year from the incarnation of our Lord one thousand one hundred and seventy-seven, in the month of February, being the tenth year of the indiction; and in the eleventh year of the happy reign of our lord William, by the grace of God, the mighty and most glorious king of Sicily, of the dukedom of Apulia, and of the principality of Capua, Amen.

[Sealed with the seal of William, king of Sicily.]

[Here follows in the original, the form of the bulla, or seal, which contains around the margin the words „Dextera Domini fecit virtutem. Dextera Domini exaltavit me. Dextera Domini fecit virtutem.š „The right hand of the Lord hath created my might. The right hand of the lord hath exalted me. The right hand of the Lord hath created my might.š In the central portion is a 417 cross surmounted by the words „Divinâ favente clementiâ Willielmus rex Sicilæ et ducatus Apuliæ et principatus Capuæ.š „By the favour of the Divine mercy, William, king of Sicily, of the dukedom of Apulia, and of the principality of CapuaThe cross is supported by the following words. „Hoc signum sibi præferri a vexillifero facit cum ad bellum aliquod procedit.š „This sign he causes to be borne before him by his standard-bearer when he goes forth to battle.š]


13  Hardly any of these places can now be traced under these names.

14  This is probably the name of the place, though in the text it is called „Sanctum clericum.š

15  Called by the singular name of „privilegium,š which was the usual name of charters confirming grants to churches.

* From the full text on Elfinspell of The Annals of Roger de Hoveden Comprising The History of England and of Other Countries of Europe from A.D. 732 to A.D. 1201. Translated from the Latin with Notes and Illustrations by Henry T. Riley, Esq., B.A., Barrister-at-Law in Two Volumes; pp. 414-417

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