The Middle English charters of Christ ...
Spalding, Mary Caroline, 1877-
Page  [unnumbered]Page  3


Page  4

SLOANE 3292.

Magna Carta de libertatibus Mundi [folio 2]
Ihesus Christ his Charter great
That bloud & water so did sweat
And had his Heart I-wounded sore
To saue Mankinde for euermore
Christ hath cancelld the writt of Mans dett
And by this Charter him free hath sett
Nouerint presentes & futuri
Wat yee now all that be heere
and after shall be leif and deere
That I Ihesus of Nazareth
for Loue of Man haue suffered death
Uppon the Cross with wounds fyue
Whilest I was heere on Earth alyue
Dedi et Concessi
I haue geuen and made a graunte
to all people repentant
Heauens Bliss without ending
As long as I am Heauens King
Keap I no more for all my smart
but the true Loue of all thy hart
and that thou be in Charety
and Loue thy Neighbour as thyself
this is the Rent thou shalt giue me
as to the Cheif Lord of the ffee
And if any one shall say now
that I dyed not for mans prow
Rather then Man should be forlorn
Yet would I be eft all to-torne
In cuius rei testimonium
In wittnes of the which thinge
Myne owne seale there-to I hing
and for the more sikernes
the wounde on my syde is
Datum apud Hierusalem
This was geuen at Calluery
the first*. [First written great, but corrected by the same hand.] day of the great mercy
Hijs testibus
Wittnes the day that turnd to nigl
the Sonn that then withdrew his ligl
Wittnes the Earth þat*. [y instead of þ.] then did qual
and stones great þat*. [y instead of þ.] in sonder brake
Witnes the Vaile that then did ryue
and men that rose from dead to lyue
Witnes my Mother and St John
and other then their many one

R & B*. [Or D?]

Mr Lambert a Justice of Peace in Kent found this on a grauestone in an Abby in Kent bearing date Ao Dni 1400 a Copie whereof was geuen to Mr Humfry Windham of Winse|combe in the county of Somerset.

Uppon the other si[de o]f the seal there was should be a P[e]l[ican picl i]ng her bloo[d] for*. [The last part is entirely illegible. Cf. p. xx.]

Page  5

STOWE 620.

Magna Carta de libertatibus mundi
Crist hathe cancelled the writinge of mens dette [folio 11b-12a]
and by the great charter him free hathe sett
Sciant presentes et futuri
Wetys now all that are here
And after shal be leife and dere
that y Yesus of nazarethe
for loue of manne haue suffred deathe
Vppon a crosse with woundes fyue
Whilst y was manne yn yerthe one lyue
Dedi et concessi
Y haue gyfen and made a graunt
to all that askes yt*. [Space for another word is left just before this word in the MS.] repentant
hevin blysse without endinge
as longe as y ame there kinge
kepe y no moore for all my smarte
but true love manne of thyne harte
and that thowe be in charite
and love thy neighboure as y love thee
this is the rent thow shalt gyue me
as to the cheif lorde of the fee
gyf any mane will saye now
that y ne haue died for manne his prowe
rather ther*. [Should be than or then.] manne sholde be forlorne
yet wold y eft be all to-torne
Hijs testibus
Witnesse the day that toorned to nighte
and the sonne that withdrew his lighte
Witnesse the yerthe that then did quake
and stoones great that in sonder brake
Witnesse the vayle that then did Ryue
and men that roose from deathe to lyue
Witnesse my muther and Seint Johne
and others that were there many one
In cuius rei testimonium
Jn witnesse of the whiche thyng
Myne owene seale therto J hynge
and for the more seckernesse
the wounde of my syde the seale yt is
Data &c.
this was yeven at Calvarye
the first daye of great mercye

cor charte appensum rosei vice cerne sigilli

Spreta morte tui solus id egit amor Page  6

Matris ut hec pro|prio Stirps est sa|crata cruore Pascis item proprio Xpc cruore tue

ther vnder nethe in the corner is the olde pointed seale with|in this Charter was sett downe was a pellicane a pickinge Her brest and with bloode flowinge Her yonge one in the nest with the verses about her

vt pellicanus fit patris sanguine sanus sic nos salvati sumus omnes sanguine nati.

Legend on the Seal: De charta redemptionis humane sigillum saluatoris domini nostri Iesu christum.


Noverint Universi Presentes et futuri
Weetis all that bee heere*. [Harl. 6848, be.]
Or that shall bee leife and deere*. [Harl. 6848, shal beleife.]
That I Iesus of Nazereth*. [Harl. 6848, Nazareth.]
ffor mankinde have suffered death*. [Harl. 6848, Mankind; suffred.]
Upon the crosse with woundes five*. [Harl. 6848, cross; woundis.]
Whilest I was man on earth alive*. [Harl. 6848, whilst; upon.]
Dedi et concessi
I have geoven and doe graunt*. [Harl. 6848, yeoven; do.]
To all that aske in faith repentaunt*. [Harl. 6848, unto.]
Heavens blisse withouten endinge*. [Harl. 6848, bliss; ending.]
So longe as I am their King*. [Harl. 6848, long.]
Keep I noe more for all my smart*. [Harl. 6848, no; smarte.]
but the true love of thy hearte*. [Harl. 6848, my; heart.]
And that thou bee in charitie*. [Harl. 6848, That omitted; be; Charitee.]
And thy neighbour love as I love thee
Warrantizo*. [Harl. 6848, Warrantize.]
. . . . .
. . . . .
If any man dare to say
That I did not his debt pay
Rather then man shall bee forlorne*. [Harl. 6848, than shal be.]
Yett would I oft bee all to-torne*. [Harl. 6848, yet; be.]
his testibus
Witnesse the Earth that then did quake*. [Harl. 6848, Witness.]
And stonys great that in sunder brake*. [Harl. 6848, that did.]
Witnesse the day that turnd to night*. [Harl. 6848, Witness; turned.]
And the cleere sun that lost his light Page  7
Witnesse the vaile that then did rend*. [Harl. 6848, Witness.]
And graves which their tenantys forth did send
Witnesse my moder and St Ihon*. [Harl. 6848, Witness.]
And bystanders many a one
In cuius rei testimonium
ffor furder witnes who list appeale*. [Harl. 6848, Witness.]
To my heere vnder-honged seale*. [Harl. 6848, here underhanged.]
ffor the more stable surenesse*. [Harl. 6848, sureness.]
this wound in my hearte the seale is*. [Harl. 6848, wounde; heart.]
yeoven at Calvary
The first day of the great mercie

(strap and seal)


factum est cor meum tanquam cera liquesu [sic] Psal 22: 13(?) [cf. Vulg. Psal. 21: 15]

Sealid & deliuered in ye presence of Mary Mother of God, Mary Cleophe, Mary Iacobi, John ye disciple. Ita fidem facimus Matthew, Marke, Luke, Iohn, Notarij publici.

Long[i]nus Centurion

Cor charte appen|sum rosei vice cerne sigilli spretâ morte, tui solus id egit amor.*. [Harl. 6848, In the attestation, Mary is spelled Marie; some of the words "Sealed and delivered," etc., are missing in the rotograph. CHS appears instead of IHS, and the remainder of the writing on the strap is lack|ing. Chartae appears instead of Charte.]

Page  8

ADD. 37049.

Sciant presentes & futuri [folio 23a]
Wete now al þat ar here
And after sal be lefe & dere
Þat I Ihesus of naȝareth
ffor luf of man has sufferd deth
Opon þe cross with woundes fyfe
Whils I was man in erth on lyfe
Dedi & concessi
I hafe gyfen & made a graunt
To al þat asks it repentaunt
Heuen blis with-outen endyng
Als lang as I am þair kyng
Kepe I no more for al my payne*. [A word has been stroked through before payne.] smert
Bot trew luf man of þi hert
And at þou be in charite
And luf þi neghbour as I luf þe
Þis is þe rent þou sal gyf me
As to þe chefe lord of þe fe*. [MS. fe supplied in the margin by the same hand.]
If any man wil say now
Þat I ne hafe dyed for mans prow
Rather or man suld be forlorne
ȝit wald I eft be al to-torne
Hijs testibus
Witnes þe erth þat þan dyd qwake*. [MS. qwake written twice, the first occurrence of the word being stroked through.]
And stones gret þat sonder brake
Wittnes þe vayle þat þan did ryfe
And men þat rose fro ded to lyfe
Witnes þe day þat turned to nyght
And þe son þat withdrewe his light
Witnes my moder & sayn Ion
And oþer þat wer þer many one
In cuius rei testimonium
In witnes of whilk þinge
My awne seal þerto I hynge
And for þe more sikirnes
Þe wounde in my syde þe seal it is
With perchyng sore of my hert
With a spere þat was scharpe
Þis was gyfen at Caluery
Þe fyrst day of þe gret mercy &c
Page  9

HARL. 116.

Sciant presentes & futuri &c [folio 97b]
wetys ye now all þat*. [Ms. yt.] bene here
And aftyr shall ben leef & dere
That I ghesus of Nazareth
ffor lufe of mane haue sofurde dethe
Vpone the crosse with woundis fife
Whilis I was man here one lyfe
dedi & concessi &c
I haue*. [Final meaningless curl on this word.] yevyne and made a graunt
To all that askys me repentaunt
hevene blisse withoute endyng
As long as j am þe*. [Ms. ye.] Kynge
Kepe j no more for my smart
but trulofe man of þi harte
And that þou be in charite
And luffe þi neyghbure as j do the
This is the rente þou shalt gyfe me
As*. [Ms. vs?] to the chefe lord of the fre
jf any mane woll say now
Þat j ne haue done for mannes prow
Rathere thane mane shulde be forlorne
ȝit wolde j all*. [Added above the line.] be efte to-torne
Testibus his &c
Witnesse the day that turnede to nyght
Ande the sonne withdrew his lyght
Witnesse the erth that gane quake
And stones gret þat sondure brake
Witnesse þe vaile that gane rife
And mene that rose fro dethe to lyfe
Witnesse my modyr and saynt Johne
And other þat wer ther many one
In cuius rei testimonium &c
In witnesse of the same thinge
Myselfe þerto forsoth j hynge
And for the more sikernesse
My herte wounded the sele it is
Data etc
This was yolvyne*. [Or yowyn.] at caluarie
The firste day of grete mercye*. [Carta Redempcionis humane]
Page  10

ADD. 24343.

Siant*. [Thus the MS.]presentes & futuri &c [folio 6b]
Wittnes now al that bene here
And eftere schall be leve and dere
That I ihesus of nazareth
ffor the loue of mane than tholed deth
Apon the crose with woundes fyve
Qwan I was yn e[r]th of lyve
Dedi & Concessi
I haue gyue and mad a graunte
To all that askes now with repentans
Heuenys blis with-outtyn endynge
Als longe as I ame euer ther kenge
I aske no more of the for my smertte
Bot the trew loue mane al of th[i] herte
And that þou lyve yn charite
And loue thi newghpure als I do the
This is the rent thu schall geue me
Als for the cheyff lord al of the ffee
With sore woundis & grevanse
Thi loue I bought with scheld & launce
Gyve my mane will sai nowe
That I ne died for manes prowe
Or manes saule schuld be lorne
Ofte I wold be al too-torne
hijs Testibus [folio 7a]
Wittnes the day turnned too noghtte
The sone withdrew his lightte
Wittnes the erth that gane quake
And stoñnes grete that gane brake
Wittnes the wale that gane ryve
And mene that rose frome deth to lyue
Wittnes my moder & sain[t] Iohn
And vder that wer ther mony one
[In cujus rei testimonium]*. [Hardly legible.]
Y[n] Wit[tn]es of the sam[e] thynge
My-selue on crosse al blody I hynge
And ȝitte for [more] s[i]kirnese
The wound yn my herte the celle it [i]s D[a]ta
This was gyuyne at Caluerye
The firste day of gret mercye*. [Carta Redemcionis Humane]
Page  11


Wyteth now alle þat be here [folio 25b]
& after schal be leef and dere
þat Ihesus of naȝareth
for loue of man haue suffred deþ
Vp-on a cros with woundes fyue
Whilys i was man in erþe on-lyue
I haue yeue & maad a graunt
To alle þat aske it repentaunt
heuene blis with-oute endyng
As i am þere oonly kyng
kepe i no more for al my smerte
But loue me man of al þyn herte
And þat þou be in charite
& loue þi neybur as i do þe
þis is þe rente þat þou schalt yeue me
As to þe cheef loord of lond & se*. [The words al of Þe fee appear in the margin opposite this line.]
yif eny man wil sey now
Þat I not deyde for mannys prow
Rather þanne he schulde be forlorn
Yit i wolde eft be al to-torn
Witnessyng þe day þat turned to nyht
& þe sonne þat withdrowh his lyht
witnessyng þe erþe þat þanne quok
& stonys harde þat þo brook
witnessyng þe vayle þat þanne dede [ryue]*. [Cut off by edge of folio.]
& men þat roos from deþ to lyue
witnessyng my moder and also seynt Ioon
& oþre þat ware þere many oon
In witnessyng of which þyng
Myn oun sele þerto i hyng
& for þe more sykernys
þe wounde in my side þe seel it is
þis was yeue at caluary
Þe firste day of þe greet mercy*. [Cut off by edge of folio.]
Explicit carta humane redempcio[nis]
Page  12


Testamentum domini.
Wyteh wele all þat bene here
And after schall be leue & dere
That I Ihesus of naȝareth
ffore lufe of man haue soferd deth
vpon a crosse with wondes fyue
Whyle I was man off lye
I haue gyuen & made a grante
To all þat askys repentante
heuens blysse withouten endynge
Als longe as I ame þer kynge
kepe I no more fore all my peynes smerte
Bot trew lufe of mannys herte
And þat thow be in charyte
And loue þi neyȝbour as I do the
Thys is þe rente thow schall gyff me
As to þe cheffe lord of þe fe
Iff any man cane sey now
That I ne haue dyȝed fore manys prow
Raþer than man schuld be fore-lorne
ȝite wold I efte be all to-torne
Wytnes þe dey þat turnyd to nyȝht
And þe sone withdrew hys lyȝht
Wytnes þe erth þat þan dyde quake
and þe stones þat all to-brake
Wytnes þe vayle þat thane dyd ryue
And dede men rosse fro deth to lyue
Wytnes my modere & seynt Iohne
And oþer þat there were many one
In wytnes off þat yche thynge
Myne awne sele þerto I hynge
Page  13

HARL. 237.

Carta humane redempcionis [folio 100ab]
Witnes wele al þat bene here &
And efter sal be leue and dere
þat I ihesus of Naȝaret
fore luf of mane has sufferde deth
. . . . .
. . . . .
I haue gyue and made a grante
to al þat askes it repentant
heuyns blis withoutyn endynge
als longe as I am þer kynge*. [This line is cancelled, evidently by mistake.]
(kepe I no more nore oþer thinge)*. [Extra line. Doubtless the one the scribe meant to cross out instead of the one above it.]
Kepe I no more fore al my smerte
Bod luf man of þin hert
Bod þat þou be in charite
and luf þi nyȝtbur as I do þe
Þis is þe rent þou sal gife me
as to þe chef lord of þe ffe
If ony man kane say nowe
Þat I ne diede for manys prow
Raþer þan man sulde be forlorne
ȝit walde I eft be al to torne
Witnes þe day þat turne in-to nyȝt
and þe sone withdraw his lyȝt
Witnes þe erth þat þen gon qwake
And þe stane þat al to b[rake]
Witnes þe vail þat þan gon ryfe
and men þat rais fra ded to lyfe
Witnes my moder and sent Iohne
And othir þat þer were*. [Incomplete.] . . . . .
In testimonying of þe whilk thinge
Mi awne sel her-to I hynge
And fore more sekirnes
Þe wonde in my side þe seil it is
Þis was gifyn at caluarye
dayt þe first*. [The scribe first wrote gret here and cancelled it, putting first in above with a caret below.] day of þe gret Mercy quod I lang*. [See description of this MS. at p. xxvi for the order in which the lines occur.]
Page  14

[ADD. 5465]*. [Reprint from the text printed by B. Fehr in Herrig's Archiv, CVI. 69-70.] [folio 119a]

Be hit knowyn to all that byn here
and to all that here afftir to me shalbe leffe and dere
That Jhesus off nazareth
for thi loue man haue suffired deth
Vppon the crosse with woundis smert
In hed in fete in handis in hart
an for I wolde haue thyne herytage agayne
Therfor I suffyrd all this payne.
A man I haue gevyn and made a graunt [folio 120a]
to the end and thou wilt be repentaunt
heuyn bliss thyne eritage withoute endyng
as long as I am lord and kyng
not covetyng mor for all my smert
but a louyng and a contrite hart
and that þou be In charite
loue þi neyboure as I loue the
I loue the this þat I axe of the
that am the cheffe lord of the fee
Be it knowyn [etc. ut supra] [folio 121a]
If any man will say here agayne
that I suffird not for the this payne
Yet man that þou sholdest not be lorne
In the awter I am offerd my fader beforne
witness the day turnyd to nyȝth
witness the sonne that lost his lyȝth
wittness the vale that then did ryve
witness the bodies þat rose from deth to lyve
Be it knowyn [etc. ut supra] [folio 122a]
wittness the erthe that did quake
wittness stonys that all to brake
witness mari wittness seynt John
and othir wittness many one
In to witness of which thyng
my nowne seale ther to I hyng
and man for the more sykyrnesse
The wounde in myn harte þe seale it is
I gevyn vpon the mownt of caluary
the grete daye of mannys mercy*. [Be it knowen to all (etc. ut supra).]
Page  15


Wette ye All that bene here [folio 109]
And here-Aftre that shal be lefe & dere
That I Ihesus of Naȝareth
ffor the loue of man haue suffred deth
A-pone A crosse wyth woundys fyve [folio 109b]
Whyle þat I was in yerth man A-lyve
That I haue yeve & made A graunte
To All tho þat wyll Aske it repentaunte
Heuene blys wythoute yendeynge
As longe I Am in heuene reynynge
Kepe I no more for All my smerte
But tru loue of þe man with All thyne herte
And þat þou be in full charite
And loue thy neighbour As I do the
Thys is the rent þat þou shalt yelde vnto me
As to þe cheffe lorde of þe fee
And yf Any mane sey vnto þe nowe
That I haue not dyed for manis prowe
Rather þen man shuld be for-lorne
Yet yeft-sones wold I be All to-torne
In wittenesse of þe daye þat turned to nyght
And of the sone þat wythdrewe hys lyght
In wyttenesse of þe yerth þat þen dyd quake
And of þe harde stones þat All to-brake
In wyttenesse of þe viele þat þen dyd reve
And of men þat rose from deth to lyue
In wyttenesse of mary my moder & of seynt Iohne
And of odre þat ther were meny one
In wyttenesse of the whych thynge
Myne owne selfe therto I hynge [folio 110]
And All-so for þe more sekernesse
The wounde in my syde þe seale it ys
Thys was graunted At Caluarye
The fyrste daye of þe grete mercy
xiiij M yeres of pardoun
wyth-oute popes twelve
Eche of them .vj. yeres by themselfe
Patriarkes Archebysshopys & bysshopys Also
Mekell pardoun haue graunted therto
The some of þe indulgence rekene or þou gois
Is xxtivj M. yeres xxxti yeres & vj days
Page  16


Carta redempcionis [folio 53a]
Wotyth now all that ben here
And after schal be leue and dere
That I ihesu of nazareth
For loue of man hath suffred dede
Vp-on a cros with woundys fiue
whilis I was man in herthe alyue
I haue ȝeuyn and made a graunt
to alle that askyn repentant
Heuene blis witowtyn endyng
As longe as I am there hire kyng
Kepe I nomore for alle myn smerte
But the loue man of thyn herte
And that thu be in charite
And loue thi neythburgh*. [The transcript reads thincyth burgh.] as I do the
This is the rente that thow schalt ȝeue me
as to the scheef lorde of the fee
yff ther be ony man that can say now
that I haue not deyd for mannys prow
rather than man schul ben lorne
ȝit wold I efft be alle to torn
wetenesse the day turnyd into the nygh
and the sunne that lost hise lygh
wetenesse the erthe that than dede qwake
and the stonys that al to brake
wetenesse the veyl that dede riue
and men that roos from deth to lyue
Wetenesse myn modyr and seynt John
and other that were ther mony on*. [Ms. monyon.]
In the wetenesse of the qwyche thyng
Myne owne sele ther-to I hyng
And for the more sekernesse
The wounde in my syde the seel it is
This was ȝowyn at Caluerye
The fyrste day of the gret mercy