Medieval History Term of the Week: Chancellor


The officer of the royal household who serves as the monarch’s secretary or notary. The chancellor is responsible for the Chancery, the arms of the royal government dealing with domestic and foreign affairs. Usually the person filling this office is a bishop chosen for his knowledge of the law. (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)

King John of England – Fees for Use of the Great Seal, 1199:

We, therefore, for the salvation of our soul and of the souls of Henry, one time King of England, our father of happy memory, and of the said King Richard, our brother, and of all our ancestors and successors, wish and grant, at the instance of the venerable father Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, our Chancellor, and decree that in the future nothing shall be taken for the use of the seal in our time or in the time of our successors, more than was anciently decreed to be received for the use of the seal of the Kings of England, and which was received for the use of the seal of Henry our father, one time King of England, of happy memory, namely, for a charter of new enfeoffment of lands, or tenements, or liberties, there shall be taken one mark of gold or ten of silver for the use of the Chancellor, and one of silver for the use of the Vice-Chancellor, and one of silver for the use of the protonotary, and five solidi for wax. For a simple confirmation to which nothing new has been added there shall be given for the use of the Chancellor one mark of silver, for the use of the Vice Chancellor one bysant, and one bysant for the use of the protonotary, and twelve denarii for wax. For a simple protection two solidi shall be given. If any one should presume to do anything contrary to this our decree, let him incur our anger and the anger of Almighty God, and every curse by which an anointed and consecrated king can curse. Moreover, the said Archbishop of Canterbury, our Chancellor, and all bishops who at our consecration laid hands upon us, with our consent, have promulgated sentence of general excommunication against all those who presume to do anything contrary to this our decree. To this decree, the first after our coronation, which we have made concerning our seal, we have put that seal in witness and perpetual confirmation.

*This text is part of the Internet Medieval Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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