The Dictum of Kenilworth was, in essence, a peace treaty with the rebels following the death of Simon de Montfort. The document marks the end of the reform movement and the restoration of royal power, although many of the reforms passed by Simon de Montfort were accepted by the king. Dated 30 October 1266 (E 164/9).
In the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, amen. To the honour and glory of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, of the glorious and most excellent Mother of God the Virgin Mary, and of all saints by whose merits and intercessions we are governed on Earth. To the honour of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church, which is the mother and ruler of all the faithful; to the honour of the Most Holy Father and out lord Clement, ruler of that universal Church; to the honour and good prosperous and peaceable estate of the most Christian prince, lord Henry, illustrious king of the whole realm of England, and of the English Church. We, Walter, bishop of Exeter, Walter, bishop of Bath and Wells, Nicholas, bishop of Worcester, and Richard, bishop of St David’s, Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford, and Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford, Philip Basset, John Balliol, Robert Walerand, Alan de la Zuche, Roger de Somery, and Warin de Bassingbourne have been given full power from the lord king, from other nobles, counsellors of the realm, and from the leading men of England according to the terms enrolled in letters published and sanctioned by the seals of the king and others, to provide for the state of the realm especially in the matter of the disinherited, favouring no person in this matter, but having God alone before our eyes, doing all things as in the sight of Almighty God and in order, rightly preferring the Head to the Members.
(1) We declare and provide that the most serene prince, lord Henry, illustrious king of England, shall have, fully receive, and freely exercise his dominion, authority, and royal power without impediment or contradiction of anyone, whereby the royal dignity may be offended contrary to approved rights, laws, and long established customs, and that full obedience and humble attention be given to the same lord king, to his lawful mandates and pre-cepts, by one and all, greater and lesser men of the king-dom. And one and all shall, through writs, seek justice and be answerable for justice at the court of the lord king as was the custom before the time of the disorder.
(2) Furthermore, we ask the same lord king, and with reverence urge him in his piety, that he appoint, for doing and rendering justice, such men as, seeking not their own interests but those of God and right, shall justly settle the affairs of subjects according to the praiseworthy laws and customs of the kingdom and thereby strengthen the throne and royal majesty with justice.
(3) Likewise we ask and urge the lord king that he fully protect and observe the liberties of the Church, and the charters of liberties and of the forest, which he is expressly bound to keep and hold by his own oath.
(4) Also the lord king shall provide that the grants which, up to the present, he has made freely and not under compulsion shall be observed; and he will establish firmly other necessary measures which are devised by his men at his pleasure. Furthermore, the English Church shall be fully restored to its liberties and customs which it had and should have had before the time of such dis-orders, and shall be permitted to exercise them.
(5) We declare and provide that the lord king shall completely excuse and pardon each and all of those who, from the beginning and up to the present time, because of the present disorders of the realm, have offended against or done any injury to him or the royal crown and who return to his peace within forty days after the publication of this our ordinance. The lord king shall in no way for any cause or reason, because of these past injuries or offences, bear any vengeance against these offenders nor shall he inflict any penalty or revenge against them in life, limb, imprisonment, exile, or fine. Excluded are those mentioned below in this our present ordinance.
(6) We also declare and provide that all places, rights, goods, and all other things pertaining to the royal crown shall be restored to that crown, and to the lord king, by those who detain them in their possession unless they can show that hold them by reasonable warrant from the lord king or from his ancestors.
(7) Also, we declare and provide that all bonds, deeds, and instruments which the lord king, his eldest son the Lord Edward, or other faithful subjects have hitherto made or drawn up by reason of the Provisions of Oxford or because of the disorder present in the realm, at the instance of the late Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, and his accomplices, are absolutely nullified and destroyed and shall be held completely annulled and valueless. The injurious and damnable acts of the said Simon and his accomplices, together with the agreements about land made by them when he exercised power, are nullified and have no force.
(8) Humbly begging both the lord legate and the lord king that the lord legate shall absolutely forbid, under distraint of the Church, that Simon, earl of Leicester, be considered to be holy or justs as he died excommunicate according to the belief of the Holy Church. And that the vain and fatuous miracles told of him by others shall not at any time pass any lips. And that the lord king shall agree strictly to forbid this under pain of corporal punishment.
(9) We reverently and humbly beseech our venerable father Lord Ottobono, cardinal deacon of St. Adrian and apostolic legate of the Holy See, that, since he knows it expedient for the king, he should announce that benefit of absolution may be given both to the lord king and to other men of the realm both great and small, who have made little effort to observe the sworn charters, to the observation of which all are bound by the sentence of excommunication pronounced against all who do not observe the said charters.
(10) Likewise we beseech and urge, saving the approved customs of the realm, that no man of any condition shall take corn or any manner of victual, or any other goods under guise of borrowing or provision of future payment, without licence of those who own the things or goods.
(11) We commend London and urge and beseech the lord king that he provide, by his council, for the reform of the state of the city in the matter of lands, rents, power, and liberties, and that provision of this kind be made immediately.
(12) Concerning the condition and business of the disinherited, among other things which we have ordained and established, wishing to proceed in the way of God and the path of equity, we have been led to provide, by assent of the venerable father Ottobono cardinal deacon of St. Adrian and apostolic legate of the Holy See and by assent of the noble Henry of Almain, having similar power, that there be no disherison but rather ransom, as follows. Those who fought at the start of the war and are still in arms ; those who violently and maliciously held Northampton against the king ; those who fought against and assailed the king at Lewes; those captured at Kenilworth after having sacked Winchester; those who have in other ways opposed the king and have not been pardoned; those who fought at Evesham; those who were in the battle at Chesterfield; those who freely and of their own will sent their followers against the king or his son; the bailiffs and officers of the earl of Leicester who robbed their neighbours and caused murder, arson, and other evils to be committed shall pay five times the annual value of their lands. If they pay this redemption they shall recover their lands. Furthermore, if any one shall be forced to sell land, only he who holds it by gift of the lord king may buy it, if he offer as much as any other buyer and on the same terms. Similarly, if he who wishes to redeem his lands be forced to place the land to farm no one shall have greater right to farm the land than he who holds it of the gift of the lord king, and he shall have it on these terms that he be willing to give as much as any-one else to hold it at farm. He who gives satisfaction for all his land shall have full possession ; if satisfaction be given for a half or a third part he shall immediately have a half or a third part. If the person redeeming his lands has not fulfilled his obligations at the last appointed term, half the remaining land shall remain with those to whom the land has been granted by the lord king. The person redeeming the land shall be free, within the said term, to see all or part of the land in the manner above mentioned, and similarly he may place the land to farm.
(13) If anyone has woods and wishes to sell them for his ransom, he who holds them by gift of the lord king shall appoint a trustworthy representative who shall receive the money while the disinherited tenant, who sells the woods, shall name a representative whom he trusts. These two receivers shall, in their presence, pay the money which they have received for the woods to those to whom the ransom is due.
(14) Be it noted that earl Ferrers shall be punished by a ransom of seven times the annual value of his lands. Knights and squires who were robbers and collaborated with the leading robbers in skirmishes and plundering raids, if they have no lands but have goods shall pay as ransom one half of their goods. Further-more they shall find a trustworthy surety that they will henceforth preserve the peace of the king and of the realm. Those who have no possessions shall swear on the Holy Gospel of God, and find a trustworthy surety that henceforth they will preserve the peace of the king and of the realm. Furthermore, they shall suffer fitting and satisfactory penance under judgement of the Church. Excepted are the banished whom the king alone may remit.
(15) The lords of heirs under age and in ward shall pay ransom for them to the grantee. When the heirs attain their majority they shall pay the ransom to their lords according to the terms under which others pay in two or three years. The lords of such lands shall have custody of the heirs with rights of marriage until the majority of the heirs. If, however, the lords of the lands refuse to pay the ransom to those to whom the lands were given by the lord king, these shall have custody of the heirs with rights of marriage with-out disparagement until the full age of the heirs who should then pay ransom to the grantee as others have paid and on the same terms.
(16) Wardships which belong to the lord king shall remain with those to whom they have been given by the lord king. When the heirs shall come of full age they shall pay ransom at the same terms as others and no waste shall be made by those who have custody. If such waste be made justice shall be enforced against them as is contained in Magna Carta.
(17) All persons in the castle shall be in the common way and form of peace, except Henry de Hastings and those who mutilated the king’s messenger. These shall be punished by a ransom of seven times the annual value of their lands or they shall place themselves at the king’s mercy.
(18) The king shall by just award pronounce his pleasure concerning any one who supported the lord king before the battle of Lewes and was disinherited after the battle because he was unwilling to support the king’s son and come to his aid.
(19) Woods shall not be sold or wasted in any way by those who hold them now except after failure to make payment at the last term. Those to whom the lands have been given by the lord king shall have necessaries for the maintenance or restoration of dwellings. If they act otherwise they shall be severely punished.
(20) If there be anyone about whom it is feared that he wishes to cause or wage war the legate and the lord king shall provide for themselves such security as they shall deem expedient, sending him out of the realm for a fixed time or otherwise as they shall see fit. Nevertheless if it so happens that such a person be hindered from paying his ransom he shall not on this account be dis-inherited.
(21) If there be anyone (who is dissatisfied) with this ordinance let him submit to the judgement of the court of the lord king before the feast of St. Hilary [13 January 1267]. If any man be out of the kingdom he shall have the respite granted to those across the sea according to the law and custom of the land, provided he remain in peace, otherwise he shall not be in this form of peace.
(22) As the king is bound to many who have aided him and have faithfully stood by him, for whom he has provided no lands, and some have more than they should have, the king shall provide for them from the ransoms which are collected, lest this be a cause of further unrest.
(23) Furthermore let the legate, the king, and Henry of Almain stipulate that there be chosen twelve who will diligently and faithfully execute these things and let the lord king and his heirs cause them to be firmly observed and maintained. Let them examine and fulfil the ordinances made by the twelve selected, in the manner of the regulations which have already been enacted. Otherwise they shall make true and reasonable estimates accord-ing to what the twelve executors shall provide.
(24) Those holding lands at farm, who were against the lord king, shall lose the farms; those who keep the farms, saving the rights of the lords of e lands, shall pay an annual rent and at the end of the term the lands shall revert to the true lord.
(25) Concerning castles which were built by charter, and by consent of the lord king, without the consent of the disinherited. We ordain that the lord of the land pay the cost, which was imposed before the proclamation by consent of the king or make reasonable exchange of land.
(26) Laymen who openly supported the interests of the earl and his supporters, gaining followers by lies and false tales, rousing them to the side of the earl and his accomplices and withdrawing them from supporting the lord king and his son, shall be punished by the payment of twice the annual value of their lands.
(27) Those who were coerced or driven by fear to battle but who neither fought nor did evil; weaklings who because of force or fear sent their military following against the king or his son; those who were coerced or driven by fear to be robbers and made plundering raids with the leading robbers but who, when possible, ceased plundering and returned to their homes, remaining there at peace, shall pay a ransom of one year’s value of their lands.
(28) Those who knowingly bought the goods of others shall restore the value of the things which they bought. They are at the mercy of the lord king for they did this unjustly, as the lord king forbade this six months ago.
(29) Those who, at the command of the earl of Leicester, entered Northampton but neither fought nor did harm, if they fled to the church when they saw the king coming and this is proved by lawful men; those who did not hold lands of the earl of Leicester but obeyed his command shall pay a half year’s value of their lands. Those who held lands of the earl are in the mercy of the king.
(30) Powerless people and others who did no harm shall immediately recover their lands and receive their damages in the court of the lord king. Let the accuser so be punished so that henceforth the king will not easily believe them and let them be punished as were those who unjustly caused the king’s faithful subjects to be disinherited, nevertheless without danger of mutilation or disherison. Those who are maliciously accused shall immediately have their lands and recover their damages in the king’s court, as mentioned above.
(31) Women shall have their heritages and dowers of their first husbands. They shall have the lands of their husbands49 in the manner in which the king has ordained, and the lands shall be ransomed.
(32) The ransom of those who opposed the king shall be paid. No ransom shall be paid by those who were not against the king, instead they shall immediately recover their lands and recover damages as mentioned above.
(33) Mention has been made of those maliciously accused, and receivers shall be punished as mentioned above. Submission has been made to the king, either by the other lords through you or let it prevail in its own right through a friendly or imposed peace.
(34) We say nothing of Simon de Montfort, the countess, and the sons of the earl, as the lord king has placed their case in the hands of the king of France
(35) All those who have been received in peace by those so appointed shall remain in the condition in which they were so received. All who have been ransomed shall not be bound to answer for damages and for trespasses committed by them against those whom they fought at the time of the unrest. Mutual damages and trespasses are excused, saving, nevertheless, the right of action of each man who was not involved in the unrest and saving, as far as he is concerned, that which pertains to the Church.
(36) Furthermore, as it is considered to be most dangerous that castles be in the control of those who acted evilly against the king, we award and ordain concerning the castles of Eardisley [Herefordshire], Bytham [Lincs.], and Chartley [Staffs.] that a reasonable exchange be given for them.
(37) Henceforward all shall keep a firm peace and none shall commit murder, arson, robbery, or any other violation of the peace. He who shall do this and shall be convicted shall have judgement and law according to the custom of the realm.
(38) Furthermore all of those whom it concerns shall swear on the Holy Gospels that they will not, on account of the disorders, take revenge nor procure, consent to, nor support such action. If anyone takes revenge he shall be punished by the court of the lord king and let those who have harmed the Church make satisfaction to it.
(39) Furthermore, he who does not consent to this decision shall be a public enemy of the king, of his sons and of the community. Laymen and clergy, allowed by canon and lay law, may prosecute him as an enemy of the peace of the church and of the realm.
(40) Those who are imprisoned or in custody, having found a sufficient and reasonable surety, shall be liberated by pledge or by another competent and reasonable surety according to the ordinance of the legate and of the king.
Given and published in the castle at Kenilworth, on the second day before the kalends of November [31 October], in the year of grace 1266, the fifty-first year of the reign of the lord Henry, king of England.
Full transcript taken from RE Treharne and I.J Sanders (eds), Documents of the Baronial Movement of Reform and Rebellion, 1258-1267 (Oxford, 1973).
The simplified translation below presents several of the important clauses (laws) contained in the Dictum of Kenilworth. The full document is presented in the extended transcription below.
In the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, amen. To the honour and glory of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, of the glorious and most excellent Mother of God the Virgin Mary, and of all saints by whose merits and intercessions we are governed on Earth. To the honour of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church, which is the mother and ruler of all the faithful; to the honour of the Most Holy Father and out lord Clement, ruler of that universal Church; to the honour and good prosperous and peaceable estate of the most Christian prince, lord Henry, illustrious king of the whole realm of England, and of the English Church.
We, Walter, bishop of Exeter, Walter, bishop of Bath and Wells, Nicholas, bishop of Worcester, and Richard, bishop of St David’s, Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford, and Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford, Philip Basset, John Balliol, Robert Walerand, Alan de la Zuche, Roger de Somery, and Warin de Bassingbourne have been given full power from the lord king, from other nobles, counsellors of the realm, and from the leading men of England, to provide for the state of the realm:
(1) We declare that the most serene prince, lord Henry, illustrious king of England, shall have, fully receive, and freely exercise his dominion, authority, and royal power without impediment or contradiction of anyone, whereby the royal dignity may be offended contrary to approved rights, laws, and long established customs. And one and all shall, through writs, seek justice and be answerable for justice at the court of the lord king as was the custom before the time of the disorder.
(3) We ask and urge the lord king that he fully protect and observe the liberties of the Church, and the charters of liberties and of the forest, which he is expressly bound to keep and hold by his own oath.
(5) We declare that the lord king shall completely excuse and pardon each and all of those who, from the beginning and up to the present time, because of the present disorders of the realm, have offended against or done any injury to him or the royal crown, provided that they return to his peace within forty days after the publication of this ordinance.
(7) We declare that all documents which were drawn up by reason of the Provisions of Oxford or at the instance of the late Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, and his accomplices, are nullified absolutely, and destroyed, and it should be understood that they are hereby annulled and without value.
(8) Humbly begging both the lord legate, representative of the Pope, and the lord king, that the lord legate shall absolutely forbid that Simon, earl of Leicester, be considered to be holy or just, given that he died excommunicate according to the belief of the Holy Church. And that the vain and foolish miracles attributed to him by some people in our land, shall not at any time pass any lips. And that the lord king shall agree strictly to forbid this under pain of corporal punishment.
Given and published in the castle at Kenilworth, on the second day before the kalends of November, in the year of grace 1266, the fifty-first year of the reign of the lord Henry, king of England.