Helston’s Royal Charters

from THE HISTORY OF HELSTON by H. SPENCER TOY 1936

FIRST CHARTER OF KING JOHN

15th April 1201

John, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitane, Count of Anjou, to the Arch-bishops, Bishops, Abbots, Earls, Barons, Justiciars, Sheriffs, and all Bailiffs, and to his faithful subjects, Greeting.
Know ye that we have granted and by our present charter have confirmed that our borough of Helston be a free borough, and that our burgesses of the same town have a gild merchant, and quittance throughout our whole land from toll, pontage, passage, stallage, lastage, and soilage, saving, in all things, the liberties of the city of London.

We grant also to them that they not be compelled to plead, except within their own borough, of matters or tenements belonging to their town, except in pleas belonging to our Crown, and in pleas concerning lands outside the borough.
We will, also, that they have all the other liberties and free customs which our burgesses of the castle of Launceston had in the time of King Henry our father, with the proviso that none of the aforesaid burgesses, unless he be resident in the aforesaid town of Helston, shall have these liberties.

These are the witnesses: W. Earl of Salisbury, W.Briwer, Robert of Turham, Robert of Tregoz, Simon of Pateshull, Ralph of Stoke, Eustace of Fauconberg.

Given by the hand of Simon, Archdeacon of Wells, at Cranborne, on the 15th day of April in the second year of our reign.

SECOND CHARTER OF KING JOHN

18th April 1201

John, by the grace of God, etc
Know ye that we have granted and by our present writing have confirmed to our burgesses of Helston the town of Helston with its appurtenances, at farm, to have and to hold at the ancient and accustomed rent and £4 increase, so long as they serve us well and faithfully and pay their rent well, paying their rent by their own hands at our two Exchequers, namely, one half at Easter and the other half at Michaelmas.

And be it known that the increment shall be of such sort as is the rent.

Witness: Simon Pateshall, at Dorchester, on the 18th day of April.

SECOND CHARTER OF EARL RICHARD

6th January 1260

Richard, by the grace of God ever august King of the Romans, to all to whom the present writing shall come, Greeting.
Know ye that we have granted and by our present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs to our burgesses of Helston that our borough of Helston be a free borough and that our burgesses of the same town have a gild merchant and quittance throughout our whole county of Cornwall from toll, pontage, passage, lastage, soilage, and stallage.

We have granted also to them, for us and our heirs, that they shall not plead, except within their own borough, of matters or tenements belonging to their town, except in pleas belonging to the crown of our Lord the King, and in pleas concerning lands outside the borough.

We have granted also to them, for us and our heirs, their town with the appurtenances and with the mills outside the town and with the water of the Cober flowing to the same mills and with all the easements of the same water, provided they cause no injury to others, and that they may erect other mills upon the same water, if it should seem expedient to them, provided they cause no injury to others, as is aforesaid; and with 33 acres of land, part of our land held in villeinage, let at rents by Odo, son of Frawin, formerly farmer of Helston, to have and to hold at fee-farm from us and our heirs to them and their heirs, rendering thence yearly to us and our heirs by their own hands twelve pounds of silver at the two terms of the year, that is to say, at Easter six pounds and at Michaelmas six pounds.

We have granted also to them our meadow below the town of Helston, to have and to hold to them and their heirs from us and our heirs, rendering yearly to us and our heirs twenty six shillings and eight pence at the two terms of the year, that is to say, at Easter thirteen shillings and four pence, and at Michaelmas thirteen shillings and fourpence.

Wherefore we will and firmly command that the aforesaid burgesses and their heirs have and hold the aforesaid town with its appurtenances, at fee-farm, well, in peace, freely, quietly, and wholly, with the aforesaid mills and all their liberties and free customs used and customary belonging to their free borough and to the aforesaid mills as is aforesaid.

We have granted also to them, for us and our heirs, that no sheriff or other bailiff of ours shall in anything interfere concerning any plea or plaint or occurrence or any other thing appertaining to the aforesaid borough, save the pleas of the Crown, which, nevertheless, ought to be attached by the same burgesses until the arrival of the justices; and that it shall be lawful for them to distrain, without a foreign bailiff, all their burgesses, wherever they may be, whether within or without the town, for a debt due to us or to our heirs.

Which, that it may continue valid and unshaken, we do confirms by the present writing and by the impression of our seal.

These are the witnesses:-Reginald de Botreaux, Philip de Bodrigan, Ralph de Arundel, Alan de Bloyhou, Guy de Nonaunt, William de Roscrow, Ralph de Tinten, Roger de Saint Constantine our notary and chaplain, and others.
Given at Launceston, the sixth day of January in the third indication in the third year of our reign.

The First Charter of Earl Richard between 1225 and 1240 has not been found.

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