This short text, issued by Henry II shortly after his coronation in 1154, confirms in general terms the customs and rights allowed in Henry I’s coronation charter.

Digital edition

Edited by Nicholas Vincent

Manuscripts

Other versions of this law

Introduction

by Nicholas Vincent

The present charter is generally referred to as the coronation charter of Henry II. Certainly in format it appears to mirror the earlier so-called coronations charters granted by Henry I and Stephen, and can therefore be attributed with some certainty to the opening weeks of Henry II's reign. Note the apparent application of the award to all the King's men, English and French, with no specific limitation to England. Note also that for virtually all of the surviving copies we depend upon a version transmitted via the so-called London collection of English laws. According to letters sent by Thomas Becket to Henry II in 1166, the charter, by which the King is said to have promised to observe the Church's liberties, was placed by Henry on the altar at Westminster (Abbey): The Historical Works of Master Ralph de Diceto, 2 vols., ed. W. Stubbs (London, 1876), i, 321; The Correspondence of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1162-1170, 2 vols., ed. Anne Duggan (Oxford, 2000), i, 298-9 no.74. There are nonetheless considerable variations in the text transmitted in MS Hl and all other copies, for the most part relating to punctuation or minor grammatical differences, but with the significant substitution of consuetudines in MSS Cl, Rs, Lc etc in place of the concessiones of MS Hl.