TitleThomas Lord Furnival's charter (grant) to his free tenants in Sheffield
DescriptionIn this charter Thomas de Furnival, as lord of the Manor of Sheffield, handed over the running of the town to its Freemen - effectively establishing Sheffield as 'burgh' or borough.

The charter records that part of Thomas de Furnival's land was given to the freemen of Sheffield as a community so that they could manage the Town's affairs and collect its rents. The land was given 'on trust'. This means that the freemen did not own the land, but could use it for the benefit of the people of Sheffield. The freemen therefore became known as the Town Trustees.

The village community had been in existence since before the Norman Conquest, and was known as the Burgery of Sheffield. The founders of the town has always set aside parts of their land to be used for the benefit of the people. Thomas de Furnival's charter recognised this practice and made the Town trustees responsible for administering the lands.

Under the original charter, the Trust was both 'spiritual' and 'secular' in nature. This meant that the Trustees had to make sure that the people of Sheffield had a church and a priest, as well as make sure that the town's economy and government was strong. Money from using the lands given to them by Thomas de Furnival was divided between these two duties.

In 1548, when Edward VI was king, the part of the Town's Trust's lands used to maintain the Parish of Sheffield was taken by the Government. The Trustees then lost their spiritual responsibilities. Later, in 1554, Queen Mary gave these lands back to the town, but as a separate Trust, now called the Church Burgesses.

Omnibus Christi fidelibus hoc presens scriptum visuris uel audituris, Thomas de Furniualle tertius filius et heres domini Thome de Furniualle salutem in domino sempiternam. Noueritis me dimiisse¹ concesisse et ad feudi firmam tradidisse omnibus Liberis tenentibus meis de villa de Schefeld et eorum heredibus omnia tofta terras et tenementa quas de me tenent in villa predicta de Schefeld tenenda et habenda de me et heredibus meis predictis tenentibus et eorum heredibus cum omnibus pertinenciis suis predictis toftis terris et tenementis infra villam de schefeld et extra pertinentibus in feudo et hereditate libere quiete bene et inpace imperpetuum, ita quod libera waranna mea per predictos tenentes non impediatur nec in aliqua perturbetur, reddendo inde annuatim mihi et heredibus meis predicti tenentes et eorum heredes sexaginta et octo solidos nouem denarios et quadrantem argenti ad duos anni terminos, silicet medietatem ad Natale Domini et medietatem ad Natiuitatem Beati Johannis Baptiste pro omnibus seruiciis et demandis, Saluis mihi et heredibus meis fidelitate, escaetis, et sectis cu[rie] mee de tenentibus predictis preterea volo et concedo quod curia dicte ville de schefeld de tenentibus meis predictis teneatur infra predictam villam de tribus septimanis in tres septimanas per Ballinos meos sicut actenus vsitatum est tempore antecessorum meorum. Et si ita contingat quod dicti tenentes mei uel aliquis eorum super transgressione aliqua in dicta curia mea sint amerciandi volo et concedo pro me et heredibus meis quod amerciantur per pares suos et hoc secundum quantitatem delicti. Ad hec volo et concedo pro me et heredibus meis quod dicti tenentes et eorum heredes tamementes quam vendentes sint quieti per totum hallumschire ubicunque ex omni exactione et peticione tolonei sicut esse solebant tempore antecessorum meorum inperpetuum. Et ego predictis Thomas et heredes mei hec omnia predicta cum pertinenciis predictis, sicut predictum est, predictis tenentibus meis et eorum heredibus contra omnes gentes warantizabimus inperpetuum. In cuius rei testimonium presenti scripto ad modum sirographi confecto sigilla partium alternatim sunt apposita. Hiis testibus domino Roberto de Ecclisale domino Edemundo Foliot militibus Thoma de Schefeld Thoma de Munteney Roberto de Wadislay Radulpho de Wadislay Thoma de Furneys Willelmo de Darnale Roberto le Bretone tunc senescallo de hallumschire et aliis. Datum apud Schefeld quarto Idus Augusti, Anno domini Mo cc. Nonagesimo septimo.

Sic, should be dimisisse

The usual word is telonei.

In facsimile looks like `Furneus'. In Wycliffe's translation of Deut. iv. 20, "the yren forneys of Egipte" is mentioned.

To all the faithful of Christ who shall see or hear this present writing, Thomas of Furnivalle, the third, son and heir of Sir Thomas of Furnivalle, eternal salvation in the Lord.

Know ye that I have demised, granted, and delivered in fee farm to all my Free tenants of the town of Schefeld and their heirs all the tofts, lands, and holdings which they hold of me in the foresaid town of Schefeld, to hold and to have [the same] of me and my heirs to the foresaid tenants and their heirs with all their appurtenances belonging to the said tofts, lands, and holdings, within the town of Schefeld and outside, in fee and heredity, freely, quietly, well, and in peace, for ever, (provided that my free warren be not hindered by the said tenants or in anywise disturbed), the said tenants and their heirs paying yearly therefor to me and my heirs £3. 8s. 9¼d. of silver, at the two terms of the year, namely, half at the Birthday of the Lord (Christmas), and half at the Nativity of Saint John Baptist, in discharge of all services and demands, reserving nevertheless to me and my heirs fealty, escheats, and suit of court of the said tenants.

Furthermore, I will and grant that the court of the said Town of Schefeld of my foresaid tenants shall be held within the foresaid town every three weeks by my Bailiffs, as hitherto has been accustomed in the time of my ancestors.

And if it should happen that my said tenants, or any of them, are to be fined for any trespass in my said court, I will and grant for myself and my heirs that they be fined by their peers, and that according to the measure of the offence.

Furthermore, I will and grant for myself and my heirs that the said tenants and their heirs, as well buyers as sellers, shall everywhere throughout all Hallamshire be quit from all exaction and demand of toll, as they were wont to be in the time of my ancestors, for ever.

And I; the foresaid Thomas, and my heirs, will warrant all these matters aforesaid, with their aforesaid appurtenances, as is aforesaid, to my aforesaid tenants and their heirs, against all people for ever.

In witness whereof the seals of the parties are to the present writing, made in the manner of a chirograph, alternately affixed.

Witnesses: Sir Robert of Ecclissale, Sir Edemund Foliot, knights, Thomas of Schefeld, Thomas of Mounteney, Robert of Wadislay, Ralph of Wadislay, Thomas of Furneys, William of Darnale, Robert the Breton, then seneschal of Hallumshire, and others.

Given at Schefeld on the fourth of the Ides of August, in the year of the Lord 1297.
Date10 Aug 1297


Extent1 item
CopiesDigital copy available
RelatedMaterialSee Leader, J. D., The Records of the Burgery of Sheffield, (1897) pages 1-3.
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