Constance Berman

title.none: Waquet, Roger, and Veyssiere, eds., Recueil des chartes de l'abbaye de Clairvaux au XIIe siecle (Constance Berman)

identifier.other: baj9928.0501.013 05.01.13

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Constance Berman, University of Iowa,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2005

identifier.citation: Waquet, Jean, Jean-Marc Roger, and Laurent Veyssiere, eds. Recueil des chartes de l'abbaye de Clairvaux au XIIe siecle. Series: Collection de documents inedits sur l'histoire de France, serie in-octavo, vol. 32. Paris: CTHS, 2004. Pp. cxxx, 821. ISBN: $84.00 2-7355-0537-5.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 05.01.13

Waquet, Jean, Jean-Marc Roger, and Laurent Veyssiere, eds. Recueil des chartes de l'abbaye de Clairvaux au XIIe siecle. Series: Collection de documents inedits sur l'histoire de France, serie in-octavo, vol. 32. Paris: CTHS, 2004. Pp. cxxx, 821. ISBN: $84.00 2-7355-0537-5.

Reviewed by:

Constance Berman
University of Iowa

The collection of twelfth-century charters of Clairvaux was begun with the publication of fascicule one by archivist-en-chef de l'Aube, Jean Waquet, in 1950 and continued by Jean-Marc Roger and Philippe Grande, archivists there, in a second fascicule dated 1982. Laurent Veyssiére reviewed and added to the earlier edition and completed the second half of the current volume for an école des Chartes dissertation under the direction of Olivier Guyotjeannin. It appeared in print in 2004, adding enormously to our available materials on twelfth-century Clairvaux. Waquet's edition in 1950 had only 73 charters for the first half of the twelfth century, and Roger's edition had added another 79 by 1982 (making 152 dating to as late as the 1170s). The 2004 publication, which is over 800 pages long, includes the charters of the earlier editions to provide 438 numbered acts dating up to the year 1200, all of them indexed, although the index can be frustrating to use, in part because it doesn't have page headings with first and last word, which I found myself inserting.

Considerable progress has been made on our understanding of monastic charters since the time of Waquet and there is improved editing throughout. Veyssiére, for instance, includes a complete description of the endorsements on the medieval parchments, more references to Biblical citations, and an appendix on the seals, giving us a much more complete picture of the originals. He also uses a less complicated (but for charters, more valid) collation system. Given that we are dealing with charters and not with rival branches of a literary manuscript for which there is no original, Waquet's edition, quite incorrectly in my view, attempted to cite all manuscript variants, regardless of date, although most often basing his text on the earliest. In contrast, Veyssiére does not go beyond the first two cartulary versions and the originals that survive.

Veyssiére's editing is impressive, but there are some quibbles one could bring up. Occasionally he goes too far in leaving as found the charters he publishes, for instance, in keeping obvious misspellings in the original in the text, correcting only in the critical apparatus, for instance, "tephani" (for stephani) (no. 261, 1189). On the other hand he transcribes an X or Greek chi as ch, modernizes i to j and u to v where appropriate, and adds terminal acute accents that are not found on the facsimile pages he includes; cf. figure three and act no. 356). Perhaps I missed something, but I am still not sure if this is an attempt to reproduce only charters, papal bulls and pancartes, or all purportedly twelfth-century acts in the Clairvaux archives (or concerning Clairvaux). In several cases identical charters or nearly identical charters (for instance, nos. 315 and 316 are included twice; because there were two copies in the archival folders?). Very occasionally his initial commentary to a charter misconstrues a word-- ad pirum as a boundary marker is more likely to mean pierre, stone or pier, than pear tree in no. 186 (1163-79). He also mis-speaks in his precis of Lucius III's bull of 1184 which was granted to Cîteaux and its chapter, not Clairvaux; see no. 230 (1184), but these are very minor errors indeed.

In no case did any of the editors of the Clairvaux charters attempt to identify all the place or family names cited in a charter, and too often one must turn to the index to discover the modern name and medieval affiliation of an abbey whose abbot was cited as a witness. While it is perhaps too much to ask of a young new editor, this is an advantage in using some older editions. Not having done this in selected cases, moreover, leads to problems that the reader wants to have solved without too much research. Veyssiére follows Waquet, for instance, in believing without any question the correctness in date for a charter (Veyssiére no. 9, Waquet no. 8, which includes the date 1142) from Thierry of Alsace, count of Flanders (who ruled, as I found in another source, not here, from 1128-1168), despite its reference to "Venerabilis igitur et pie memorie abbatis Clarevallis domni Bernardi," which certainly must indicate a charter falling between the date of Bernard's death in 1153 and his canonization. (This was something I had noted on my margin of the Waquet edition and I was disappointed that Veyssiére did not explicitly go through all the witnesses (they include Roger provost of Bruges, Rudolf castellan of Bruges, and Robert, abbot of les Dunes) to discuss if this is merely a slip of the pen (from mclxii to mcxlii?) that was perpetuated in all copies thereafter. This seems particularly important because this act includes an early reference to abbots traveling to and from Clairvaux and an 1142 date may be precocious in this regard. On the other hand, Veyssiére has provided more precise bracketing of dates for a charter of Peter the Venerable of Cluny by reference to an officer of that monastery (see Veyssiére no. 3, Waquet no. 5). Veyssiére has also added to our knowledge of the 1132 bull of Innocent II (no. 5 in Veyssiére, no. 4 in Waquet) in citing an earlier copy than that of the previous edition.

The Clairvaux charters are a wonderful collection with considerable interest for understanding the development of the Cistercian cartulary qua cartulary and for that of that intermediate document which precedes the cartulary at Clairvaux, the Cistercian pancarte, a document type that may, according to Veyssiére, actually have been invented at Clairvaux. The historiography on these issues is discussed at length in Veyssiére's introduction (see pp. lxiv-lxxxiii). Veyssiére also discusses the opposing methods for publishing pancartes--by keeping the pancarte intact as a single-numbered act, as both Waquet and Veyssiére do, or by splitting them up into individual countable charters as Duby and Marilier do in published acts for la Fertè and Cîteaux respectively. [[1]] The choice made by Waquet and Veyssiére in this regard means that the Clairvaux cartulary, which appears at first sight to include 438 twelfth-century charters, in fact makes reference in the pancartes to many more transactions not found elsewhere in the collection; numbers for Clairvaux transactions for the twelfth century, therefore, are probably more than double that number. This reveals that Clairvaux's twelfth-century acquisitions were considerably more significant than earlier thought. [[2]]

The pancartes are witness to at least five important things about Clairvaux. First is Clairvaux's consolidation of property at particular sites, which is reflected in the grouping of texts into pancartes, a first move towards the managerial or accountability cartulary that groups holdings from individual areas together. Second is the importance of the laudatio parentum in Clairvaux's acquisition process, a part of charter contents that is included in the pancartes. Again and again, both original charters and the excerpts from them found in the pancartes preserve lists of named family members who confirm an earlier gift to Clairvaux. From such confirmations found within the nearly 1000 transactions referenced in this volume it would be possible to study maximum family size and gender distribution, women's rights to property, use of the frairesche (see for example that in no. 266 (17), naming patterns in lists of children or siblings found in these acts and in these pancartes, and in general the continuation of a not wholly primogeniture-driven property regime. A third point to be noted about the Clairvaux pancartes is their similarity to papal confirmations which often have similar listings and must have been complied in similar ways. Four, such episcopal pancartes are frequently granted by those having earlier ties to Clairvaux, such as Garnier, bishop of Langres, (1193-99) formerly abbot of Clairvaux (1186-93), who made such grants to prevent "cavillantium maliciam" against Clairvaux (see nos. 403 and 405), who may have administered the bishopric from 1190 when his predecessor Manasses of Bar, departed on Crusade. (See p. 521, note 1185.)

A fifth issue is underlined by pancarte no. 267 (1189); the first three of four acts incorporated concern sales disguised as gifts made in return for 25 livres, 30 livres, and 30 livres, amounts described as return gifts made "de caritate," by Clairvaux to the "donors." The clauses concerning these payments for "donations" come after the list of witnesses, and it is possible that these parts of the original charter (in which payment is mentioned) were more frequent, but not usually copied into a pancarte or cartulary. Elsewhere in the long lists of gifts and confirmations that are recorded as "donations," counter-gifts are mentioned only as one gets close to the year 1200, but when mentioned, are for large amounts. We must consider carefully whether to conclude that the cartulary and pancarte copies are complete in regard to the payment of such counter-gifts. Veyssiére is perhaps mistaken in taking what he has as an accurate count and it may be simply naive to conclude from the silence of the copies we have that Clairvaux acquired almost all its endowment in gifts from pious donors. [[3]] Given the holdings it was consolidating and the numbers of confirmations that it sought, I think it unlikely that Clairvaux was able to carry out its spectacular land acquisitions without resorting to the market. Yet to judge from preliminary comments in the introduction, pp. xxi-xxvi Veyssiére adheres to a model of REAL Cistercians who did not purchase property, citing Fossier's discussion in 1953 of whether the first documented purchase, dated to 1153 and described as a "fault" was made by Clairvaux during or after the lifetime of Bernard. [[4]] Moreover, in talking about gifts, there is little consideration of grants for which rents will be due, for example, no. 136 (1169) in which 6 pennies annual rent will be paid to the previous owner.

The details of the pancartes provide considerable interest to the reader of the cartulary and show that there were considerably more transactions than the Veyssiére's edition suggests at first sight. Thus, no. 7 (1135) the first pancarte in the volume refers to 32 acts including one identified as [16] which describes the recipients as the poor of Clairvaux: "partem alodii quam habebat pauperibus Clarevallensibus," and another [24] that forbade clearances, "excepto in foresta ejus exsarta non facient." Throughout the volume when clearances or assarts are mentioned, they tend to be those made by others, for example, no. 128 (1166), rather than making reference to clearance by the monastic community.

We find that for the six 1147 pancartes, there are references to 135 charters, or 103 more acts than were found in the 1135 pancarte; thus:No. 14 (1147) includes 25 items, many of them found in no. 7, including permission to make assarts in the woods of Acunville, but not elsewhere.No. 15 (1147) includes 41 items, not found earlier, including two on which annual rent is owed.No. 16 (1147) includes 12 items, not found earlier.No. 17 (1147) includes 8 items, much of them found in no. 7.No. 18 (1147) includes 21 items, only 13 of which are listed elsewhere.No. 19 (1147) includes 40 items, only one of which was listed elsewhere.Overall, in the first twenty acts of Veyssiére's collection, references are found to at least 149 charters issued by the year 1147, or 129 more than the number of entries up to that date in the cartulary.

Another series of pancartes is found for 1179, with another additional group of 187 otherwise unrecorded or uncounted charters:No. 176 (1179) contains 35 items not mentioned earlier.No. 177 (1179) contains 24 items not mentioned earlier.No. 178 (1179) contains 28 items not mentioned earlier.No. 179 (1179) contains 12 items not mentioned earlier.No. 180 (1179) contains 4 items not mentioned earlier.No. 181 (1179) contains 42 items not mentioned earlier. No. 182 (1179) contains 37 items not mentioned earlier.No. 183 (1179) contains 5 items not mentioned earlier.Again in 1185, the bishop of Langres issues pancartes, again adding 50 uncounted charters:No. 233 (1185) contains 13 items not mentioned earlier.No. 234 (1185) contains 41 items not mentioned earlier.And so on.

Generally, the papal documents detail for several points, tithe privileges, the practices attributed to Clairvaux, and confirmation of more and more properties. The exemption first seems to come from Joceran, bishop of Langres in the first charter of the volume, no. 1 (1121), an exemption reiterated in no. 2 (1121) by the abbot of Saint-Oyend de Joux, a house described in the index as Benedictine. Peter the Venerable of Cluny, in no. 3 also granted tithe exemption in a particular parish. A similar concession was made by the abbot of Molesme in no. 8 (1136), and tithes were still at issue in no. 145 (1171), despite the 1132 grant from Innocent II to Bernard in no. 5. A papal confirmation of 1163, no. 94, is the reissue by Alexander III to Fastrede, once abbot of Clairvaux now of Cîteaux and to Geoffrey abbot of Clairvaux of Innocent II's privilege to Clairvaux, "Porro laborum vestrorum." In no. 99 Alexander III confirms the possessions and properties of Clairvaux with an assertion of its following the institutes of the Cistercians:"In primis siquidem statuentes ut ordo monasticus, qui secundum Domini et beati Benedicti regulam atque institutionem Cisterciensium fratrum in vestro monasterio noscitur institutus, ..."It lists properties at Clairvaux and the two granges near the monastery and at four other places ("in Fravilla, Fontracio, Bello Monte and Campaniaco"), and grants tithe exemption using the "Sane laborum" formulation. Alexander III also in no. 126 Sacrosancta Romana dated 1165, confirms the organization of the order and with its general chapter direction including the abbot of Morimond. By 1180, in no.213 (1180) Alexander III made important distinction about the Cistercian tithe privilege on not just novales, but their labor. This is confirmed in a dispute overseen by Lucius III, no. 232 (1185). In no. 252 (1188) Clement III confirms the sane laborum formulation, the Cistercian practices, and granges or holdings at ten places. In no. 350 (1197) Celestine III again confirms these properties, but with the addition of a number of urban properties. In 1198 (no. 370) and in 409 (1200) Innocent III again confirms a long list of granges and urban properties, forges, mills, vineyards, salt-works, and the tithe privilege, not only on noval lands, but on all those worked under Cistercian direction.

While the large expansion of acquisitions and the addition of granges and urban houses is clear from the papal confirmations, the charters themselves add to our knowledge of the ways in which Clairvaux expanded by the acquisition of properties once held by other neighboring religious communities, some of them because of their pressing debts. Thus, no. 30 (1155) is a perpetual rent to be paid to Molesme for lands acquired from that abbey, no. 341 (1196) is the conveyance of land from Molesme to Clairvaux, and no. 339 (1196) concerns rights at la Chapelle díoze that had once belonged to Molesme's daughter-house at Jully. We see the transformation of a priory of brothers and sisters at Morin that had once belonged to Saint-Benigne of Dijon into a grange belonging to Clairvaux; thus in no. 155 (1170), "Framer Hugo magister de Morans et ejusdem domus capitulum universum tam fratrum scilicet quam sororum," gave rights in a woods to Clairvaux. In no. 163 Pope Alexander III resolves the dispute between Saint-Benigne of Dijon and the brothers of the house of Morans, who had been monks at Saint-Benigne, but who are allowed to become conversi or perhaps actually to be converted to the religious life at Clairvaux. In no. 164 (1177), Alexander III confirms the reduction of the priory of Morans belonging to Saint-Benigne into a grange of Clairvaux, and it appears that the title deeds are transferred along with the conversion--Veyssiére reads this as their having been stolen, but it could also mean the usual process in property transactions in which documents concerning a holding are transferred to the new owner. We can also find on pp. 670 and 725-26 references to clear peripheral evidence for the existence of an ecclesiastical establishment at Essoye that has been disputed by earlier historians, and on pp. 725-26 references to the transformation of the neighboring Augustinian canons at Longuay into a daughter-house of Clairvaux (?) in 1150.

The monks of Clairvaux were to enjoy pittance meals six times a year at Easter and Christmas, from income provided by Louis VII, King of France, in no. 162 (1175), and no. 271 (1181-89) is also a grant of 50 shillings annually for pittances for the monks. No. 152 (1173) is the confirmation by Girard of Burgundy, count of Macon of the gift made by his brother Stephen in return for which the abbot of Clairvaux grants obituary services equivalent to those done for an abbot of the Order. A certain Lucia, sister-in-law of a donor will received an annuity for life at at Clairvaux, no. 384 (1198); another woman, Cunagunde of Marsala, will become "deo devota" for life-- see no. 326 (1195).

Clairvaux had extensive grange properties that were obviously being consolidated with rights shored up through extensive seeking out of laudatio parentum grants. By late twelfth century it also soon had extensive urban property, including a house in Meaux, see no. 243 (1186): properties in Dijon, see no. 279 (1190), and no. 333 (1195), a house in Provins, see no. 280 (1190), and no. 294 (1192) and no. 302 (1193), a property at Neuchtel, see nos. 310 (1194) and 357 (1197); a house in Troyes, see no. 360 (1197); one at Bar-sur-Aube, see no. 313 (1194) and another four later in the decade, see no. 392 (1199), and a house at Marsal to be retained for the life of the Cunegunda mentioned above, see no. 326 (1195). In addition to the much-discussed salt-works in the diocese of Metz, it had an iron-crushing mill. See no. 203 (1192) and at least one previously made assart, see no. 306 (1179-93).

Occupational surnames of donors and witnesses abound in the chargers, often associated with towncrafts. In addition to the wide range found in no. 346 (1196), there was a knifemaker in no. 288 (1191). Some association with textile production must be inferred from the rights granted to buy yarn and thread without tax in Chartres by Thibualt, count of Blois, in no. 291 (1154-91).

As for the history of the Order, the earliest reference found in this cartulary to an ordo cisterciensis, seems to be no. 25 (dated by both Veyssiére and Waquet to 1144-53) for which the original is lost; given that its conveyance is missing from the 1147 pancartes, we could argue that it must come from between 1147-1153. It is notable, moreover, that given all the pancartes of 1147, there is no reference to the purported General Chapter of that year, or to Cîteaux or to the abbey of Savigny and its purported incorporation in that year. Finally, among charters from former abbot of Cîteaux, Henry of Marcy, cardinal bishop is one granted to Clairvaux, no. 220 (1181), "ut amputentur zizaniorum scandala que succrescunt."


[[1]] Recueil des pancartes de l'abbaye de la Fertè-sur-Grosne: 1113-1178, ed. Georges Duby. Aix-Marseilles, 1953; Chartes et documents concernant l'abbaye de Cîteaux 1098-1182, ed. J.-M. Marilier. Rome, 1961.

[[2]] Constance B. Bouchard, in Holy Entrepreneurs. Cistercians, Knights, and Economic Exchange in Twelfth-century Burgundy. Ithaca, NY. 1991, on table one, p. 23, lists only 409 transactions for Clairvaux when there must have been at least double that number; although even so they constitute the highest percentage within her data-base -- making up 18 percent of the whole, if double that number had been counted, they would have constituted thirty percent or nearly a third. The fact that so few of Clairvaux's charters may be recognized explicitly as purchases by the monks of that abbey skews considerably the findings; Veyssiére notes that purchases began much earlier at Pontigny, by 1119, and that they were, if we take the Clairvaux silence as indicative, much more frequent than at Clairvaux; see Le premier cartulaire de l'abbaye cistercienne de Pontigny (xiie-xiiie siècles), ed. Martine Garrigues. Paris,1981.

[[3]] Most other abbeys in the twelfth-century Order approached fifty-percent of acquisitions as purchases, see Constance H. Berman, Medieval Agriculture, the Southern-French Countryside, and the Early Cistercians. A Study of Forty-three Monasteries. Philadelphia, PA: American Philosophical Society, 1986.

[[4]] See Robert Fossier, "L'essor economique de Clairvaux." Bernard de Clairvaux, prèface de Thomas Merton. (Commission d'histoire de Cîteaux, no. 3.) Paris: Editions Alsatia, 1953: 95-114, for instance; such a model has been shown to be inappropriate in Constance H. Berman, The Cistercian Evolution. The Invention of a Religious Order in Twelfth-Century Europe. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.