OATS FOR A HOSPICE

Deed granting land to the hospice.

Metz, 5 May 1464.

Single sheet (28.5 x 42 cm); manuscript on parchment in French, 33 lines in brown ink in a fine notarial hand, the opening five words in larger script, attractive notarial mark in form of cross incorporating notary’s name; some creases from folding, ink note in nineteenth-century hand to verso; very well preserved.

£450 + VAT

Approximately:
US $582€534

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Deed granting land to the hospice.

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An attractive document recording the grant of agricultural land in 1464 to the Hospice of Saint-Nicolas, the oldest hospital in Metz, in northeast France, issued during the reign of Louis XI and in the final year of the papacy of Pius II.

Under the terms of the document, Jehan Werneson and Werry Roncel, ‘chevallier citain de mets’, grant forty-two parcels of oat fields (‘quarentedeux quartes dauvoines’) to the ‘lospital saint nicolay en nuefbourg de mets’, to be given in two parts, on the feasts of the nativity of St John the Baptist (24 June) and of St Remigius (1 October). The deed was witnessed by Burtalt Joffroy, merchant, and Jehan Petit, one of the town’s thirteen jurors, and subscribed by the public notary Nicolas Jehan.

Dating back to at least the eleventh century and devoted to the care of the poor, the Hospice Saint-Nicolas remained operational until 1986. Grants of agricultural land such as this were essential to its longevity. The hospital also benefitted from the right to sell the clothes of anyone who died in the town (‘l’impôt des morts’), as long as it used some of the funds resulting therefrom to maintain the town’s bridges.

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