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A letter from Adelaide/Aleid of Holland (1259, March 17)


Translated letter: 

In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity. Adelaide, formerly wife of lord John of Avesnes, defender of Holland and Zeeland, to all faithful of Christ who will view the present letters, in perpetuity.
Since human weakness is unstable and inclined to harmful things and does not stand up to confusion, it is useful that those things that are known to be pious deeds carried out by modern [people] are also prudently preserved in written testimony.
Therefore may both present and future (people) know that, since the abbess and convent of the church of the blessed Virgin Mary in Rinjsburg had possessed peacefully and quietly, as their allod, certain property, namely certain land in the parish of Noordwijk lying within Zidewende, approximately 9.5 lant, and in the same place certain lands which are called Werft, conferred by a former countess of Holland by the name of Petronilla, of happy memory, as alms for the church mentioned, with all right belonging to the said countess, also certain lands called vronegers lying between the villas of Noordwijk and Voorhout as well as the lands lying in the hamlets or villas of Lisse and Vlodorp, formerly of the lay brothers Ouger and Arnold, called Geir, living in Rijnsburg, and also lands located formerly at Lisekine, part in Lisse, part in Hiltsebroic, until for the usefulness of the aforenoted monasteryhaving considered the advice of prudent people the aforesaid abbess and convent decided to make an exchange now of said property or aforewritten lands with Theodore, knight, lord of Teylingen, for any tithes, both larger and smaller, both in wet and in dry (land), located in the parishes of Kercwerve and Rijnsburg, which the same knight held from us in fealty, with our consent and will, transferring through our hand the aforesaid property or lands to the knight mentioned, Theodore, which property and lands the aforesaid knight in place of the aforesaid tithes which he first held from us, received from our hand in fealty, paying due homage to us for these same things, except the land lying in the marsh which is called Hiltsebroic, extending from the wood of Hillinghem up to Mere and containing 11yards in width, which the abbess and convent of the aforenoted monastery reserved for their own use, but with said knight, Theodore, surrendering the above-said tithes to us, we, with pious consideration and for the sake of eternal salvation have conferred freely and absolutely these same things, with all right and dominion that could belong to us or our nephew Floris or our successors in these same things, to the church of holy Mary in Rijnsburg for the use and support of the abbess and convent of the aforenoted church, such that certainly the aforesaid abbess and convent will enjoy the aforewritten tithes with right of patronage of the church of Kercwerve that belonged to the same knight for that same thing, but the said knight, Theodore, will enjoy the aforewritten property or lands thus transferred to him and exchanged for the said tithes, with full right perpetually.
For this deed and exchange were present: renowned ladies Elisabeth, formerly queen of the Romans, our mother, Mathilde, countess of Holland, our aunt, Richardis, lady-in-waiting of Holland, as well as the noblemen H. lord of Vorne, Simon of Haarlem, W. lord of Brederode, lord John Persin, and Hugh of Noordwijk, knights, whose seals are affixed to the present [letters].
Also in testimony and proof of this deed made and fuller and perpetual strength of certainty we have caused the present document to be confirmed by the seal affixed of Theodore lord of Teylingen and consigned with the protection of our seal.
Dated in the year of the Lord 1258, on the day of blessed Gertrude, at Rijnsburg. (1)

Original letter: 

In nomine sancte et individue Trinitatis. Aleydis quondam uxor domini Iohannis de Auennis, tutrix Hollandie et Zelandie, universis Christi fidelibus presentes litteras inspecturis in perpetuum.
Quoniam humana fragilitas labilis est et prona in detrimentum rerumque turbe non sufficit, expedit ea que a modernis pie gesta cognoscuntur et provide, scripti testimonio perhennari.
Noverint igitur tam presentes quam posteri quod, cum abbatissa et conventus ecclesie beate Marie virginis in RinsbOrch quedam bona, videlicet terras quasdam in parrochia de Nortghe infra Zidewende iacentes, circiter IX 1/2 lant, et ibidem quasdam terras que dicuntur Werft a felicis recordationis olim Hollandie comitissa nomine Petronilla in elemosimam cum omni iure dictam comitissam contingente ecclesie collatas memorate, item quasdam terras vroneghers nuncupatas inter villas de Nortghe et Vorhoute iacentes necnon et terras quondam fratrum Outgheri et Arnoldi dicti Ghier conversorum in Rinsburg in hamellis seu villis de Lisse et de Vlodorp iacentes, insuper et terras quondam Lisekine sitas partim in Lisse, partim in Hildsebroec tamquam suum allodium pacifice possedissent et quiete, demum in hoc utilitate monasterii prescripti consilio pensata discretorum abbatissa et conventus antedicti iamdictorum bonorum seu terrarum prescriptarum cum Theoderico, milite, domino de Teylinge pro decimis quibuscumque, tam maioribus quam minutis, tam in humido quam in sicco, in parrochiis de Kercwerue et de Rinsborch sitas, quas idem miles a nobis tenebat in feodo, commutationem facere decreverunt, per manum nostram predicta bona seu terras de consensu nostro et voluntate Th. militi memorato tradentes, que bona ac terras sepedictus miles loco decimarum predictarum quas a nobis prius tenebat, de manu nostra recepit in feodum nobis debitum prestans homagium de eisdem, excepto veno in palude que dicitur Hildsbroec iacente, a nemore de Hillinghem usque Mere se extendente ac undecim virgas in latitudine continente, quem abbatissa et conventus monasterii prenotati usui proprio reservarunt, dicto vero Th. milite decimas supradictas nobis resignante, nos easdem pia consideratione ac eterne salutis obtentu cum omni iure et dominio que nobis vel nepoti nostro Florentio aut nostris successoribus conpetere posset in eisdem, ecclesie sancte Marie in Rinsburg ad opus et sustentationem abbatisse et conuentus ecclesie prenotate libere contulimus et absolute, ita quidem quod abbatissa et conventus sepedicti decimis prescriptis cum iure patronatus ecclesie de Kercwerue quod eidem militi conpetiit in eadem, dictus vero Th. miles bonis seu terris prescriptis sibi pro dictis decimis sic traditis ac commutatis perpetuo gaudebunt pleno iure.
Interfuerunt huic facto et commutationi: illustres domine E. quondam Romanorums regina, M. comitissa Hollandie mater nostra, R. domicella Hollandie necnon nobiles viri H. dominus de Vome, Simon de Harlem, W. dominus de Brederode, dominus Iohannes Persin et Hugo de Nortghe, milites, quorum sigilla presentibus sunt appensa.
In cuius etiam rei testimonium et evidentiam facti pleniorem perpetueque robur firmitatis sigillo Th. domini de Teylinge appenso presentem paginam duximus confirmandam ac sigilli nostri munimine consignandam.
Datum anno Domini millesimo ducentesimo quinquagesimo octavo, in die beate Gertrudis, apud Rinsborch.

Historical context: 

The countess attests to the exchange of lands originally conferred on a convent by a former countess of Holland, Petronilla, wife of Floris II in the early 12th century, between the current abbess and Dirk/Theodore, lord of Teylingen. Among the witnesses are Adele’s sister-in-law, Elisabeth wife of William II, her mother Mathilde, and her aunt Richardis.

Scholarly notes: 

1 This translation was provided by Ashleigh Imus.

Printed source: 

Oorkondenboek van Holland en Zeeland tot 1299, ed. A.C.F.Koch (Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoo, 1970), ep.1208, 3.211-.12.


1259, March 17