53. ROYAL COUNCILLORS' OATHS OF OFFICE

(A) Oath of 1257

They have sworn in the first place to provide faithful counsel to the lord king as often as they shall perceive it to be useful. Item, they will reveal the counsel of the lord king to no one to whom it ought not to be revealed, whereby they believe harm might ensue. Item, they will consent to the alienation of none of those things which belong to the ancient demesne of the crown. Item, they will bring it about that justice is administered to all, both rich and poor, both great and small, according to the rightful laws and customs of the kingdom. Item, they will freely permit, with regard to themselves, their friends, and their relatives, that justice shall be provided to every one seeking it. Nor through them shall the administration of justice be impeded for prayer or price, for favour or spite; but they will in good faith strive to have the great and the small judged alike, according to the law and custom of the kingdom. Nor will they, either by word or by deed, support or defend evil-doers in their wrongs. Item, from no one whom they know to have business in the court of the king, or of his bailiffs, will they accept, either of themselves or through others, any gift or service on an occasion of this sort, in any way or by any means whatsoever. Item, should any one in the council discover for certain, or hear from reliable sources, that another councillor has received any reward or gift other than something to eat or drink, [1] he will bring it to the public attention of the whole council. And if [such councillor] is convicted of this [offence], he shall be forever excluded from the council and he shall lose his lands and his rents, or the income from his possessions, for one year. And if he has no such income, he shall be punished according to the decision of the councillors.

(Latin) Baldwin, The King's Council, pp. 346 f.

(B) Oath of 1307

He who is to be sworn of the king's council shall be charged with regard to the particulars hereinunder written; and if he is to be a justice, he shall be charged [especially] with regard to the last particular: —

That well and loyally, according to your knowledge and ability, you will counsel the king. That well and loyally you will keep his counsel; and that you will not accuse another [on account] of anything that he may say in the council. And that, to the best of your ability, you will give and devote your care, aid, and counsel to keep and maintain, to safeguard and restore, the rights of the king and of the crown, in so far as you can without committing wrong. And that, whenever you know things of the crown and rights of the king to be concealed, wrongfully alienated, or withheld, you will bring it to the king's knowledge. And that, to the best of your ability and in loyal fashion, you will support the crown. And that you will take no part in court or council where the king deprives himself of something belonging to the crown, unless it is an action that you should approve. And that for no one, through love or hate, for good will or ill will, you will abstain from having right and justice done to every man, of whatsoever estate or condition, according to your knowledge and ability. And that you will take nothing from any one for doing wrong or delaying justice. And that, in judging or enforcing right there where you may be assigned, you will spare no one on account of grandeur, poverty, or wealth, so that justice shall not be done. And that, if you have formed an alliance through lordship or otherwise, so that you cannot do these things without breaking such alliance, you will tell the king or have him informed of it. And that henceforth you will make no alliance by oath with any one without the king's permission. And that you will take no gift from any one on account of a plea or anything else that is to be determined before you, unless it is food and drink for the day.

(French) Statutes of the Realm, I, 248.


[1] Cf. no. 47B, p. 145.