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E06145: A substantially authentic Merovingian royal diploma in the name of Theuderic III, king of the Franks, records a dispute over a women's monastery in Tuffé (north-west Gaul) dedicated to *Mary (mother of Christ, S00033) and other *unnamed saints (S00518). Written in Latin, probably at Compiègne (north-east Gaul), 677.

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posted on 2018-08-19, 00:00 authored by bsavill
MGH DD Mer. 118 (excerpt)

Theodericus rex Francorum v. inl. In hoc semper regalis celsitudo debet prospicere, ut quodcumque contra Dei decretum vel instituta patrum fuit actum, debeat esse restauratum. Ideoque ad aures clementię nostrę fuit patefactum, eo quod Ulphaldus et Ingobertus obtimates nostri illustri Deo sacrata Adidola abbatissa seu et genitrice sua Ingane, quę in monasterio puellarum, quod in honore sanctę Marie vel ceterorum domnorum in loco nuncupante Thusphiaco constructum, una cum turba plurima monacharum sub sancta regula conversare videntur, vel ipsa congregatione tale testamentum facere coegisset, ut quodcumque predicti viri ad ipsas ancillas Dei facere ordinabant, aliud nullatenus pontificium faciendi haberent, nisi presentaliter in perpetuum, ut omni tempore iussionem de qualibet causa facere et adimplere deberent. Econtra vero asserebat vir apostolicus Aiglibertus, Cenomannice urbis episcopus, quod predictum monasterium suę aecclesię esse deberet, et Loppa Deo sacrata, relicta videlicet Egigni, illud ibidem legibus tradidisset, ostendensque nobis strumenta cartarum, quę predicta Loppa de iamdicto monasterio Cenomannice matris aecclesię perpetualiter tenendum et aecclesiastice dominandum ac possidendum f[ec]erit [...] Datum quod fecit mense December dies VI, anno III regni nostri, Compendio , in Dei nomine feliciter .

'Theuderic, king of the Franks, to his noble men. Royal majesty should always understand this: that whatever has been done against God or the decrees and institutes of the fathers must be restored. And so this was laid open to the ears of our clemency by Ulfald and Ingobert, our illustrious nobles, concerning Abbess Adidola, consecrated to God, and her mother Inga, who are seen to live as one in a monastery of women, built in honour of Saint Mary and other lords in the place called Tuffé, together with a troop of nuns living under a holy rule, that together that congregation had made a statement, that whatever those aforesaid men set out to do for those handmaidens of God, the bishopric would not be able to do otherwise, but that presently and in the future they would have to enact and fulfil their commands concerning whatever cause. And against this the apostolic man Agilbert, bishop of the city of Le Mans, asserted that the aforesaid monastery ought to be [under the control] of his church, and that Lobba, consecrated to God, the widow of Egignus, had handed that same place over to him by law. And he showed to us the charters which the aforesaid Lobba had drawn up, by which that aforesaid monastery was to be perpetually held and possessed and put under the ecclesiastical lordship of the mother church of Le Mans ... Given on the 6th day of the month of December, in the 3rd year of our reign, at Compiègne, happily in God's name.'

Text: Kölzer 2001, 302-4. Translation: B. Savill.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033 Saints, unnamed : S00518

Saint Name in Source

Maria domni

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Charter or diploma


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Compiègne Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


According to the judgement of their most recent editor, 54 authentic or substantially authentic royal diplomas/charters survive from Merovingian Gaul which are dated or datable to the period up to ad 700. Of these, 34 appear to relate directly to the cult of saints, and are included in our database. All but one, possibly two (E06133, E06141), of the charters included here date from the 7th century, mostly its final quarter. Although a number of these diplomas have come down to us only in later cartulary copies, a remarkably large proportion (21 of our 34) survive as single-sheet, original manuscripts, the great majority of which come from the monastery of Saint-Denis. Due to the nature of western archival survivals, all these documents concern either land, legal immunities, or rights to tolls, and are preserved exclusively through interested religious institutions. For a hint, however, of the kind of Merovingian documents we may have lost, the scribal templates found in the Formulary of Marculf are suggestive (see e.g. E06231, E06233). This diploma survives at Le Mans in copies from the 12th and 15th centuries.


This diploma and several others seem to suggest a pattern by which prominent seventh-century Franco-Gallic women's monasteries tended to be dedicated to Mary.


Edition: Kölzer, T., Die Urkunden der Merowinger, 2 vols. (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Diplomata; Hannover, 2001). Further reading: Brühl, C., Studien zu den merowingischen Königsurkunden, ed. T. Kölzer (Cologne, 2001). Kölzer, T., Merowingerstudien, 2 vols. (Hannover, 1998-1999).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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