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E06229: Two authentic Merovingian royal diplomas record the immunities confirmed by Clovis III and Childebert III, kings of the Franks, for the monastery at Anisole (Saint-Calais, north-west Gaul) dedicated to Carilefus (hermit and abbot of Anisole, 6th c., S02260). Written in Latin in Gaul, 693-694/711.

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posted on 2018-08-21, 00:00 authored by bsavill
MGH DD Mer. (excerpts)

140. Clovis III confirms the immunities of the monastery of Saint-Calais (693, Compiègne)
Chlodoueus rex Francorum vir[is] inlust[ribus] omnibus agentibus praesentibus et futuris. Si petitionibus sacerdotum, in quo pro oportunitatibus ecclesiarum vel monasteriis nostris patefecerint auribus, libenter audimus, regiam consuetudinem exercemus et nobis ad mercedem vel stabilitatem regni nostri pertinere confidimus. Ideoque venerabilis [vir] Ibbolenus abba de monasterio Anisola, qui est in pago Cenomannico in honore peculiaris nostri patronique pii Careleffi confessoris constructus, per missos suos clementiae regni nostri detulit in notitiam, eo quod consobrinus noster Guntrannus quondam rex ad ipsum monasterium sub omni immunitate per suam auctoritatem concessisset, et hoc postea avi nostri Chlotharius et Dagobertus seu et Chlodoueus necnon item Chlotharius quondam reges vel domnus m et genitor noster Teodericus quondam rex per eorum auctoritates ipsorum manus roboratas ipsi monasterio hoc confirmassent [...] Sed pro totius rei munimine postulat , ut hoc nostra auctoritas in ipso monasterio plenius debeat observari, quod nos praestitisse et generaliter confirmasse vestra non dubitet magnitudo. Quapropter per praesentem praeceptum iubemus ut [...]

'Clovis, king of the Franks, to his noble men, and all agentes present and future. If we give a free hearing to the petitions of priests, which lay open to our ears what might benefit the churches and monasteries, we thus exercise royal custom, confident that this pertains to our wealth, and to the security of our realm. And therefore the venerable man Ibbolenus, abbot of the monastery of Anisole, which is constructed in the country of Le Mans in honour of our personal and pious patron Carilefus the confessor, has brought it to the notice of our clemency through his emissaries, that our cousin Guntram, the late king, had granted through his authority every immunity to that monastery, and that afterwards our grandfathers Chlothar, Dagobert, Clovis, and also the other Chlothar, the late kings, and our father the lord Theuderic, the late king, had confirmed this to the monastery, by their authority with their own hands ... And Ibbolenus asked, for its full protection, that we would fully observe with our own authority that monastery, which our magnitude does not hesitate to bestow and publicly confirm. Therefore, through this present deed, we order that ...'

146. Clovis III confirms the immunities of the monastery of Saint-Calais (694/711)
This diploma is virtually identical to the one above, with the minor variation that Carilefus is named as 'our personal patron saint Carilefus the confessor' (peculiaris patroni sancti Charilefi confessor).

Text: Kölzer 2001. Translation: B. Savill.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Carilefus, hermit and abbot of Anisole (north-west Gaul), 6th century : S02260

Saint Name in Source

Careleffus, Charilefus

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 an individual

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family Ecclesiastics - abbots


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). These Saint-Calais diplomas survive only as 18th century copies.


The purported earlier immunities granted by Guntram, Clothar (II), Dagobert (I), Clovis (II), Clothar (III) and Theuderic (III) do not survive.


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