1469 Pawning Document

Mortgage by King Christian of Denmark to King James of Scotland of his lands in Shetland.

Copenhagen, 28 May 1469

Christian, by the grace of God king of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Slavs and the Goths, duke of Sleswig and count of Holstein, Stormarn, Oldenburgh and Dalmenhorst, to all and sundry who shall see our present letters, greeting and royal good wishes for increasing prosperity.

Since in our other letters given at the town of Havn on the eighth day of the month of September one thousand four hundred and sixty-eight, to the ambassadors of the most excellent prince James, king of Scots, we promised and undertook that we would fully pay the sum of ten thousand florins of the Rhine, and give effectual satisfaction thereon in counted money before their return to the kingdom of Scotland from our kingdom of Denmark; but because, hindered by the insults of our enemies and rebels and by other unlooked for events, we are unable conveniently to pay from our exchequer the aforesaid sum as laid down within the limit agreed with the said spokesmen; therefore, having considered the convenience and advantage of our Norwegian kingdom and with the consent and assent of the prelates, magnates and greater nobles of the aforesaid kingdom of Norway, we have granted, pledged and mortgaged, and under assured security and pledge do grant, mortgage and pledge all and sundry our lands of the islands [omnes et singulas terras nostras insularum] of Schethland, with all and sundry rights and their rightful pertinents whatsoever, under the earth as above the earth, not named as named, pertaining or that can pertain in any way to us and our predecessors, kings of Norway, by royal right; to be held and had all and whole our lands of the islands of Schethland aforesaid, with all and sundry customs, profits, freedoms, commodities, easements and their other rightful pertinents whatsoever, pertaining or that can rightfully pertain in any way in the future to the aforesaid lands of Schethland, by the most excellent prince James, king of Scots, our beloved son and ally and by his successors, kings of Scots whomsoever; until the aforesaid sum of eight thousand florins of the Rhine outstanding in the aforementioned letters has been faithfully, fully and completely paid in the church of St Magnus in Orkney whensoever in the future, and satisfaction effectually made by us, our heirs or successors, kings of Norway, concerning the same, to the aforesaid most illustrious James, king of Scots, his heirs or successors, kings of Scots; and we, our heirs and successors, kings of Norway, shall warrant and forever defend against all mortals the aforesaid lands of Schethland thus as promised, pledged and mortgaged to the said James, king of Scots, and to his heirs, kings of Scots whomsoever, firmly binding us and our successors, kings of Norway, to this by the tenor of these presents; and we promise and acknowledge on our word as a king that we will not come against the aforementioned concession and impignoration, or make it to be contravened directly or indirectly by any designed pretext or scheme in any way.

In testimony of this impignoration, our private royal seal is appended; given in our castle of Havn on the twenty­ eighth day of the month of May in the year of our Lord one thousand four hundred and sixty-nine.

No original is known to exist: transcript in British Library, Royal Mss., 18.B.vi, p.13. Latin. Printed in NgL, 2nd series, ii, no. 116; the above translation is based on that in B.E. Crawford, 'The earldom of Orkney and lordship of Shetland: a reinterpretation of their pledging to Scotland in 1468-70', in Saga-Book, xvii, 1966-9, pp.175-6.