lt;<Antes de la llegada del Conquistador [Guillermo, 1066-1087] y sus abogados feudales, gran cantidad de tierra habia sido adquirida para ser mantenida a traves del modo espiritual de posesion llamado frankalmoign, un titulo que obligaba a los poseedores a lo que se llamaba trinoda necessitas (o triple obligacion) de reparar los caminos, construir las fortalezas y repeler las invasiones, pero sin ninguna otra obligacion que rezar por las almas del donante y sus herederos, muertos o vivos>> (36).
Desde esta perspectiva el derecho canonico solo tenia que ver por tanto con materias espirituales, derecho matrimonial, ultimas voluntades y sucesiones, provision de los oficios de iglesias recibidas en frankalmoign, derechos de patronato, crimenes de los clerigos, otros crimenes como la difamacion, adulterio, usura, y las cuestiones de diezmos.
36) <<Before the coming of the Conqueror and his feudal lawyers much land in England had been acquired to be held by the spiritual tenure of frankalmoign, a tenure subjecting the holders to what was termed the trinoda necessitas (for threefold obligation) of repairing highways, building castles, and repelling invasions, but otherwise to no service other than praying for the souls of the donor and his heirs, dead or alive [.
The canon law from this perspective was, therefore, concerned exclusively with spiritual matters, marriage law, wills and succession, frankalmoign provision of church offices, advowsons, crimes of clerics, other crimes, such as defamation, adultery, usury, and tithes.
The second part focuses on the nature of land tenure, services, and rights of inheritance prior to the thirteenth century and includes: "Gifts in Frankalmoign
, Warranty of Land, and Feudal Society"; "Seeking the Language of Warranty of Land in Twelfth-Century England"; "Tenure in Frankalmoign
and Knight Service in Twelfth-Century England: Interpretation of the Charters"; and "Choosing Witnesses in Twelfth-Century England.
In order to capture the more specific legal sense of the passage, it would be more precise to gloss it: '[Custance's] hand, in which the right to grant estates in the feudal tenure of frankalmoign lies'.
The four classifications of free tenure, or modes of holding are: knight's service, requiring the provision of military aid to the overlord; serjeanty, requiring mostly (although not solely) the performance of a variety of duties within the royal household; socage, requiring money payments, payments in kind, or agricultural service; and finally, of interest in the present context, frankalmoign.
The French term, frankalmoign, is a translation of the Latin 'libera eleemosyna', and is rendered in English as 'free alms'.
A more concrete explanation of the usual situation that brings about a land grant of tenure in frankalmoign appears in John Rastel's early sixteenth-century law glossary, Termes de la Ley, under the entry for frank almoign, or free alms: 'Where in ancient times lands were given to an abbot and his convent, or to a dean and his chapter, and to their successors, in pure and perpetual alms, without expressing any service certain; .
Although, in support of a general interpretation approximately the same as Benson's, MED explicitly cites The Man of Law's Tale, 168, it is significant that it also gives specialized individual definitions for each of the words that make up the passage - definitions that would support an interpretation construing the phrase not only as a generalized metaphorical description of Custance's benevolence, but more specifically as an example of the usage of specialized legal jargon, that is, as a reference to frankalmoign.
Thus, the phrase, ministre of fredam for almesse, can, with the corroboration of MED, be interpreted as referring to someone who conveys gifts of land in frankalmoign, or 'free alms'.
The full set of adjectives usually qualifying the word alms in documents granting estates in frankalmoign are 'free, pure, and perpetual'.