Henry III’s Sense of Humour

Lesley Boatwright has supplied the following comment and suggested translation of the the letter patent in which Henry III’s empowers William de Peterot to cut the hair of the king’s clerks (fine of the month for November 2011)

She writes:

This piece is great fun. I think there is some word play in the Latin letter re haircuts which is difficult to reproduce, but here goes:

Know that we have granted and given you full power of cutting the hair of the clerks under our roof and in our household who have long hair and grow/cherish their locks [I think an added sense of nutrientium would be that they put stuff on their hair to feed it – hair-cream (like those Brylcreem ads)] and to shave off/tonsure their curls [fascicules say comam deponere is to accept tonsure]. And so we instruct you that you diligently pursue this power we have granted you in this due manner concerning cutting the aforesaid locks and tonsuring their curls, so that we do not have to apply the scissors to your own locks.

Which comes down to

Know that we have granted and given you full power to cut the hair of the clerks of our household under our roof who have grown their hair long and cherish it, and to shave off their fancy curls, and if you don’t do it properly then we shall have to apply the scissors to your own locks.

For crocus = curl of hair, the fascicules quote this passage.

Is the assumption that William de Peretot was a bit too vain about his own head of curly hair?

The Latin is

Rex Willelmo de Peretot salutem. Sciatis quod concessimus et plenam potestatem vobis dedimus scindendi capillos clericorum nostrorum qui sunt de hospitio nostro et familia nostra longos crines habentium et comas nutrientium et ad crocos capillorum suorum deponendos. Et ideo vobis mandamus quatinus ad hoc modo debito diligenter intendatis hujusmodi potestatem vestram vobis concessam taliter exequentes circa predictos capillos scindendos et crocos deponendos ne ad capillos vestros scindendos forpices apponere debeamus. Teste me ipso apud Clyve, ii.die Septembris.

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