Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER TWENTY–TWO. - Magna Carta: A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John, with an Historical Introduction
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CHAPTER TWENTY–TWO. - Misc (Magna Carta), Magna Carta: A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John, with an Historical Introduction 
Magna Carta: A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John, with an Historical Introduction, by William Sharp McKechnie (Glasgow: Maclehose, 1914).
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Nullus clericus amercietur de laico tenemento suo, nisi secundum modum aliorum predictorum, et non secundum quantitatem beneficii sui ecclesiastici.
A clerk shall not be amerced in respect of his lay holding except after the manner of the others aforesaid; further, he shall not be amerced in accordance with the extent of his ecclesiastical benefice.
Amercement of the clergy. The churchman was to receive the same favourable treatment as the layman in all respects, and to enjoy one additional privilege. In proportioning the amercement to his means, no account was to be taken of the value of his “church benefice.” There is room, however, for doubt as to the precise nature of this privilege, which seems to depend for its point on an antithesis between “lay tenement” and “ecclesiastical benefice.”
In a well–known article of the Constitutions of Clarendon (c. 9), a contrast is drawn between laicum feudum and tenementum pertinens ad eleemosinam. It is possible that Magna Carta means to observe the same distinction between “lay fee” and “frankalmoin,” reckoning the former, but not the latter, in estimating a clerk’s ability to pay amercements.
A more likely interpretation is that the contrast is drawn between lands owned by a clerk absolutely, and lands belonging to the church and held by the clerk in liferent. The plausibility of this conjecture is strengthened by alterations, apparently of a purely verbal nature, made in reissues of the Charter. The “de laico tenemento” of 1215 was omitted altogether in 1216; and in 1217, the provision took this final form: “Nulla ecclesiastica persona amerciatur secundum quantitatem beneficii sui ecclesiastici, sed secundum tenementum1 suum et secundum quantitatem delicti.” The substitution of ecclesiastical “person”—a word fast acquiring even then a connotation like that of the “parson” of present–day colloquial speech—for “clerk” has no significance, but the main antithesis drawn would seem to be between the “benefice” or mere liferent and the “tenement” or fief held in perpetuity. In taxing a clerk’s amercement, no account was to be taken of possessions of which he was not really owner.
[1 ]Stubbs, Sel. Chart., 345, by a curious oversight reads “contenementum,” in the issue of 1217, for which there seems to be no authority.