Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER TWENTY–NINE. - Magna Carta: A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John, with an Historical Introduction
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CHAPTER TWENTY–NINE. - 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 constabularius distringat aliquem militem ad dandum denarios pro custodia castri, si facere voluerit custodiam illam in propria persona sua, vel per alium probum hominem, si ipse eam facere non possit propter racionabilem causam; et si nos duxerimus vel miserimus eum in exercitum, erit quietus de custodia, secundum quantitatem temporis quo per nos fuerit in exercitu.
No constable shall compel any knight to give money in lieu of castle–guard, when he is willing to perform it in his own person, or (if he himself cannot do it from any reasonable cause) then by another responsible man. Further, if we have led or sent him upon military service, he shall be relieved from guard in proportion to the time during which he has been on service because of us.
Castle–guard, or the liability to serve in the garrison of a royal fortress, formed part of the feudal obligations of the owners of certain freeholds. This service was sometimes due in lieu of attendance in the army; more usually the tenant who owed garrison duty owed knight’s service as well.3 It was probably this duplication of duties that prevented castle–guard from hardening into a separate tenure.1 John preferred to commute personal service of castle–guard for money payments (analogous to the scutage paid in lieu of knight’s service), and to man his feudal towers with soldiers of fortune rather than with rebellious Englishmen. Captains of royal castles were, therefore, in the habit of demanding money even from those who offered personal service. What was worse, when the freeholder followed John on distant service, he was mulcted in a money payment because he had not stayed at home to perform garrison duty during the same period. Both abuses were forbidden in 1215.2 In certain circumstances, however, this prohibition would have deprived the King of what was equitably due to him. Suppose he had granted two fiefs to the same tenant—one by simple knight’s service, the other by castle–ward. A double holding implied double service; the tenant could not in fairness plead that the service of one knight, rendered abroad, operated as the full discharge of the services of two knights due from his two separate fiefs. Castle–guard must in such a case be performed by an efficient deputy, or else the usual compensation be paid. The reissue of 1217 amended John’s Charter to this effect. Service with the army abroad operated as a discharge of castle–guard at home, but not where the tenant owed two services for two distinct fiefs.3
[3 ]See the examples collected in Pollock and Maitland, I. 257. See also in Rotuli de oblatis et finibus, 107, how in 1200 Ralph de Bradel offered John 40 marks and a palfrey to be relieved of “the custody of the work of the castle of Grimsby.”
[1 ]Cf. supra, p. 57 n.
[2 ]Adams, Origin, 238, contrasts the principle of this chapter with that of c. 12, where no option is allowed the vassal of offering service in lieu of scutage—a breach of strict feudal custom.
[3 ]De feodo pro quo fecit servicium in exercitu. This variation in the charter of 1217 seems to have escaped Dr. Stubbs’ attention. See Select Charters, 346.