The Legal Documents

The surviving legal documents around Cecily Chaumpaigne and Geoffrey Chaucer have been transcribed and translated, and can be accessed through the links below. For more data on each document, click through its title to an Omeka Dublin Core representation. Alternatively, an interactive Omeka/NeatlineTime timeline can be found at Timeline.

There are five documents total. The first, dated May 4 1380, is Chaumpaigne’s copy onto the Close Rolls of her release of Chaucer. (The original would have been given into Chaucer’s possession.) Three days later a more publicly accessible copy was entered at the King’s Bench, crucially omitting the charged phrase de raptu meo and instead releasing Chaucer from unspecific offenses.

On June 28 Chaucer’s friends Richard Goodchild and John Grove entered a memorandum in the city records releasing Chaucer from unspecified complaints, contracts, or debts. In the very next entry, the same day, Chaumpaigne entered a similar memorandum releasing Goodchild and Grove. Finally, on July 2, Grove recorded a financial debt to Chaumpaigne, due (and, it seems, paid) that winter.

Close Rolls     |     King’s Bench

Goodchild and Grove’s Memorandum     |     Chaumpaigne’s Memorandum

Grove’s Debt