Ransoming Captives in Crusader Spain:
The Order of Merced on the Christian-Islamic Frontier
James William Brodman


Preachers, Patrons, and Properties

    Giving is not only essential for the sustenance of any caritative movement but also significant as a reliable gauge of society's judgment of its worth. Mercedarians were of necessity active fund-raisers, and the sources show this activity to have been complex.  It involved the acquisition and management of several types of properties, the courting of the affluent with the promise of various spiritual and material benefits, and the parading of ransomed captives through the countryside in a search for alms. The popular response to these appeals for money and land gives us some measure of the Order's relative popularity and prosperity, a rough profile of those who chose to aid the work of captives, and some insight into the reasons that underlay this support.

    The surviving trail of donative charters, purchase agreements, and rental contracts makes Merced's domainal policy the aspect of its revenue raising that can be most closely studied. From these relatively ample but still fragmentary sources, some approximation, for example, can be made of the Order's property holdings in the thirteenth century. A study of their diffusion, furthermore, can yield valuable information about lesser-known activities, namely the collection of alms and the cultivation of patrons. Thus, a reconstruction of the Mercedarian domain can allow us to begin an estimation of Mercedarian success and its general impact upon society. Unfortunately, there is little in the way of descriptive information for what seem to have been the Order's lesser houses -- those located outside of Catalonia and Valencia -- but the total of these undoubtedly was significantly less than what was acquired in the Order's heartland. For the latter region, however, enough material has survived for us to piece together a picture of what the Order succeeded in amassing. Thus, in studying the Mercedarian patrimonies located in the kingdom of Valencia and in the Catalan districts of Gerona and Perpignan, the nature and impact of Merced's domainal policy begin to emerge.

    While Pere Nolase, by all accounts, first established his [78] movement at Barcelona and then on Majorca, its first acquisitions of note were in the kingdom of Valencia. Here special circumstances associated with the frontier -- an abundance of new land awaiting Christian settlement and an arena for the practice of charitable ransoming -- created an ideal environment for the new Order. Consequently, the preponderance of what Mercedarians came to possess here were lands donated by the king, successful crusaders, and other patrons.(1)

    The first concessions are recorded in royal repartimientos, those long lists of property grants that enumerate the thousands of grants that Jaume I made to soldiers, settlers, and religious orders in the region. While the Mercedarian share of these was modest enough, they did introduce the Order into key areas of the kingdom. At the capital, for example, King Jaume in 1238 handed over to Nolasc a mosque and some property, seemingly houses and garden plots, in the market district, just outside of the Boatella gate, with an additional six plowlands to the north at Andarella or Nàquera.(2) Two small plots of huerta (irrigated farmland) at Segorbe and a farm and residence at Játiva followed in 1248.(3) At Denia, a more substantial gift was gained in 1245 that consisted of the old Christian fonduk, to be coverted into a hospice for captives, and some agricultural properties.(4) Nothing about these grants, with the notable exception of the ransoming hospice, distinguishes them from what was received by other similar orders,(5) and so in the initial stages of the conquest Mercedarians were treated by the king as desirable but not especially favored settlers of his kingdom.

    The most notable of the royal grants in Valencia was that of the parish church of Santa Maria del Puig, located a short distance north of the capital, and of the monastery of Sant Vicent in the city itself. The former, endowed by the king with a garden and four plowlands in 1240, was also granted by Bishop Ferrer of Valencia a generous portion of the tithes, first fruits, and other parochial revenues.(6) Sant Vicent, when it was handed over in 1255, came with a much larger domain that consisted of two castles and a number of villages and estates(7). In the first instance, the king's motive is not entirely clear, but since no resident Mercedarian pastor is known to have been here until 1256,(8) revenue for the Order seems to have outweighed the provisioning of a parish in the royal mind. Assistance to captives is explicitly cited as among the reasons for the grant of Sant Vicent, but in any case this grant was soon negated by the return of this monastery to its original community of monks in 1259.

    [79] These five royal grants were gradually augmented by the gifts of others and later by the Order's own program of purchases. The eighteen thirteenth-century benefactors that we can identify represent a cross-section of Valencian society: nine were nobles, three were town residents (of whom one was a lawyer), and one was a canon of the cathedral. Five, evidently either wealthy townspeople or else of the knightly class, are not so easily categorized. Logically, the largest parcels of property were the grants of aristocrats: the lordships over the villages of Arguines and Algar ceded by the bachelor knight Ramon de Morell between 1244 and 1251; the village of Ondara, Borriol castle, and agricultural lands near Sagunto that were the 1255 grants of  Eximèn Pérez of Arenós; and two plowlands that Sir Carròs gave in 1242 but that were greatly augmented in 1281 by the recently deceased castellan of Rebollet, who yielded the castle itself with its lands, mills, and a third of its tithes.(9) Small grants in the rich huerta of Valencia were also of aristocratic origin: the two plowlands that were the gift of the Aragonese noble Peregrino de Artosilla in 1242; a garden worth 100s. per year granted in 1254 by Domingo of Teruel; Lord García Pérez of Ribarroja's concession in 1264 of a garden, houses, and five urban workshops; and the garden and houses given in 1296 by the miles Alfons Martí.(10) Similar properties were forthcoming from various individuals whose class is not immediately evident: the Valencia huerta worth 28s. a year given bv Pere Martí of Teruel in 1264; the six parcels worth 200s. a year granted in 1272 by Pere Barberà, also in the Valencian huerta; houses and irrigated land near Játiva conceded by Bartomeu de Banyeres and his wife in 1283, and Bartomeu Cugat's gift in 1286 of other houses in Játiva that were worth 545s.(11) The sole municipal donation was Gandía's gift in 1287 of several urban houses and a parcel of rural land.(12) Elsewhere, there were the houses given by Domènec the butcher at Benexira in 1292 and Berenguer Pic's donation of his share in the family vineyard near Játiva. In addition, we know of a vineyard and a garden with houses that were being leased out in 1262, but whose provenance is unknown.(13)

    What these gifts represent are generally small parcels of exploitable rural and urban properties scattered across the Valencian kingdom. The rather haphazard nature of their acquisition, however, does not preclude the Order's eventual development of an overall domainal strategy in this region, for its possessions ultimately came to cluster in three areas: Valencia and its suburbs, the Sagunto-Segorbe axis, and the huerta of Játiva. That such consolidation was deliberately encouraged is suggested by the manner in which the various [80] parcels in the suburbs of Valencia were assembled. These tended to cluster in the districts of Rayosa and Ruzafa, on the side of Valencia closest to the Order's headquarters at the Boatella gate. The original piece of huerta, granted in 1242 by Peregrino de Artosilla, was conceded at the Order's own request, or at least at the behest of Brother Joan Verdera, the commander of Sarrión.(14) Two other parcels, those given in 1254 by Domingo of Teruel and in 1264 by García Pérez, are known to have been adjacent. Probably nearby were the grants of Alfons Martí, Pere Martí, and Pete Barberà. To round out these holdings, the Order purchased additional property in Ruzafa in 1290.(15)

    A second cluster of properties developed near the town of Sagunto. The initial grant of the villages of Arguines and Algar was made between 1245 and 1251 by the confrater Ramon de Morell. In 1251, the Order invested certain funds that had been left to endow a chapel at Tortosa in other properties at Sagunto itself and at Puig.(16) These were augmented in 1255 with various hamlets and parcels of irrigated land (the gift of the powerful Eximèn Pérez of Arenós, King Jaume's lieutenant for Valencia) and in 1266 with more irrigated land, described as being adjacent to a hamlet already under Mercedarian lordship, and this was donated by a Valencian lawyer.(17) Also, sometime prior to 1281, Guillem Bruny bequeathed the other hamlets here that had a special exemption from regalian taxation.(18)

    The third large cluster of Mercedarian holdings in Valencia was developed around the huerta of Játiva. To the original royal grant of 1248 was added in 1251 an olive grove that was purchased from Bernat de Vilar, a canon of Valencia, and in 1255 an irrigated vineyard that was acquired in exchange for houses that the Order held in Gerona.(19) In addition to the grants here that have already been listed,(20) Merced purchased in 1298 a large property that consisted of houses, vineyards, and farmlands.(21)

    The Valencian domain that was thus assembled in the thirteenth century came to comprise, insofar as we can determine, over 160 acres of farmland, eleven gardens, three other fields, eighteen groups of houses, five vineyards, a farmstead, a mosque, a fonduk, an olive grove, two castles, a mill, two plazas, eight villages, three hamlets or groups of hamlets, five workshops, and a parish church. The majority of these were gifts and dated from the era immediately following the conquest; the initial core was formed by royal grants made between 1238 and 1248.(22)  Excepting only the abortive effort at transferring Sant Vicent to the Order, there are no royal grants of property recorded after 1248, and so this royal patronage was solely the result [81] of the special circumstances following the kingdom's initial conquest. Private donations were far more numerous -- around twenty can be counted -- and were more evenly distributed through the century. Four date from the 1240s and are thus contemporary with those of King Jaume; three of these, in fact, came from important crusaders and close associates of the king: Peregeino de Artosilla and Sir Carròs. With the exception of the concession in 1255 of Borriol castle and its dependencies, the donations after midcentury are smaller and come from lesser personages -- knights, lawyers, and butchers, for example. Thus, the 1250s mark the beginning of a new and slower phase of patrimonial acquisition, one that required the Order to solicit in some fashion the good will of less-affluent benefactors. It is also in this later era that Mercedarians began to purchase lands with their own funds. Eight such Valencian acquisitions are recorded in the thirteenth century, with the earliest, at Játiva, Sagunto, and Puig, dating from 1251. By century's end, there were three additional purchases at Játiva and three at Puig, highlighting the economic importance of these two redemptionist centers. In comparing the proportion of gifts to purchases, we note that before 1250 there were eleven free grants and no purchases, while after the midcentury point there were fifteen gifts as opposed to eight purchases. Thus, the giving of property remained the single most important source of land for the Order, but as this slowed down, Merced began to supplement it with acquisitions for cash.

    In contrast to the steady development of the Valencian patrimony, there is the much smaller and more slowly acquired domain surrounding the old Catalan town of Gerona. The house's origins in 1234 made it, after Barcelona and Majorca, third in seniority. Because there would be no royal grants or concessions here, or indeed anywhere outside of Valencia, patrimonial development here was much slower and had to rely exclusively on private gifts and purchases. It is possible that the Mercedarians first became known to the residents of Gerona during the Majorcan war, for on July 14, 1232, the bishop of Gerona gave to the founder a hamlet on Majorca that he had presumably acquired in the island's repartimiento.(23) In any case, the nucleus of what was to become the Gerona house was donated on October 25, 1234. These houses and lands, located principally in the city's marketplace, were gained in a confraternal agreement with Ferrer de Portell and his wife, Escalona.(24) In this contract, title to the properties seems to have passed immediately to the Order, but the donors retained use of whatever income they produced. It is not [82] known when Escalona died,(25) but the husband, now entitled Brother Ferrer, was a resident donatus or confrater of this house for over thirty years.(26) In the meantime, he seems to have had broad rights over these original lands. In 1243, for example, he purchased additional lands in the marketplace, and in 1266 he rented out one of the suburban vineyards.(27) Only with the death of this important confrater did full rights over the Gerona properties devolve upon the Mercedarians.(28)

    The significance of Brother Ferrer for the establishment of the house at Gerona is underscored by the absence of any other endowments of substance. Only two other small gifts are recorded for the entire thirteenth century: a mill acquired in 1266(29) and several parcels of riverfront property won through a confraternal contract in 1272.(30) As a consequence of this paucity of local patrons, Merced had to rely here much more heavily upon its own resources for the acquisition of land. Thus, in contrast to only three donations, the Order bought six parcels. These included several houses located in the marketplace,(31) a house and garden adjacent to the Mercedarian residence,(32) property located in the suburb of Sant Gregori,(33)and a vineyard.(34) In other transactions, local Mercedarians exchanged certain of their marketplace properties in 1293 for others owned by the chapter, presumably to gain full allodial rights over the new pareels,(35) and in 1276 Merced paid the modest sum of 20s. to win full lordship over the vineyards in Santa Pelaia that had been given by Brother Ferrer de Portell.(36)

    The overall impression of the domain at Gerona is one of modesty. Individual parcels appear to have been small, and consequently they yielded little income: five boxes of grapes from a lease of 1266, 12s. 6d. from property acquired in 1293, 6s. in a rental contract of 1289.(37) It is not until 1308 that Merced acquired in this region a substantial piece of rural agricultural land that possessed dependents.(38) Consequently, estate development and management could not have been the principal justification for the Order's presence at Gerona, as it probably was, for example, at Arguines and Játiva in Valencia. Only modest sums were expended in domainal development, and the land so acquired clustered around the brothers' residence at the marketplace. Certainly some of this was intended to provide an income, but the rest was meant to expand and improve the residential grounds. For example, an agreement of 1257 dealt with the construction of walls and water and sewage systems; in 1279 100s. was paid to the royal bailiff for permission to make openings in the circumferential wall, and in 1313 a lawsuit was threatened against a neighbor who [83] endangered the brothers' tranquility through the construction of a mill.(39)

    If the kingdom of Valencia was an area whose lands were eagerly sought by the Order and Gerona a region of only minor patrimonial interest, the area around Perpignan represents a middle ground where Mercedarian settlement had patrimonial as well as other motivations. While there is the possibility of a Mercedarian presence here as early as 1226 or 1227,(40) the probability is that the Order came to the attention of the Roussillonnais only after the conquest of Valencia, at which time returning crusaders began their endowment of the Order. Thus, in 1238 a local noble, Ponç de Vernet, leased to Nolasc a pasture and a vineyard at Le Vernet, a site two kilometers north of medieval Perpignan.(41) The count of Roussillon, Nunyo Sanç, who was an active crusader, gave in 1239 income that he possessed on Majorca.(42) A third early grant is that of Count Pere of Salses, an enigmatic figure(43)who was probably castellan of the fortress on the frontier with Languedoc. This grant of undeveloped land in the Perpignanais suburb of Malloles, while dated 1226 or 1227, could easily be misdated and in fact more logically belongs to the post-Valencian era.(44) That the first known leases for these lands date from only the later 1240s supports this contention.(45) In any case, there is no evidence for a functioning Mercedarian house at Perpignan until much later; its foundation, as of that at Gerona, dates from the land grant of a deceased Mercedarian brother or confrater named Pere Boqueres, who gave the Order a vineyard and some land in the town's suburbs.(46) This occurred around 1256, for on Februarv 13 of that year Ramon d'Hostoles, the first Mercedarian to be identified as preceptor of Perpignan, is seen purchasing full lordship over this property; a charter of 1257 indicates that the Order had recently constructed a house there.(47) This transaction appears to mark the initiation of the local house of Santa Eulàlia. Thus, with the exception ofa few small acquisitions, Merced bypassed Roussillon until the 1250s, and only then began to establish itself in this northernmost Catalan county.

    If the house at Perpignan owed its origin to the generosity of a deceased brother or confrater, its subsequent and rapid development can be attributed to the energies of Guillem de Bas, then the former master, and of his kinsman Brother Berenguer de Bas The two men ruled successively as preceptors of this house during the 1260s,(48) and under their guidance, the local domain grew rapidly. In 1263, for example. a manse contiguous to the Malloles property was purchased for 1,768s. 9d.;(49)  in 1266 a vinevard was added;(50) and in the [84] same year the priory of Sant Martí, along with its tithe income and lands, was leased from the Benedictine community of Sant Miquel de Cruïlles at Gerona. The latter was a substantial addition that encompassed, besides the priory and its church, thirty-three parcels of rented property.(51) For this Merced had to pay a sizeable entry fee of 1 ,612s. 6d., plus an annual rent of eight gold morabetins, and provide hospitality to monks visiting from Gerona. The acquisition of this well-endowed priory, however, seems to have sated the Order's appetite for Roussillonnais real estate, since only a single subsequent parcel of land is known to have been added to these holdings for the balance of the century.(52)

    Except for those pieces acquired before the actual establishment of the house, Mercedarian property at Perpignan was purchased, and this suggests that the Order had a deliberate strategy to develop a presence and a domain on this border with the Occitan. Between 1256 and 1271, and including the financial settlement that had to be made in 1271 for the improper sale of parcels from Sant Martí's patrimony,(53) Merced invested over 5,600s. in the region of Perpignan, a sizeable amount for an order of Merced's size, a sum which might otherwise liberate between twenty-eight and thirty-eight Christians from captivity.(54) Why the Order chose to commit such resources to Perpignan is a complex question. Certainly there was the desire to translate cash-on-hand into a permanent endowment, and Perpignan, the center of a prosperous and economically expanding county, was a logical site for such investment. The possibility of acquiring a church also seems to have been a factor, particularly in the purchase of Sant Martí, but there is also a unique factor in operation here, namely the desire of a former, and presumably deposed, master to develop a commandery worthy of his status. The expansion of the house, both in terms of resident brothers and of property holdings, coincides exactly with the preceptorships of Brothers Guillem and Berenguer de Bas.(55) Furthermore, during the years of Brother Guillem's command at Perpignan the new master is uncharacteristically absent from the house's acta, even from those that pledged the Order to pay large sums of money.(56) This suggests that Brothers Guillem and Berenguer were given wide discretion in making these decisions to purchase. The abrupt cessation of such purchases and the almost immediate promulgation of reforms that specifically limited the powers of commanders to consummate such acts on their own authority, both coming just after the completion of the terms of the de Bas preceptors, further attest to the personal character of the Perpignanais domain [85] during the 1260s. With the removal of the de Bas from command, the Order kept and maintained what had been developed here, but did not seek to expand it. Thus the role of the house after 1270 was decreasingly patrimonial; Sant Marti's generally clerical preceptors tended to the church and its functions,(57) and perhaps came to hold some power of supervision over Mercedarian houses in the Occitan.(58)

    These three Mercedarian domains thus reveal various aspects of the Order's domainal acquisition and management. The character of a particular domain was, first of all, a reflection of local possibilities; lands were more sueeessfilly acquired in frontier Valencia than in the stabler environment of Gerona, where entrenched landlords would only grudgingly yield small bits of real estate. Perpignan, a city of rapid economic growth in the mid-thirteenth century, offered with Valencia favorable investment opportunities. In the county of Roussillon, however, where land was dearer than it was in Valencia, acquisition implied purchase. This the Order did, but for reasons that also grew out of a peculiar political situation. This brings us to a second point, namely that the Order lacked, at least initially, any overall plan of land development. Rarely was the initiative for settlement its own. The Valencian domain was built around a core of royal concessions; those at Gerona and Perpignan owed their beginning to a gift of a patron. Thus, it was only after it had been invited into an area that the Order attempted any sort of rational scheme of property acquisition. Furthermore, because its original and principal preoccupation was caritative ransoming, the quite different skills of land management were slow to develop. Thus, at Perpignan a powerful preceptor was left virtually without supervision in his management of the local domain. Only by having to pay for the unfortunate consequences of this policy did the Order's leadership begin to pay more attention to the management of its lands.

    If the core of the Mercedarian domain depended mainly upon the generosity of its patrons, and only secondarily upon purchases, it might well be asked what positive steps were taken to encourage such donations. There is certainly the respect and perhaps gratitude that accrued to the Order as a consequence of its work with captives. While this motive is rarely articulated in charters, and perhaps is obscured by the legalistic formulae of wills and donations, there is enough evidence to suggest its importance. King Jaume, for example, dedicated his concession at Denia "to the honor of God and for the service of poor captives," and in 1255 cited "the pious work that [the Order of Merced] does for the redemption of captives."(59) [86] More elliptically, Sir Carròs justified his small grant at Rebollet in 1242 in terms of Merced's service to him, which was presumably of a redemptionist nature, and of his love of God and of piety.(60) Eximèn Pérez in 1293 reserved 1,000s. of Valencia from his gift specifically for the rescue of captives.(61) The vast majority of these donations, however, eschew any mention of redemption and instead allude only to the redemptive and meritorious nature of giving itself. Thus, while an underlying respect for those who ransom captives must have motivated patrons to select the Order of Captives from among the caritative and mendicant orders competing for their alms, the immediately apparent motive behind most of these concessions of property is the expectation of a personal reward.

    By the thirteenth century, it had become a commonplace for the Church to offer special spiritual incentives to its benefactors. Indulgences, for example, had long been offered to crusaders, to those who supported the crusades, and to those who donated to any equally pious work.(62) For especially important patrons there was the institution of confraternity, which involved the establishment of a contractual relationship between a particular church or monastery or religious order, on one hand, and the benefactor on the other. In return for a substantial gift, the donor was granted a type of honorary status within the particular religious institution. This always implied admission into the spiritual benefits of the house, i.e., participation in its prayers and good works, and frequently conferred the benefit of the habit and of a religious burial, of protection and material support, of hospitality, and of commemoration after death.(63) Mercedarians, by all accounts, offered a version of these benefits to their special patrons from the first decade of the Order's existence, and these confraters, in turn, accounted for a substantial proportion of gifts to its patrimonial endowment.

    A number of charters of confraternity survive from the thirteenth century, but given the difficulties of distinguishing between confraters and full members, several of these may in fact be documents of religious profession.(64) These charters are extant from Valencia and Gerona and, in addition, a subscription list from Perpignan shows the existence of the institution there as well.(65) Since even the Constitutions of 1272 set down no firm guidelines for the reception of confraters, beyond a prohibition that they be no actual burden upon the Order's resources,(66) considerable flexibility existed in the application of this institution. While the earliest contracts of confraternity were personally negotiated by the founder, as leader of a very small band [87] of ransomers,(67) later agreements were routinely signed by the master, as well as by his local representatives.(68) Since these arrangements, from the Order's point of view, were designed to augment Merced's local income, their negotiation was in fact the logical responsibility of the regional houses and of their commanders. Benefactors, on the other hand, who saw the relationship from the opposite point of view, may have felt more secure with the master's concurrence; in one instance, a new confrater went so far as to demand that his contract be ratified by the entire chapter.(69)

    Laymen, married couples and their children, and secular clerics all sought affiliation with the Mercedarian Order. Since each admission involved unique considerations, the nature of the tie thus developed with the Order varied from person to person. The common denominator of all these agreements, however, was the spiritual benefits that each confrater expected to receive as a consequence of this relationship. Ferrer de Portell and his wife, for example, believed that their new status as Mercedarian confraters would advance "the honor of God and of the Virgin Mary and the relief of [their own] souls." Domingo of Teruel, along with his wife and his mother, sought the remission of their sins.(70) In response to such expectations, Merced promised to all of its affiliates absolution, three masses or 150 paternosters at death to be recited by each brother, and annual commemoration.(71) In addition, the various papal bulls of privilege promised them the relaxation each year of a seventh of the temporal punishment owed for their sins and a religious burial, even during periods of interdict.(72) Individual confraters could, however, demand and receive other forms of remembrance. Many, for example, insisted that their offering be used to support a chantry priest and his continual recitation of masses.(73) In one instance, a confrater named Arnau de Monço endowed the establishment of two such priests in the Order's chapel of Sant Miquel of Játiva.(74)

    Religious burial, reception of the habit, and participation in the Order's spiritual benefits were the favors usually sought by confraters. Thus, Bonifaci was promised by Pere Nolasc in 1243 that he would be buried at Puig, if he died in Valencia, or at the nearest residence if elsewhere.(75) Bonifaci Escribà and his wife, Maria, were told that they could have the habit whenever they wanted it, or at death. A cleric of Gerona named Pere was made the same promise.(76) This act of burial in the Mercedarian habit, which symbolized the patron's affiliation with the Order and its merits, also benefited the brothers through the burial fees that would thus be paid them. The [88] consequent loss of revenue to the confrater's own parish was a source of friction between religious orders like Merced and the secular clergy. One example of this concerns a parishioner of Sant Martí of Valencia named Bonifaci who, terminally ill, offered himself to the Mercedarians of Puig for burial. At death, he was clothed in the habit and then interred in the brothers' cemetery. Brother Arnau, Puig's commander, was then given the deceased's property, said to have been worth a minimum of 2,000s. of Valencia. Guillem Ferrer, the pastor of Sant Martí, did not let Puig's good fortune go unchallenged. Suing in the bishop's court, he ultimately won possession of his parishioner's body, as well as of his material goods.(77)

    More mundane interests -- like protection, wardship, hospitality, and care in old age -- are apparent in confraternal contracts. Certain confraters, like Bernat de Coma in 1261, for example, exchanged their earthly possessions for a place in a Mercedarian house.(78) Others, like Ferrer de Portell, Bonifaci Escribà, Pere of Gerona, and Pere Barberà kept the usufruct of their lands, but still gained a measure of security in old age. Pere of Gerona was permitted to retain enough of his wealth to discharge his debts, as well as his library so that he could continue with his studies. A place in the Mercedarian house of his choosing would be ready whenever this oblate chose to leave the world.(79) Ferrer de Portell and his wife kept their own house and bed, reserved 300s. for their future burial, and continued to control their properties, but again were assured of care and assistance at the end.(80) In this instance, Ferrer almost immediately took up the title of "brother" and, at least after the death of his wife, became a member of the Gerona community.(81) This couple also entrusted to the Order the future of their children, who in a later charter (redacted at some point during Guillem de Bas' magistracy, 1245 to ca. 1256) were consequently promised the Order's support in terms of their "food and clothing."(82) Bonifaci Escribà and his wife, when they became affiliates in 1253, had a son named Pere. The Order undertook the obligation to educate the boy for the next seven years in the arts and in law; having then presumably reached his majority, he was to be guaranteed reception into the Order or else a cash settlement of 1,000s. with which to begin an independent life.(83) Berenguer Devesa and his spouse, fearing need and loneliness in old age, requested a guarantee of their support and of the right of the surviving partner to be received and cared for by a Mercedarian community.(84) Perhaps reasons of security also motivated Jaume Benet, described in 1317 as a donatus of the house of Santa María del Miracle. Pledging himself to [89] chastity and obedience, he stated: "I entered this Order for the sake of leaving the world and I dedicated myself with all my goods."(85) Confraters, who did not actually take up residence in a Mercedarian community, were usually accorded certain rights of hospitality nonetheless. Bonifaci in 1243, for example, was promised food and drink for himself and forage for his animal, provided that he was not accompanied by other members of his family.(86)

    It was, therefore, with a mixture of personal, family, and religious reasons that these individuals chose affiliation with the Brothers of Ransom. In return for the benefits of masses, prayers, and physical support, these special friends in turn were expected to donate to the Order all or most of their worldly possessions. In many instances, Merced seems to have received everything. Ferrer de Portell, for example, conceded "our houses and vineyards and all our property, personal and real, and whatever we have or have a right to or will acquire in the future for whatever reason."(87) Bonifaci Escribà gave the master everything he had except his regalian land, whose transfer to religious orders was forbidden.(88) Bernat de Coma and Jaume Benet, about to become resident donati, evidently also yielded all of their goods, for they undertook the vows of personal poverty and chastity.(89) The gifts of property that Merced thus received from its confraters made a significant contribution to the development of the overall domain. In the kingdom of Valencia, for example, these donations rank beside those of the king as the major source of lands; here major concessions were received from benefactors around Sagunto, Valencia, and Játiva. At both Gerona and Perpignan, the foundational grants were probably confraternal in character. Thus, it seems that the institution of such spiritual affiliation was an important and successful inducement for lay society to contribute to the work of captives.

    The accumulation of real property was only the first step in the development of the Order's permanent endowment. The project's ultimate success depended upon the brothers' ability to learn the arts of its prudent management. The domain that they supervised was quite diverse: workshops in Valencia, a pigeon house in Perpignan, a manse outside of Gerona, irrigated gardens in the huertas of Valencia and Játiva, and entire villages and hamlets in the kingdom of Valencia. The responsibility for the profitable utilization of these lands fell to the local commander, who was charged with their development, preservation, and exploitation. In Valencia, the responsibility was divided among the superiors of the capital, Puig, Játiva, and Arguines, [90] while the preceptors of Gerona and Perpignan ruled over larger, if less well-endowed, districts.

    For the most part, these lands were leased out to individuals for long terms at a fixed rent that was payable on a stipulated date. Thus, for example, on August 9, 1263, the commander of Valencia, Joan d'Ordis, confirmed the tenancy of Edam the Saracen and of his family in an irrigated garden of suburban Valencia on the condition that he improve the land and pay a census rent of 6s. of Valencia each August on the feast of the Virgin Mary.(90) According to the local custom of Valencia, the tenant thus acquired a hereditary lease that implied limited rights of ownership that, for example, permitted its transfer to an heir or to a buyer.(91) In any such transfer, however, the overlord, in this ease the Mercedarian Order, maintained two rights: the fatica (or fadiga), an option to reclaim the tenancy by meeting the buyer's price within a stipulated period, and the laudimium (or lluïsme or foriscapium or foriscapi), a transfer fee owed to the lord whenever a tenancy was sold, mortgaged, pledged, or inherited.(92) Thus, for example, on December 17, 1268, Master Guillem de Bas, in leasing a workshop at Perpignan to one Bernat de Brandà, asserted the Order's right to its repurchase within thirty days of its offer to another buyer.(93)A charter of November 19, 1273, shows the commander of Puig acknowledging the payment of the laudimium for a farm that Bernat of Santmartí and his wife had sold on November 6 to one Martí de Montepedrós.(94) A Perpignanais lease of November 30, 1249, demanded that this fee be paid within ten days of its transfer to another tenant.(95)

    An entry fine or fee that was payable upon taking possession of a piece of property was another source of income exploited by Mercedarian landlords. These seem invariably to have been charged in Catalonia, where presumably scarcer land permitted the imposition of the fee, but nonetheless here it carried no fixed rate. At Perpignan, for example, these charges varied from a high of 75s. for a parcel worth 3s. in annual rent, to 125s. for property leased at 77s. 6d.(96) Contracts at Gerona and Tortosa show similar proportions.(97) In land-rich Valencia, however, such fees were not alwavs levied, as in the case of the hamlet near Sagunto that was so leased to Domènec Peris in 1270.(98) When this fee was imposed in this region, it tended to be less than was charged in Catalonia, or closer in amount to a single year's rent.(99)

    Not all Mercedarian leases were multigenerational. A lifetime-only agreement, for example, was negotiated in 1263 by Master Bernat de [91] Sanromà with Bernat de Sarroca of Denia. The tenant and his wife were thus given life tenure in the houses, gardens, vineyards, and fields that Merced owned in Denia in return for 650s. in rent, with 500s. to be paid upon entry and the other 150s. at the death of the last surviving spouse. In the interim, the couple would enjoy complete usufruct of the property, save for the quintal of olive oil owed to the house of Puig each year; at their death, each was promised burial at Puig, presumably as a confrater.(100) This lease, so favorable to the tenants, is difficult to account for, except perhaps in terms of the unsettled conditions in the Valencian south just prior to the great Mudejar rebellion, a situation that might have made the recruitment of reliable Christian tenants difficult. In any ease, this particular lease is not typical of others from the region. It can, for example, be contrasted with another of 1293 that favors the Order over its Mudejar tenants.(101) This lease was for three years and pertained to the hamlet of Beniabdumel near Játiva. This property, according to its description in the document, produced olive oil three times a year, plus wheat, flax, fish, hens, honey, goats, sheep, and asses. The rent to be charged the Muslims was high by a regional standard that hovered around a fifth share of the crop, or by the Order's own precedents, which demanded a quarter share from its Christian tenants.(102) The Mudejars, by contrast, were not only denied any form of long-term tenure, but were also charged a full half of the oil, wheat, flax, and fish production, a pair of hens, and a besant for seed, and other levies on the grapes, honey, and animals.

    With experience, Mercedarians began actively to manage their lands.  At Perpignan, for example, the de Bas preceptors, Guillem and Berenguer, immediately began to renegotiate the leases that they had purchased as part of the priory of Sant Martí in 1266. Of the thirty- three parcels so acquired, nine were quickly sold off, perhaps as being unprofitable, while the remainder were renegotiated, presumablv at a higher rent.(103) While, as we have seen, the fruits of this effort were more than offset by the fine that the Order had ultimately to pay Sant Martí's overlord for these activities,(104) later efforts at land manipulation were seemingly more successful. One example is the exchange that the Mercedarians of Gerona negotiated with the cathedral chapter in 1293 that freed many of the Order's local holdings from capitular lordship.(105)

    On a smaller scale, Mercedarian commanders frequently demanded property improvements as a condition of granting a lease to a tenant. Often these efforts are disguised behind the formula: ad [92] meliorandum.(106) In 1307, for example, Guillem Ferrer was told to use "his good sense" in improving his olive grove; Arnan de Cervoles and his son were also instructed to better the houses, farm, and vineyards that they rented at Cocentaina.(107) Other contracts, however, could be quite specific in their expectations. Guillem Carbonell, for example, a Valencian who in 1267 leased a plot immediately adjacent to the Order's residence, was commanded not only to improve the land by constructing houses on it within a year, but also to ensure that the new construction in no way compromised the privacy of the brothers' garden.(108) A widow named Oria was told to spend 200s. on the houses that she had leased in the Valencian parish of Sant Joan; a field near Perpignan, rented out in 1270, had to be planted in vines.(109)

    The ultimate purpose of this time-consuming effort to acquire, develop, and manage property was, of course, the production of income with which to support the brethren and to finance the redemption of captives. Consequently, the measure of its success is in the amount of revenue actually generated. Some sense of this can be achieved despite the lack of any kind of records for thirteenth-century accounts. Approximations of the yield of certain houses, for example, are possible. At Perpignan, where Merced owned only small and scattered bits of land, an income of 138 sterling, 1 morabetin, 34s. 7d. Melgorian, and 37s. 6d. of Barcelona, plus crop shares of wine and cereals, can be documented for about 1270.(110) To estimate this in another way, the patrimony of Sant Martí should have netted the Order around 338s. of Barcelona, if  R.W. Emery's estimate of a 10 percent yield from agricultural investments in later thirteenth-century Perpignan is correct.(111) The bulk of this revenue came from small plots used for viniculture, agriculture, and building sites at an average rent of six sterling. In total, if we assume that alms, altar fees, and gifts made the Mercedarian community self-supporting, this amount might purchase the release of two captives per year. This modest yield is doubtlessly representative of what the Order expected to earn from most of its small domains in Catalonia, as at Barcelona, Gerona, Tarragona, and Tortosa, and in Aragon at places like Olivar, Saragossa, and Monflorite.

    In contrast, Valencia was far more important for the Order's economic well-being. Not only did its revenues underwrite the master's expenses, but probably also a large share of ransoming expenditures. The Valencian leases that have survived show a monetary income of 600s. of Valencia; non-monetary yields were in the form of crop shares that ranged from a quarter to a half or levies of olive [93] oil.(112) The monetary income alone could free four or five captives a year but it was really only a modest amount; it represented, for example only a half to a sixth of what a typical Valencian castellan received each year. This alone assures us that the real figure must have been considerably larger, for, by the later thirteenth century, the Order possessed the castles of Borriol and Rebollet. This income, in fact, is accounted for almost entirely by Merced's small holdings in and about the city of Valencia. Not represented are the totals from the Puig estates, the lordships of Arguines, Algar, Ondara, and Borriol castle, the numerous properties around Játiva, Denia, and Sagunto, and the castle and lands at Rebollet. The two castles alone should have netted between 2000 and 7000s. a year, a figure given some credence by the Order's ability to pay a substantial settlement to the widow of Rebollet's donor.(113) Income from Algar and Arguines was seemingly large enough to permit payment of a lifetime annuity of 400s. to its donor's mother.(114) Consequently, the true value of the Valencian estates must have in fact amounted to thousands of solidi per year.

    Another method for estimating Merced's landed wealth is from the presumed surplus that permitted the Order to purchase additional property. Depending on what is counted, there were about forty such purchases in the thirteenth century; these range from the small plot on Majorca that cost 18s. Melgorian in 1237 to the hamlet of Bonitoro, which was acquired in 1298 for 3,200s. of Valencia.(115) Before 1250, when the Order was young and still small and presumably poor, there were only four purchases, and these averaged in value less than 100s. each. After the midcentury point, however, the pace of acquisition increased steadily: eleven purchases in the 1250s, eight in the 1260s, nine in the 1270s, six in the 1280s, and four in the 1290s.Using nominal exchange rates,(116) the cost of nine properties that were acquired in the 1250s, and whose values we know, was 4,500s. 9d of Barcelona; that of seven of the 1260s lands, 4,261s.; the nine 1270s purchases, 3,942s. For the 1280s, the figure is closer to 2,0008 , but this does not include the settlement made at Rebollet; for the 1290s, we know of the actual expenditure of about 3,500s. of Valencia, not including the Order's share of another bequest of 5,040s. of Barcelona that was used to buy property in Barcelona.(117) Excluding the dower payment at Rebollet and those properties purchased at Puig and Sagunto with money bequeathed to the Order, over 16,000s. of Barcelona in purchases can be substantiated for the second half of the century. This in turn suggests that the Order enjoyed a surplus over [94] and above the amounts spent on captives and the brethren of at least 300s. a year. While the actual figure, in light of the incompleteness of the record, must be much higher, the fact of a consistent excess of income testifies to the Order's solvency and, at a minimum to a modest prosperity.

    Any attempt to analyze investments by region would be prejudiced by the quirks of archival survival. Where large bodies of charters have been preserved, there are records of significant purchases: almost 6,000s. at Perpignan, whose extant archive is probably the best of the Order's thirteenth-century houses; over 4,000s. in the kingdom of Valencia; and almost 2,000s. at Gerona. Houses with fewer extant charters show much smaller purchases: Vich, 800s., Barcelona, 265s.; and Tarragona, about 600s. The relative importance  of Perpignan and Valencia, however, do stand out, and rightly so, since these regions -- Valencia as a frontier settlement and Roussillon as a rapidly developing province on the border with the Occitan -- were areas of relative opportunity and prosperity in the thirteenth-century Catalan-Aragonese crown.

    While rents and property represent the more visible, and consequently better known, side of the Order's financial regime, there was a second aspect that was no less important. This is the direct solicitation of alms from the Christian faithful, presumably in small amounts from a large number of donors. Evidence for this kind of activity is very indirect -- papal privileges, legal disputes arising out of the natural competition that this aroused with the secular clergy and with other orders, and the small amount of Mercedarian legislation designed to regulate its practice.

    The most concrete sign of this effort to reach the faithful for the purpose of soliciting alms is the consistent effort made by Mercedarians to acquire their own pulpits. Neither the Order of Captives nor any other caritative order relied exclusively upon its own churches for this work To the contrary, they all sought access to secular pulpits, usually through the acquisition of papal privileges. Alexander IV thus wrote on April 9, 1255, on behalf of the Mercedarians asking that bishops allow the brothers to enter the churches of their dioceses once a year, even during an interdict, to collect alms and to reconfirm the privileges of their confraters.(118) As we learn from a second letter of the same date, however, secular resistance to these competitors for their parishioners' generosity was persistent, with some priests actually barring the doors of their churches to Mercedarian collectors, while others sought to limit attendance at redemptionist services by [95] holding rival meetings.(119) Despite threats of such sanctions as deprivation and deposition, the local clergy remained an impediment to the collection of alms, as is witnessed by the frequency with which the Order sought papal reconfirmation of its privileges.(120) Consequently, as one way of overcoming the obstacle of parochial harassment, Mercedarians wherever possible sought to establish their own church or chapel.

    Certain Mercedarian houses had the good fortune to acquire a church as part of the original foundation; such examples are Puig and Arguines in Valencia or Monflorite and Olivar in Aragon. Elsewhere such edifices would have to be purchased from others or constructed. The former method was frequently the more practical, since acquisition of a preexisting structure did not demand the permissions that a new building would require and that rivals might seek to block. The case of Tarragona exemplifies the problem. The original house, known to have existed from at least 1244,(121) evidently lacked either a church or a chapel, because a papal letter of August 13, 1274, describes its church as being of recent construction. Local Franciscans, however, protested its existence as being in violation of their privilege that no other chapel be constructed within three hundred rods of theirs, and thus successfully petitioned to have the edifice destroyed and its bell silenced.(122) The Mercedarians thus lost their chapel and with it access to the faithful, but in 1299 they seized upon a second opportunity that arose out of the illness and the evident inability of the last surviving member of the Tarragona community of the Sack Friars to administer that Order's Church of Sant Antoni. The brother, Esteve, turned over his church to Merced in return for its promise of support for his last days.(123)In a similar fashion, the Mercedarians of Teruel acquired on September 12, 1290, the Sack Friars' church; and those at Castellón de Ampurias purchased in 1256 from the Dominicans of Gerona the church and property that had once bonged to the ephemeral Poor Catholic Brothers of the Order of St. Augustine.(124)

    Since Mercedarians and Franciscans tended to settle in the same part of town, the latter's privilege impeded the redemptionist acquisition of churches in places other than Tarragona. While there was evidently no difficulty at Barcelona, where the two orders appear to have been neighbors,(125) because here the Mercedarian church, in existence by 1250,(126) predated the mendicant privilege, the latter prevented the Order from having a church at Gerona for the entire thirteenth century.(127)Ultimately, Merced decided to sell off its [96] original house here and acquire other property more distant from the minorites, so that a church and cemetery could be constructed. In December 1326, Bishop Pere of Gerona sanctioned this plan and, in return for a census of thirty pounds of wax and the pledge to inter no local parishioner, agreed to the hanging of a small bell to summon residents to Mercedarian services.(128)

    Direct purchase was the means through which Mercedarian churches at Tortosa and Perpignan were acquired. The former, once a Franciscan chapel, cost 150 gold mazmodins in 1251; the latter formed part of the larger priory of Sant Martí that Merced leased from the monastery of Sant Miquel de Cruïlles in 1266.(129) At Vich, however, the Order was barred, at least according to a lease negotiated on May 4, 1264, from ever constructing a church without the permission of its landlord.(130) While local resistance could thus sometimes successfully block the Order's effort, in general Merced was able to obtain the pulpits that it sought. The papal bulls, for example, show the number of churches to have grown from four in 1245, to twelve in 1263, to nineteen in 1267, and to twenty-four in 1293. The actual number was larger, because certain well-documented churches, like that of Sant Miquel in Játiva, are omitted.(131)Thus, just as it had been for patrimonial expansion, the era of the later 1250s and the 1260s also saw significant growth in the number of churches and residences.

    The use to which these churches were put, other than of course the personal worship of the brethren, can be inferred from a number of sources. The establishment of chantries and endowed lamps at the chapels of Játiva, Puig, Olivar, and Tortosa suggests their importance in the cultivation of patrons. A broader appeal made to the givers of smaller donations, who would attend religious services and hear sermons preached in these chapels, was also an important function, to judge by the prominence given to the use of bells at Tarragona in 1274 and at Gerona in 1326. The rivalry encountered with the Franciscans is additional evidence for their importance in raising alms, because the friars would surely have had little objeetion to Mercedarian chapels that had no public function. The litigation that arose between the Mercedarians of Barcelona and the parish of Sant Just, in whose district the Order's house and chapel were located, tells us something of the functions of a redemptionist chapel. In a modus vivendi reached by the two parties on December 19, 1300, and sanctioned by the bishop-elect, Ponç de Gualba, the original privilege that Bishop Pere de Centelles (1241-1252) had granted the Order was reconfirmed. This permitted in the chapel of Santa Maria the [97] daily celebration of mass; the free administration of such sacraments as penance, the Eucharist, and the last rites to the brothers and their dependents; the right to preach with episcopal permission; and the privilege of constructing there a second altar. In addition to the access that these privileges gave the Order to its friends and to potential donors, they also conferred upon the Order the right to keep a wide variety of liturgical revenues: offerings of money; gifts of wax, oil, and lamps; gold and silver cloth; food and drink; alms and rents. By way of compensation for revenue lost as a consequence of these privileges, the parish of Sant Just, on the other hand, was to be paid by the Order an annual fee of 400s.; in addition, and in recognitionof its parochial jurisdiction, Mercedarian priests became obliged to attend the principal mass each year that celebrated the feast of the parish's patron.(132) A second agreement, dated some years later on May 11, 1307, added to Sant Just's rights a levy of a quarter share of all candle offerings and lamp fees received by the Mercedarian chapel as compensation for lost parochial burial fees; other funereal income, however - mass offerings, vestments, and altar illumination -- could be retained by the Mercedarians.(133)

    The privileges so accorded to the Mercedarians of Barcelona -- the right to preach, to offer public mass, to bury dependents, and to retain a broad array of offerings -- were more generous than were probably obtained elsewhere and perhaps have something to do with the Order's close ties with Barcelona and its royal house. In a lesser form, however, they were repeated elsewhere. The bishop of Gerona, for example, conceded in 1326 virtually all of these same rights except for that of burial.(134)On Minorca, Mercedarians could also retain all of the offerings received in their two churches except for burial fees, and for this privilege they paid only a single pound of wax a year.(135) Rural churches granted by ecclesiastical patrons, such as that of Sant Nicolau, located near Portell in Catalonia, turned all but their burial income over to the Order,(136) but those granted by secular patrons frequently contained no restrictions as to what the Order could keep.(137) Consequently, Mercedarians seem to have had relative freedom to preach and collect alms wherever they could establish their own church; the only serious restriction placed upon their ability to receive money was the general prohibition against their acceptance of burial fees.

    The approximately two dozen churches under Mercedarian care in the thirteenth century thus afforded the Order an opportunity to minister and preach to the general populace so as to win their [98] confidenee and financial support. Without such pulpits, the recruitment of confraters, donati, and other patrons -- individuals who were attracted to the Order by the promise of liturgical commemoration and religious burial -- would certainly have been hampered and undoubtedly curtailed. In fact, the relative importance of these churches to the work of alms explains the rationale behind the Order's decision to recruit a clergy aud of its success in eventually supplanting those brothers without orders.

    Where there were no Mercedarian churches, the Order had to rely upon its itinerant preachers and the willingness of the secular clergy to bid them welcome. The organization of this preaching mission is described in the Constitutions. Each year a certain number of the brothers, or of others sworn to the Order's service, were assigned a circuit of towns and villages, a district called a bailiwick. At each stop, these preachers were to solicit money for captives and also tend to the needs of the Order's local confraters; according to the papal bulls that these carried, the local clergy were obliged to receive them into their churches once a year.(138) Accompanying these preachers would be a group of recently rescued captives, who as a condition of their liberation by the Order had accepted the obligation to serve in this manner. The Constitutions thus tell us that each liberated Christian was to do homage to the master and, with beard shaved off, follow the alms collector for a designated period, at the end of which each would be given a new suit of clothes and returned home.(139)

    We have an example from 1366 of how this was done. In that year, Brothers Bernat Muner and Franeese Bou, commanders respectively of Tarragona and Olivar, freed twelve captives from Bône and Collo in North Africa. On June 14, while still at Collo, the ransomers asked that Jaume Galiot, a resident merchant from Majorca, compose on paper a charter that was then witnessed by Jaume Conill, the Majorcan consul, and by various other Christian merchants. In this document, each of the recently ransomed Christians acknowledged that his liberation came at the hands of the Mercedarians and that, as a consequence, each was now obligated to serve the Order for a period of six months, beginning with the day that each set foot on Catalan or Valencian soil. At that time, the captives were to follow either their ransomers or any other brother who was designated. The captives thus said: "We swear by God and by the holy gospels, that we are touching with our hands, and we make homage with our hands and our mouths to you, lord brothers, that we will fulfill and observe all of these things." To give this contract full legal force, the [99] ransomers on July 8, and at their first Christian landfall, petitioned Ramon Adarró, chamberlain of the royal bailiff of Majorca, to place the document into a proper form and then enter it into the register of his court.(140)

    Such great care was thus taken to formalize the captive's obligation because seemingly several of these were ungrateful enough to shirk and thus evade this duty. Other evidence of this problem comes from the series of royal decrees through which the Order sought to define and enforce this service upon captives. In Jaume II's letter of 1297, for example, the term of six months receives its first mention, and in Pere II's charter of 1285 there appears the requirement that caplives wear the Order's issue, perhaps to reinforce visually for potential donors the sufferings of Christian captives.(141) The utility of this device for the collection of alms is apparent from the vigor with which the Order enforced the obligation upon captives, on the one hand, and, on the other, prosecuted those who, masquerading as such captives, lined their pockets at Merced's expense.(142) As early as 1255, Pope Alexander IV had alluded to renegade brothers who were defrauding the Order; in 1285 Pere II cited the problem of former captives who worked for themselves disguised as Mercedarian collectors; and in 1306 Jaume II pointed out the liars and vagabonds who only pretended to have been captives.(143)Thus, former captives were a valuable resource in the work of alms, so much so that great care was taken to protect the Order's rights against those who tried to evade their responsibility or those who sought illegally to profit from it.

    The papal bulls of privilege, which the brother-preachers would presumably carry with them on their circuits, are the best clue to the content of the Mercedarian appeal for alms. These, in motivating public generosity, made four arguments. The first and most prominent grows out of the identification of the poor with Christ, thus creating a general obligation among Christians to succor these unfortunates with alms. The classification of Merced's work as being with the poor is therefore a prominent factor in all of these appeals. Innocent IV, for example, explained in 1246 that the Brothers of Ransom tended to the needs of the poor and Alexander IV in 1255 actually exaggerated the scope of its work, arguing that Merced helped poor pilgrims, the indigent sick, and poor captives.(144) Other popes asserted that Mercedarian brothers were especially suited to serve the poor because, as Boniface VIII wrote in 1297, they had themselves become poor in spirit and pledged their own property for the assistance of the poor and of captives.(145) Heroism was a third virtue that [100] recommended the Order, because, as Nicholas III and Boniface VIII reported, the brethren rescued captives only at great personal risk. Finally, Mercedarians were increasingly depicted as being part of the larger crusading movement. Nicholas III stated that the brothers formed part of the Church militant, and Boniface VIII stressed the physical torments and the apostasy that threatened Christians who were held captive by Muslims.(146) Thus, the Mercedarian Order presented itself as a community of poor brothers who worked on behalf of a particularly deserving segment of the poor, namely captives, and did so at great personal risk to themselves.

    An array of indulgences and other inducements were available to entice givers who were insufficiently moved by the intrinsic merit of caritative redemptionism. These privileges, also contained principally in papal bulls, follow the pattern typical of the thirteenth century, their benefits thus betray a progressive inflation that was designed to counteract the cynicism and exaggerated expectations that grew out of the excessive use of indulgences. The earliest grants of indulgence are thus modest and within the guidelines established by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. So in 1255 Alexander IV issued an indulgence of forty days to all donors, and earlier, in 1246, Innocent IV gave confraters once each year the relaxation of a seventh of the temporal punishment owed for their sins.(147)In 1258, Alexander IV added to his earlier concession a plenary indulgence for any donor who died within a year after giving the Order any gold or silver, this presumably to encourage those at or near death to include captives in their wills. Additionally in this bull of privilege, the pope granted donors the promise of light penances for their confessed sins; absolution for certain crimes of dishonesty if their profits were given to captives; the possibility of absolution of all vows excepting those to the religious life, chastity, or the crusade; and a dispensation from portions of the clerical office or the canonical hours for those clergy who willingly assisted Mercedarians in their alms collections.(148)This concession of a plenary indulgence was extended by Nicholas III in 1278 to the deceased parents of benefactors who had given at least two gold florins; in 1291, Nicholas IV expanded the basic indulgences granted to all donors from forty days to a year and forty days.(149)

    Alongside these generally routine grants of indulgence, Merced also accumulated a number of privileges designed to enhance its ability to attract gifts. Jaume I, for example, in return for the Order's promise to continue paying the normal regalian taxes, waived in 1254 the ban that typically prohibited the transfer of royally granted land [101] to religious orders.(150) Two years later, on April 13, 1256, Archbishop Benet de Rocabertí of Tarragona not only reconfirmed the usual indulgence that the brothers were able to confer but also directed that any money bequeathed for captives but assigned to no administrator in particular be routinely given over in the future to the Order of Captives.(151) Nicholas IV, in his bull of August 5, 1291, directed to the bishop of Saragossa, likewise ordered that such legacies be given to the Mercedarians.(152)This type of bequest, while normally amounting to only a few solidi, was common enough in wills of the era to be cumulatively important, so as to arouse the cupidity of seculars.(153)

    Another useful privilege was an exemption from the burden of clerical taxation. A papal bull of 1255, for example, forbade any special episcopal exactions against the Order, and another of 1276 exempted it, as a caritative institution, from payment of the crusading tithe that had been voted at the Council of Lyons.(154) Relief from secular taxation, on the other hand, was relatively rare, and where it was found it proved difficult to sustain.(155) Royal financial assistance, apart from those early repartimiento grants, was therefore limited to the effort already discussed of compelling former captives to service and of apprehending those falsely posing as captives or alms collectors.

    Apart from those activities that grew out of ransoming itself (e.g , the use of freed captives in the solicitation of alms), the Mercedarian fiscal regime in the thirteenth century was more derivative than innovative. Like hospitallers and mendicants, the brothers rode circuit and preached for alms; the already well-developed institutions of the donatus and the confrater were adopted at an early date as inducements for the wealthy to become affiliates, and it transformed the congeries of properties that it had been given into the semblance of a domain. In their employment of structures and strategies tha had been developed during the previous century, however, Mercedarians did display an adaptive ability. In Valencia, for example, an area rich in land and also one most conscious of the value of Merced's services, there were many opportunities for land acquisitions, alms solicitation and confraternal recruitment. In Catalonia and Aragon, on the other hand, where the initial enthusiasm of returning crusaders soon waned, a different approach that placed more emphasis on preaching and spiritual services was required. During the thirteenth century, the Order seems to have managed the institutional integration of these very different tasks, despite the occasional instances of corruption, political infighting, and jurisdictional rivalry.

Notes for Chapter 5

1. Of the forty-four property acquisitions that we can document, thirty-four resulted from donations.

2. Repartiment de València, 45, no. 474.

3. ACA, Monacales, 2663: 2, Repartiment de València, 290, no. 3045.

4. AHN, Clero, carp 3193, no 4.

5. At Játiva, for example, the king insisted that the usual regalian tax of 10s. per plowland be paid him: Repartiment de València, 290, no. 3045.

6. ACA, Monacales, 2676: 44rv.

7. Ribera, Centuria primera, 172-73.

8. Brother Arnau Gascó is entitled as the prior of Puig in a charter of December 9, 1256: ACA, Monacales, 2676:123r-124v.

9. For the gifts of Ramon de Morell, see ARV, caj. 17, no. 7, and ACA, Monacales, 2676: 272r-273r; for those of Eximèn Pérez of Arenós, see ACA. Monacales, 2663:18; for that of Sir Carròs, see ANN, Clero, carp 3193, no. 3,;and for Bernat de Penyafel's concession of Rebollet, see Millan, Pedro de Amer, 42.

10. ACA, Monacales, 2676: 220rv; ANN, Clero, carp 3193, nos. 7, 12; ACA, Monacales, 2676: 239v; García Pérez was also an old crusader who participated in the 1238 partition of lands: Repartiment de València, 52, no 559.

11. ACA, Monacales, A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 22; ibid , 2676: 260r-262r, 202r, 202v.

12. Millan, Pedro de Amer, 45.

13. ACA, Monacales, 2679: 270r, 52rv; 2676: 256rv.

14. Ibid., 2676: 220rv.

15. Domingo's concession at least describes his property as being next to that of García Pérez: AHN, Clero, carp 3193, no.7; for the purchase of 1290, See ACA, Monacales, 2679: 239rv.

16. For Morell, see above, n. 9; AHN, Clero, carp 2900, no.16.

17. ACA, Monacales, 2676: 25v-26r, 119rv

18. ACA, Pere II, Reg. Canc., 46: 66r; Jaume II, Reg. Canc., 194: 245r.

19. Olmos, "Catedral de Valencia," 167, no. 212; ACA, Monacales, 2663: 206.

20. Namely, those of Bartomeu de Banyeres (1283), Bartomeu Cugat (1286), and Bereuguer Pic (1298).

21. The price was 3,200s. of Valencia: ACA, Monacales, 2676: 384r-388r.

22. Namely, the lands at Valencia's Boatella gate (1238), Puig (1240), Alcira (1244), Denia (1245), Játiva (1248), and Segorbe (1248) The lands at Alcira were acquired in exchange for the Andarella lands that formed part of the 1238 grant.

23. ACA, Monacales, 2676: 469r.

24. Ibid., 143rv. From a rental contract of 1266, it appears that several vineyards that were included in the grant were themselves located in the suburb of Santa Pelaia: ibid., 182v.

25. Her last appearance is in a document of December 6, 1256: ACA, Monacales, 2676:149rv.

26. He is first reported as being deceased in a charter of April 11, 1272: BC, Arxiu, no. 1224.

27. ACA, Monacales, 2676:381v, 182v.

28. Brother Ferrer's property had been under the lordship of the local chapter, and so, to ensure full control over its house, the Order in 1272 purchased for 600s. complete dominion over the land: BC, Arxiu, no. 1224. Prior to this date, the Order had been obliged to pay a tenth of its rental income to the chapter; see the agreement of December 6, 1250: ACA, Monacales, 2676:146rv.

29. This particular parcel is known only through the Order's payment of 20s. of Barcelona to the chapter as laudimium for its transfer: BC, Arxiu, no 1614.

30. ACA, Monacales, 2676:426r-429v. These seem to have been leased out; see the contracts of October 4, 1289 (ibid., 185r), and June 5, 1307 (BC, Arxiu, no. 1009).

31. Purchased from the chapter on June 6, 1243 (see ACA, Monacales, 2676. l45rv), these houses were held for seventeen years before being sold at a profit in 1255 to two local residents. They paid Merced the original purchase price plus a vineyard in Játiva: ibid., 2663:206.

32. This was purchased in 1255 from Guillem de Villabuena for 400s. of Barcelona, plus an additional 2s. as laudimium to the chapter: ACA, Monacales, 2676: 152r-153r, 154rv.

33. The Order bought this in 1265 for 750s. of Barcelona from one Guillem de Trilla: ACA, Monacales, 2676:182r.

34. This was sold by the Hospitallers of St. John in 1266 for 44s. of Barcelona: ACA, Monacales, 2676:183r.

35.These parcels traded to the chapter had been held under the latter's lordship: ACA, Monacales, 2676: 167r-169v.

36. Ibid., 161r-162r.

37. Ibid., 182v, 167r-169r, 185r.

38. See the purchase of the manse on May 3, 1308, for 1500s.: ACA, Monacales, 2676: 176r.

39. Ibid., 157rv; BC, Arxiu, no. 1662; ACA, Monacales, 2676:177r-178r.

40. This again raises the question of the dating of Count Pete of Salses' grant. For this issue, see chapter 2, n. 20.

41. ACA, Monacales, 2676:266rv.

42. AHN, Clero, carp 78, no 14.

43. His only other documented appearance is as merely the count of Salses on December 12, 1233. See José Maria Font Rius, Cartas de población y franquicia de Cataluña (Madrid and Barcelona, 1969-83), 1:376, no.261.

44. The charter itself exists only in an eighteenth-century copy: ACA, Monacales, 2676:56rv.

45. See the leases of November 15, 1246 (ACA, Monacales, 2676; 32r-33r), and November 30, 1249 (ibid., 33rv).

46. Pere is identified as being a brother in the Malloles lease of November 15, 1246: ACA, Monacales, 2676: 32r-33r.

47. The lordship cost 500s. of Valencia: ACA, Monacales, A Rollo 1, ORM, no.12; see also, ibid., 2676:46lv.

48. On Brother Guillem's exile to Perpignan, see above, chapter 2, nn. 67, 68, 71.

49. Surprisingly, the donor of the Malloles property, Pere of Salses, objected to this manse's transfer to Merced, and only after some negotiation was he persuaded to accept payment of the rent owed him: ACA, Monacales, 2676:49v-50r. For the purchase of the manse, see the payment of 1687s. 6d. made to Guillem de Castelló (ibid., 47r-48v) and of another 81s. to a local furrier (ibid., 48rv).

50. Purchased from Guillem de Montesquiu, the one-time overlord of Brother Pere's lands, this property was likely near the original residence: ACA, Monacales, 2676:54r.

51. These included an oven, a pigeon house, three vineyards in Malloles, twenty-three presumably irrigated fields, three building sites, and two others suitable for agriculture: ACA, Monacales, 2676:.51r-52v.

52. This was another manse, which was purchased in 1272 for 100s. of Barcelona: ACA, Monacales, 2676: 96r.

53. Ibid., 64v-69v.

54. Richard W. Emery estimated that captives at Perpignan between 1261 and 1287 were valued at about 225s., see his The Jews of Perpignan in the Thirteenth Century: An Economic Study Based on Notarial Records (New York, 1959), 130.

55. From a single member in the 1250s, the community grew in the 1260s to number between three and five; after 1268, given the obligation to serve the Church of Sant Martí, a priest was regularly included.

56. While Brother Guillem ruled at Perpignan, the master, Bernat de Sanromà, continued to figure in the affairs of such other houses as Olivar (ACA, Monacales, 2676:107r-108v), Huesca (ibid., A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 20), Puig (ibid., no.22), and Valencia (ibid., 2676:445v-446r).

57. At least two of the seven preceptors who served from 1275 to 1299 were in holy orders: Ramon Galard and Guillem de Clota.

58. There is some evidence that the house at Toulouse was a dependency since its commander in1270 was a witness to several acta at Perpignan: ACA, Monacales, 2676:62v-63r, 64v-69v. Furthermore, in 1302, the preceptor here carried the title of visitor beyond the Pyrenees: ibid., 2679:65v.

59. AHN, Clero, carp.3193, no. 4, Ribera, Centuria primera, 172-73.

60. AHN, Clero, carp.3193, no. 3.

61. ACA, Monacales, 2676:204r.

62. For a discussion of the origins of indulgences and their application to the crusades, see James A. Brundage, Medieval Canon Law and the Crusader (Madison, 1969), 145-55.

63. For a discussion of confraternity, see H. Durand, "Confrèrie," Dictionnaire de droit canonique, ed R. Naz, A. Villien, and E. Magnin (Paris, 1924-), 4:128-75, and G. G. Meersseman, Ordo fraternitatis: confraternite e pietà dei laici nel medioevo (Rome, 1977).

64. The difficulty arises from the employment of similar terms for both brothers and confraters. Thus, for example, Domènec d'Olit, most likely a brother, and Ramon de Morell, a confrater, were each received as a frater: ACA, Monacales, 2679:38r, 47r. In addition, terms like proprii homines, per confratrem, sicut uni ex fratribus, in confratres, in fratrem et donatum, and particeps et consortes are used interchangeably to describe confraters.

65. Guillem Casals appears in a charter of October 29, 1266, as a donatus: ACA, Monacales, 2676:53v.

66. Cap 16, for example, forbade the reception of women who lacked the means of their own support, and cap. 22 limited the Order's obligation only to those persons specified in the charter of confraternity.

67. See, for example, the affiliations with Ferret de Portell in 1234 (ACA Monacales, 2676:143rv) and with Bonifaci in 1243 (ibid., 2679:43r).

68. Thus, Pere Robí as preceptor of Gerona, in 1265 received the cleric Pere as a confrater: ACA, Monacales, A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 21. That the reception of confraters had become a prerogative of commanders is seen in the installation charters of Bernat de Sanromà at Játiva and Pere de Llauró at Gerona: ibid., no. 23; ibid., 2679:57r.

69. In 1271 Pere de Barberà, a confrater of Puig, demanded that his agreement be confirmed at the next chapter: ACA, Monacales, 2676:260r-262r.

70. Gazulla, Merced, 365-66; ACA, Monacales, 2676:23r.

71. Constitutions, caps 3, 47, 48.

72. See Innocent IV's bull of January 13, 1245: Bullarium de Mercede, 5-6.

73. This is the case, for example, for Bonifaci Escribà and his wife, Maria (1253), Ramon de Morell (1251), Domingo of Teruel and his family (1254), and Pere de Barberà (1271).

74. In return he donated rents worth 300s. a year and lands that he held in Úbeda: ACA, Monacales, A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 25 (May 5, 1269).

75. Ibid., 2679:43r.

76. Ibid., 2676:207r-208v; A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 21.

77. See the verdict tendered by Guillem de Romaní: ACA, Monacales, 2676: 123r-124v.

78. Gazulla, Merced, 370-71.

79. ACA, Monacales, A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 21.

80. Ibid., 2676:143rv; Gazulla, Merced, 365-66.

81. In a charter of June 6, 1243, Ferrer is listed alongside the other brothers of the house and entitled frater: ACA, Monacales, 2676: 145rv.

82. Ibid., 149rv.

83. Ibid., 207r-208v.

84. Ibid., 426r-427r.

85. Ibid., 2679:70rv.

86. Ibid., 43r. Most charters of affiliation are not so specific in their definition of hospitality. More typical is that of Pere de Barberà in 1271 that promised bread and water in the Order: ibid., 2676:260r-262v.

87. Gazulla, Merced, 365-66.

88. ACA, Monacales, 2676: 207r-208v.

89. Gazulla, Merced, 370-71, ACA, Monacales, 2679:70rv.

90. AHN, Clero, carp.3193, no. 11.

91. For a discussion of tenancies in Valencia, see Burns, Medieval Colonialism, 110-14. For an example of the sale of a tenement from one tenant to another, see Ferrer Molner's purchase on February 24, 1272, for 200s. of houses that a shoemaker had held from the Order in Gandía: ACA, Monacales, 2676:230r-231r.

92. Burns, Medieval Colonialism, 199-200. For a discussion of the subtleties that distinguish the laudimium from the foriscapium, see Jean-Auguste Brutails, Étude sur Ia condition des populations rurales du Roussillon au moyen âge (1975 ed., Paris, 1891), 132-35.

93. ACA, Monacales, 2676:33v-37v.

94. AHN, Clero, carp.3193, no. 1.

95. ACA, Monacales, 2676:33rv.

96. See the contracts of November 30, 1249 (ACA, Monacales, 2676:33rv), and of March 25, 1270 (ibid., A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 27).

97. For example, that at Gerona of October 4, 1289, demanded an entry charge of 30s. for land worth 6s. a year. while at Tortosa in 1295 40s. of Jaca was levied for river land that rented at two gold mazmodins: ACA, Monacales, 2676:185r, 420r.

98. AHN, Clero, carp.3193, no 16.

99. Thus, a lease of 1267 demanded an entry of 10s. and a rent of 7s.; another at Denia in 1248 charged 18s. for land rented at 4 mazmodins (or about 14s. ); a plot rented for 12d. at Puig in 1292 brought an entry fee of two hens: ACA, Monacales, 2676:226r, 444rv, 232r-233r.

100. Ibid., 2663:203. A similar lease was negotiated in 1279 by the master with Pere Vaquer and his wife that also gave them a lifetime interest in the Order's property at Denia; perhaps this was the renewal of the other lease of 1263: Millan, Pedro de Amer, 41.

101. ACA, Monacales, 2676:236rv.

102. For a discussion of rents charged Mudejars, see Burns, Medieval Colonialism, 113. For Mercedarian usage, see the leases of December 15, 1252, and July 2, 1271: AHN, Clero, carp.3193, nos. 6, 17.

103. Six of these are fully extant: December 17, 1268 (ACA, Monacales, A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 24); October 7, 1268 (ibid., 2676:54r-55v), July 25, 1270 (ibid., 60v); September 14, 1270 (ibid., 61rv); September 15, 1270 (ibid., A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 26); and January 10, 1270 (ibid., 2676:62v-63r).

104. Since Merced held Sant Martí through an emphyteutic contract (see ACA, Monacales, 2676:51v-53r), it violated the property rights of Sant Miquel de Cruïlles when it sold off the nine parcels (ibid., 64v-69v). An emphyteutic contract conferred upon the tenant a long-term or even perpetual right to the land in return for his payment to the land owner of an annual census, and of other fees should the property be mortgaged or alienated.

105. Ibid., 167r-169r.

106. As in the lease of April 11, 1295: AHN, Clero, carp.121, no.11.

107. BC, Arxiu, no 1009; ACA, Monacales, 2679:52r-52v.

108. The tenant thus had to build a wall thirty-eight palms high and guarantee that no apertures would open on the Mercedarian garden: ACA, Monacales, 2676:441r-442v.

109. AHN, Clero, carp.3194, no. 3; ACA, Monacales, 2676:60v.

110. The sterlingus, or silver penny, as a foreign coin was frequently used to fix the rents of long-term leases, since it was less subject to inflation than the local coinage: Brutails, Étude sur Roussillon, 49. These rents equated to about 117s. 10d. Melgorian.

111. See his Jews in Perpignan, 98.

112. Property surveys of a later era point up the relative importance of Valencia. In a survey of 1448, for example, Mercedarian holdings here are about on a par with those of Santiago and of the Hospitallers: M. Desamparados Cabanes Pecourt, "Las órdenes militares en el reino de Valencia: notas sobre su economia," Hispania 29 (1969): 508. Outside of Valencia, however, Merced's income was closer to that of the lesser orders. For example, in 1491 at Seville, the Order received in income 69,691 maravedís, as opposed to 251,204 for the Franciscans; at Jerez de la Frontera it was 16,616 for the Mercedarians and 60,900 for the minorites. See Miguel Angel Ladero Quesada, El siglo XV en Castilla: Fuentes de renta y política fiscal (Barcelona, 1982), 208-9. For the extant leases granted by Merced, see ACA, Monacales, 2676:444rv, 282v, 226rv, 227r, 229r, 232r-233r, 236rv; 2663:203; AHN, Clero, carp.3193, nos. 6, 11, 13, 16, 17; carp.3194, no. 3; Millan, Pedro de Amer, 41.

113. For incomes of castellans, see Burns, Medieval Colonialism, 31. On January 10, 1282, the Order paid the widow of Bernat de Penyafel 4,950s. as her marriage portion: ACA, Monacales, 2676:238v-239r.

114. Ibid., 273v.

115. AHN, Clero, carp.121, no. 4; ACA, Monacales, 2679:187-188.

116. See Burns, Medieval Colonialism, 29-30.

117. This was shared with the diocesan alms fund and with two local hospitals: ACA, Monacales, 2707, perg 2.

118. Bullarium de Mercede, 7-8.

119. Ibid., 9-10.

120. See, for example, Nicholas IV's letter of July 21, 1291 (Bullarium de Mercede, 26-27) and that of Boniface VIII of October 12, 1297 (ibid., 31).

121. Its commander is first cited in a charter of September 26, 1244: ACA, Monacales, 2676:136rv.

122. See Gregory X's appointment of Ramon de Penyafort to mediate the case: ACB, Sec. Miscellània -- Ordre de la Mercè.

123. ACA, Monacales, 2676:115r-116r.

124. The church at Teruel was handed over by Bishop Hugo de Mataplana of Saragossa (ACA, Monacales, 2679:59r); that at Castellón de Ampurias was purchased for 200s. Melgorian: ibid., A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 18.

125. A charter of July 16, 1245, describes a plot of land thus: "quae est inter domos captivorum et pilaria domus fratrum minorum": ACA Monacales, 4140.

126. Jaume I in his confirmation of August 28, 1250, mentions the chapel here: ACA, Monacales, 2663:3.

127. In his letter of October 23, 1326, to his bailiff at Gerona, Jaume II cites this Franciscan privilege as the reason that the Mercedarians had not in the past built a church in Gerona: ACA, Jaume II, Reg.Canc., 188: 31v -32r.

128. Villanueva, Viage literario, 13: 343-45.

129. AHN, Clero, carp. 2900, no. 16; ACA, Monacales, 2676:51r-52v.

130. ACA, Monacales, 2676:512v.

131. For Jàtiva, see the charter of October 1, 1253: ACA, Monacales, A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 10. The Mercedarian churches listed in the papal bulls are: 1243 -- Valencia, Puig, Guardia dels Prats, and Sarrion; 1263 -- these plus Rivo Arganorum, Montpellier, Tortosa, Seville, Córdoba, Olivar, Saragossa, Barcelona, and Castellón de Ampurias; 1267 -- the above plus Huesca, Monflorite, Toulouse, Murcia, Lorca, and Villafranca; 1293 -- the above plus Perpignan, Teruel, Puig de Minorca, Ciudadela, and Toledo.

132. ACA, Monacales, 2679:62r-63v.

133. Ibid., 67rv.

134. Villanueva, Viage literario, 13: 343-45.

135. ACA, Monacales, 2676:292v (December 11, 1292).

136. At Portell, the Order paid two pounds of wax each Easter: ACA, Monacales, 2676:376r.

137. For example, see the concession ot Santa Maria de Monflorite by Lord Fortún de Bergua on April 15, 1265 (ACA, Monacales, A Rollo 1, ORM, no. 20), or the concession of the Artosilla family of Santa Maria de Olivar in 1260 (ibid., 2676:109v-110r, 107r-108v).

138. Constitutions, cap 13.

139. Constitutions, cap 21.

140. ACA, Monacales, 2703, perg 4.

141. ACA, Jaume II, Reg.Canc., 109: 318rv; Pere II, Reg.Canc., 57: 229r.

142. The royal letter cited above and another of 1306 (ACA, Monacales, 2663:40) ask that royal bailiffs force captives so to serve the Order.

143. Bullarium de Mercede, 7-8; ACA, Pere II, Reg. Canc., 57: 229r, ACA, Monacales, 2663:40.

144. Bullarium de Mercede, 5-6, 6-7.

145. Ibid., 32-33.

146. Ibid., 24, 32-33.

147. For the various conciliar decrees on indulgences in the thirteenth century, see E. Magnin, "Indulgences," Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. A. Vacant, E. Mangenot, and E. Amann (Paris, 1923-46), 7:1609-10. For the bulls of 1255 and 1246, see Bullarium de Mercede, 6-7, 5-6; these were renewed in 1267 and 1291 (ibid., 16-17, 32-33).

148. Bullarium de Mercede, 11-13.

149. Ibid., 24, 26.

150. BC, Arxiu, no.4733.

151. Vázquez, Manual, 1: 74.

152. Bullarium de Mercede, 27.

153. Thus in a circular letter of 1297, Boniface VIII ordered bishops to ensure that bequests intended for Merced actually be handed over: ibid.,31-32. A survey of some 283 thirteenth-century' testaments preserved at the Cathedral of Barcelona reveals a cumulative bequest for captives of 2,056s. and 52 besants in 81 separate wills; another 27 testaments donated 147s. for the support of the Order itself: Batlle and Casas, "Caritat de Barcelona," in Riu, La pobreza en Cataluña, 1:184-85. A similar study at Gerona concludes that 23 percent of the 73 wills that survive for the decade 1320-1330 contain bequests for captives: Christian Guilleré, "Assistance et charité à Gerone au debut du XIVème siècle," in Riu, La pobreza en Cataluña, 1: 192.

154. Bullarium de Mercede, 2-4, 22-23. A second bull of 1276, however, instructs the collectors of the tithe to exempt only those Mercedarian houses that could display an exact copy of the original privilege: ibid., 23.

155. Only two Mercedarian properties are known to have had any exemption from royal taxes. The first consisted of several hamlets at Sagunto that had been originally given by Guillem Bruny before 1276; the second was the villa of Molins del Rei near Barcelona, which was acquired in 1270. The former's exemption, first acknowledged by Jaume I, was difficult to maintain, to judge from the frequency of the Order's requests that the king instruct his officials to desist from collecting the tax. See ACA, Pere II, Reg. Canc., 46: 66v; Jaume II, Reg. Canc., 194: 245r; 340: 240r; 84: 3v. The latter's exemption is not mentioned except in the original grant that cites, by way of its justification, the Order's poverty: ACA, Alfons II, Reg. Canc. 83: 48v.