King John’s Treasure

In 1204, Normandy was under attack from Philip, king of France, and king John was trying to raise money for an army to defend it. Medieval kings regarded their regalia as part of their treasure, and even crowns would be melted down to pay an army if necessary. It is not clear whether the items were actually gathered at Marlborough, though the headings do imply that they were being sent out for safekeepingafter inspection.
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John, by the grace of God, etc., to all the Christian faithful who will in- spect the present charter, etc.

Know that we, on 28 April in the 5th year of our reign, at Marlborough, in the presence of the abbot of Forde, the prior of Bradenstoke, Geoffrey FitzPeter, earl of Essex and our justiciar, and Aimery de Saint Maur then master of the knights of the Temple in England, and certain others of our faithful people, drew up a sworn list concerning our jewels underwritten

in this form, namely:

To the house and brothers of the knights of the Temple of Jerusalem, by the hand of the aforesaid Aimery de Saint Maur:

  • one brooch with a ruby;
  • another brooch with an emerald and a ruby, which was of the bishop of Norwich;
  • a third brooch with a sapphire of London;
  • a fourth brooch with a sapphire;
  • a fifth brooch with 4 emeralds and 3 balasses;
  • a sixth brooch with 9 good sapphires;
  • a seventh brooch with two sapphires and two balasses and two emeralds;
  • an eighth brooch with three emeralds and three sapphires and three balasses;
  • a ninth brooch with 4 emeralds and 4 sapphires and 4 balasses, and with one turquoise on the tongue and one sapphire missing;
  • a tenth brooch with two sapphires and 1 topaz, and with large pearls and small sapphires;
  • an eleventh brooch with a sapphire which the chamberlain gave;
  • a twelfth brooch with 4 balasses and 4 emeralds;
  • a thirteenth brooch with 4 emeralds and three sapphires and 1 turquoise and small pearls and a small ruby.
  • one brooch with a ruby;
  • another brooch with an emerald and a ruby, which was of the bishop of Norwich;
  • a third brooch with a sapphire of London;
  • a fourth brooch with a sapphire;
  • a fifth brooch with 4 emeralds and 3 balasses;
  • a sixth brooch with 9 good sapphires;
  • a seventh brooch with two sapphires and two balasses and two emeralds;
  • an eighth brooch with three emeralds and three sapphires and three balasses;
  • a ninth brooch with 4 emeralds and 4 sapphires and 4 balasses, and with one turquoise on the tongue and one sapphire missing;
  • a tenth brooch with two sapphires and 1 topaz, and with large pearls and small sapphires;
  • an eleventh brooch with a sapphire which the chamberlain gave;
  • a twelfth brooch with 4 balasses and 4 emeralds;
  • a thirteenth brooch with 4 emeralds and three sapphires and 1 turquoise and small pearls and a small ruby.
  • Item, to the same, one sceptre with 10 large sapphires, another sceptre with 28 diamonds, a third with 60 emeralds, a fourth with 57 emeralds, a fifth with 7 good topazes and 1 unknown stone, a sixth sceptre with 9 turquoises, a seventh with 14 good sapphires, in a case.
  • Item, to the same, two large gold combs with various stones weighing two marks and six and a half ounces;
  • Item, to the same, one sceptre with 10 large sapphires, another sceptre with 28 diamonds, a third with 60 emeralds, a fourth with 57 emeralds, a fifth with 7 good topazes and 1 unknown stone, a sixth sceptre with 9 turquoises, a seventh with 14 good sapphires, in a case.
  • Item, to the same, two large gold combs with various stones weighing two marks and six and a half ounces;
  • Item, to the same, one sceptre with 10 large sapphires, another sceptre with 28 diamonds, a third with 60 emeralds, a fourth with 57 emeralds, a fifth with 7 good topazes and 1 unknown stone, a sixth sceptre with 9 turquoises, a seventh with 14 good sapphires, in a case.
  • Item, to the same, two large gold combs with various stones weighing two marks and six and a half ounces;

To the house and brothers of the Hospital of Jerusalem [Knights Hospitaller, by the hand of Robert the treasurer, then prior of the hospital in England;

  • one brooch with 4 good emeralds and 4 balasses;
  • another with two large sapphires and two balasses and two emeralds, and with three stones on the tongue;
  • a third brooch with 4 sapphires and 2 turquoises and 2 garnets;
  • a fourth brooch with three sapphires and 4 amethysts and 4 large pearls and small garnets; a fifth brooch decorated with open work with 4 garnets and two sapphires;
  • a sixth with 4 garnets and two sapphires.
  • Item, to the same, one sceptre with 22 sapphires which were of Simon the Jew. Item, another sceptre with 27 good sapphires;
  • Item, to the same, sent by Geoffrey son of Peter at Porchester
  • the crown which came from Cyprus,
  • one belt with a gold buckle and with one large amethyst and other stones, another belt with a ballas and a turquoise,
  • a third with jasper,
  • a fourth with cameo and jasper,
  • a fifth with sapphires and pearls and other stones,
  • a sixth with a buckle and fixed with stones and raised fittings, a seventh with gold fittings.

To the abbey of Forde, by the hand of the aforesaid abbot of Forde;

  • one brooch with 4 sapphires and 4 balasses and pearls;
  • another brooch with two balasses and two emeralds and 4 sapphires;
  • a third brooch with 4 sapphires and 4 balasses and other small balasses and small sapphires;
  • a fourth with 5 garnets and 4 sapphires;
  • a fifth with two sapphires and two garnets and two emeralds and small sapphires;
  • a sixth with seven sapphires;
  • a seventh with two sapphires and two garnets and two garnets and two emeralds, with rounded corners;
  • an eighth with 3 water sapphires and 3 balasses, and one peridot on the tongue;
  • a ninth inscribed with one sapphire and one jasper;
  • a tenth with six emeralds and six balasses and 1 sapphire on the tongue.
  • Item, to the same, one sceptre with six large emeralds,
  • another sceptre with 19 good sapphires,
  • a third sceptre with 20 good and new sapphires,
  • a fourth sceptre with 20 of the best and largest rubies.

To the abbey of Waltham, by the hand of Geoffrey son of Peter,

  • one belt of black leather, with one onyx in the buckle, and pearls, and with fittings of horn;
  • another belt with one sapphire on the buckle and fittings tailored with jasper;
  • a third with jaspers and amethysts;
  • a fourth without fittings, with a worked buckle;
  • a fifth with sapphires and pearls;
  • a sixth large belt with green jaspers and rubies.

To the priory of Bradenstoke, by the hand of the aforesaid prior,

  • one sceptre with forty-six red balasses;
  • another sceptre with twenty sapphires;
  • a third sceptre with 8 emeralds and one red ballas and one sapphire, and one turquoise;
  • a fourth with 30 garnets.
  • Item, to the same, two gold combs with various stones, weighing one mark and 10 pence. I
  • tem, a cover of samite furred with sable.
  • Item, a grey cover of otter.
  • Item, a cushion embroidered with parrots, given by the vicomte of Thouars.

Witnessed by the lords Herbert, bishop of Salisbury and Philip, bishop of Durham; William Briwer, Hugh de Nevill, Robert de Veteriponte. Given by the hand of Simon, bishop-elect of Chichester, at Winchester, 18 May in the fifth year etc.