The Quitclaim of Canterbury is a treaty agreed between Richard I of England and William the Lion of Scotland and signed on the 5th December 1189.

It is called the 'Quitclaim' because the essence of the treaty was that Richard I was agreeing to give up any claim he had for feudal superiority over William. This superiority had been gained by Richard's father Henry earlier in 1174 through the capture of William by which means he had forced him to agree to the Treaty of Falaise. Hence Richard I says of William in the document that; we have freed him from all compacts which our good father Henry, king of the English, extorted from him by new charters and by his capture

In addition Richard I agreed to;

- return to William his castles of Roxburgh and Berwick

- confirm his rights over the earldom of Huntingdon

As ever, nothing in life is free and William was required to pay the sum of 10,000 marks. (Richard needed the money to go off and fight the Third Crusade.

It is important to note that the Quitclaim is a long way from being a recognition of Scottish independence, it simply records a return to the status quo that existed before the Treaty of Falaise, as the Quitclaim states;

And the oft-named King William has become our liegeman for all the lands for which his predecessors were liegemen of our predecessors; and he has sworn fealty to us and to our heirs.

It is incidentally the earliest surviving Scottish public record and is currently held at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.


The Quitclaim of Canterbury

Richard, by the grace of God king of the English, to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls and barons, justiciars, sheriffs and all his bailiffs and vassals, greeting.
Know ye, that we have restored to our dearest cousin William, by the same grace king of Scotland, his castles of Roxburgh and Berwick as his own by hereditary right, to be possessed by him and his heirs for ever.
Moreover we have freed him from all compacts which our good father Henry, king of the English, extorted from him by new charters and by his capture; so to wit that he do to us fully and entirely whatever Malcolm, king of Scotland, his brother, did to our predecessors of right, and of right ought to have done; namely, in the matter of conduct when he comes to court and while he stays at court, and when he returns from court, and in his provisionings and in all liberties, dignities and honours rightfully due to him.
Moreover concerning the lands which he has in England, whether in demesne or in fee, to wit in the earldom of Huntingdon and in all others, let him and his heirs possess them for ever in the same liberty and fullness as the foresaid King Malcolm possessed or ought to have possessed them; unless the foresaid King Malcolm or his heirs shall have since granted anything in fief; yet that so whatever has since been granted in fief, the services of those fief's shall pertain to him and his heirs.
And the land which our father granted to King William aforesaid, we wish him and his heirs to possess by perpetual right in the same liberty with which he gave to him.
We have restored also to him the allegiance which our father had of him through his capture. And if perchance any should be retained by oversight or be found, we command that they be wholly without validity.
And the oft-named King William has become our liegeman for all the lands for which his predecessors were liegemen of our predecessors; and he has sworn fealty to us and to our heirs.

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