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Hospitaller Usances

The Usances, or Customs of the Hospitallers, describe the traditional procedures and practices of the Order. Although the Usances developed over the course of the Order's history, fifty of them were collected and recorded in one late thirteenth- and another the early fourteenth-century manuscript by noted Hospitaller William of St. Stephen. The Usances were recorded in conjunction with the Esgarts, or judgements, of the Order, and worked to unify practice among the various Hospitaller houses. The Usances are helpful for what they can tell us about the everyday workings and organization of the Order,such as the prayers to recite for deceased brethren, what kind of robe a brother should wear, and even what should happen to him if he wears shoes, sandals, or pointed boots. These texts reveal both intimate details of the lives of the brothers, and bear witness to the use of the French language in these exchanges.

Vatican City, Vat. lat. 4852
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fr. 6049

Delaville le Roulx, J. Cartulaire Général de l’Ordre des Hospitaliers de S. Jean de Jérusalem, vol. 2.  Paris, France: Ernest Leroux, 1894-1906. 548-561.

King, E.J. (trans.). The Rule Statute and Customs of the Hospitallers 1099-1310.  London, UK: 1934. 174-201.

Secondary Literature