Close Roll 34 Edward III

3 Feb. 1360
To the sheriff of the cross of Kilkenny and seneschal of the liberty of Kilkenny.

Many persons of English birth, both in the marches of the K.’s land of Ire. and elsewhere there, have now anew become of the condition of Irish persons, unwilling to obey or be subject to the K.’s laws and customs hitherto used in the K.’s court among the English, nor to prosecute right or justice for their actions and plaints in the K.’s court, nor to answer to anyone else according to the same laws and customs concerning any such actions by their will. Rather (what is worse) they very frequently take preys in warlike manner, by name of pledges or distraint, from those against whom they intend to have actions, as a result of which disturbances of war or discord arise; and they hold parleys with the English in the Irish manner concerning similar actions and plaints, and continue to do so daily, according to the law of the march [juxta legem Marchie], as if one party of the plaint or action were entirely Irish, to the derogation of the K. and the royal jurisdiction, and the subversion of the said laws and customs. And equally persons of the English race in that land are taught and converse in the Irish manner of speaking [idioma Hibernicum] and their children are sent away to be nursed among the Irish and suckled so that they might use the Irish language [lingua Hibernica]; and, as a result of speech of this kind, the K.’s people in the countryside, [who are] of the English race, have become for the greater part Irish, to the manifest diminution of the K.’s lordship of the same land.1

Wishing to prevent such damages and disadvantages (as the K. is bound to do), by assent of the Jcr of Ire. and others of the K.’s council, the K. has ordained that henceforth no Englishman, of whatever state or condition he may be, whether he is in the march or elsewhere, is to hold or exercise such Irish conditions, or laws and customs of the March or parley with other English, in derogation of the K.’s laws and his cognizance of plaints, nor is he to take the said preys, under forfeiture of life, limbs and all other things which they can forfeit; with this single exception: that lords of fees in their own fees might take distraints for customs and services due to them, as they were accustomed to do before this time. Furthermore the K. has ordained that after the Nativity of St John the Baptist next [24 June 1360] no one of the English race, under pain of losing English liberty, is to converse with other Englishmen in the Irish manner of speaking [idioma Hibernicum cum aliis Anglicis loquantur]; rather, in the meantime, each Englishman is to learn the English language [quilibet Anglicus linguam Anglicanam erudiat]. Nor are they to send their children to be fostered among the Irish after that feast, under pain [of losing English liberty].

ORDER to cause this ordinance to be proclaimed on the K.’s behalf and maintained within their bailiwick on days and places that seem best to them.

James Butler, e. Ormond, Jcr

Gerrard, 'Notes', pp 266–8 (=Bodl., Rawl. MS D. 657, f. 142); J. T. Gilbert (ed.), 'Archives of the see of Ossory', 10th rep. HMC, appendix, pt 5, p. 260.


H. J. Lawlor (ed.), 'Calendar of the Liber Ruber of the diocese of Ossory', PRIA, 27, C:5 (1908), §31 (p. 184).


1 The text at this point is problematical. In attempting to capture the sense, I have preferred the reading in Gerrard, 'Notes', pp 266–8, which runs as follows: Et nichilominus homines de genere Anglicano in dicta terra idioma Hibernicum erudiuntur et loquuntur, et infantes suos inter Hibernicos nutriendos ut lingua Hibernica utantur amandantur et lactantur. Ita quod per huiusmodi idioma populus noster campestris de genere Anglicano pro maiori parte Hibernicos devenerunt in dominii nostri eiusdem terre diminucionem manifestam. J. T. Gilbert gives a different reading in 10th rep. HMC, appendix, pt 5, p. 260, in which the key passage is rendered: Et nichilominus homines de genere Anglicano in dicta terra idioma Hibernicum erudiunt et loquuntur et infantes suos inter Hibernicos nutriendos, ut lingua Hibernica utantur, emittunt et locantur, ita quod per hujus idioma populus noster campestris de genere Anglicano pro maiori parte Hibernicos devenit in dominii nostri eiusdem terre diminucionem manifestam.

The following abbreviations are used within in the text of CIRCLE

  • abp = archbishop [of]
  • BMV = beate Marie Virginis [of the Blessed Virgin Mary]
  • C. = chancellor [plural: chancellors]
  • co. = county (i.e. medieval shire: lower case ‘c’) [plural. cos.]
  • dcd = deceased
  • e. = earl of
  • Edw. = Edward (used when giving dates by regnal year)
  • Eng. = England
  • esq. = esquire [plural: esquires]
  • Ex. = exchequer
  • g.s. = great seal
  • Hen. = Henry
  • Ire. = Ireland
  • Jcr = justiciar [plural: justiciars]
  • JP = justice of the peace
  • K. = king
  • kt = knight
  • Lt = lieutenant
  • O.Carm. = Order of Carmelites
  • O.F.M. =  Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans)
  • O.P. = Order of Preachers (Dominicans)
  • Ric. = Richard (used when giving dates by regnal year)
  • s. = son
  • sen. = seneschal of
  • T. = treasurer [plural: treasurers]
  • w. = wife

This glossary is by no means comprehensive. Readers may also wish to consult standard references books such as Joseph Byrne, Byrne’s dictionary of local Irish History from the earliest times to c.1900 (Cork, 2004); P. G. Osborn, Osborn’s concise law dictionary, ed. Sheila Bone (London, 2001).


  • AN = Anglo-Norman
  • Ir. = Irish
  • Lat. = Latin
  • ME = Middle English
  • OED = Oxford English Dictionary





The right of patronage or presentation to a church benefice.

allocate, writ of

A writ authorizing allowance to be made by the officers of the Ex. of a specified amount: often this amount is to be off-set against the debts owed to the K. by the beneficiary.


A form of affinity proscribed in late medieval Ireland between the Irish and the English, whereby a man stood sponsor for a child at baptism; (also) gossipred.


Technical term for legal proceedings or various kinds. See mort d’ancestor, novel disseisin.

avener [Lat. avarius]

provider of oats, esp. for the household of the K. or his chief governor


Miscellaneous merchandise sold by weight.

bonnaght [Ir. buannacht]

The billeting of mercenaries or servants.


See tun.

certiorari, writ of

Letters close issued by the K. to his officers commanding them to supply information to him concerning a specified matter, normally by searching the records.


Property, goods, money: as opposed to real property (land).

dicker [Lat. dacra]

A measure of 10 hides.


Portion (one third) of a deceased husband’s estate which the law allows to his widow for her life.


The reversion of land to the lord of the fee to the crown on failure of heirs of the owner or on his outlawry.


A survey and valuation of property, esp. one made by royal inquisition.

falding [Ir. fallaing]

A kind of coarse woollen cloth produced in Ireland; the mantle or cloak made from the same.


A fixed annual rent payable to the K. by chartered boroughs.

fotmel [Lat. fotmellum]

A measure of lead.


Technical term: the action of writing out, for instance patent letters and charters; (also) the documents thus written out.


Technical term: the action of recording in the records of the K., esp. the registering of a deed, memorandum, recognizance; (also) the specific item or record thus enrolled.


A repository for the keeping of money. The ‘clerk of the hanaper in chancery’ was the chancery official responsible for the receipt of fines for the issue, engrossment and ensealing of writs, patents and charters issued by the chancery.

herberger [Lat. herbergerius, hospitator]

One sent on before to purvey lodgings for an army, a royal train (OED).

galangal [AN galyngale]

The aromatic rhizome of certain Asian plants of the genera Alpinia and Kaempferia, of the ginger family, used in cookery and herbal medicine; (also) any of these plants (OED).

generosus [Lat.]

Term designating social status: translated as ‘gentleman’.

king's widow [Lat. vidua regis]

The widow of a tenant in chief: so called because whe was not allowed to marry a second time without royal licence.

knights’ fees

Units of assessment of estates in land. Originally a single knight’s fee was the amount of land for which the military service of one knight (=knight service) was required by the crown. ‘Fee’ derives from the Latin feudum, which in other contexts translated as ‘fief’. In practice the descent of landed estates meant that many knights’ fees came to be subdivided and, in the later Middle Ages, personal service was frequently commuted to money payments (=scutage).

liberate, writ of

A chancery writ issued to the treasurer and chamberlains of the Ex. authorizing them to make payment of a specified amount, often the annual fees, wages and rewards of the K.’s officers.

linch [Lat. lincia]

A measure of tin.


The delivery of seisin, or possession, of an estate hitherto held in the K.’s hand, for instance when a minor reaches the age of majority.


Legal term: the action of undertaking to stand surety (=‘mainpernor’) for another person; the action of making oneself legally responsible for the fulfilment of a contract or undertaking by another person (OED).

mass [Lat. messa]

A standard measure of metal.


A portion of land occupied, or intended to be occupied, as the site for a dwelling house; (also) a dwelling house together with outbuildings and the adjacent land assigned to its use (OED).

mort d’ancestor, assize of [Lat. assisa mortis antecessoris]

A legal process to recover land of which the plaintiff’s ancestor (father, mother, uncle, aunt, brother sister, nephew or niece) died seised (=in possession), possession of which was since taken by another person.

nolumus, clause of [Lat. cum clausula nolumus]

A standard clause inserted especially in letters of protection by which pleas and suits are delayed for a specified period of time.

novel disseisin, assize of [Lat. assisa nove disseisine]

A legal process to recover land from which the plaintiff claims to have been dispossessed (=disseised).

pensa See wey.
piece [L. pecia] A standard quantity of merchandise.
pendent seal Seal hanging from engrossed letters patent attached to a tongue or tag of parchment.
perpresture An illegal encroachment upon royal property.
plica A fold along the foot of engrossed letters patent and charters to create a double thickness of parchment, used for attaching the ‘great seal pendent’ to the letters. An incision was made in the plica and through which a tag of parchment was attached. A wax impression of a seal was then affixed to the tag.
protection An act of grace by the K., granted by chancery letters, by which the recipient is to be free from suits at law for a specified term; granted especially to persons crossing overseas or otherwise out of reach of the courts in the K.’s service.
quare impedit, writ of An action brought to recover the advowson of a benefice, brought by the patron against the bishop or other person hindering the presentation.
scutage The commutation of personal military service to the crown for a money payment. Normally called ‘royal service’ in Ireland.
seisin Formal legal possession of land.
sendal [Lat. cendallum; ME cendal] A thin rich silken material (OED).
stallage [Lat. stallagium, estallagium] Payment for a market stall.
tun [Latdolium] A large cask or barrel, esp. of wine.
valettus A term designating social status: translated ‘yeoman’.
Vidua Regis [Lat.] See King's widow.
volumus, clause of [Lat. cum clausula volumus] A standard clause inserted esp. in letters of protection by which pleas and suits are delayed for a specified period of time. In full the clause runs: volumus quod interim sit quietus de omnibus placitis et querelis (=we wish that meanwhile he be quit of all pleas and plaints).
waif A piece of property which is found ownerless and which, if unclaimed within a fixed period after due notice given, falls to the lord.
waivery [AN weiverie] The technical term for proceedings of outlawry in the case of women.
wey [Lat. pensa, peisa, pisa] A standard of dry-goods weight.
worsted [ME wyrstede] A woollen fabric or stuff made from well-twisted yarn spun of long-staple wool combed to lay the fibres parallel (OED).
writ [Lat. brevis] Letters close containing commands by the K. to certain specified persons, esp. royal officers. Returnable writs, which were not normally enrolled in the chancery rolls, were to be returned by the officer to chancery with details of the actions taken by the officer in response to the contents. See also allocate, certiorari, liberate.