Close Roll 4 Richard II

16 Sep. 1380
To the T. and barons of the Ex.

Lately, at the prosecution of Robert [Wikeford], abp Dublin, the K. wished to be informed concerning the reason for taking into the K.'s hand the manor of Swords, a parcel of the temporalities of the archbishop, by Nicholas Dagworth, appointed by letters patent to inquire into forfeitures, rights and other profits belonging to the K. in Ire. The K. ordered Nicholas to inform him of the cause in the chancery of Eng., who returned that he had found by inquisition a just reason and sufficient cause for doing so, as it appeared to him, which he did not now recollect, and before his return from Ire. caused the said inquisition to be delivered into the treasury there. After which, the K., wishing to be informed in his chancery of Eng. of the tenor of this inquisition, ordered the T. and chamberlains of Ire. to certify the same under the seal of the Ex.

This having been done accordingly, and the K. having called before him in the court of chancery in Eng. both his justices and his serjeants upon the archbishop's petition endorsed by the K.'s council,1 the archbishop came in chancery, where it was presented by the jury of the inquisition that John Comyn, late archbishop of Dublin, wished to build a castle at his manor of Castlekevin on the frontier of the marches in order to provide for the relief and defence of the common people in certain parts of Leinster, cos. Kildare and Dublin, and to prevent the conquest of the same by the Irish; and he represented his intention and his insufficiency to execute the same by petition delivered to Henry III and his council at Pentecost 1216, and sought from the K. the manor of Swords with all the liberties and free customs pertaining to it, which belonged to the crown, to help him build and maintain the said castle against the power of the said enemies. The K., wishing to provide sufficient strength in the marches, had therefore granted him the manor to hold to the archbishop and his church for as long as he maintained the said castle against the K.'s enemies; and if the castle were not built or maintained, the manor was to revert to the crown forever. And Archbishop Robert did not maintain the castle properly and it was pulled down and wasted, contrary to the intent of the grant.

The archbishop in answer protested that he knew of no such gift or grant, but that Thomas Mynot his predecessor, when he became archbishop after the death of John St Paul, on 21 Sept. 1363, had restoration of all the temporalities of his see in the K.'s hand and they were similarly restored to the present archbishop when he succeeded on Mynot's death, as appears in the rolls of chancery. During all that time the manor of Swords was part of the temporalities of the see, and the said John, Thomas and others of their predecessors were seised of the manor in right of their churches of the Holy Trinity and St Patrick, Dublin. Robert claimed that the manor was seized unduly and he sought restoration, together with the issues of that manor received in the meantime. On this, Michael Skyllyng, the K.'s attorney, before the C. and justices said that, by virtue of his letters patent, Nicholas Dagworth had power to inquire into all lands, tenements, rents, profits, farmers, constables, bailiffs and officers, wardships, escheats, reliefs and all other rights and profits in any manner and by whomsoever detained or concealed from the crown, and where he found any deficiency to seize them into the K.'s hand by inquisition; and therefore that the archbishop ought not to be restored.

Notwithstanding the allegation on the K.'s part, and the examination of his serjeants, it appeared to the court that the manor was not taken into the K.'s hand according to law and that therefore the K.'s hand should be removed and the manor restored to the archbishop, together with the issues from the time it was taken into the K.'s hand.

Accordingly, by writ of Eng. dated 12 June [1380] last, the K. ordered the earl of March to remove the K.'s hand from the manor and restore it to the archbishop, and by another writ under the g.s. of Ire. ordered John Griffyn and John Swindon, formerly farmers of the manor to pay over the issues to the archbishop, which he afterwards acknowledged in chancery to have received. ORDER to cause the archbishop and the farmers of that manor to be exonerated.


NAI, Lodge MS 1, pp 39–41; BL, Egerton MS 75, p. 29; RCH.


1 The petition is printed in Affairs Ire., 250–1.

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.