Close Roll 7 Henry VI

[5 Nov. 1428]

ENROLMENT of the following documents:1

(i) articles of instruction [written in English] agreed by the peers and commons in the parliament held at Dublin before John Sutton kt, Lt of Ire., on Friday next after All Saints 7 Hen. VI [5 Nov. 1428], which were sealed under the g.s., and given into the charge of Henry Fortescue, chief justice of the chief place, and Thomas Strange kt to be carried to Eng.and delivered to the K. and council;
and (ii) letters of introduction addressed to the K.2


'Soveraigne liege lorde, these bien the articles and poyntementes, the whiche we, your humble lieges, ye lordes spiritual and temporels, and comunes of your land of Ireland, at your parliament last holden at your citie of Dyvelin assembled and fore John Sutton, knyght, your Lt yn the sayd land, the Fryday next after the fest of al-halwen, that last was, have send in message to your royall majeste, by our mesagers Henri Ffortescu, chief justice of your chief place in Ireland, and Thomas Strange, knyght, throgh our comune assent, chosen this ynstruccion of the articles you to delyver, written in the forme that foloweth:

[1] Fferst―that there your sayd land the last yere for lakke of goode gov{r}naunce, stood in poynt of lesing by brennyng, robbyng, takyng, and kyllyng of your liege people here by your Irysh enemyes in every partie, of the whiche myschiefs, aft{r} that ye and your wirshipfull and wyse counsell ther had notice of, graciously remedied us in sendyng ov{r} un to us be your sayd lieuten{a}nt sithe his comyng sayd enemyes, and in advantage of us, of the which we thanke you with al our hool hartes; the whiche your said Lt, sethe his comyng, over manly and diligently hath werryd and rebukyd your said enemyes, bren and destroied thar cornes, broken and drawed ov{r} thire castelles, thire wodds and paas kut; grete slaghtes had a pon tham, thire howses brent, and tham gretely empoverysshid in divers parties, so that thanket be God, we, youre liege people here standith in gode rest from the malice of yo{r} enemyes, oure persones, corn, houses, and godes, welly savyd from brennyng, robbyng, other takyng; of whos grete labour and costes, we beseche you that he be thanket, as he hath ryght well deservyd, causyng hym to have the moor corage to continue forth his said good and diligent labour.

[2] It[e]m—besechith your said lieges, that your sayd lieuten{a}nt may have good and hasty payment of that that he should have of you, our soveraigne lord, for the kepyng of your sayd land, so that he may have where with to continue his said labour, and to paie the people, and that he be wel seen unto, consyderyng that he hath had grete costes in holdyng of horsmen and fotemen, of the gise of this land, over the nombre of his soudiours.

[3] It[e]m—that ther afore this tyme this land hath stoude in greet meschief and lyklynesse of lesing, by ofte chaungyng and mysgove{r}nauncez of your lieuten{a}ntz and her deputees here. We beseche you that, while we stonden wel, such chaunge be not had to us hereafter, for fere of in peril of losing of this land, as hit had been ynne late, wher of God defende.

[4] It[e]m—for as myche that div{r}s men of this land, of malice and il will, have maad unto you our sov{r}aygne lord, and to your wise counsell there, div{r}se feyned suggestyons of your lieuten{a}nts, justices, and otheres estates of your sayd land, whiche suggestions have nether come to you, nethir to your said counscill, by auctorite of your parlements, ne counscils here, ne under autentikes seales, or seales of the estates of this land, when parlements or counscilles have not be, for the grete myschiefe that this land hath stouden ynne, but by bylles and naked language. We beseche you that such simple suggeston hereafter be not levyd, but that such suggestion makers finde sufficient suerte to stand by thire suggestions, and thenne thire said suggestions be send hither to your counscill here, they duly mō to be examyned in the next parlement, or greit counseill here, and, aft{r} that examynacion, ye and your said counseill ther of the trouthe, under your grete seall here, to be c{r}tified, and there opon to procede as reson requeryth; consideryng that light levyng of such bylles and suggestions often tymes have causyd greet hyndryng and hevynesse to your said land here.

[5] It[e]m—that there div{r}s clerkes, merchantz, and othere honeste persones out of your land here, hav travailled yn your land of Eng., there from Chester to Coventre, Oxenford, and London, now late ben robbed of thire hors and goodes, and thire bodies taken and put in warde, and some beten; we beseche you, that such mysgov{r}naunce be restreined and chastised. Sithe that we ever have and shall be your trewe liege men, and myche sorrow suffre from day to day, here of yo{r} enemyes for yo{r} sake, thogh we have none there.

[6] It[e]m—we beseche you, that ye best consider the true and notable s{r}vice that James, your erle of Ormond, hath done unto yo{r} g{a}ndsire, fadyr, and un to you at al tymes hereafor, and namely, when this land hath stoude at most myschief and at poynt of lesyng, and that ye luste have hyme recommended and thankyd for the relevyng and savyng ther of and of us, causyng hym to continue his said true and diligent labo{r} forth hereafter; and that he may be paied of that that is owing him for the kepyng of this yo{r} said land, while he had gov{r}naunce ther of, as wel in yo{r} fader tyme as youres, of that is owyng hym, that he may paie the peple, consideryng that he hath had here afor, and now sithe yo{r} said lieuten{a}nt came over the see, grete costes and charges a boute your s{r}vice and his, yn resistyng of your enemyes, and that ye best consider also how that his last absence and long tarying out of this land, causid your enemys to be the bolder to go to were, and your liege peple myche abasshed and foblied ther by.

[7] It[e]m—that yo{r} lieuten{a}nt, or depute, for the tyme beyng, may geve benefyces, consideryng that, whenne thay ben long voide, Irish men occupieth tham for lakke of Engleish men, havyng poer for y{r} lawes of this land, beyn at al tymes used, that wod benefice be give to on Irisshe man, that benefice y{s} voide and stant in yo{r} geft for that tyme; and, for as moche, that no man in this land hath power to give benefices y{t} longith to your geft; and also ye benefices her beyn of litill value, yat no man sueth to yor lordship to have hem. The which men occupieth them for the as shold Inglishmen, ye which is a great hinderyng to yo{r} said land.

[8] It[e]m—that ye wolde graciously consider and punysshe the despite that was done to yo{r} messagers Henry Fortescu, your chief justice, and Sir James Alleyn, knynght, send from us, yo{r} liege peple of this land, to your royall magest to c{r}tifi you of the estate and compleyntes of your said land, the which sholde be goyng and comyng, and werev{r} at that tyme undyr yo{r} g{a}cious proteccion, for yo{r} liege peple here, supposyn that the diservis that is doyn to thaym, goyng in to your reame of Eng., is doyn by boldenes that hit was not punysshed.

[9] It[e]m—that ye wolde graciously ordeyne, that all the lieuten{a}ntz, and thar deputes, of your faders and yours, make payement to yo{r} liege people her for thaym and soudio{r}s. Consideryng, gracious lord, that the defaut her of have be a grete hunderyng and empov{r}isshing to yo{r} said lieges, and if it be remedyet wel be a grete relevyng of thaym.

[10] It[e]m—forasmoche as your lawes of this land, in ev{r}y of yo{r} co{r}tes, at all tymes have beyn used, bothe in pledyng and judgements givyng, after your lawes used in Englond, and the lerned men here yo{r} saide lawes lernet in Innes of Co{r}t, in youre realme of Englond, in to nowe late that ther beyn refused to be had in Innes of Courte, contrarie to that, that hath be used afor this tyme; we byseche you that ordeyn{a}ncez be made there, that yo{r} liege people of this land, that comyth thedir for their said lernynge, may be resceyvet into Innes of Co{r}t, as they have be{n} of holde tyms, so that yo{r} lawes in this land may be contynuet forth, considerynge yat ellys whan these y{t} nowe beyn here lernet beyn dede, there shal be none in this land that shall canne yo{r} lawes, lasse than it be lernet there, the which will be a greet disprofite for you, and grete hynderyng for us your poure lieges.3

[11] Also, that the g{a}cious answers that were given by thavyse of yo{r} said consaill thereunto, the said Henry Ffortescu, and James Alleyn, knyght, messagers, for yo{r} said land, might be put in due execucion, accordyng to the same answers, for the grete availe of you, oure soveraigne lord, and in conforte of us your liege people here.

And at the special request of us, the Right Rev{r}ent fader in God, Richard, erchebisshop of Dyvelyn, yo{r} chancellor in yo{r} said land, your grette seale of yo{r} said land, to this our instruccion of oure message hath sette unto.

Written at yo{r} said cittee of Dyvelyn, the saide Friday next, aft{r} al halwen day.’


‘To our sovraigne and gracious liege lord the kyng of Eng. and of Ffrance, and lord of Irlond.

Sov{r}aigne and gracious lige lord, to yo{r} heighe and roial majeste, with al man{r}e of humilite and obeisaunce, we us do recomaunde, and of your benyge tendryng of our grevous and hevy compplentz of the mischiefe we yo{r} humble lieges, the lattist yere, and your land here, stodyn ynne, and of yo{r} gracious confort, that ye hastily send un to us John Sutton, knyght, yo{r} Lt, for our heighe relevyng, we thanke you with al our hole hertes, besechyng you of yo{r} godde and g{a}cious continuaunce, and of al our other matters that we have to acerte your said royal magiste. We yo{r} saide humble liges, at your parlement lattist holden at yo{r} cite of Dyvelyn, and for your saide lieuten{a}nt, the Friday next, aft{r} al halwen day, of this yo{r} said land, has chosen Henry Fortescu, yo{r} chief justice of your chief place in yo{r} said land, and Thomas Strangge, knyght, our messag{r}s, by us sent un to you, to approche yo{r} heighe p{r}sence, our said mat{r}s in an instruccion under yo{r} grete seale of your said land enseled conteyned, you to declare and delive{r}, besechyng you our said message{r}s and message benyngly receyve, and tham feith and gredence geve, and to the articles in our said message conteyned gracious aunsweres, purvey, and esploite, in al goodly haste, by thavyse of yo{r} wirshipful and wyse consey{l}ther, to youre p{o} fite, and advantage of us yo{r} true liege men here, and al myghty God gif you god life and victorye of yo{r} enemyes.

Written at yo{r} said cite of Dyvelyn, the said Friday next, aft{r} al halwen day, and at the special request of us, yo{r} said lieges the righ reve{r}nt fadyr in God, Richard, archebisshop of Dyvelyn, yo{r} chauncello{r} of yo{r} said land, y{t} one ptie of your grete seale of yo{r} said land to this p{r}sent bie hath set unto. By yo{r} humble lieges y{o} lordes spirituell and temp{r}ell and co[mm]e[n]s of yo{r} lond of Irland.’


Gilbert, Facsimiles, iii, plate 39.


Betham, Const. Eng. & early parl. Ire., pp 352–9.


RCH; NLI, GO MS 193, p. 99; BL, Egerton MS 78, p. 28.


1 The date of enrolment is not recorded; the date given here is that of the parliament mentioned in the text. RCH gives a Latin summary of the articles. The text in Middle English is provided in Betham, Constable Eng. & early parl. Ire., pp 352–9, and that transcript has been reproduced here. Superior letters printed in Betham in superscipt are here enclosed by curly brackets.
2 Betham (Constable Eng. & early parl. Ire., p. 359 note) records that 'This letter is placed on the roll after the statement of grievances, although intended to introduce the messengers to the K.' [Betham's emphasis].
3 The tenth article is also given at Betham, Constable Eng. & early parl. Ire., pp 237–8.

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.