Patent Roll 1 Henry IV

20 May. 1400

INSPEXIMUS and CONFIRMATION of a charter from Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford, to his burgesses of Rosbargon [1289x95]':1

'Know that we have granted to our burgesses of Rosbargon all manner of liberties and free customs which our ancestors granted to our burgesses of our town of Kilkenny:

[1] First, that no burgess shall be impleaded or answer any plea arising within the bounds of the borough except in the hundred of the town, except pleas which are of the men of our household or our bailiffs; this hundred shall be held in the town.
[2] No homicide committed within the bounds of the town shall be deemed to be murdrum.
[3] No burgess shall be obliged to wage a duel for any appeal that may be made against him, except for the death of a man, or theft, or another plea for which a duel ought reasonably to be waged.
[4] Also, the burgesses are quit of toll, lastage, passage, pontage and all other customs throughout all our land and power.
[5] No burgess shall be put in mercy of money except by the judgement of the hundred, and that amercement also shall not exceed 10s in the greater pleas, of which half shall be pardoned and the other half rendered as an amercement; in the lesser pleas, however, as of bread and ale and night-watch and such matters, the amercement shall not exceed 2s, of which half shall be pardoned and the other half rendered as an amercement. If, however, anyone should incur an amercement for bread or ale or another similar forfeiture, on the first occasion the amercement shall not exceed 2s, of which half shall be pardoned as said before, and the other half rendered as an amercement; if he should incur forfeiture a second time, he shall pay 2s; and if he should incur it a third time, he shall sustain judgement or pay half a mark.
[6] The hundred shall be held only once a week.
[7] No burgess shall be impleaded by miskenning.
[8] Every burgess may plead without a motion.
[9] The burgesses may distrain their debtors by their goods [namia] which are found in the town of Rosbargon, and if by chance a plea should arise concerning pledges or distraints taken for debt, it shall be brought to trial in the hundred; and if by chance it should happen that a toll be taken from any burgess in our land or power, if he who took it be required to restore it and refuse, he shall be distrained to restore it at Rosbargon by the distraints of the place where he is, if any be found.
[10] No outside merchant may bake bread or have a wine tavern in the town of Rosbargon except for 40 days, and should he wish to have any such thing for longer, he shall remain only by the common consent of the burgesses and for the profit of the town.
[11] No burgess shall be distrained in our land or power for a foreign debt unless he be a pledge or principal debtor.
[12] No burgess shall be compelled to pledge anyone, even if he hold of him, unless he should freely will it.
[13] We have granted also to the same burgesses that they and their sons and daughters and widows may contract marriages without licence of their lords, unless by chance they hold outside tenements of us in chief outside the borough. None of the lords of whom the burgesses of Rosbargon hold outside tenements shall have the wardship or gift of them or their sons or daughters or widows, but only the wardship of their tenements until those who were in wardship be of full age, unless they hold of us in chief outside the borough as aforesaid.
[14] Our burgesses may have a guild of merchants and other guilds with those paying scot with every liberty pertaining to them, as is the custom of other good towns.
[15] The burgesses may dispose of their tenements which they hold in burgage as seems best to them, without unjust injury to their neighbours, whether buildings or gardens or orchards or anything else, and those who have their tenements near the water may extend them and build over the water if they wish.
[16] We have granted also to them that they may give, sell or pledge without our assent, except to religious men [i.e. members of religious orders] all their acquisitions, saving the services due from them.
[17] No burgess shall be compelled to lend his chattels unless surety is first given to restore them at a fixed term; and if by chance any burgess should voluntarily lend his chattels to our bailiffs, it shall be paid within 40 days if a fixed term were not agreed for restoration; and if by chance there has been a change of bailiffs, we or our bailiffs shall compel the retiring bailiff to restore to them the debt which they can reasonably show is owed to them.
[18] We have granted also to our same burgesses that they may make free tenants of their tenements by 20 feet of land, such that they might have common liberty with the burgesses.
[19] Also, our same burgesses may prove their debts by suit of law-worthy men.
[20] We have granted also to them that if any of their chattels be taken without cause for a foreign forfeiture outside the borough, they shall be restored as far as they can reasonably show that they are theirs.
[21] We have granted to the same burgesses their grinding in our mills, by reasonable tolls.
[22] Further, we have granted to the same burgesses that they and their heirs may have and hold of us and our heirs, freely and quietly forever, their burgages with their appurtenances for an annual rent of twelve silver pence, payable half at Easter and the other half at Michaelmas.
[23] Also, we wish that no assize of victuals should be held in the borough, except by common assent of the burgesses and the judgement of our bailiffs.

And so that this our grant may duly last forever, we have strengthened this charter with the impression of our seal.

Witnesses: Sir Michael [d'Exeter], then bishop of Ossory; Sir John Hastinggis; Thomas s. of Maurice, John Barry, John Bygod, Gaudinus Clare, Roger Penbrok, then seneschal of Kilkenny, Andrew Avenel, Silvester Archdeacon, Reginald Dene, knights; Walter Sholdham, then sheriff; master Thomas Pyvelesdon', John Bruges, clerks; and others.'2


NLI, D 399.


CPI, p. 39 (=Irish PR, 1 Hen. IV, m. 10); COD, i, §314; Mac Niocaill, Na buirgéisí, i, 296–9


COD, i, §314; RCH.


1 The numbered clauses below correspond to the numeration in Mac Niocaill, Na Buirgéisí, i, pp 296–9.
2 The charter to Kilkenny upon which this charter is based is that given by William Marshal (†1219), e. Pembroke, in 1207. The text of the Kilkenny charter appears in MacNeill (ed.), Liber Primus Kilkenniensis, 71–4; trans. Bradley, Treasures of Kilkenny, pp 16–18; and also in A.J. Otway-Ruthven (ed.), Liber Primus Kilkenniensis (Kilkenny, 1960), 5–7.

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.