Patent Roll 13 Richard II

12 Dec. 1389

INSPEXIMUS of a certain charter of liberties granted by Roger Bygot [Bigod], sometime earl of Norfolk and marshal of Eng. [1283X6], to the burgesses of New Ross, sealed with the seal of the same Roger.1

INSPEXIMUS also of certain liberties, uses and customs held and used by the burgesses of the town of Kilkenny, and other liberties granted to them by charters of William Marshal, sealed under the g.s. that the lords of the royal liberty of Kilkenny used in their chancery there, and shown before the K. in his chancery, by which they claim the following:1

'[30] To have a hundred in that town before its provost.
[31] To hold personal pleas arising within the bounds of the town
[32] To hold pleas of agreement, of disobedience [hinys], and of hue and cry, and of bloodshed. The amercement for bloodshed is 5s; and for hue and cry, 12d.
[33] To hold pleas of affrays.
[34] The sovereign ought to take cognizance of and concern himself with regrators and forestallers of victuals and other articles for sale coming to that town.
[35] If any burgess is impleaded before any judge of trespass, debts, accounts, agreements or any other contracts made outside the town, half the jurors shall be burgesses of the town and the other half of the outside place.
[36] Concerning all contracts or trespasses done or to be done within the bounds of the town, that the inquisition should be made up entirely of the town and not from outside.
[37] Concerning debts of 6d or less, the sovereign at the request of the plaintiff shall send his serjeant to the debtor, and if he acknowledge before the serjeant that he owes so much, then the serjeant shall take security of the debtor and deliver it to the creditor for that debt.
[38] They claim to have fairs in the town one a year at Pentecost and the fortnight following.
[39] The sovereign and bailiffs ought to choose two provosts of the merchant guild [de chepmenyelde] each year at Michaelmas.
[40] The provosts ought to have correction of the assize of bread and ale, and to make correction by amercement and punishment of the pillory, according to statute.
[41] The sovereign, with the lord's bailiffs, ought to ordain and proclaim all victuals for sale in that town or coming there for sale to be sold at a fixed price, and to correct those who offend against the proclamation by amercement and fines.
[42] They ought to have in that town a whipping-post, pillory and tumbrel [castigatorium, collistrigium, tumbrellum], and all pleas pertaining to them.
[43] Before Michaelmas each year, the community of that town ought to elect four from that town to the office of provost, and present them to the lord of the town or his attorney, and the attorney ought to accept one of them to serve for half the year namely from Michaelmas to Easter, and another to serve from Easter to Michaelmas. And none of the provosts ought to attorn anyone in his place in that office unless by assent of the sovereign and community of the town.
[44] Judgements rendered in the hundred shall be rendered by the provost and four burgesses of the town, and if any judgement be difficult to render then several of the wiser burgesses [plures burgenses sapienciores] of the town shall be called together to render that judgement.
[45] They ought to have view of arms of all residents in the town, and put them in arms according to statute, and correct defaults.
[46] They ought to have return of all mandates both of the K. and the lords [of the town], so that execution of the mandate ought to be made by the bailiffs and provosts of the town, and not by others.
[47] The lord's pleas in assizes and in eyres and sessions shall be held in the tholsel or common court of the lords, and not in the burgage of the town to the injury of the burgesses.
[48] Pledges for debts that are undischarged for a year and a day are to be valued and sold after being shown before the provost at the hundred on three occasions.
[49] They claim that heirs of burgesses succeeding on the death of their ancestors may alienate their tenements at their will from the age of 14 years.
[50] Burgesses or their servants or tenants convicted before any judge and imprisoned, should be detained in the tholsel of the town and not elsewhere.
[51] Anyone threatening life or limb, or arson, is to be arrested and held in the tholsel until he finds surety, the threat having been proved before the sovereign of the town by witnesses who heard the threats or were present.
[52] Any burgess who wishes to complain of any other of any plea may arrest the defendant until the coming of the serjeant of that town.
[53] The burgesses of that town shall not be compelled to perform military service [ad exercitum viagium] outside the bounds of the town or to parley with Irish or any other enemies, or to muster before the seneschal or keepers of the peace, or to escort or prevent anyone, unless they freely wish to do this.
[54] Measures of grain, viz. bushels of wheat, oats, rye and all other kinds of grain for purchase or sale, ought to be measured by the hands in full and heaped measures.
[55] They claim that they are not bound to answer for any tallage, charge or carucate unless assessed by the sovereign and community.
[56] They claim that the sovereign, by assent of the community, has the power to remove all markets from one place to another within the walls of the town.
[57] No burgess should answer in the castle or anywhere else outside the bounds of the town but only at the tholsel, whether at the suit of the lords [of the town] or anyone else.
[58] All labourers, bakers, tailors, shoemakers, fullers, ale-wives, brewers and other workmen, and all craftsmen living within the bounds of the town, shall be corrected by fine and amercement before the sovereign and provost of the town, and not before others; and those fines and amercements are to be divided, half to the lord of the town and the other half to the sovereign and community.
[59] If any servant men or maids of the sovereign or burgesses commit trespass, they are to be brought to the tholsel and whipped without receipt of any fine or amercement from them.
[60] No foreign or outside merchant may dispose of goods without licence of the sovereign and burgesses.
[61] The sovereign and burgesses may lawfully shut their gates, if they have any, in time of war, uncertainty or peril.
[62] Burgesses of the town may leave all lands and tenements acquired by them in their wills, just as they leave their other goods by their wills, so that that legacy shall remain firm and stable forever.
[63] The provost and serjeants have power to arrest anyone at the suit of any burgess complaining of a plea of debt.
[64] The sovereign and burgesses are to be quit of toll, lastage, passage, pontage, murage and all other customs and dues throughout the realm and lordship of the K. of Eng., just as the burgesses of Gloucester are by virtue of the said honour of Gloucester.
[65] As various burgesses of the town who dwell outside the town have various empty tenements within the town and will not repair or build them, the sovereign and community claim power to distrain them to do so by their land and rents within the bounds of Kilkenny.
[66] No outside merchants may buy any fresh skins within the bounds of that town, except by licence of the sovereign and community.’

The sovereign, burgesses and commons of the said town of New Ross have humbly pleaded by their petition displayed to the Jcr and council in Ire. in the K.’s parliament lately summoned and held at Kilkenny on Friday after St Andrew last [3 Dec. 1389], and later adjourned to the town of Castledermot and thence to the town of Balymore, and from that town to the town of Naas, that among other liberties granted to them by the charter of the said late earl of Norfolk, it was granted that all burgesses of New Ross should be as free throughout the land and power of the said earl of Norfolk and his lordship in Ire. as the burgesses of Banna or Kilkenny or Wexford, or any other burgesses of Leinster, are. The K. has approved, granted, ratified and confirmed both the charter of liberties granted by the late earl of Pembroke to the burgesses of Kilkenny, and also the other liberties and uses claimed by the said burgesses [etc.]. CONFIRMATION, GRANT and LICENCE to the burgesses of New Ross that they and their heirs and successors may henceforth freely use and enjoy all those liberties, uses and customs confirmed by the K. to the burgesses of Kilkenny.

John Stanley, Jcr

CPI, pp 84–6; Mac Niocaill, Na Buirgéisí, i, 304–15.


Niall J. Byrne (ed.), The Great Parchment Book of Waterford: Liber antiquissimus civitatis Waterfordiae (Dublin, 2007), pp 26–34; CPR 1399–1401, pp 325–6 (=an exemplification dated at Westminster, 1 April 1400); CPR 1405–8, p. 449 (=an inspeximus dated at Westminster, 12 June 1408); CChR 1341–1417, p. 464 (=an inspeximus dated at Westminster, 20 Jan. 1412); CPR 1422–9, p. 214 (=an inspeximus dated at Westminster, 22 March 1424).


CPR Ire., Hen. VIII–Eliz., p. 437 note.


1 The text of the charter is given full in Mac Niocaill, Na Buirgéisí, ii, pp 300–4.
{2} The numbered clauses in the summary translation correspond to the numeration in Mac Niocaill, Na Buirgéisí, ii, pp 304–15.

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.