Patent Roll 20 Henry VI

2 Aug. 1442

INSPEXIMUS of a certain memorandum enrolled in the rolls of the K.’s chancery of Ire. in these words, viz.:

‘MEMORANDUM that on 21 July [1442] 20 Hen. VI, in the council chamber within Dublin castle, a most diligent and urgent discussion took place between Sir James Butler, e. Ormond, Lt of Ire., and the K.'s council there, viz.:

William Chevyr, deputy T. of Ire.;
Christopher Bernevalle, chief justice at pleas held before the K. in Ire.;
Robert Dowdall, chief justice of the common bench in Ire.;
John Cornewalshe, chief baron of the Ex. of Ire.;
Robert Dyke, keeper of the rolls of the chancery of Ire.;
Thomas Shorthals, second baron of the Ex.;
Peter Clinton, one of the barons of that Ex.;
Edward Somertoun, the K.’s serjeant-at-laws;
and Richard Fitz Eustace kt, and others of the K.’s council.

The members of the council discussed how Richard Wogan clk, formerly C. of Ire., in a certain great council summoned and held at Naas on Friday before the Translation of St Thomas the Martyr [6 July 1442], as C. of the same land, expounded and verbally declared the reason for the summons of that great council and the business of the land to the lords spiritual and temporal and the commons of the land appearing in the same council by order of the Lt, as is the custom of the C. of Ire.; and [they discussed] how the C. wickedly and indiscreetly departed with the g.s. of Ire., viz. suddenly in the night of the following Wednesday [11 July 1442], taking only one attendant [cum uno homine solummodo], without reasonable cause and without the Lt’s licence or having given notice to the said lords spiritual and temporal and the commons, to the dishonour and contempt of the K., and to the harm and enervation of the law and custom of that land, and the detriment and delay of the prosecution and furthering of the business of the K. and his people in the said great council, and as a most pernicious example to others in the future.

Upon this the Lt―being informed that the C. had proceeded to the city of Dublin and stayed there, and desiring to know the true reason for the C.’s departure, and wishing to ordain a suitable remedy by advice and assent of the great council and by assent of the said lords spiritual and temporal―adjourned and continued the great council to the said city [of Dublin] until Monday after the St James the Apostle next coming [30 July 1442], in the same state that it was then in. And in that great council, at the request of the said commons, it was ordained that a writ of the K. should be addressed to the same Richard Wogan as C. instructing him to appear in person at that city in the great council on that Monday with the g.s. of Ire., to show the reason for his departure. And in the meantime, the Lt, wishing to meet the said Richard Wogan concerning this and to treat with him as C. of Ire., travelled to the city of Dublin on Sunday before St Margaret the Virgin [15 July 1442] and stayed there until the following Monday [16 July 1442], together with others of the K.’s council. On that Sunday and Monday Richard, then C., was unwilling to come before the Lt or to send anyone in his name. On the Sunday [15 July], the Lt, wishing to treat upon the premises with Richard, then C., and the others of the council, both for the K.’s profit and that of his land, sent the serjeant-at-laws, Stephen Roche, the K.’s attorney, and John Bolt, keeper of the hanaper of the chancery of Ire., to the C. so that the latter might come before the Lt. But when they arrived at the C.’s household within that city, they could not come into his presence to speak with him; rather one John Shawbery, chaplain of the C., told them that the C. was not in the said city. On the Monday following [16 July], they were sent to the C.’s household again and could not find him and received a similar answer from the chaplain. On following Tuesday [17 July 1442] it was voiced and rumoured throughout the city and county of Dublin that Richard Wogan had embarked on a great ship at Howth within co. Dublin, on that Monday [16 July 1442] at the sixth hour after the noon, and crossed to the parts of Wales, without having delivered the g.s., which was then in his custody, to the Lt and the K.’s council, or sending and carrying it to the T. An attempt was made to ascertain in whose custody the g.s. was left or to whose rule it was committed; but the inquiry had no success.

Therefore the Lt, by assent of the K.’s council, ordered the sheriff of Dublin and the mayor and bailiffs of the city on the K.’s behalf, firmly enjoining them to cause it to be proclaimed that whoever had the g.s. of the K. should appear before the Lt and council at Dublin on the following Friday [20 July 1442] and deliver it to them there, under pain of forfeiture. On that Friday, William Chevyr, deputy of the T., declared to the Lt and council in the council chamber within St Thomas the Martyr near Dublin that one brother Thomas Nortoun O.P., on Thursday [19 July 1442] last around the tenth hour before noon, delivered a small box sealed in wax with a certain signet in which were the images of the crucifix, Mary and John [cistam portatoriam, ceratam acres sigillatam cum quodam signeto in quo erant ymagines Crucifixi, Marie, et Johannis], in which the said g.s. was placed, saying that a certain person, hearing that proclamation, delivered that box to him in confession, so that Thomas might deliver the g.s. into the treasury. And because the Lt and council doubted whether the said g.s. was in that box, the Lt ordered the deputy T. to proceed to the treasury, taking with him the rest of the K.’s council, and to open the box and ascertain if the said seal was within it or not. They went to the treasury by the Lt’s order and found the box, and caused it to be opened, and there they found the said g.s. in a certain leather bag, sealed with the same signet, just as the deputy T. and the remainder of the council reported to the Lt on their return.

The Lt very much wished to be informed as to the custody and governance of the g.s. from the Monday [16 July 1442] (when Richard took ship to cross) until that Thursday [19 July 1442] (when the same mendicant friar delivered the g.s. into the treasury). Therefore, by assent of the K.’s council, he ordered for the friar to appear before the Lt and council to be examined upon the premises and the truth of the same. On the same day [20 July 1442], the friar came before them and, touching the Holy Gospels, he was sworn and examined. And he said that a certain person with penitent and contrite soul came to him on that Thursday [19 July 1442] as he was preparing to celebrate mass in the house of the Friars Preachers in Dublin, and in his confession confessed among other things that he had that g.s. within the box as above, and he then delivered the g.s. to the friar because of the proclamation, humbly asking the friar to deliver it into the treasury with as much haste as possible. For that reason the same friar, having celebrated mass, delivered the g.s. as quickly as he could into the said treasury. Asked who delivered the g.s. to him, whether a religious or secular person, he said that he could not or would not reveal this in any manner. The friar was then asked whether he knew who had the governance or custody of the g.s. from the crossing of Richard Wogan until it was delivered to him, to which he stated upon his oath that he was entirely ignorant of how the g.s. was governed or kept during that time.

Afterwards, on the same 21 July, the deputy T. and chamberlain of the Ex., by order of the Lt, carried the g.s.—which had recently been placed in the treasury, as above—into the council chamber within Dublin castle. The Lt, opening the bag and taking the said g.s. apart, saw in each part of the [matrix of the] g.s. white wax remaining from a recent and new ensealing, as it seemed to the Lt and council. The following officers were then present: the keeper of the rolls and the keeper of the hanaper; William Mape, spigurnal or wax-warmer in the chancery; and others of the same chancery, who were accustomed to be present at ensealings of the g.s. They were examined upon their oaths as to whether there was wax in the seal at the time when it was last used for ensealing; and they stated that it had not been there. Asked further if they, or anyone of them, recognized the signet with which the bag had been sealed, they said that they were greatly amazed and aghast by the premises; that none of them recognized the seal, nor had they ever seen that seal with Richard Wogan or anyone else.

Furthermore, on the same 21 July in the same castle [of Dublin], diligent and urgent discussion took place between the Lt and K.’s council as to the office of C. of Ire., which lay vacant on account of the departure of Richard Wogan out of the land, on account of which the business both of the K. and of parties prosecuting and furthering business in chancery could not be ensealed with the g.s. for a long time, to the considerable damage and harm of the K. and his faithful people of Ire. Therefore, seeing the danger that might easily befall the K. and his people on account of the premises, it was agreed and ordained by the Lt and council according to the custom of the land that Richard Fitz Eustace kt should be the K.’s C. of Ire., to have and occupy that office during pleasure, taking annually in that office the fees and wages due and accustomed to the same office. Whereupon the K.’s letters patent were made to the same Richard Fitz Eustace in due form under the said seal, and the premises were enrolled in chancery so that they might similarly be of record.’

EXEMPLIFICATION of this memorandum at the request of the Lt.

James Butler, e. Ormond, Lt of Ire.

PKCI, appendix 8, pp 288–94.

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.