Patent Roll 20 Henry VI

3 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 5 June [1442] 20 Hen. VI, the following persons were present in the K.’s council chamber within the monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Trim, viz.:

Richard Wogan clk, C. of Ire.;
William Chever, deputy of Giles Thorndon esq., T. of Ire.;
Christopher Bernevale, chief justice of pleas held before the K. in Ire.;
Robert Dowdall, chief justice of the common bench in the same land;
Robert Dyke, keeper of the rolls of the chancery of Ire.;
Peter Clinton, one of the barons of the Ex. of Ire.;
Edward Somertoun, the K.’s serjeant-at-laws in Ire.;
Richard fitz Eustace and Edward fitz Eustace, knights, councillors of the K. in the same land.

And James Butler, e. Ormond, Lt of Ire., declared to the C. of Ire. how the Lt had learned that the C. had received certain most mendacious letters sealed with K.’s p.s. and addressed to the C., [instructing him] to inquire or inform the K. upon certain articles of accusation, which were sent to the C. with those letters of the p.s., concerning the estate of the Lt (as the Lt asserted).

In one of these [articles of accusation], it was asserted that certain things were desired by lords spiritual and temporal and the commons of that land in a parliament held at Dublin on Friday after St Martin in the winter last past. In another [it was asserted] that the earl, at various times when he held the governance of that land, ordained and made various Irishmen grooms and pages of his household as knights of various counties in parliaments, and that he received various fines from various lords spiritual and temporal [etc.]. In another [it was asserted] by substance of the gentlemen and commons of that land, also as was asserted by Richard [Talbot], abp Dublin, that a certain tripartite indenture was desired and made just as is more fully contained in the same articles, which he [the Lt] caused to be read out, the words of which articles follow in this form, viz.:

“[1] First, as moche as alle the Lordes Spiritual and Temporelle of your saide londe, and the Commones of the same, in your Parlement holdyn at Deuelyng the Fryday next after the fest of Seynt Martine in Wynter last passed [17 Nov. 1441], were fullyche avysed and assented þat I and my felewe messageris for the seid lond scholde desire of you, Soverayn Lord, to ordeyn a myȝte lord of this your realm of Englonde for to be your Lieutenant of your saide lande, that tyme being there present the Erle of Ormunde as Depute to the Lord Wellys than your Lieutenant there. Please your Heghnes to be enfowrmet how þat yyff hyt had ben seyn gode and profitable for you and for your seyd land for to haue had the seyd Erle your Lieutenant, he schold have ben namyd atte seyd Parlement, doying you to undyrstonde þat they alle, both Lordes Spirituelle and Temporelle, and Commons, þere assemblet, consideret in thaire wysdomys that hyt was most expedient to you, Souerayn Lord, to have your Lieutenant þere a lord of the byrthe of this your noble realme, whom your peple þere wold more fauowre and obey then in eny man of that lond ys byrth, for men of thys realme kepe better justice, execut your lawys, and favoure more your commone peple there, and ever have done be for thys tyme, better than ever dyd eny man of that lande, othyr ever is lyke to do.
[2] More ouer pleasit you to wytt þat at divers Parlementes, whan that the seyde Erle had the rule þere, he hath ordeynt and made Iryshmen and gromis and pagys of his howsolde knyghtys of the schyre, the woche wold noȝt in no wyse assent to no gode rule, nor to nothing þat scholde profyt and avayle to you Soverayn Lorde; and also hath suffryde divers Lordys Spirituelle and Temporelle to absent þem fro Parlements here afor, takyn of þem gret fynys to his syngler avayle, there as the profyt scholde be your.
[3] Also pleaset you to consider how at the last departyre of the Lord Wellys owt of your seyde londe hyt was desyryt by the substaunce of the Gentyls and Commones of the same land þat the seyde Erle schold in no wyse be his Depute by cause of gret rygour and brekyng of pees þat they dred hym to do, like as he had done be for tym. Whereupoun atte last he was bownd by endentour trypartyte to kepe the pease and be of gode rule during the tyme þat he were Depute to your seyde Lieutenant. And seth hyt ys so þat hys febylnys of rule was so moche drad to be Depute, hyt ys to suppose more to be drad yyf he were your Lieutenant and had the rule hym selfe.”

When all these things had been read out, the Lt asked all the persons of the K.’s council then being present in the council chamber—except for the C. alone—to leave and consider apart whether the articles, or any of them, contained the truth; and then to testify and declare their conclusions before the C., so that they might send the result of their deliberations to the K. The councillors withdrew to another chamber situated within that monastery and, when they had discussed the matter amongst themselves, they re-entered the council chamber and Sir Edward Somertoun, the K.’s serjeant-at-law, acting as speaker on behalf of all those who re-entered the chamber, responded to each of the accusations in turn.

[1] To the first article he said that they had not heard that the content of that article had been in any way moved and desired in any way by the lords spiritual and temporal in the said parliament.
[2] And to the next article, he said that they had never heard nor did they know that their contents were or are true.
[3] And to the next article, he said that they had never heard that the substance of the gentlemen or commons of the said land desired tripartite letters to be indented, as recited above.

Furthermore, on the same day and place, before the Lt, the C. and the others of the council (as recited above), Philip Stoyle, formerly prior of Connell, appeared to give evidence upon another of the articles, which charged that the said earl, when he was the K.’s Lt of Ire., took the said Philip, who was one of the lords of the K.’s parliament, and sent him to the castle of Oderes, a castle of an Irish enemy of the K., and the earl placed Philip inside it [etc.], as is contained in the same article, the tenor of which follows here, viz.:

“Also, a for thys tyme whan the sayd Erle stode your Lieutenant, he toke the Priour of Conalle, one of þe lordys of your Parlement there, and send hym to Oderes castelle, þat ys an Iryshman, and your ennemy, the woch put hym in gret duress of prison, and rawnsouned him at a c. marcs, withowt any cause reysonable, and in lyke wyse mad to be prisonet Jenkyn Gallan, in þe handes of your enemys, oone of the cytseyns of your cytte of Deuelyng, and Dauit Seman, jentilman, and rawnsouned eche of hem at xlli., and oone Nicholas Galbery in lyke wyse, and rawnsovned hym at a c. marcs.”

And Prior Philip [Stoyle] declared there in person that the Lt never placed him in any castle or prison of any Irish enemy of the K., nor did he receive from the prior any money or ransom as recited in the article.

The Lt commanded that all and singular these things be enacted to remain of record in the rolls of the said chancery.

And on the same day and place [5 June 1442], before the said C. and the others of the council (as recited above), James e. Ormond, Lt of Ire., answered the other articles sent from the K. to the same C. with letters of the p.s. [instructing the C.] to inform the K. upon the estate, utility and rule of the Lt, copies of which were read out publicly. The first article ran as follows, viz.:

“Also, pleasyt your heynes to considre how that hyt be houyth þat he þat schold be your Lieutenant there be a miȝty, couragews, and laborows man, to kepe þe felde, and to make resistens a yeynst your enemys, in comfort and supportacioun of your trewe lege peple there, and none of thes bene seyn ne fownde in the seyd Erle, for both he is agyt onwely and onlusty to labour, for he hath for lake of labour lost in substaunce all hys castels, townys, and lordschyppys þat he had with in your sayde land, wher for hyt ys not lykly þat he schold kepe, conqwer oþer get eny grown to you, Soverein Lord, þat thus hath lost hys own.”
To the first article, concerning his age and ability, the Lt committed this to the discretion of the K., before whom he would appear whenever it pleased the K. to send for him. To the other part of the article, he answered that he held in good estate all the castles, towns and lordships that were delivered out of the K.’s hand in 13 Hen. IV [1411x12], when the earl first reached his majority, to the honour of the K. and defence of the country, and better than they were when they were delivered to him, as was well known and manifest in the whole of Ire.

Another article ran in this form, viz.:

“Also a for thys tyme whan the seid Erle stod your Lieutenant, he toke þe Priour of Conalle, oone of the Lordys of your Parlement there, and sent hym to Odereys castelle, þat is an Irysshman and your ennemy, the whoche put hym in gret duress of prisoun, and raunsond hym at a c. marcs, with owt eny cause resonable, and in lyke wyse mad to be prisowned Jenkyn Gallan, &c.”

The Lt answered each charge in order. First that one brother Maurice Mydwyd, canon regular of the priory of St Wolstan, diocese of Dublin, obtained by ecclesiastical right the priory of Connell against Philip Stoyle, then prior of the same, and he obtained possession of the same; and that, brother Maurice had stated and sworn by oath to the said earl, the Lt, that he feared death and mutilation of limbs by the said brother Philip Stoyle, who was then pretending to be the prior of that priory, and his men; [and Maurice] pleaded to the Lt to order Philip to be arrested and kept in prison until he should find security of the peace, as the laws require. And the Lt caused that Philip, the pretended prior, to be arrested and held in irons, and to be detained until Maurice (the incumbent) and the same brother Philip were in accord. And the Lt never sent him to the castle of Odeyr, or any other Irish enemy whatsoever, nor did he receive any money or ransom from him. The same Philip swore to all these things on that same day and place. And concerning John Gallan, the Lt stated that John had died some five years and more previously; and that, when Lt, the earl had caused John to be arrested for selling wines without prisage or gauge, to which offence John had admitted. And for that offence he made fine for £20, which £20 the T. of Ire. assigned to the Lt in part-payment of his wages, for which he had acquittance from the K., as appears of record in the receipt of the Ex. of Ire. And the earl denied the allegation concerning John. And concerning David Seman and Nicholas Galbary, he said that he never committed them, or either of them, nor any other liege of the K., to any castle or prison of any Irish enemy of the K. And the earl responded to another charge, which ran as follows:

“Also pleasyt your heynys to be remembryd howe þat a for thys tyme my Lord of Marche, my Lord Grey, wose sowlys God a soyle, and my Lord Talbot, þat hath bene your Lieutenants of your seyd lond, hath a for thys tyme empechyt þe seyd Erle severally of many gret treysouns, the woche stond yyt undetermyt, the woche ys a gret profe þat the seyd Erle hath noght bene of gode rule, and ys unhable to have the seyde lond in governaunce.”

The same earl answered that the late earl of March, as he believed, had never impeached him or proposed anything against the earl of Ormond; and that if there was anyone who wished to accuse the earl in the name of the said earl of March or Lord Grey, deceased, or if the said Lord Talbot, now living, wished to make any accusation of treason against him, he was ready to defend and clear himself by his own hand, whenever and wherever the K. should appoint.

The earl caused all and singular these matters to be enacted to remain of record in the rolls of chancery.’

EXEMPLIFICATION of this at the request of the said earl.

James Butler, e. Ormond, Lt of Ire.

PKCI, appendix 6, pp 276–84.

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.