Patent Roll 21 Henry VI

[27 Oct. 1442]

MEMORANDUM that on 27 Oct. [1442] 21 Hen. VI, in the chapel of St John situated within the parish church of St Peter of Drogheda, the noble and powerful lord Sir James Butler, e. Ormond, Lt of Ire., made a declaration before the following persons, the K.’s councillors in Ire., viz.:

Sir John [Mey], abp Armagh, primate of Ire.;
William Chever, deputy of Giles Thorndon, T. of Ire.;
Christopher Bernevale, chief justice of pleas held before the K. in Ire.;
Robert Dowdall, chief justice of the common bench;
John Cornwalysch, chief baron of the Ex. of Ire.;
Peter Clinton, another baron of the Ex. of Ire.;
Edward Somertoun, the K.’s serjeant-at-laws in the same land;
and Richard Eustas kt.

The earl declared before them that on St Luke the Evangelist last past, viz. 19 Oct. [1442], William, prior of the cathedral church of Holy Trinity, Dublin, and Edward Somertoun, pleader, came to the town of Drogheda having been sent (as they said) to the Lt from the venerable father Richard [Talbot], abp Dublin, primate of Ire., and they declared to the Lt on the archbishop’s behalf that the K. had appointed the archbishop by his letters patent as C. of Ire.; and they sought, on the archbishop’s behalf, the delivery the g.s. of Ire. from the Lt. The Lt answered that while he occupied the office of Lt in Ire. all such important and effectual matters were accustomed to be discussed with the advice of the K.’s council, and not otherwise, and that he had arranged by writ for the council to convene; and that if it pleased the archbishop of Dublin to attend that council meeting and to present this matter there before the Lt and council, that he would receive a suitable answer. And afterwards on the Friday following, viz. 21 Oct. [1442], the same venerable father and archbishop of Dublin appeared in person before the Lt in the chapel of St John at Drogheda (as the Lt has asserted): and those who were then present were the following, viz.:

Christopher Bernevale, chief justice of pleas held before the K. in Ire.;
John Cornwalysch, chief baron of the Ex. of Ire.;
Edward Somertoun, the K.’s serjeant-at-laws in the same land.

And the archbishop declared to the Lt, in their presence, that the K., of his special grace, had appointed him as C. of Ire.; and that the archbishop wished the g.s. of Ire. to be delivered to him by the Lt so that he might exercise his office to the honour of the K. and the advantage of the land of Ire. and the K.’s lieges of the same. The Lt asked the archbishop if he had taken the appropriate oath of office as C. of Ire., to which the archbishop answered that he had; and furthermore the archbishop said that his oath was of record in the K.’s chancery of Ire. Then the Lt asked the archbishop if he had that record with him there to show [the council], or anything else sent to him by the K.; to which the archbishop answered that he did not. Then the Lt said to the archbishop that he proposed to hold a council in eight days’ time, and if the archbishop should attend that meeting and show the record that then the Lt would give him an answer.

On that day, viz. 27 Oct. [1442], the following persons appeared before the Lt in the said chapel, viz.:

the most venerable father in Christ, Sir John [Mey], abp of Armagh, primate of Ire.;
master Nicholas Hylle, dean of the cathedral church of St Patrick, Dublin;
and Richard Palmer, then mayor of the said town of Drogheda.

And the same archbishop of Armagh, Dean Nicholas and Richard the mayor declared that the archbishop of Dublin, who was then residing in Drogheda, asked them to proceed to the Lt and declare, on the archbishop’s behalf, that he had been appointed as C. of Ire., and by force of the said letters patent he had sat in the chancery of Ire., and so far as he could had transacted its business; but because he did not have the g.s. of Ire., he was unable to exercise that office to the honour of the K. and the profit and advantage of his lieges of Ire., as he wished and ought to do; and [they declared] that the archbishop wished the g.s. to be delivered to him, as C. of Ire., by the Lt. To the archbishop and the other men, the Lt replied that if the archbishop of Dublin had records or writings sent to him by the K. or his council of Eng. concerning this matter, that he should come immediately or on the afternoon of the same day to the same place, either in person or represented by a councillor of his chosen for this purpose; and that in that council the archbishop would receive a lawful answer. But the archbishop did not appear before the Lt and council on that day either before or after noon. And afterwards, on 28 Oct. [1442], in the same town, one John Wodlock (a pleader and one of the constables of the archbishop of Dublin) and Rober Cusak (esquire of the archbishop) came to the Lt making the same demand for the delivery of g.s. in the name of the archbishop, as C. of Ire. To those persons, the Lt replied that he and the others of the K.’s council had awaited the archbishop for the whole of the previous Saturday; but the archbishop had not appeared although he was then resident in the town, nor was any evidence shown in the premises; and further the Lt said to them that this was a Sunday, which should be reserved for divine services and not other business, and that the K.’s council had been dismissed on account of their long residence in that town. However, the Lt said that he would inquire through the town whether any members of the council could be found, and if so have them wait until Monday next following; and if the archbishop of Dublin, in person or by a representative, should by words or in writing show before the Lt and council evidence concerning his appointment as C., that he would be heard and would have an answer.

And when that Monday arrived, viz. 29 Oct. [1442], the Lt and council met in the vestry of the chapel of St John and waited all day; but the archbishop did not appear either in person or by messenger. The Lt caused all these matters to be enacted in the rolls of the chancery of Ire., to remain of record there.

MEMORANDUM that on 31 Nov. [1442], in the council chamber situated within the monastery the Blessed Virgin Mary of Trim, the following persons of the K.’s appeared before James Butler, e. Ormond, Lt of Ire., viz.:

William Chever, deputy of Giles Thorndon, T. of Ire.;
Christopher Bernevale, chief justice at pleas held before the K. in Ire.;
Robert Dowdall, chief justice of the common bench;
John Cornwalysch, chief baron of the Ex. of Ire.;
Peter Clinton, another baron of the Ex. of Ire.;
Edward Somertoun, the K.’s serjeant-at-laws in the same land;
and Richard Eustas kt.

And in the presence of these councillors the Lt declared, among other things, that in the time of Sir John Sutton, Baron Dudley, formerly Lt of Ire., Richard [Talbot], abp Dublin, was C. of Ire., and that certain letters of the p.s. were sent to the C. concerning the advantage of that land, and that he did not comply―indeed he had expressly refused; and that although the same baron and Lt wished to leave from Ire. and return to Eng., and he had power by virtue of the K.’s letters patent appointing him as Lt to appoint a deputy in his absence, and he wrote to the archbishop by letters under his p.s. and ordered him to cause certain letters patent to be made and sealed under the K.’s seal, yet archbishop contemptuously refused to do this, nor was he willing to obey the p.s. of any deputy in this part until the Lt agreed to appoint a deputy nominated by that archbishop of Dublin.

And also on various other occasions, without having consulted the Lt or his deputy, he alienated the revenues of Ire. under the g.s. of the same land, and then he employed the g.s. for his private advantage […]; and he caused the people to be summoned to appear before him by writs of the g.s. of that land, on various occasions, contrary the advantage of the state of that land; and also […] with various of the K.’s Irish enemies, contrary to statutes enacted concerning this; and he beat Hugh Bavent, then T. of Ire., and Robert Dyke clk, keeper of the rolls of chancery. And before Michaelmas [1442] last, he received into his place of St Sepulchre situated in a suburb of the city of Dublin one James s. of William fitz Thomas, who had been solemnly proclaimed a traitor at a parliament held before Lionel Lord Welles, then Lt of Ire., in the presence of the archbishop of Dublin as one of the lords of that parliament; and the archbishop had eaten and drunk with that James. And on various occasions he disregarded warrants and [letters under the] p.s. sent to him by James [Butler], e. Ormond. And afterwards, notwithstanding that the Lt, because of the premises and other notable offences which could not be spoken of on account of the dignity and honour of his order, the archbishop received a day to appear at Trim before the Lt and council to answer certain charges that might be brought against him; and on that day and place the archbishop was solemnly summoned by the K.’s serjeant-at-laws and the Lt and council awaited him; and he was similarly called on another day. But he refused to appear.

On account of these things and others, the Lt declared, from the full power and force of the K.’s letters patent of his lieutenancy, which he held in his hands, he seized the office of chancellor into the K.’s hands.

And the Lt ordered these things to be enrolled and to remain of record in the rolls of chancery of that land.


<em>PKCI</em>, appendix 9, pp 295–303.

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.