Patent Roll 3 Henry VI

12 May. 1425

INDENTURE between the noble and powerful man James Butler, e. Ormond, Lt, on the one hand Bernardus McMaghon chieftain of his lineage, and his brothers Roricus and Magonius, on the other, witnessing that Bernardus, Roricus and Magonius, for themselves and for their men and subjects under their authority and within their power, and for any heirs and successors that they might have, recognised and agreed, freely and without having been compelled in any way, that they have been and are faithful and peaceable liege men and would faithfully and peaceably observe the K.’s peace, and that of his heirs and successors.

As a sign of their liege status, Bernardus, Roricus and Magonius will release and quitclaim all English lands [terras Anglicanas] that they or their men have occupied. Each of them shall individually quitclaim such lands to the K., his heirs and successors and to their true lords, agree that they and their heirs shall make full surrender of the lands and would thereafter be perpetually excluded from them by such agreement.

If it so happens that either Bernardus, Roricus, Magonius, any of their heirs and successors, or those of their lineage in their power and under their authority, occupy or lay claim to any of these lands again, then the K. or his heirs and successors, or their true lords, are to be permitted to seize any of their goods found on these lands and retain them as distraint until full satisfaction be made from the goods of the said lords. If it so happens that, in the process of making distraint, any of the lineage of the said Bernardus or his men should be killed, the peace between the K.’s Lt and Bernardus will not be said to have been broken, nor will any compensation be due to Bernardus or any of his subjects thereby.

Furthermore Bernardus and his brothers, for themselves and their subjects, submit and individually bind themselves to the K. and the Lt in the K.’s name to make faithfully in perpetuity all renders, services, customs and bonaghts and perform all accustomed services that were at one time due from Bernardus and his ancestors to Edmund, late earl of March and Ulster and his ancestors, which are now due to the K. thanks to the minor estate of that noble lord, Edward, duke of York, who is in the K.’s custody, the cousin and heir of Edmund, late earl of March.

Bernardus and his brothers, moreover, agree to give up to the Lt 80 or more English prisoners seized at the time of the burning of the town of Nobber without the payment of any fee or ransom, but with guarantee of safe conduct.

They also agree that if any plans or council of the K.’s Irish enemies or any rebel Englishman, whereby damage or prejudice would come to the K. or any other under his power and protection, become known to them, they will reveal it to the Lt, any officer of the crown, or any other in the K.’s power in Ire., and also resist it with all their power, notwithstanding any arrangements or promises made by them before this time with any Irishman.

If any Englishman wishes to pursue a claim for trespass or injury against Bernardus, his brothers or any of their subjects in co. Louth, the sheriff of Louth for the time being, Bartholomew Verdon kt, and the prior of Louth are to be elected to try the case. For crimes perpetrated in Meath, the sheriff for the time being, Christopher Fleming and John Drake esq. are to be chosen similarly; while for Bernardus, his brothers and their adherents Magonius McMaghon, the coarb [commorbanus] of Cloonnese [Clones], and Nemeas Obryn are to act. Within a fortnight of the crime having being perpetrated against the English, it is to be tried by the arbiters and after another fortnight, at the ordinance of the arbiters, if they are available, or at the ordinance of those English and Irishmen so elected to act in their stead, pledges [pignus] are to be found to answer for the debt or injury, so that they be seized and detained by the arbiters, or two from either side, within a fortnight of the verdict having being passed, and they are to be valued, so that the injury or debt can be satisfied and any remaining pledge returned to their true lord.

Furthermore, Bernardus and his brothers, for themselves, their heirs and successors, and all men subject and adhering to them, agree that if any of their lineage, or any men subject or adherent to them, of whatever status or condition, steals anything, or makes a hostile seizure of goods, such things as have been stolen are to be restored before good men at the court of the arbiters, or at least three of them, and treated as items of theft and abduction [raptus]. They are bound to pay the value of such goods to the Lt immediately, and those who have suffered the theft may then request the money from the Lt.

Also, the said Bernardus and his brothers will give to the Lt the sum of 26m and render to him six woven English cloths as a fine for their ransoming of John Naas and his son, Englishmen, which came to 50m. And for the ransom of 36m that William Hoord of Rixeston paid to Bernardus, they will render a fine to the Lt of 12m immediately.

Bernardus, his brothers, and all of the men subject and adherent to them, will faithfully pay a whole year’s rent of the demesne of Fernewy [Farney], and the each will be bound to pay to the K., his heirs and successors, without any other contradiction, equal annual portions thereof at Easter and Michaelmas, along with the rent arrears due for Easter term last past before the compilation of this indenture, and that is to pertain if the K. himself wishes to occupy the said lands.

Moreover, Bernardus, his brothers, and all of their men, equipped in the best manner possible for war, but at their own costs, are to come to the Lt when he, or another acting in his stead, so requests, to make war with the Lt in certain places within Ulster and Breffnne against certain Irish enemies of the K., or English rebels, who are making war on the K. there and are destroying the K.’s people, and they are to come in the aforesaid manner, at the K.’s costs, to the Lt to make war elsewhere in Ire. that the Lt might request, to make war with him on certain Irish enemies and English rebels of the K. in those places. The Lt is to promise suitable remuneration to Bernardus for his good service and labours in such affairs.

In addition, Bernardus, Roricus and Magonius promise and agree for themselves and their subjects to make amends to the K. and the Lt for all transgressions and forfeits perpetrated against the English from the time of peace arranged between Bernardus and the Lt at the time when the present Lt was the deputy of Edmund, late earl of March and Ulster, then K.’s Lt in Ire., and this is to be achieved at the arbitration of four men, two English and two chosen by Bernardus, so that if they fail to reach an agreement, then two of them, one English and one chosen by Bernardus, are to decide, but if the matter is still in dispute, the Lt is to intervene and make his own arbitration. In a similar fashion, the decision of the English peers in the court of arbitration is to be observed by Bernardus and his men.

Moreover, Bernardus, Magonius, and their brother bind themselves to make satisfaction and pay damages for all transgressions committed by Magonius and his men against the English for all of the time during which Magonius had become the Lt’s man, and they are to satisfy the English peers in this manner, and that by submitting to the arbitration of two men, one English and one nominated by Magonius, whereby if there be dissent between them, the Lt is to step in and make judgement himself.

Also, the Lt, saving always the K.’s right and title, granted to Bernardus the subjection of Thomas McGwyer, captain of his lineage, until Bernardus can prove the subjection pertains to him at the court of the Lt. Furthermore, the Lt, saving always the K.’s right, promised Bernardus possession of all the lands of O Drenane, native lands of O Handlwen, by the right of pledge [iure pignoris], as Bernardus asserts they are bound to him, until by right of pledge, he can prove his right to them at the Lt’s court. And so that Ewegenius McMaghon can become the K.’s liege man, the Lt, saving always the K.’s right and title, granted him the lands that Magonius McMaghon and his men hold from him unjustly, with Ewegenius answering Bernardus for them just as Roricus and Magonius do for their lands.

Bernardus and his brothers wish for themselves and their men that if any of their men capture an Englishman, or an Englishman captures an Irishman of theirs, contrary to the tenor of the peace and subjection, they will be bound to the Lt in 40s. Similarly, if a horse worth 40s or more or less be stolen or abducted, whether with the connivance of the captain or not, it is to be restored to the rightful owner and a fine of 20s is to be paid to the Lt.

Moreover, all goods unjustly taken in the period of the truces in the month of May up to the inception of the peace, whether by Englishmen or Irishmen, are to be fully restored, excepting all things pertaining to Black [nigrum] O Shally, an Irishman, which are to be determined by Bernardus and the Lt.

Furthermore, Bernardus, Roricus and Magonius agree for themselves and their men that none of their men, whether on horseback or on foot, will create disturbances or enter English lands when seeking out food and victuals, but, instead, they may only enter the villis forensis of Louth, Dundalk and Ardee [Athirde] by the public highways [per vias puplicas], and may only return the same way. Those Irishmen coming among the English to expedite certain business with them, who are to be unarmed, save for swords and knives, are to be exempted and may freely come and go, so that any Irishmen who enter contrary to these stipulations may be arrested by the Englishmen and are to be held in custody at the will of the Lt.

Furthermore, for the consummation of the peace with the lord K., and to ensure that he and his men keep it in future, Bernardus will give to the Lt one of his elder sons and other hostages to be kept faithfully wherever the Lt may wish them to be kept.

For the greater security of what they had agreed as contained in this indenture, Bernardus, Roricus and Magonius all placed their hands on the sacred Gospels and swore an oath to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the archbishops, bishops, and other prelates of all Ire. in the certain knowledge that, were they to go back on their promises, the prelates would bring a sentence of excommunication against them. Also, were such agreements to be contravened, their lands would revert to ecclesiastical possession by excommunication as if against heretics, which is how judgment would be launched against them.

To confirm this agreement both the Lt and Bernardus McMaghon, captain of his lineage, affixed their seals in the presence of the following venerable men, viz.:

Brother John, prior of St Mary the Virgin, Louth;
the prior of St John the Baptist near Ardee;
John Bellew kt; John Hadsor kt; John Dowdall kt; Bartholomew Verdon kt; James White kt, sheriff of Louth; Nicholas Taaff kt; John Taaff, Robert Clinton, Richard Gernoun, and Richard Baget, esquires; Thomas White; William Cassell; Matthew Brok; Nicholas Wolfe; John Maull; and many other worthy men.

Given at Ardee, in the chamber of the prior of St John the Baptist, on 12 May [1425] 3 Hen VI [1425].1


TNA (PRO), E 30/1558.


CTNA, pp 218–19 (illustration §7).


CTNA, pp 216–22; RCH; NAI, Lodge MS 17, p. 15; BL, Egerton MS 78, p. 28; NLI, GO MS 193, p. 96.


1 This version is based primarily on the calendar of TNA (PRO), E 30/1558, given in CTNA, pp 216–22.

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.