Patent Roll 7 Richard II

1 Dec. 1383

INSPEXIMUS of certain charters that William Marshal, sometime earl of Pembroke, caused to be made to his burgesses of Kilkenny, and also of the liberties, uses and customs hitherto used by the same burgesses in that town. These charters, liberties, uses and customs were allowed before Patrick de la Freigne kt, formerly seneschal of the royal liberty of county Kilkenny, in his eyre at Kilkenny on Monday, the feast of St Luke the Evangelist, 46 Edw. III [18 Oct. 1372], by due process upon a writ of that liberty of quo warranto and sealed by letters patent under the g.s. then used by the lords of the said royal liberty in their chancery there, and shown to the K. in his chancery of Ire., viz.:1

CHARTER of William I Marshal [1207x1211].2

'Know that I, William Marshal, e. Pembroke, by the counsel and consent of Isabella, my wife, have granted to my burgesses of Kilkenny the following liberties:

[1] First, that no burgess shall be impleaded or answer any plea arising within the bounds of the borough except in the hundred of the town, except pleas which are of the men of our household or our bailiffs; this hundred shall be held in the town.
[2] No homicide committed within the bounds of the town shall be deemed to be murdrum.
[3] No burgess shall be obliged to wage a duel for any appeal that may be made against him, except for the death of a man, or theft, or another plea for which a duel ought reasonably to be waged.
[4] Also, the burgesses are quit of toll, lastage, passage, pontage and all other customs throughout all our land and power.
[5] No burgess shall be put in mercy of money except by the judgement of the hundred, and that amercement also shall not exceed 10s in the greater pleas, of which half shall be pardoned and the other half rendered as an amercement; in the lesser pleas, however, as of bread and ale and night-watch and such matters, the amercement shall not exceed 2s, of which half shall be pardoned and the other half rendered as an amercement. If, however, anyone should incur an amercement for bread or ale or another similar forfeiture, on the first occasion the amercement shall not exceed 2s, of which half shall be pardoned as said before, and the other half rendered as an amercement; if he should incur forfeiture a second time, he shall pay 2s; and if he should incur it a third time, he shall sustain judgement or pay half a mark.
[6] The hundred shall be held only once a week.
[7] No burgess shall be impleaded by miskenning.
[8] Every burgess may plead without a motion [i.e. application to court].
[9] The burgesses may distrain their debtors by their goods [namia] which are found in the town of Kilkenny, and if by chance a plea should arise concerning pledges or distraints taken for debt, it shall be brought to trial in the hundred; and if by chance it should happen that a toll be taken from any burgess in our land or power, if he who took it is required to restore it and refuses, he shall be distrained to restore it at Kilkenny by the distraints of the place where he is, if any be found.
[10] No outside merchant may bake bread or have a wine tavern in the town of Kilkenny except for 40 days, and should he wish to have any such thing for longer, he shall remain only by the common consent of the burgesses and for the profit of the town.
[11] No burgess shall be distrained in our land or power for a foreign debt unless he be a pledge or principal debtor.
[12] No burgess shall be compelled to pledge anyone, even if he hold of him, unless he should freely will it.
[13] We have granted also to the same burgesses that they and their sons and daughters and widows may contract marriages without licence of their lords, unless by chance they hold outside tenements of us in chief outside the borough. None of the lords of whom the burgesses of Kilkenny hold outside tenements shall have the wardship or gift of them or their sons or daughters or widows, but only the wardship of their tenements until those who were in wardship be of full age, unless they hold of us in chief outside the borough as aforesaid.
[14] Our burgesses may have a guild of merchants and other guilds with those paying scot with every liberty pertaining to them, as is the custom of other good towns.
[15] The burgesses may dispose of their tenements which they hold in burgage as seems best to them, without unjust injury to their neighbours, whether buildings or gardens or orchards or anything else, and those who have their tenements near the water may extend them and build over the water if they wish.
[16] We have granted also to them that they may give, sell or pledge without our assent, except to religious men [i.e. members of religious orders] all their acquisitions, saving the services due from them.
[17] The burgesses may have common of our woods outside our defensive enclosure.
[18] No burgess shall be compelled to lend his chattels unless security is first given to restore them at a fixed term; and if by chance any burgess should voluntarily lend his chattels to our bailiffs, it shall be paid within 40 days if a fixed term were not agreed for restoration; and if by chance there has been a change of bailiffs, we or our bailiffs shall compel the retiring bailiff to restore to them the debt which they can reasonably show is owed to them.
[19] We have granted also to our same burgesses that they may make free tenants of their tenements by 20 feet of land, such that they might have common liberty with the burgesses.
[20] Also, our same burgesses may prove their debts by suit of law-worthy men.
[21] We have granted also that if any of their chattels are taken without cause because of an external penalty outside the borough, they shall be restored in so far as they can reasonably show that they are theirs.
[22] We have granted to the same burgesses that they may grind in our mills, by reasonable tolls.
[23] Further, we have granted to the same burgesses that they and their heirs may have and hold of us and our heirs, freely and quietly forever, their burgages with their appurtenances for an annual rent of twelve silver pence, payable half at Easter and the other half at Michaelmas.
[24] Also, we wish that no assize of victuals should be held in the borough, except by common assent of the burgesses and the judgement of our bailiffs.

Witnesses: Lord Hugh [de Rous], bp Ossory; John Marshall; John de Earley; Jordan Sanguill; Ralph s. of Pagan; Geoffrey s. of Robert; Milo s. of the bishop; Gilbert de Valle; Thomas fitz Anthony; Robert Smyth; Walter de Purcell; Thomas de Druhull; Odo Archdeacon; and Richard Fannyn and many others.'

CHARTER of William II Marshal, dated at Kilkenny, 5 April [1223] 7 Hen. III.3

[25] 'Know that we have granted to our burgesses of Kilkenny that they shall have and hold in peace whatever burgages or lands they have had and held for a whole year without any counter-claim by the delivery of our bailiffs or by purchase or in any just manner, and if anyone after the said term wishes to counter-claim against such lands or burgages and the plaintiff can show that he has greater right therein, he shall satisfy the tenant for his reasonable expenses which he has laid out on such lands or burgages and have that which he has by right reclaimed. We do not wish, however, that by this our grant any woman should lose her reasonable dower pertaining to her of such lands and burgages.

Witnesses: Myself and John Marshal; Thomas s. of Anthony, then seneschal of Leinster; Fulc s. of Garrin; Walter Purcell; William Gras the younger; Hamund Gras; master Deodatus; and many others.'

The burgesses also claim the following liberties [etc.]:

[26] To have hundred in that town before its provost.
[27] To hold personal pleas arising within the bounds of the town
[28] To hold pleas of agreement, of disobedience [hynys], of hue and cry, and of bloodshed. The amercement for bloodshed is 5s; and for hue and cry, 12d.
[29] To hold pleas of affrays.
[30] 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.
[31] 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.
[32] Tallages assessed by the sovereign and the twelve should be levied by the serjeants or burgesses of the town by distraints.
[33] 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.
[34] Concerning debts of 6d or less, the sovereign at the request of the plaintiff shall send his serjeant to the debtor, and if he acknowledges 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.
[35] They claim to have fairs in the town one a year at Pentecost and the fortnight following.
[36] The sovereign and bailiffs ought to choose two provosts of the merchant guild [de chepmenzild] each year at Michaelmas.
[37] 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.
[38] 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.
[39] They ought to have in that town a whipping-post, pillory and tumbrel [castigatorium, collistrigium, tumbrellum], and all pleas pertaining to them.
[40] 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.
[41] 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.
[42] They ought to have view of arms of all residents in the town, and put them in arms according to statute, and correct defaults.
[43] 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.
[44] 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.
[45] 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.
[46] 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.
[47] Burgesses or their servants or tenants convicted before any judge, and imprisoned, should be detained in the tholsel of the town and not elsewhere.
[48] 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.
[49] 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.
[50] The burgesses of that town shall not be compelled to perform military service [in 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.
[51] 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.
[52] They claim that they are not bound to answer for any tallage, charge or carucate unless assessed by the sovereign and community.
[53] 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.
[54] 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.
[55] Serjeants or burgesses may distrain for the rents and rights of various tenements charged of old both to provide lights before the image of BMV and also to repair that church.
[56] 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.
[57] 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.
[58] No foreign or outside merchant may dispose of goods without licence of the sovereign and burgesses.
[59] The sovereign and burgesses may lawfully shut their gates, if they have any, in time of war, uncertainty or peril.
[60] 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 will, so that that legacy shall remain firm and stable forever.
[61] The provost and serjeants have power to arrest anyone at the suit of any burgess complaining of a plea of debt.
[62] 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.
[63] 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.
[64] No outside merchants may buy any fresh skins within the bounds of that town, except by licence of the sovereign and community.
[65] The sovereign and community ought to choose a suitable clerk from the burgesses of the town to serve the lord of Kilkenny and the sovereign and community, by holding the court and making return and doing all and singular pertaining to the office of clerk of the town, receiving 20s p.a. as his fee from the lord of the town by the hands of the provosts, and 10s from the sovereign and community.'

APPROVAL, RATIFICATION and CONFIRMATION to the said burgesses and their heirs and successors of the said charters and everything contained in them, and also the said uses and customs. And further, wishing to show grace to the burgesses, LICENCE to them to enjoy and use the said liberties [etc.] although they or their predecessors may not have fully used those liberties, customs and uses before this.

Philip Courtenay, Lt

CPI, pp 80–2; Liber Primus Kilkenniensis, ed. McNeill, pp 68–82 (=Mac Niocaill, Na Buirgéisí, i, 135–49).


A. J. Otway-Ruthven (ed.), Liber Primus Kilkenniensis (Kilkenny, 1960), pp 5–15.


1 The numbered clauses below are summaries of the Latin text, the numeration corresponding to the edition in Mac Niocaill, Na Buirgéisí, i, pp 135–49.
2 The text of this charter is found in CPI, p. 33; Liber Primus Kilkenniensis, ed. McNeill, pp 71–4; trans. Bradley, Treasures of Kilkenny, pp 16–18); and also in A.J. Otway-Ruthven (trans.), Liber Primus Kilkenniensis (Kilkenny, 1960), pp 5–7.
3 CPI, 34; Liber Primus Kilkenniensis, pp 8–9, 68–9.

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.