Patent Roll 9 Henry IV

8 Dec. 1407

The provost and community of the town of Athboy, co. Meath, have shown by petition that their town has long been situated near the marches and has resisted both the K.'s English rebels and Irish enemies; it is now much impoverished by calamities and plague and they can not longer endure without aid and comfort from the K. They claim the following:

[1] The privilege to elect a provost from among themselves each year at Michaelmas at the court of the lord of Athboy in his castle, and to hold before him, the provost, pleas of all debts, accounts, trespasses, covenants, detinues, and all personal contracts occurring in the town and liberties; and pleas of novel disseisin concerning tenements within the boundaries of that town and liberty are to be held by the said provost in the hundred of that town, from quindene to quindene.
[2] They were accustomed to elect annually an officer called a serjeant to act concerning the pleas and execution of judgements, according to the custom of the town.
[3] And [they were accustomed] to have a weekly market in the town on Wednesday and Thursday from the ninth hour until the evening.
[4] And also various other good usages customs.

For the relief of that town, and to induce merchants and the K.'s faithful subjects to frequent it, RATIFICATION and APPROVAL of all uses and customs held of old by the burgesses of that town.

And further GRANT that the heirs and successors of the burgesses of the following liberties:

[1] They may have forever a guild merchant, with hanse and other customary liberties pertaining to the guild; and no one in that guild may have or make other merchandise in that town without the consent of the burgesses or their heirs.
[2] And that the burgesses may have sake and soke, toll and team, infangentheof and outfangthethe.
[3] And they shall be immune from tolls, lastage, passage, pontage, stallage and murage for all seaports throughout the K.'s dominions.
[4] And that no one shall make appeal against them.
[5] And they may have the pleas of the crown according to the custom of the city of Dublin; and that in all personal pleas in the court of the provost, process should be made by summons, attachment, distraint or capias, as the case requires.
[6] And no outside merchant may sell cloth or wine in that town by retail; and no outside merchant is to remain in that town selling goods for more than 40 days without licence of the provost and burgesses of the town; and no one shall trouble a merchant coming in peace to that town, or returning.
[7] The said burgesses and their heirs may hold a fair in the town each year, to be held for 15 days, viz. from the Vigil of SS Philip and James, the day of that feast and its morrow, and for twelve days afterwards, with all the franchises, liberties and customs belonging to a fair. And they may have for the town all the issues, amercements and profits of the said fair, for the use of the town.
[8] And the said burgesses and successors shall not be placed on assizes concerning foreigners; nor shall foreigners be placed on assizes with the burgesses in that town concerning the K. or the community of that town; and the said burgesses and their successors shall not be placed on appeals, pleas [etc.] or the court of any justice or minister of the K. concerning foreigners, but only for their fellow burgesses or other matters touching that town; nor are the burgesses to be made sheriffs, coroners or controllers outside the town against their will while they remain in the town.
[9] And the said burgesses, in the K.'s absence, may hold the assize of bread, wine and ale, and assay of weights and measures, and all other things pertaining to the office of clerk of the market; and they may punish those who transgress; and that all issues and profits of the assize and assay should be expended on the support and relief of that town. And that no baker or brewer should bake bread or brew ale in the town, against the will of the burgesses and community.
[10] The K.'s bailiff or other officer should not take any burgess of that town and imprison him so long as he can find surety, except for felonies; and that no burgess should be impleaded outside the town concerning any lands or tenements that lie within it, or for any trespasses [etc.] occurring within that town.
[11] No outside merchant may sell his goods by retail within the town, under pain of forfeiture; and that all foreigners selling wares are bound to contribute to all tallages and other things for the support of the town, according to the quantity of their goods bought or sold; and the provost has power to distrain concerning this.
[12] And GRANT that for the next 60 years, outside merchants shall pay to the burgesses of that town the following customs for the walling of the town:

on each dozen pieces of English cloth sold in the town, 1d;
on each 100 measures of linen, 1d;
on each 100 measures of Irish wool, 3d;
on each sum of salt or iron, ½d;
on each sum of corn, ¼d;
on each draught animal, ¼d;
on each cow, 1d.

And that all tallages, charges and contributions are to be faithfully spent by the provost of the town without accounting at the Ex. of Ire.

Robert [Montayne], bp Meath;
John [Maddock], bp Kildare;
Patrick [Barret], bp Ferns;
Gerald fitz Maurice, e. Kildare;
Robert Sutton, keeper of the g.s. of Ire.;
William Tynbegh, deputy T. of Ire.
Thomas Fleming kt, baron of Slane;
David Wogan kt;
Christopher Preston kt; and many others.1


NAI, RC 8/41, pp 251–9 (=an inspeximus dated 25 Jan. 1446); CPR Ire., 18–45 Eliz., pp 452–4; BL, Egerton MS 76, p. 147; RCH; NLI, GO MS 193, p. 56.


1 The enrolment was altogether destroyed by 1828. The text given here is from an inspeximus of 24 Hen. VI (=CIRCLE, PR 24 Hen. VI, §8).

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.