Patent Roll 9 Henry V

28 Apr. 1421

[EXEMPLIFICATION of a petition in French of the peers and commons agreed in the last parliament held before James Butler, e. Ormond, at Dublin, and sent to the K. under the g.s. of Ire. in order to obtain remedy for various grievances.]1

'To the K.: these are the points and articles that the poor humble lieges of the land of Ire. have made, grievously complaining in the parliament lately held in the city of Dublin before the K.’s cousin James Butler, e. Ormond, Lt of Ire., and other the lords spiritual and temporal and the commons of the said land. And, in order to obtain a gracious remedy for these complaints the following persons were elected as messengers with the assent of said lords and commons assembled there to approach the K. to declare these articles to him, viz. the K.’s humble orator John [Swayne], archbishop of Armagh, primate of Ire., and Christopher Preston kt.

[1] First the K.’s poor lieges show to the K. that his land is for the greater part wasted and destroyed by the Irish enemies and English rebels, both by their continual wars upon the K.’s said lieges in each county of the said land, and also by various extortions, oppressions, non-payments and evil coignes imposed upon the K.’s lieges by various lieutenants and their deputies and by magnates and lineages of the same land, and by default of the due execution of the K.’s laws, by the omission of which that land has descended to so great a decline that it will never be relieved nor the said enemies and rebels chastised without the most sovereign and gracious presence of the K. within that land, as it appears to his said poor lieges, but rather the same land and the K.’s lieges there will in a short time be utterly lost and forever destroyed, which God forbid.

[2] The K.’s poor lieges state that former lieutenants of the said land and their deputies, although they had of the K.’s grant, revenues and profits for their support, committed, nevertheless, various extortions, oppressions, damages and grievances upon the K.’s said lieges by force and colour of their power, and expended little or nothing in the wars of the said land, in aid and comfort of the said lieges, and in safeguard of the land, but kept and retained the said revenues in the K.’s hand. The K.’s lieges, therefore trust that the said land will now be relieved, since the said revenues still remain in the K.’s hand unexpended, as aforesaid.

[3] The K.’s said lieges pray that the K.’s money under his mint may be made in his said land at his said city, viz. the two-pence, penny, halfpenny, and farthing in the same manner as it is made in the kingdom of Eng., with all manner of offices and ministers as are necessary in such a case, to the great profit and relief of the K.’s said lieges.

[4] The K.’s said lieges show that at the first coming of the K.’s most noble predecessor, Richard II, to the said land, most of the great chieftains of the Irish nation, that is to say, Macmorogh, Oneil, Obreene of Thomond, Oconor of Connacht, and various other Irish, most humbly and of their free will submitted and became liege men to him and his heirs, kings of Eng., for themselves, their children, kindred, and people for ever, and at that time did their liege homage; and also for greater surety, they bound themselves, of their own free will, by various instruments, as appear in various forms, to the most holy father the pope, and his successors, for the firmly keeping their allegiance; the which instruments remain in the K.’s said treasury of Eng., as the said lieges suppose; but since that time the said persons openly became outlaws and rebels, and wasted and destroyed the said lieges, against the form aforesaid promised. The said lieges, therefore, ask the K. to inform the most holy father the pope, by the K.’s most gracious letters, the said matters and things, with their circumstances, so that a crusade might be made against the said Irish enemies for the relief and salvation of the said land and of your said lieges, and in perpetual destruction of the said enemies by the aid of God.2

[5] The K.’s lieges grievously complain that in the parliament held at Dublin in the quindene Hilary 4 Hen. V [1417] before John Talbot of Hallomshire kt, then Lt of Ire., the K.’s orator and chaplain Thomas Cranley, then archbishop of Dublin (whom God assoil), was elected as messenger to approach the K. to expound the state and governance of Ire., whereupon the message was engrossed and finished by certain scribes appointed by authority of that parliament. And when the message was engrossed, the said engrossers prayed and required Laurence Merbury kt, C. of Ire., to permit the message to be sealed with the g.s. of Ire., then in his custody. The said C. refused and denied the g.s., to the great detriment of the said land, as more fully appears by an instrument then made. The said lieges ask that, because the said C. of Ire. is in Eng. by order of the K., that the K. should cause him to appear before him to declare the reason why he would not affix the seal to the said message, and they also ask the K. to make and ordain a remedy so that a similar situation might not arise again.

[6] The K.’s lieges inform the K. that being burdened with various intolerable charges and wars from day to day, the holders of land, craftsmen and labourers of the said land are daily leaving the same in great numbers, going to the kingdom of Eng. and staying there. Because of this the cultivation of the said land is greatly injured and disused, and the K.’s said lieges greatly enfeebled in resisting the malice of the K.’s said enemies. Therefore they seek a remedy.

[7] The K.’s lieges show that shortly after the coronation of Henry V, Sir John Stanley (whom God assoil) was the K.’s Lt of Ire.; and at that time, and in time of Henry IV and Richard II, the said John paid little or nothing of his debts to the K.’s said lieges, but committed various extortions and oppressions from time to time against the form of the K.’s laws and to the great injury of his said land. They ask the K., therefore, to compel the heirs of the said John Stanley, who was greatly enriched by the goods of the said land, to come into the said land and make payment of his debts, and amend the defaults done by him.

[8] The K.’s lieges show that after the death of the said Sir John Stanley, the reverend father in God, Thomas [Cranley], abp Dublin (whom God assoil), was elected by the K.’s council of Ire. as Jcr of Ire.; and he governed benignly and honestly, making reasonable payment to the K.’s said lieges, without committing any extortions or oppressions upon them. And the K.’s said lieges were greatly pleased and well contented by his governance and signify to the K. that such good government should be taken as a good example in the future.

[9] The K.’s lieges complain that in the time of Sir John Talbot, Lt of Ire., many great and excessive extortions and oppressions were committed both upon the religious and others of holy church, and also upon the K.’s said lieges; and he took their goods and chattels, paying little or nothing for them, by which the K.’s said lieges were very much injured and impoverished. Therefore they ask the K. to order the said Sir John, together with his deputies, attorneys and officers in the said land, to make amends for these extortions and oppressions and to make due payment to the K.’s said lieges, to the great succor, aid and relief of their poor estate.

[10] The K.’s lieges show that in the times of the K.’s most noble progenitors and predecessors, viz. Edward III and Richard II, formerly kings of Eng., certain commissioners and faithful men of might and ability were sent, by order of those kings, to Ire. to inquire into the acts of the lieutenants, justiciars, and keepers of Ire., and concerning their governance, extortions, oppressions, non-payments and other damages done to the said lieges, and to inform the K. concerning them from time to time; and they state that in those times the land of Ire. was in a much better state and health than it is now. And since the coronation of Henry V, such commissioners, although promised, have not come into the land to inquire as aforesaid. They ask the K., therefore, to consider the said matter and to send such loyal and faithful persons of his kingdom into Ire. to inquire by commission concerning all the K.’s lieutenants, officers and other ministers in Ire., and concerning all the ministers and officers of their governance, and concerning their extortions, oppressions, excesses, non-payments, preys, damages, false imprisonments and all other grievances committed or perpetrated by them, or any of them, since the coronation, and to inform the K. concerning them, so that a suitable remedy might be had, to the great profit and advantage of the K.’s said lieges for all time.

[11] The K.’s lieges show that in K.’s parliament held before [James Butler, e. Ormond] the present Lt, the said Lt was requested by the said lieges to observe the K.’s laws and suppress all manner of extortions and oppressions, and to make due payment to the K.’s said lieges. And the Lt declared that, with the aid of God, he, by all his power, would keep all the K.’s said laws and make due payment of his debts; and if he should not receive from the K. sufficient [money] to pay the K.’s lieges, he promised at the same time in that parliament before all the estates there that at the end of his term he would assign the rents of certain of his lands, of his best living, without taking any rents from them until due payment should be made to the K.’s said lieges, who greatly thanked the Lt both for this and because the said Lt had abolished an evil and very heinous and intolerable custom called coigne, which for a long time had been used in the K.’s said land upon his said lieges, to the very great injury of them and their affairs. In these matters the Lt has borne himself well as ever, and would have done more if he had sufficient support. Therefore the said lieges ask the K. to thank and supply him and charge him to continue that policy.

[12] The K.’s lieges show that certain persons, not learned in writing nor in letters, have certain offices in the Ex. of Ire. and fill them with deputies; and some, both clerks as others, hold and occupy two or three offices in the same Ex.; and great and excessive fees are taken by them from the K.’s said lieges, and other extortions are committed upon them because of the great farms that they pay to their masters, and the said offices are not so duly kept and served as they used to be and ought to be. Therefore they ask the K. to consider this matter and ordain a suitable remedy.

[13] The K.’s lieges show that they are ruled and governed by the laws used in the kingdom of Eng., and, so that they might be informed and acquire a knowledge of those laws, the K.’s said lieges have sent able persons, of good and gentle birth (your English lieges born in your said land) to certain inns of court, where they have been received from the time of the conquest of Ire., until now lately, when the governors and companies of those inns would not receive the said persons into the said inns, as they had been accustomed to do. Therefore they ask the K. to consider this matter and ordain a suitable remedy, so that the K.’s laws may be continued and not forgotten in his said land.3

[14] The K.’s lieges complain that the Castilians, Scots and other enemies, from various parts, for a long time past, have kept the sea between the kingdom of Eng. and the land of Ire.; and the K.’s faithful lieges and merchants have been robbed, imprisoned and plundered, and often slain, to their very great injury and distress. Therefore they ask the K. to consider this matter and ordain a suitable remedy, so that his land shall not be without merchandise.

[15] The K.’s lieges show that by a statute made in Eng. it was ordained that the escheator of each county should possess within the county of which he was escheator sufficient lands, rents and tenements to answer for his defaults, both to the K. and to the party. Notwithstanding this, the K.’s escheator of Ire., staying in Eng. (just as many other escheators did before him), has appointed deputies in various counties within the K.’s said land, who have neither sufficient nor indeed any possessions within those counties according to the form of the said statute, and have done and committed great damages and oppressions upon the K.’s said lieges, by reason of the great farms they send to their masters, to the great damage and impoverishment both of the K. and also of his lieges. Therefore they ask the K. to consider this matter and to ordain that his present escheator of Ire., as well as all other escheators in the future, shall only appoint a deputy in the said land who has sufficient lands and tenements within the said county where he is deputy, as the said statute requires.

[16] The K.’s lieges show that Edward III, late K. of Eng. (whom God assoil), among other things, granted a pardon and general release to all his lieges of Eng., Ire. and Gascony, and all his other lieges for the souls of his most revered father and mother and the souls of his most noble progenitors, of all manner of debts and accounts owed to himself or any of his progenitors, as appears by his letters patent, enrolled in his exchequers of Eng. and Ire., which most gracious pardon was a very great relief and improvement to the said land. And later the present K., of his most abundant grace soon after his coronation, granted a pardon to all his lieges who should, within a certain limited time, make suit to the K., of all manner of debts, accounts and other articles, as appears by the K.’s patents made concerning this to various of the K.’s lieges. And the K.’s said lieges of Ire., for the greater part, not knowing that the said pardon was so generally granted, and also the period to which your said pardon was limited, made no suit at the fountain of the K.’s abundant grace. Therefore they ask the K. to consider their poor estate and the intolerable burden that they sustain, and grant, for the benefit of the souls of his most noble father and mother and of all his other progenitors and predecessors (whom God assoil!), the same pardon to his said lieges.

[17] The K.’s lieges show that in the parliament held in 3 Ric. II [1380], it was ordained that all persons of whatever estate or condition who possessed any lands, rents, benefices or possessions within the said land of Ire., being then outside of the said land, should dispatch themselves to Ire. before St John the Baptist then next coming, and stay there thenceforward in aid and defence of the said land. And all those who had castles and fortalices in the said land should repair them and keep them in suitable condition, for their protection. And any such persons who should be absent out of the said land after the said feast should find, have and place in their stead capable men, for the defence of the said land, as necessity requires, having due regard to the quantity and value of the said lands, rents, offices and other possessions. And if they should not do so, then two thirds of the profits of the said lands, rents, offices, and possessions were to be levied by the justiciars and governors of the said land for the time being, and expended and appropriated in the defence of the said land. Provided nevertheless that only one third of the value of benefices be raised from all those who were absent because staying and studying in a university or otherwise outside that land for a reasonable cause by license of the K. under the g.s. of Eng., the ordinary expenses and necessaries only being deducted according to the certificate of their ordinaries, just as is more fully contained in the said ordinance. And now various persons, the K.’s faithful lieges of Ire., when they go away to foreign parts—some by citation of the pope, both at his suit and also at the suit of a party, and other persons to seek various graces from the pope; and others dwelling in Eng., both in the schools and universities and also to acquire the knowledge of the common law as apprentices of the courts of law; and various persons by license under your g.s. of Ire., and other persons without license but who have sufficient men in their places—have been vexed and grieved by the officers of the Ex. of Ire., notwithstanding that the said persons are absentees and dwellers out of the said land by reason of their study; and often the two parts of the issues and profits of their said lands, tenements, offices and possessions in the same land are entirely taken, as if they were absentees from the said land without license, to the great injury of the K.’s said poor lieges. Therefore they ask the K., by the advice of his most wise council, to declare and certify to the Lt of Ire., and his officers, the effect and intent of the said statute, how and in what manner his said lieges should be governed in this matter in the future, to the great comfort and relief of the K.’s said poor lieges.

[20] The K.’s lieges petition concerning the K.’s poor orator John Randolf clk, parson of the church of Galtrim, diocese of Meath (who sues both on behalf of the K. and for himself) showing how the temporalities of the bishopric of Meath, of which the advowson of the said church is a parcel, were seized into the K.’s hand for certain reasons and how that church became void by the consecration of John Swayne clk to the archbishopric of Armagh, by which, the temporalities being the K.’s hands, the said John Randolf was presented to that church by the right and title of the K., and was instituted and inducted in the same by the ordinary of the same diocese. Notwithstanding this one Thomas Prys chaplain purchased from the pope a bill to be parson of the said church, after the said voidance, without making mention of the K.’s title. That Thomas and various others, confederating with him, have said and declared at the court of the pope that the K. had no right to present to any church, when the temporalities were thus in his hands, because the said voidance did not occur on account of the death of the bishop of that place; to the disherison of the K., and the great damage and injury of the said John. Therefore they ask the K. to ordain a proper remedy according to his most sage discretion against the said persons who have made such declaration in support and salvation of the rights of his crown.

[19] The K.’s lieges show how lieutenants and other governors of the K.’s said land have, before this time, had power to receive the homage of the K.’s tenants-in-chief; and those who are now ready to do their homage are prevented, because the present Lt of Ire. has no power to receive it; and so the K.’s tenants must cross overseas to appear before the K. to do homage, which would be a very great grievance to your said land, on account of the resistance of the K.’s enemies therein. Therefore they ask the K. to consider the said matter and, if it please the K., to grant his present Lt and other governors of Ire. in the future full power to receive the homage of the K.’s said tenants; and also full power to presentable parsons and make collation to all manner of dignities, prebends, churches, hospitals, chantries, free chapels and other benefices of holy church whatsoever, with or without cure of souls, of your donation, collation, or presentation in whatever manner appertaining, considering that in the times of such voidances, divine service would be greatly frustrated, and the souls in such churches neither duly kept or governed.

In testimony of these points and articles the K.’s servant and poor chaplain Hugh Bavent, deputy to Sir Laurence Merbury, C. of Ire., has placed the g.s. of Ire., now in his keeping, at the request of the said lords and us, your said poor commons, in your said parliament.

Done, agreed, and given at the K.’s said city [of Dublin], 28 April [1421] 9 Hen. V.'


Stat. John–Hen. V, pp 562–84; NLI, [Harris] MS 4, ff 219–22.


Betham, Const. Eng. & early parl. Ire., pp 335–50; RCH; NLI, GO MS 193, p. 92; BL, Egerton MS 78, p. 27.


1 The original enrolment was in French, the language of the petition.
2 The French text of this article is also printed (with the abbreviations expanded) in Elizabeth Matthew, 'Henry V and the proposal for an Irish crusade', in Brendan Smith (ed.), Ire. and the English world in the Middle Ages: essays in honour of Robin Frame (Basingstoke, 2009), p. 170.
3 This article of the petition is also given in translation in Betham, Const. Eng. & early parl. Ire., 237.

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.