Saturday, December 10, 2016

Carlingford Castle: owners and constables

Carlingford Castle: owners and constables

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

Carlingford castle stands on the west side of Carlingford Lough with the ruins of Greencastle on the east side – both built to protect the seaward entrance to the Lough and the medieval gateway to Ulster. This article is a recollection of the owners and constables of Carlingford castle from when the castle was erected in the 1190s to the late medieval ages at the end of the fifteenth century.  

Early years of Carlingford castle

In the late twelfth Bertram de Verdun was granted the whole Cooley peninsula in the years 1189-91 when Prince John was Lord of Ireland. But Bertram de Verdun didn’t get time to settle the area with colonists before his death in 1192. In 1195, Thomas de Verdun, son of Bertram, considered the Cooley not to be of strategic importance to the family’s Irish estates. In that year he gave a large part of the Cooley to Hugh de Lacy after the latter married Thomas’s sister, Lescelina de Verdun. Hugh de Lacy succeeded in developing the Cooley and founded the town of Carlingford. Although Carlingford castle is often described as ‘King John’s castle’ it is more likely that Hugh de Lacy was responsible for its construction.[1] 

The original structure of the castle was possibly oval in shape but this was changed in the 1260s with the erection of the two story great hall on one side. In the nineteenth century a deep railway cutting beside the castle isolated it from the town and makes the structure stand out in the landscape.[2]

Plan of Carlingford castle by OPW

Rebellion of Hugh de Lacy

In 1208 Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Ulster, supported the rebellion of William de Braose against King John but it was not until the summer of 1209 that King John had removed the possible Scottish invasion of England and could safely take an army to Ireland. King John landed at Crook, near Waterford in June 1210 and moved northwards against de Lacy and de Braose. By 9th July 1210 the King’s army had reached Carlingford where Henry Fitz Earl received ten marks for taking two galleys northwards with a message from King John. The King’s army stayed at Carlingford for three days before moving on to Jordan de Sackville’s castle on 12th July. The King’s army moved north through east Ulster until 19th July when the army besieged and captured Carrickfergus castle.

Hugh de Lacy had abandoned all his other castles, including Carlingford, in the hope of holding out in Carrickfergus but the siege was short lived. Hugh de Lacy and his brother Walter de Lacy escaped from Carrickfergus castle but many of their followers were captured. After the end of the de Lacy rebellion King John turn south back through east Ulster. On 2nd August he reached Carlingford and stayed four days playing games and directing the rebuild of the castle. Nicholas the carpenter received 20s while Master Osbert the quarryman and Alberic the ditcher got 10s each.[3]

Carlingford area in royal hands

After the rebellion the de Lacy lands in Meath and Ulster were taken into royal ownership including Carlingford and the Cooley. In May 1212 King John granted one knight’s fee by the sea near Carlingford in Ulster to Reginald, King of Man.[4] In the same year £8 6s 8d was spent on the garrison of Carlingford castle for one year.[5] The castle was then a royal castle.

Roger Pipard of Co. Louth was lord of Carlingford and the Cooley under commission from King John. On 6th July 1215 King John sent a command to Roger Pipard to deliver to the attorney of Henry, Archbishop of Dublin, the castles of Carlingford, Antrim and Rath along with the bailiwicks of Ulster and Uriel (Louth).[6] This was so that the Archbishop could surrender the castles and territory to the new justiciar of Ireland, Geoffrey de Marisco.[7]

Richard de Burgh, constable of Carlingford, 1217

Sometime after July 1215 custody of Carlingford castle was given to Richard de Burgh. This Anglo-Norman was the son of William de Burgh and a daughter of Donal Mor, King of Thomond. Before 1225 Richard de Burgh married Egidia de Lacy, daughter of Walter de Lacy, and Margaret de Braose and thus related to the Earl of Ulster. In 1224 Richard de Burgh began to make real the grant of Connacht to his father and became the 1st Lord of Connacht. The de Burgh/Burke family were important lords in Connacht for centuries afterwards.

On 17th January 1217 a mandate was sent by the King’s council at Oxford to Richard de Burgh to deliver the King’s castle of Carlingford to Geoffrey de Marisco, justiciar of Ireland. On the same day Roger Pipard was to deliver the King’s castle at Rath to the justiciar.[8] But the two castles could not be delivered to the justiciar as they were previously seized by William de Lacy. William de Lacy was a half-brother of Walter de Lacy and was sent into Meath and Ulster by his brother to make the place ungovernable without a de Lacy in charge. In late January 1217 King Henry III sent a command to William de Lacy to give up the castles to the justiciar and pay for any damages done to the castles by William.[9] 

Carlingford still a royal castle

On 4th October 1221 Geoffrey de Marisco surrendered to the King all the royal lands in Ireland and the office of justiciar. But it was found that it was not customary to surrender the royal castles by messenger or letter and therefore Geoffrey sent Roger Huscari and David Basset to Westminster. The royal castles delivered up to the King were Dublin, Limerick, Roscrea, Athlone, Carrickfergus and Carlingford among others. Following the ceremony of surrender the King sent a letter to Geoffrey de Marisco to deliver the royal castles to the new justiciar, Henry, Archbishop of Dublin.[10]

On 25th June 1226 King Henry III wrote to Geoffrey de Marisco, justiciar of Ireland, that he was committing to Walter de Lacy a number of castles and estates in Ireland for three years. Among the castles were Carrickfergus, Antrim and Rath which were formerly held by Hugh de Lacy and Carlingford castle.[11]

Carlingford in de Lacy ownership

Throughout the 1220s the de Lacy family were negotiating for their restoration of the Earldom of Ulster. On 15th August 1226 the King granted Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Ulster, a number of fairs at his manors of Ratoath, Nobber and Carlingford. The fair at Carlingford was on the vigil and feast of the Assumption and the thirteenth days after (14-28 August).[12] In April 1227 King Henry III restored Hugh de Lacy to his lands in Ulster and Meath.[13] When Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Ulster, died in 1243 without male heirs the Earldom of Ulster was taken into royal hands. The King’s seneschals administrated the Earldom until 1254 when Prince Edward was granted Ulster with the rest of Ireland on his marriage to Eleanor of Castile.[14]

Fitzgerald ownership of Carlingford, 1229

In 1229 Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Ulster, granted the castle and town of Carlingford to David Fitzgerald, 3rd Baron of Naas, on the latter’s marriage with Hugh’s daughter Matilda. David Fitzgerald was then of the senior line of the Fitzgerald family in Ireland. The junior branches that later became the Earls of Kildare and Desmond were the survivors of succession as they produced male heirs. The House of Naas ended with David as he left only females heirs.[15] The grant also included lands in Meath and Limerick.[16]

In 1244 Carlingford was chosen as the place of embarkation for the King’s army in Ireland going overseas to invade Scotland.[17] In about 1261 a large construction project was started at the east side of Carlingford castle overlooking the harbour. A two-storeyed hall was built with attached buildings.[18]

Butler ownership of Carlingford, 1280

In about 1280 David Fitzgerald, 3rd Baron of Naas, granted half the lordship of Carlingford to John the Butler on the latter’s marriage with David’s daughter Matilda along with land at Ratoath and Carrickittle in Limerick. David retained the castle and town of Carlingford.[19] Sometime shortly later, Matilda de Lacy gave to her daughter, Matilda de Butler, the castle of Carlingford and the Cooley to hold forever. This grant was in exchange for land given by Matilda de Butler in the Barony of Naas. On 12th November 1280 Matilda de Lacy wrote to all her tenants in Carlingford telling them of her grant of same to Matilda de Butler and that Matilda de Butler was now their lord.[20]

Loundres ownership of Carlingford, 1304

Matilda de Butler and her husband John de Butler had five daughters, Matilda (wife of William de Loundres), Margaret (wife of Richard de Loundres), Johanna (wife of Walter Lenfant), Rosia (wife of Gerald de Rupe) and Lecelina (wife of Geoffrey Bryt).[21] In 1304 Matilda de Butler gave Carlingford castle and the town along with the Cooley to her grandson William de Loundres, son of her daughter Matilda de Loundres, to hold forever while giving Matilda de Butler thirty pounds of silver for her life. On 11th April 1304 Matilda de Butler appointed William son of Thomas, clerk, as her attorney to transfer the manor of Carlingford to William de Loundres.[22]

De Burgh ownership of Carlingford, 1305

In 1243 William de Burgh succeeded his father Richard de Burgh as lord of Connacht. In 1264 William de Burgh was created 1st Earl of Ulster of the new creation by Prince Edward and acquired the Earldom of Ulster in exchange for the manor of Kilsheelan and other lands in Munster with the Prince.[23] In 1271 William de Burgh was succeeded by his son Richard de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, who obtained seisin of his estates in 1280.

On 13th May 1305 Nigel de Brun gave to William de Loundres, Lord of Athboy, one carucate of land at Molymartel which Philip Woodlock once held. This grant was made at the Loundres manor of Carlingford but the manor would not long remain in the family. On 25th June 1305 Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster and Lord of Connacht gave William de Loundres, Lord of Athboy, one messuage, one water mill, two carucates and 80 acres of land along with 74 acres of meadow, 220 acres of pasture and moor at Molymartel in exchange for the manor, castle and town of Carlingford and the land of Cooley and 245 marks. The advowson of Carlingford church was excluded from the sale as it was held by the Knight’s Templar.[24]

It is not clear what immediate impact the de Burgh purchase of Carlingford had on the town and castle. it was possibly just a case of business as usual. In 1315 the quiet surroundings of Carlingford was broken by the sounds of war as Edward Bruce invaded Ulster. Greencastle was taken and a Scottish garrison installed under an Irishman. By 29th June Dundalk was taken and destroyed. In July the justiciar marched north through Dundalk and Carlingford in the company of Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, among many others. The Scots retreated into Ulster. At Carlingford the justiciar halted his army and allowed Richard de Burgh command of part of the army to pursue the Scots. On 3rd October the Scots suddenly gave battle at Connor after previously persuading the O’Connors of Connacht to leave the Earl’s army. The Earl of Ulster fought bravely but had to give up his position and fled to Connacht to try to control the waring O’Connors. The Earl was later imprisoned by the citizens of Dublin on the accusation of assisting the Scottish army.[25] The Earl’s daughter, Elizabeth had married Robert the Bruce in 1302.

Geoffrey le Blound, constable of Carlingford, 1320

It is not clear how Carlingford castle performed in the Scottish invasion which was eventually defeated in 1318. In 1320 Geoffrey le Blound was appointed constable of Carlingford castle.[26] On 30th July 1326 the bailiffs of Carlingford received letters patent from King Edward II to aid with enclosing their town with a stone wall, for six years.[27]

Richard de Burgh died in 1326 and was succeeded by his grandson, William de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster. The young Earl of Ulster left the administration of Connacht to his cousin, Walter de Burgh but Walter ran his own show in Connacht to the disquiet of the Earl. When the Earl tried to impose order on his barons it led to resistance. On 6th June 1333 the Earl was on his way from Newtownards to Carrickfergus when at Belfast he was treacherously murdered by John de Logan with Robert, son of Richard de Mandeville and Robert, son of Martin de Mandeville. Richard de Mandeville was the husband of Gyle de Burgh, sister of Walter de Burgh.

William de Burgh’s widow, Matilda, daughter of Earl Henry of Lancaster, fled to England with her infant daughter Elizabeth, heir to Ulster and Connacht.[28] After the murder of William de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, Carlingford castle was taken into the King’s hand by reason of the minority of the Earl’s heir.

At the time of his death in 1333 William de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, held the castle and manor of Carlingford in County Louth of the king in chief for the service of one knight’s fee. The property also included the Cooley and the new town of Cooley along with property at Ballykan, Maydensland, Knockegan, Ballylug, Dunregan, and Kingsland to name but a few.[29]

Byndo Guydelot, constable of Carlingford, 1334

On 11th December 1334 King Edward III wrote to the escheator of Ireland to deliver Carlingford castle to his yeoman, Byndo Guydelot of Florence who was recently granted custody of the castle. The escheator was to ensure that Byndo was paid the accustomed fee out of the issues of le Coly and other lands attached to the castle.[30] In September 1339 the King promised to repay a loan of 100 marks received from Byndo Geyl, merchant of Florence.[31] Was this person the same as that constable of Carlingford? It is difficult to say for sure.

Lionel, Duke of Clarence ownership of Carlingford, 1347

After her escape from Ireland Elizabeth de Burgh settled in England as the most sought after heiress of her day. At an early time King Edward III betrothed the young heiress to his third son, Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence. They were married in 1352 but in 1347 Lionel gained possession of her Irish estates and was made 4th Earl of Ulster and 5th Lord of Connacht. Elizabeth de Burgh died in 1363 and Lionel of Antwerp died in 1368. Their only child, Philippa Plantagenet was born in August 1355 at Eltham Palace. At the time of his death in 1368 Lionel was seized of the manor of Carlingford among other places. Carlingford was held of the king in chief by the service of one knight’s fee.[32]    

Mortimer ownership of Carlingford, 1369

In August 1369 Philippa Plantagenet married Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March, and Carlingford passed into the Mortimer family. Edmund Mortimer served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in the 1370s and on 27th December 1381 died at Cork. On the death of Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March and Ulster, his lands in England, Wales and Ireland came into the King’s hands because of the minority of his heir, Roger Mortimer.[33]

Walter Somery, constable of Carlingford, 1382

Because of the better survival of royal records compared to those of the large landed gentry we get the names of some constables of Carlingford castle from 1382 onwards as the Mortimer estates were for a long time held by the crown due to the minority of a number of hers. On 1st June 1382 Walter Somery was granted the office of constable of the castle of Carlingford and Greencastle in Ulster; and seneschal of the lordships of Coly and Mournes, and receiver of the said lordship of Mournes; along with keeper of both parts of the ferry-toll between Greencastle and le Coly. Walter Somery was to take a fee of £20 per year from the issues of the lordship, together with the profits of the said ferry-toll and other fees belonging to the said castles by right or custom. During his time as constable Walter Somery was to render faithful accounts of the issues and profits of the lordship to the Exchequer in Dublin. In this grant it appears that Carlingford was the secondary castle as Walter Somery was instructed to stay continually in person at Greencastle for its safe custody.[34]

John White, constable of Carlingford, 1380s

Sometime after 1382 Walter Somery was replaced as constable of Carlingford castle by John White. Presumingly Greencastle and the lordship of the Mourne Mountains remained by Walter. On 8th May 1387 John White was replaced as constable at Carlingford by Hugh More.[35]

Hugh More, constable of Carlingford, 1387

On 8th May 1387 Hugh More was appointed constable of Carlingford castle, by Robert de Vere, Marquis of Dublin, with the accustomed fees. Carlingford was granted to Robert de Vere, one of the chief favourites of King Richard II, during the minority of Roger de Mortimer.[36] John White was ordered to deliver Carlingford castle to Hugh More.[37] In the summer of 1388 the Lord of Nithsdale plundered and burnt Carlingford with 500 men before re-joining the Scottish army in the north of England.[38]

Edmund Loundres, constable of Carlingford, 1388

Hugh More didn’t remain long as constable of Carlingford, possibly because he failed to defend the place against the Scots. On 18th August 1388 Edmund Loundres was appointed constable of Carlingford castle for six years for the Marquis of Dublin. Edmund was also responsible for the lands attached to the castle and in the lordship the Cooley peninsula.[39]

On the following day, 19th August 1388, Edmund Loundres was allowed to have Carlingford castle without rendering anything for the first year and £16 per year afterwards to the Exchequer. This generous conditions of employment was because at that time the castle at time was described as ‘being out of repair and unsafe’ hence the need for Edmund Loundres to spend extra money on repairs, over and above the normal repair bill. William, son of Nicholas Nugent, baron of Delvin, and John Loundres of Co. Meath agreed to act as guarantors for Edmund Loundres to pay the rent.[40] In the time of King John Carlingford was located within the lordship of Ulster but by 1388 it and the Cooley Peninsula were in Co. Louth.[41]

Meanwhile English politics was to change the governance of Carlingford. In 1386 the fear of a full scale invasion from France and other issues turned the chief barons against King Richard II and his royal favourites, one of the chief favourites was Robert de Vere. In October 1386 the royal government was placed under Parliamentary rule for one year. King Richard toured Wales and the Midlands gathering support with de Vere by his side. But in late 1387 the King’s attempt to recover power met with complete collapse. After the defeat at Radcot Bridge De Vere fled overseas and died at Louvain in 1392. The Lordship of Ireland now resumed under the Commission. In April 1388 an order was sent to the Bishop of Meath, justiciar of Ireland for de Vere, to destroy all the Irish seals of de Vere and regrant all the appointment made by de Vere.[42] This order was not immediately put into operation as the appointment of Edmund Loundres to Carlingford was made in August 1388 in the name of Robert de Vere.[43]

On 28th June 1389 Edmund Loundres was appointed by King Richard II as constable of Carlingford castle and lord of the Cooley. Edmund Loundres asked to be allowed hold the castle without rendering for the first two years as the attached lands were so burned and wasted by the King's enemies.[44] The O’Neill Mor was steadily pressing on the colonists of Ulster for a number of years and the Dublin government was unable to take effective action against him. Only with the capture of O’Neill’s son did John de Stanley, justiciar of Ireland, advance to Ulster. On 20th February 1390 a peace treaty was made with O’Neill which held for a number of years.[45]

Instead of two years free rent Edmund Loundres was allowed to levy the issues and profits of Carlingford and the Cooley for a further two years following the first two years for his own use and for the maintenance of the castle.[46]

Carlingford royal service

The security situation around Carlingford had become so serious that two royal services were summoned to defend the district. In 1388 following the Scottish attack the first service was made with limited response.[47] On 16th February 1392 another royal service was proclaimed for all the chief lords of Ireland to appear at Carlingford well-armed with their soldiers. Not everyone answered the call and Thomas Butler was fined 60s for non-appearance. On 2nd May 1392 he had this reduced to 20s because his lands at Ballymellyn were in waste and he couldn’t pay the original fine.[48]

Roger Mortimer succeeds to Carlingford

By the grant of 1388 Edmund Loundres was made constable of Carlingford for six years, i.e. to end in 1394. It is not sure if he served the full six years or got a renewal of his appointment. On 18th June 1393 Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March and 6th Earl of Ulster, recovered his Irish estates from the hands of the crown. It is possible that Roger Mortimer appointed his own man to be constable of Carlingford. Roger Mortimer spent much of his adult life as he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1382 while still a child. As the nearest blood relation to King Richard II, Roger Mortimer was accepted by many as heir-presumptive to the throne. On 20th July 1398 while out riding near Kellistown, Co. Carlow, Roger Mortimer was killed in a skirmish with Irish troops. Roger’s death left the vast Mortimer inheritance in another royal wardship as his son Edmund Mortimer was only seven years old.[49]

Mortimer arms

Stephen Gernon, constable of Carlingford, 1400

Because of the Mortimer minority Carlingford came once again into royal hands. By 1400 Stephen Gernon was constable of Carlingford castle under that royal commission. The Gernon family were long residents in County Louth. On 28th April 1400 Stephen Gernon was allowed to receive £20 from the foreign betaghs in the lordship of Mourne for the custody of Greencastle. For the custody of Carlingford castle, Stephen Gernon was allowed 100s (£5) with castell muse and other appurtenances.[50]

By this grant it appears that Greencastle was considered the more important castle to defend. This also repeats opinion of the earlier grant to Walter Somery in 1382 where he was instructed to live at Greencastle and just act as constable of Carlingford.[51]

On 27th November 1400 Stephen Gernon, constable of the two castles of Greencastle and Carlingford, got a licence to take for his money grain and tithes within the lordship of Cooley for the victualling of the two castles.[52] A year later, on 12th December 1401 John and Thomas More received a licence to buy 40 crannocks of wheat and oats from grain offered for sale in Co. Louth and to transport them to the castles of Carlingford and Greencastle for the victualling of same.[53]

But shortly after Stephen Gernon ran into trouble as he was accused on involvementin the murder of John Dowdall, sheriff of Louth, and along with James White and Christopher White had judgements passed against him. A fourth person, Sir Bartholomew de Verdun was outlawed. In 1404 the four petitioned the King to have the judgements annulled and their lands restored as they had nothing to live on in England. This petition was not successful and in 1406 Stephen, James and Christopher asked for an annulment of their outlawry and a pardon Stephen and James for escaping from Tutbury castle.[54]

John More, constable of Carlingford, 1401

On 17th March 1401 the above John More was appointed constable of the castles of Carlingford and Greencastle.[55] On 20th February 1403 a grant was made to John More, for past services, of the manor of Raskeagh lying in the marches of Dundalk. The manor had been utterly devastated by the Irish enemies of O’Neil, Magennis and O’Hanlon, and had come into the King's hand on account of the forfeiture of Reginald Haddesore. John more was to render one un-mewed sparrow-hawk annually for all the services due from the manor. This grant was made to John More as constable of Carlingford and Greencastle.[56]

John More was appointed constable of the two castles on a fee of £25 for the first year. But John More considered this amount to be insufficient to maintain the two castles and before February 1403 he petitioned King Henry IV for an increase as he said that Edmund Loundres, former constable had an allowance of 80 marks per year. On 26th February 1403 John More was allowed custody of the two castles with the fee of £40 per year from the rents of two thirds of the lands of Carlingford, Cooley and the Mourne (the other third of the rents were held in dower by Eleanor, widow of Roger Mortimer). If the rents of these lands was insufficient to meet the £40 fee John More could receive the balance from the revenues of Ireland provided that 10 marks (£6 13s 4d) should be spent annually upon the repair of the two castles.[57]

But the two thirds of the rents of Carlingford, Cooley and Mourne only amounted to £34 3s per year and the Exchequer in Dublin was slow to pay the balance. By 1407 the Exchequer payment had gone into arrears. On 12th March 1407 an order was made to pay the arrears to John More. By that time Lady Eleanor Mortimer was dead and so John More was further granted the remaining one third of Carlingford, Cooley and Mourne to have for as long as he held the custody of the castles of Carlingford and Greencastle. For the remainder of his custody John More was freed from furnishing an account and the fee of £40 could be deducted for the repairs of the two castles.[58]

Carlingford castle

The repair of the two castles of Carlingford and Greencastle was of sufficient importance to the local community. In 1410 the provost, bailiffs and community of Carlingford petitioned the Dublin government for relief of all subsidies, tallages and military expenses until the coming of age of Edmund Mortimer. The townsfolk declared that the town and lordship of Carlingford contained only 20 carucates of land, and was cut off from the rest of County Louth both by high mountains and wooded passes. This prevented help from coming to aid the town against the frequent attacks by the Irish and Scots. On 13th March 1410, at the request of Richard Sydgrave, baron of the Exchequer, the town was granted freedom from all such taxes.[59]

The waters around Carlingford were also dangerous for locals and visitors alike with pirates and raiders having control of the seas. See the article of a group of Minehead fishermen captured off Carlingford in 1404 = http://celtic2realms-medievalnews.blogspot.ie/2015/06/minehead-fishermen-at-carlingford-in.html

Among the reasons put forward by Janico Dartas, the next constable of Carlingford castle, to remove John More had to do with the repairs of the castle and that fact that John More was absent overseas for a number of years.[60] In December 1405 John More, citizen and merchant of London, nominated Janico Dartas and Hugh White as his Irish attorneys for the ensuing year.[61] But the appointment of John More in 1401 described him as John More, esquire of Ireland.[62] Maybe Janico Dartas was making use of two people with the same name to say that John the constable was absent for years.

Janico Dartas, constable of Carlingford, 1408

In this difficult time for the people of Carlingford, the castle got a new constable called Janico Dartas in about 1408. Janico Dartas was appointed by Stephen Lescrope, deputy of Thomas of Lancaster, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. But if the people hoped for relief from the frequent attacks by the military skill of Janico Dartas they were to be disappointed. In 1408 Janico Dartas demised the job of constable to Peter Dowdall in return for £18 per year.[63]

It seems that Janico Dartas was more interested in Carlingford castle for the income he could get out of the place than with defending the castle against Irish and Scottish attackers. This was a life time pattern of acquiring government revenues for himself. In October/November 1399 Janio Dartas petitioned King Henry IV for a grant from the revenues of London and Drogheda.[64] In May 1400 Janico Dartas was appointed constable of Trim castle. On his surrender of Trim castle in April 1404 Janico Dartas received a grant from King Henry IV of £100 per year from the Dublin Exchequer for life. This was confirmed by Henry V and the Exchequer accounts of the early 1420s show Janico receiving the money. Janico Dartas married Joan Taaffe, a member of a prominent Meath family and acquired a large property portfolio in Meath and Leinster.[65]

In the 1420s James White was appointed seneschal of Ulster by the King but after a year Janico Dartas successful convinced the King that the job was vacant and was appointed seneschal. In July 1425 Janico Dartas was made seneschal of Ulster and constable of Greencastle. On 12th December 1426 James White petitioned the King for restoration of his position as seneschal which he lost by foul means.[66]

James White was not the only person disgusted with Janico Dartas. John More, the former constable of Carlingford castle was also aggrieved at his dismissal. In about 1408 John More petitioned the King for restoration of his position as constable of Carlingford and Greencastle.[67]

Later unknown date John Cusack, sheriff of Louth, was amerced for 6s 8d because he didn’t return a writ of scire facias (a writ requiring a person to show why a judgement regarding a record or patent should not be enforced or annulled) between John More and Janico Dartas concerning the castles of Carlingford and Greencastle.[68] The result of the disputes between the constables is not known.

A number of years later Janico Dartas acquired the job of constable of Dublin castle and various other fees and wages. But his possession of same was questioned by others. In 1419 Janio Dartas petitioned the King for letters patent confirming his possessions and that he was given these revenues by King Henry IV and they were recently confirmed under the great seal of Normandy.[69]

On 16th September 1420 King Henry V granted Janico Dartas, in reward for good service, the manors of Esker, Newcastle, Lyons, Tassagard and Crumlin around Dublin. But the grant failed to mention other gifts and grants previously received by Janico which were contrary to the ordinance. On 18th February 1421 a writ was issued to the Bishop of Durham, chancellor, to draw up letters under the Great Seal to make good Janio’s possession of the five manors. But the Bishop of Durham failed to draw up a letter of confirmation relating to the manor of Crumlin and Laurence Merbury got a grant of same from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. on 28th July 1426 Janico Dartas petitioned the King for new letters patent to hold Crumlin for life with the issues from the manor backdated to the original grant.

The new letters were drawn up but Janico Dartas didn’t long enjoy the manors as by December 1426 he was dead. On 7th December 1426 Thomas Everyngham petitioned for the job of constable of Dublin castle on the same terms as Janico Dartas held it and stated that Janico Dartas was then deceased.[70]

Edmund Mortimer succeeds to Carlingford

On 9th June 1413 Edmund Mortimer was given control of his estates in England, Wales and Ireland by King Henry V. In 1415 Edmund Mortimer recived papal dispensation to marry his cousin, Anne Stafford, who like Edmund, was a descendant of King Edward III and so strengthening Edmund’s claim to the throne. Henry V was naturally displeased and imposed a fine of 10,000 marks. But Edmund Mortimer was entirely loyal to the King and fought in the French wars. On 9th May 1423 Edmund Mortimer was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. But although Edmund Mortimer was lord of Connacht, Ulster and Meath he at first opted to stay in England. After a dispute and the death of his kinsman, Sir John Mortimer, Edmund Mortimer came to Ireland in 1424 but his stay was cut short as on 18th January 1425 he died of the plague at Trim castle. Edmund Mortimer left no male heirs and the vast Mortimer estate passed via his sister Anne Mortimer to her son, Richard, Duke of York, through whom the Yorkist claim to the throne contributed to the War of the Roses.[71]

Henry Grey, constable of Carlingford, pre 1425

Edmund Mortimer had appointed Henry Grey as constable of Carlingford without acquiring a licence from the King. Previous appointments by the Mortimer family were not subject to such a licence and it appears that because Richard, Duke of York, was a minor at his father’s death in 1415, the crown just wished to ensure its own power.[72] On 18th May 1425 Henry Grey received a pardon, on payment of a fine, for becoming constable of Carlingford without licence and was allowed to continue to hold the job for life with all customs, profits, and the ferry-toll income, along with the lordship of Cooley.[73]

On the same day at Drogheda, 18th May 1425, a similar pardon in return for a fine was made to Sir James White and his sons, Christopher, Louis, John and Patrick for accepting the office of deputy constable of Carlingford castle in Cole and of the ferry-toll from the Henry Grey.[74] Paul Gosling said that the ‘documentary records tell us nothing of conditions in the castle … or of the lives of its countless inhabitants and nameless garrison’.[75] For the most part this statement is true but we can with some confidence that the White family in about 1425 were the garrison. It is sometimes supposed that a large medieval castle would have a large garrison but in most cases a few men, maybe a dozen as most, were the full garrison. There was no standard army in medieval times and most soldiers were civilians called up by their lord in times of emergency to defend their district or attack hostile territory. In the sixteenth century when a permanent government army was formed castles were often only garrisoned by a dozen men of less.

John Stafford, constable of Carlingford, July 1427

On 29th July 1427 John Stafford was appointed as the royal constable of Carlingford castle and two part of the lordship of Cooley with the fishery, rents and customs attached to the castle and lordship for as long as the castle was in the King’s hand. John Reve and William Crike of Co. Louth gave mainprize for John’s good behaviour and that he would fulfil the job and render 40s per year for the lordship. Another source records that the grant was worth 100s per year.[76]

Henry Grey, constable of Carlingford, August 1427

But John Stafford didn’t stay long as constable of Carlingford castle – he may even didn’t get a catch to visit it. Within a fortnight John Stafford was removed as constable and on 12th August 1427 at Trim Henry Grey was reappointed constable of Carlingford along with two thirds of the lordship of Cooley for as long as the King held the estate. For the office Henry Grey was to render 4 marks (£2 13s 4d) per year. William Sutton of Trim and Richard Neuport of Co. Meath gave mainprize for Henry’s good behaviour.[77]

Three days before Henry grey’s reappointment, on 9th August 1427, William Sutton was made receiver to the King's use of eels and other fish that belonged by custom to Carlingford castle and was to answer at the Exchequer.[78]

Edmund White, constable of Carlingford castle, 1469

It is not known for how long Henry Grey remained as constable of Carlingford castle. The next constable of record was Edmund White in 1469. He held responsibility for Carlingford and Greencastle as was customary since the late fourteenth century.[79] Edmund White was an appointee of John Tiptolf, Earl of Worcester and Lord Deputy of Ireland. The White family were in competition with the Savage family for control of the Earldom of Ulster at the time.[80]

Carlingford castle after 1469

In 1495 a law was passed that none but Englishmen should be henceforth appointed as constable of the castle.[81] Clearly a number of people of the Irish race were constables between 1427 and 1495 to the displeasure of the authorities. Since March 1461 the ownership of Carlingford had passed into royal hands when Edward of York became King of England. Before he became King, Edward was 4th Duke of York, 7th Earl of March, 5th Earl of Cambridge and 9th Earl of Ulster and heir of Carlingford from the de Burgh and Mortimer families.[82]

After the end of the medieval period Carlingford castle continued to have a garrison even if its strategic location on the route to Ulster was by-passed by other land routes, notably the Moyry Pass. In the early eighteen century the castle was finally abandoned and became the ruin that we see today.[83]

Conclusion

Thus we come to the end of the medieval story of Carlingford castle. The castle changed through the hands of many families and was subject to long periods under royal control by the minorities of the aristocratic heirs. It played an important role in defending the entrance to the Earldom of Ulster and as a link between the north under pressure and the wider English colony of Leinster. Although we have greater records of the castle under royal administration it would seem that the castle fared better when under its secular owners who built the castle in the twelfth century and rebuilt it in the mid thirteenth century. Today due to the poor condition of the structure much of the castle is closed off to the public. It is the hope that this article will open up the castle to the public in literature if not in some future physical form.

Carlingford castle by the railway

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End of post

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[1] Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), pp. 1, 3
[2] Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), p. 38
[3] H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1, 1171-1251 (5 vols. Kraus reprint, 1974), nos. 404, 407; A.J. Otway-Ruthven, A history of Medieval Ireland (Ernest Benn, London, 1980), pp. 79, 80
[4] H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1, 1171-1251 (5 vols. Kraus reprint, 1974), no. 428
[5] Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), p. 44
[6] H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1, 1171-1251, no. 611
[7] A.J. Otway-Ruthven, A history of Medieval Ireland (Ernest Benn, London, 1980), p. 86
[8] H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1, 1171-1251, nos. 741, 742
[9] H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1, 1171-1251, no. 755; A.J. Otway-Ruthven, A history of Medieval Ireland (Ernest Benn, London, 1980), p. 89
[10] H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1, 1171-1251, no. 1015
[11] H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1, 1171-1251, no. 1386
[12] H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1, 1171-1251, no. 1544
[13] H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1, 1171-1251, no. 1498
[14] Goddard Henry Orpen, Ireland under the Normans, 1169-1333 (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005), vol. III, p. 267
[15] Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), p. 5
[16] James Mills & M.J. McEnery (ed.), Calendar of the Gormanston Register (Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 1916), p. 146
[17] H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1, 1171-1251 (5 vols. Kraus reprint, 1974), no. 2687
[18] Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), pp. 41, 44
[19] James Mills & M.J. McEnery (ed.), Calendar of the Gormanston Register (Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 1916), p. 147
[20] James Mills & M.J. McEnery (ed.), Calendar of the Gormanston Register, p. 148
[21] James Mills & M.J. McEnery (ed.), Calendar of the Gormanston Register, p. xiii
[22] James Mills & M.J. McEnery (ed.), Calendar of the Gormanston Register, pp. 148, 149
[23] Goddard Henry Orpen, Ireland under the Normans, 1169-1333 (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005), vol. III, p. 266
[24] James Mills & M.J. McEnery (ed.), Calendar of the Gormanston Register, pp. 149, 150; Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward II, 1307-1313, p. 394
[25] Colm McNamee, The Wars of the Bruces: Scotland, England and Ireland, 1306-1328 (Tuckwell Press, East Linton, 1997), pp. 171, 173, 174; J.R.S. Phillips, ‘The Mission of John de Hotham to Ireland, 1315-1316’, in England and Ireland in the Later Middle Ages: Essays in honour of Jocelyn Otway-Ruthven, edited by James Lydon (Irish Academic Press, Blackrock, 1981), p. 72
[26] Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), p. 44
[28] Goddard Henry Orpen, Ireland under the Normans, 1169-1333 (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005), vol. IV, pp. 239, 240, 243, 245, 246
[29] J.E.E.S. Sharp (ed.), Calendar of  Inquisitions Post Mortem, Vol. VII, Edward III (Kraus reprint, 1973), No. 537, (p. 372)
[30] www.chancery.tcd.ie/document/close/8-edward-iii/138 Sourced from RCH; RIA, MS 23.D.5, p. 23
[31] Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward III, 1338-1340, p. 309
[32] J.B.W. Chapman (ed.), Calendar of  Inquisitions Post Mortem, Vol. XII, Edward III (Kraus reprint, 1973), No. 322, (p. 321)
[33] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/5-richard-ii/91 Sourced from RIA, MS 24.D.5, p. 23; RCH
[34] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/5-richard-ii/91 Sourced from RIA, MS 24.D.5, p. 23; RCH
[38] A.J. Otway-Ruthven, A history of Medieval Ireland (Ernest Benn, London, 1980), p. 321
[40] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/12-richard-ii/43 Sourced from RIA, MS 24.D.5, p. 23; RCH.; Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), p. 44
[41] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/12-richard-ii/43 Sourced from RIA, MS 24.D.5, p. 23; RCH; H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1, 1171-1251, no. 428
[42] A.J. Otway-Ruthven, A history of Medieval Ireland (Ernest Benn, London, 1980), pp. 319, 320, 321
[44] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/13-richard-ii/28 Sourced from RIA, MS 24.D.5, p. 24; RCH
[45] A.J. Otway-Ruthven, A history of Medieval Ireland (Ernest Benn, London, 1980), p. 322
[46] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/13-richard-ii/28 Sourced from RIA, MS 24.D.5, p. 24; RCH
[47] A.J. Otway-Ruthven, A history of Medieval Ireland (Ernest Benn, London, 1980), p. 321
[50] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/1-henry-iv/64 Sourced from RCH; NAI, M 2645, p. 37; NLI, GO MS 193, p. 42
[51] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/5-richard-ii/91 Sourced from RIA, MS 24.D.5, p. 23; RCH
[52] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/2-henry-iv/12 Sourced from RCH; RIA, MS 24.D.5, p. 25; Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), p. 44
[53] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/3-henry-iv/53 Sourced from RCH; RIA, MS 24.D.5, p. 25
[54] Philomena Connolly, ‘Irish material in the class of ancient petitions (SC8) in the Public Record Office, London’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 34 (1987), pp. 10, 39
[55] Calendar of Patent Rolls, Henry IV, 1399-1401, p. 449; https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/8-henry-iv/75
[56] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/4-henry-iv/110 Sourced from COA, PH 13203, p. 350; RCH
[57] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/4-henry-iv/95 Sourced from RCH; RIA, MS 24.D.5, p. 25
[59] https://chancery.tcd.ie/document/patent/11-henry-iv/79 accessed on 3 June 2015; Sourced from NLI, [Harris], MS 4, f. 167 & RCH; NLI, GO MS 193, p. 67.
[60] Ruairi Ó Baoill, Excavations at Greencastle, County Down, CAF Data Structure Report No. 47 (CAF, Belfast, 2007), p. 8
[61] Calendar of Patent Rolls, Henry IV, 1405-1408, p. 99
[62] Calendar of Patent Rolls, Henry IV, 1399-1401, p. 449
[63] Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), p. 44
[64] Paul Dryburgh & Brendan Smith (eds.), Handbook and Select Calendar of Sources for Medieval Ireland in the National Archives of the United Kingdom (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005), p. 164
[65] Michael Potterton, Medieval Trim History and Archaeology (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005), pp. 110, 111; Philomena Connolly (ed.), Irish Exchequer Payments (Irish Manuscripts Commission, Dublin, 1998), pp. 552, 553, 554
[66] Paul Dryburgh & Brendan Smith (eds.), Handbook and Select Calendar of Sources for Medieval Ireland in the National Archives of the United Kingdom (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005), p. 193; Calendar of Patent Rolls, Henry VI, 1422-1429, p. 287
[67] Philomena Connolly, ‘Irish material in the class of ancient petitions (SC8) in the Public Record Office, London’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 34 (1987), p. 102
[69] Philomena Connolly, ‘Irish material in the class of ancient petitions (SC8) in the Public Record Office, London’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 34 (1987), p. 103
[70] Paul Dryburgh & Brendan Smith (eds.), Handbook and Select Calendar of Sources for Medieval Ireland in the National Archives of the United Kingdom (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005), pp. 178, 190, 191, 193
[75] Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), p. 43
[79] Ruairi Ó Baoill, Excavations at Greencastle, County Down, CAF Data Structure Report No. 47 (CAF, Belfast, 2007), p. 8
[80] K. Simms, ‘The King’s Friend: O Neill, the Crown and the Earldom of Ulster’, in England and Ireland in the Later Middle Ages: Essays in honour of Jocelyn Otway-Ruthven, edited by James Lydon (Irish Academic Press, Blackrock, 1981), p. 231
[81] Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), p. 44
[83] Paul Gosling, Carlingford Town: An Antiquarian’s Guide (Carlingford Local Heritage Trust, 1992), pp. 1, 9

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