Thursday, June 27, 2013

Royal Constables of Cashel Castle, Co. Tipperary

Royal Constables of Cashel castle, Co. Tipperary

Niall C.E.J. O'Brien

Today [27 June 2013] I received a draft printer's copy of an article I submitted for the forthcoming issue of the Tipperary Historical Journal. The article is in three parts:

  1. The relationship between the English administration in Dublin and the Archbishop of Cashel in Munster between 1200 and 1327.
  2. The efforts to establish a royal castle at Cashel between 1216 and the 1330s.
  3. A brief biography on the eight constables who were in charge of the castle between 1339 and 1365.
The relationship between Dublin and the Archbishop were far from easy as one side tried to impose its will upon the other. Following the Norman/English invasion of 1169 the newcomers tried to get Anglo-Normans in vacant archbishoprics and bishoprics. A sort of comprise was reach whereby the archbishoprics of Armagh and Dublin would be occupied by Englishmen while an Irish person would sit at Tuam and Cashel. This comprise was often challenged and at nearly every vacancy at Cashel in the 13th century the King of England and the Dublin government tried to get an Englishman as archbishop. This was fiercely resisted at Cashel. An Englishman was elected in 1317 but his tenure was brief and after 1327 Irish men held the position.

Royal castles were established across Ireland as the Anglo-Normans advanced. These castles acted a local government centres for the king - facilitating tax collection, court sittings, residences  for travelling officials and as military bases. These castles were often built on church land because the Church was in large part exempted from taxation and so this was a way for the king to get something of value out of the Church.
The Dublin government proposed in 1217 to build a royal castle at Cashel as a local symbol of royal rule. This was resisted by the archbishop of Cashel as a encroachment upon his domain. The fighting and legal argument went between the parties, across to London and even to Rome and back. The English got permission for a royal prison but no castle.

By 1339 a royal castle was eventually established. The records are silent as to when it was built. The records are also silent on where the caste was located. The prison was originally located inside the town of Cashel but after more argument was moved outside the town. Without archaeological work we will not know where the castle was or what it looked like. Part of the purpose of the article is to raise awareness of the castle in he hope that archaeologists working in the area will remember it in their work and look out for it.

The third part of the article provides a brief biography on the eight constables and some are very brief [Peter de Monte served from 1342 to 1345 but we know nothing else of his life]. The eight constables were Thomas de Lowther (1339-1340); William de Barton (1340-1342); Peter de Monte (1342-1345); Peter de Boys (1345-1346); Adam White (1347-1355); Stephen Froyse (1356-1357); Alexander de Creting (1357-1359) and William de Halghton (1361-1365). 

After 1365 no more constables are recorded in the Dublin exchequer accounts. It is not know how long after 1365 the castle stayed in use. Was it dismantled or sold or just left fall into ruin - the records are silent.

The Cashel Palace Hotel is said by some to be the location of the castle but without digging or knocking down the hotel this idea cannot be proved or disproved.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain with the Rock of Cashel in the background. The cathedral and palace of the archbishop of Cashel was on the Rock.

End of post


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An index of blogs on this site


Niall C.E.J. O'Brien

as of 19th June 2013


A life of Adam Pode in fourteenth century Gloucester = posted on May 7, 2013

Thomas le Reve, first Bishop of the united diocese of Lismore and Waterford = posted on May 17, 2013

Keynsham family of Gloucester in the early fourteenth century = posted on June 7, 2013


The medieval scriptorium from 

Thank you for viewing this site and reading a few blogs on medieval history. I am working on a few more articles yet the sunny summer weather is having fatal attractions to my writing scheduled. Please leave a comment or two or may be suggestions for topics people may wish to see.


The break time intermission = normal writing schedule to be resumed shortly.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Keynsham family of Gloucester in the early fourteenth century

Keynsham family of Gloucester in the early fourteenth century

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

    This article follows the Keynsham family in fourteenth century Gloucester and their relationships with the Hospital of St. Bartholomew in the city. The Hospital of St. Bartholomew was founded in the time of Henry II in an unconventional manner. A chaplain named Nicholas Walred had begun to build the west bridge over the Severn River and employed many workmen. William Myparty, burgess of Gloucester, joined the project and had a house built beside the site which he had of the king. Soon the chaplain, burgess and workmen were joined around the house by numerous sick men and women. In no time a hospital came into being with the twin purpose of maintaining the bridge and caring for the sick. A chantry chapel was granted in 1232 by the abbot of Gloucester on the recommendation of William Blois, bishop of Worcester. In 1229 Henry III granted the church of St. Nicholas to the brethren and sisters of the Hospital for the support of the poor. This grant gave the hospital a royal foundation and soon after it got the right to elect a prior.[1]
    The Hospital of St. Bartholomew held a number of plots of land outside the East Gate of Gloucester.[2] On February 10, 1302 John, the prior of the Hospital of St. Bartholomew confirmed to Richard of Keynsham and Mabel his wife and their children, an area of land in the suburb of Gloucester outside the East Gate. This land lay between that held by Alexander the Duck and Richard Buckepotte. The deed was witnessed by the two town bailiffs; Robert the Spicer and Roger the Heiberer as was customary. The other witnesses were Richard of Hunteleye, Peter of the Hill, Robert Bernard, William Payn, Robert Pope, Alexander of Penedock and William Chose.[3]
    This piece of land had formerly been demised in perpetuity by the Hospital of St. Bartholomew in 1245. On that occasion the recipient was Fiell the Glover. The 1245 deed mentions the land as between that held by Alexander the Duck and Richard Buckepotte.[4] Both these names reappear in the 1302 deed. This reoccurrence is not to be taken that both men were still alive after more than fifty years. It was often the case in medieval times were the descriptive name upon a property continued in use long after the original person who gave the place its name had died. Such would appear to be the case in this incidence.  
    The use of the word ‘land’ to describe the property in 1245 would suggest that it was undeveloped countryside. In a deed of 1260 a different piece of property outside the East Gate was described as ‘vacant ground’. This would suggest that the land outside the East Gate was open countryside. By 1285 urban development had occurred of a significant nature. The grant from William the Fremon to John Lucas was for two shops situated between two tenements.[5]  
    It is not known when Richard left Keynsham in Somerset for Gloucester. Did he leave of his own accord or did he have relations all ready living in Gloucester. An inquisition was taken in Gloucester in 1302 as to whether it would damage the king’s revenue if the Hospital of St. Bartholomew were to build a water mill upon their land beside the river Severn. One of the jurors for this inquisition was Alexander de Keynsham.[6] We do not know if Alexander was a relation. Just because both were connected with the Hospital of St. Bartholomew is too thin a thread to make a strong rope connection.
    The town of Keynsham is about five miles south-east of Bristol and about forty miles south-west of Gloucester. The place was inhabited since early times and has a few Roman remains. In 1170 the Earl of Gloucester founded an Augustinian abbey at Keynsham in memory of his recently deceased son. The abbey became an influential and prosperous institution. The communication links between the religious houses of the Bristol and Gloucester area may have assisted Richard of Keynsham in his migration to Gloucester.  
    Richard of Keynsham was a carpenter by trade and possibly served his apprenticeship in Gloucester.[7] The growth of the town as noted earlier would have provided work. There was a lot of work for a carpenter in medieval times. Many houses were timber-framed and all had timber beams for the roof. The quantity of furniture in these houses was not great but everything was made of timber. Outside the house were timber carts and parts of harness for the draft horses.
     The fabric accounts of Exeter Cathedral, which was rebuilt in the years 1279 to 1353, show one of the carpenters, Adam de Chuddeleghe, earning about 2s 1d (2 shillings 1 penny) per week.[8] It is possible that Richard of Keynsham earned about the same amount, from time to time. From his income Richard of Keynsham built a tenement on part of the land outside the East Gate as by 1336 it is described as a tenement.[9] Richard of Keynesham died before March 1326 and this is confirmed by his absence from the Gloucester subsidy roll of 1327.
    Sometime before March 1326 Mabel, widow of Richard of Keynsham, and her daughter Edith, made a lease of a parcel of curtilage outside the East Gate to Robert Alleyn, a baker in Gloucester. The lease was for an unspecified number of years. On March 25, 1326 Robert Alleyn made a sub-lease of the parcel for ten years to Roger Heued, burgess of Gloucester. This sub-lease was witnessed by John of Cheddewrth and William the Spicer, bailiffs; along with Peter of the Hill, John of Boyfield, John of the Hill and Adam of Gamag.[10] 
    At some, as yet unknown, date before 1336 the Abbey of St. Peter acquired the two tenements on both sides of the Keynsham tenement.[11] These were the tenements formerly occupied by Alexander Duck and Richard Buckepotte. It is possible that all three tenements were once the combined property of the Hospital of St. Bartholomew. From about 1300 onwards the Hospital suffered greatly due to poverty and maladministration. This was especially so under the rule of Nicholas de Hardwick and Walter Gibbes (1329-1385). A royal commission in 1344 found the place to be greatly decayed.[12]
    On February 5, 1336 Mabel of Keynsham dismissed in perpetuity to John Chaunflour, skinner of Bristol and Edith his wife, a tenement outside the East Gate of Gloucester, between the tenements of the Abbot of St. Peter on each side. The deed was witnessed by the two town bailiffs, Richard Shot and William Bryun along with Robert of Stapleton and John of the Hill. This John Hill appears to have been a friend of the Keynsham family as he appears in a number of their deeds. Three other witnesses were trades people in Gloucester; Stephen the Carpenter, Henry the Draper and Walter the Carpenter.[13]
    It would appear that the aforementioned Edith was a daughter of Mabel of Keynsham. The tenement outside the East Gate is mentioned specifically in the will of Edith of Keynsham and the family of Chaunflour is connected with both women. We see this fully in the probate of Edith’s will made on November 28, 1348. The probate of the will was proved on December 23, 1348.
    In her will Edith made a number of bequests to religious shrines and houses. There was 12d (12 pence) to the high altar of the church of St. Michael, Gloucester and 6d to the parish chaplain of same. The chaplain of St. Mary got 4d and his clerk got 3d while the poor of the Hospital of St. Bartholomew got 5s (5 shillings). This hospital gave the Keynsham family a property foothold in the Gloucester area as noted above.
    To the local religious shrines Edith of Keynsham gave a silken veil and 1d of wax to the image of St. Mary at the four cross roads. Two images in the church of St. Michael got a wax candle each, namely that of St. Katherine and St. James. In additional to these, three trentals were given to the Friars Preachers, Friars Minor and Friars Carmelite to celebrate masses for her soul.

Map of medieval Gloucester showing the chief places mentioned in the article

    Edith of Keynsham gave to her daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, Adam Chaunflour, the tenement she held outside the east gate between the tenements of the Abbot of Gloucester. The residue of Edith’s property was to be distributed by her executors, her daughter Elizabeth and John Carpenter, for the good of her soul.[14]
    The tenement outside the East Gate was possibly dower land held by Edith after the death of her husband, John Chaunflour. It is possible that the Keynsham family lived elsewhere in Gloucester.
    After 1348 we lose track of Adam Chaunflour and the Keynsham family. The absence of records makes it unclear if John Chaunflour and Adam Chaunflour were relations to each other before they both married into the Keynsham family. We noted earlier that John Chaunflour came from Bristol. In the time of Edward I a person called N. Champflour held a toft in Gloucester near the Bare Land and Walker’s Lane.[15] The records provide no clear evidence that the latter person was related to Adam Chaunflour. Yet it is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
     What the records do show is three generations of one family in fourteenth century Gloucester. Unlike the previous article dealing with Adam Pode [] where we had no occupation or place of residence for the chief character the examination of the Keynsham family, who lived in the opposite end of town, provided those personal details. Between both articles we get a picture of fourteenth century Gloucester. We also see the town attracting people from a wide area of the West Country, and even getting people to move from the big city of Bristol to its smaller neighbour. The two articles show the activities of the Gloucester religious houses within the town. In 1455 about 55% of town properties were held by the various religious houses.[16]
     Further research and publications will add to our knowledge pool and give a better understanding of the history of Gloucester in medieval times.

[1] William Page (ed.), A History of the County of Gloucester (Victoria County History, 1907), vol. 2, p. 119
[2] W.H. Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester (Gloucester, 1893), no. 424, 631
[3] W.H. Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester (Gloucester, 1893), no. 763
[4] W.H. Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 424
[5] W.H. Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 424, 545, 702
[6] Edward A. Fry (ed.), Abstracts of inquisitions post mortem for Gloucestershire, part v, 1302-1358 (British Record Society, London, 1910), p. 5. The abstract spells the name with H but should be with a K for Keynsham. 
[7] W.H. Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 854
[8] Audrey M. Erskine (ed.), The accounts of the Fabric of Exeter Cathedral, 1279-1353 (2 vols. Devon & Cornwall Record Society, 1981 & 1983), New Series, Vol. 24, pp. 176-81
[9] W.H. Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 878
[10] W.H. Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 854
[11] W.H. Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 878
[12] William Page (ed.), A History of the County of Gloucester, vol. 2, pp. 119-120
[13] W.H. Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 878
[14] W.H. Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 942
[15] W.H. Stevenson (ed.), Rental of all the houses in Gloucester, A.D. 1455 (Gloucester, 1890), p. 112b
[16] John Langton, ‘Late medieval Gloucester: some data from the rental of 1455’, in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 1977, p. 269