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XXIX the justiciar and the murder of the MacMurroughs in 12821

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2016

Extract

When the Irish chieftains sent their ‘Remonstrance’ to Pope John XXII at the time of the Bruce invasion, they included among their indictments of English rule in Ireland the murder of Murchertach MacMurrough, the Irish king of Leinster, and of Art, his brother. The killer they named as ‘Geoffrey de Pencoyt’. This was evidently an event of some moment, to be classed with the more famous murder of Brian Rua O’Brien by Thomas de Clare in 1277 and the slaughter of the O’Conors of Offaly by Peter de Bermingham in 1305. Yet beyond the fact that the murder took place at Arklow on 21 July 1282, very little is known about it. The documents printed below shed new light on the event, suggesting strongly that it was politically motivated and inspired by the Isish justiciar, Stephen Fulbourne. They also furnish tlie crucial missing links between facts that have long been known, but which have not hitherto made coherent sense.

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Copyright
Copyright © Irish Historical Studies Publications Ltd 1972

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Footnotes

page no 223 note 1

The introduction to the documents is partly based on a paper read to the Dublin Historical Association on 21 November 1968.

References

page no 223 note 2 Irish historical documents, 1172–1922, ed. Curtis, E. and McDowell, R. B. (London, 1943), pp 42–3Google Scholar. This document describes Art as Murchertach’s ‘father’, but all the contemporary sources describe them as brothers.

page no 223 note 3 Previous discussions are to be found in Qrpen. Normans, iv, 19–20 and Curtis, , Med. Ire. (2nd ed.), p. 162.Google Scholar

page no 224 note 4 Facs. nat. MSS Ire., ii, plate lxxiv, no. 3. For details see Orpen, , Normans, 4, 1518 Google Scholar and Otway-Ruthven, , Med. Ire., pp 201–2.Google Scholar

page no 224 note 5 Chartul. St. Mary’s, Dublin, ii, 318; Documents illustrative of English history in the XIII & XIV centuries, ed. H. Cole (Record Commission, 1844), p. 56. For Walter, , see Cal. doc. Ire., 1252–84, p. 238.Google Scholar

page no 224 note 6 Ibid., no. 1935; P.R.I. rep. D.K. 36, p. 37; Pleas of the crown, 6 Edw I (P.R.O.I., R.C. 8/1, pp 86–7).

page no 224 note 7 Document I, belows

page no 224 note 8 See Nugent, W F, ‘Carlow in the middle ages’ in R.S.A.I Jn., 85 (1955), p. 73.Google Scholar

page no 224 note 9 Cal. doc. Ire., 1252–84, no. 1716.

page no 224 note 10 Orpen’s statement that Murchertach went (Normans, iv, 20) is based on a misapprehension. See note 14, below.

page no 225 note 11 P.R.O., Ministers’ Accounts, S.C. 6/1238/25 & 1239/1 & 10; Hore, H. F, History of the town and county of Wexford (London, 1900–11): Old and New Ross, pp 14, 15, 18, 144, 146Google Scholar. It has been unanimously assumed that these payments were for traditional services, perhaps even for ‘policing the Irish districts’: see, e.g., Orpen, , Normans, 4, 17 Google Scholar and New Ross in the XIII century (Dublin, 1911), pp 23–4, Mills, J, ‘Accounts of the earl of Norfolk’s estates in Ireland, 1279–94’ in R.S.A.I. jn., 22 (1892), p. 55 Google Scholar, Nugent, , ‘Carlow in the middle ages’ ibid., 85 (1955), p. 74 Google Scholar. Several considerations make this highly unlikely the political position of the MacMurroughs at this time; the coincidence of the payments with Bigod’s visit and the year following—the ν do not seem to have been continued to the new leaders of the sept after the death of Murchertach and Art (P.R.O., Ministers’ Accounts, S.C. 6/1239/2-9); the heavier payments to Art, which would be explained by the fact that Murchertach was soon taken back into the custody of the central government.

page no 225 note 12 This might suggest that he had gone to England, but it could equally well refer to a journey within Ireland, perhaps to Dublin Castle.

page no 225 note 13 Irish Issue roll, 8 & 9 Edw I (P.R.O., E. 101/230/15 ; Cal doc. Ire., 1252–84, nos 1739 & 1781).

page no 225 note 14 Ibid., 9 & 10 Edw. I (P.R.O., Ε. 101/230/19; Cal. doc. Ire., 1252–84, no. 1860). A summary version of this payment in Cal. doc. Ire., 1285–92, p. 70 leaves out the words ‘to Dunamase’ and runs it together with payments to messengers going to England. This has led Orpen astray (see above, note 10).

page no 225 note 15 Cal. doc. Ire., 1252–84, no. 1873.

page no 226 note 16 Ann. Conn., pp 172–3, is representative.

page no 226 note 17 Ann. Inisf., pp 380–3.

page no 226 note 18 Chartul. St. Mary’s, Dublin, ii, 318.

page no 226 note 19 Cal. doc. Ire., 1252–84, nos 2333, 2334 and 2338; 1285-92, pp 6-7-The purpose of such a levy was to reward the killer of a felon whose head had been ’ proclaimed ’. For another example, see ibid., 1252–84, no. 2049.

page no 226 note 20 Ibid., no. 1919.

page no 226 note 21 Document II, below.

page no 226 note 22 The surname is illegible, but the context and coincidence of Christian names point strongly to Pencoyt. Even were, this not so, the complaint still implicates Fulbourne in (the planning of the deed.

page no 227 note 23 Document III, below

page no 227 note 24 Bibliothèque de Troyes, MS ι, 316, f. 43. The ‘Geoffrey’ of the ‘Remonstrance’ may merely be one of tine small slips in this document (cf note 2, above). On the other hand, document III speaks of Henry ‘and his brother’, and this could be the otherwise unknown ‘Geoffrey’

page no 227 note 25 Knights’ fees, pp 169–70.

page no 227 note 26 P.R.I, rep. D.K. 20, pp 57–8.

page no 227 note 27 The terms of the eventual submission reveal the position of MacMurrough as leader quite clearly (Cal. fustic, rolls Ire., 1295–1003. p. 61).

page no 228 note 28 See Otway-Ruthven, , Med. Ire., pp 218–20 for the endless warfare of the years 1301–13.Google Scholar

page no 228 note 29 Cal. justic. rolls Ire., 1305–7, p. 143.

page no 228 note 30 Memoranda roll 16 & 17 Edw. III (P.R.O.I., R.C. 8/22, pp 296–7).

page no 229 note 1 Contractions have been silently expanded, but italic type indicates extension of proper names represented by initial only in MS; punctuation and capitalization have been modernized; figures have been altered from Roman to Arabic numerals. I am grateful to Mr Ρ Mussett of the Department of Palaeography, Durham University, for reading through the Latin texts and suggesting some useful emendations.

page no 229 note 2 P.R.O., Ancient Correspondence, S.C. 1/15/64. Crown Copyright material appears by kind permission of the Comptroller of H.M. Stationery Office.

page no 229 note 3 MS sic; recte ‘sigillo vestro’

page no 229 note 4 P.R.O., Exchequer Accounts Various, E. 101/234/20.

page no 230 note 5 P.R.O., Exchequer Accounts Various, E. 101/234/20. This document is faded, and in one or two places totally illegible. I have used square brackets to indicate blanks or doubtful readings.

page no 230 note 6 A ‘k’ and ‘y’ are distinguishable: possibly ‘Penkoyte’?

page no 230 note 7 Part of verb ‘fier’?

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