We often think of the medieval world as one dominated by piety and respect for the church. Well not quite…..In researching my upcoming audiobook on the 14th century in Ireland I came across this court case heard at Carlow in 1305. A full scale riot broke out in New Leghelyn (Leighlinbridge) when one of the retainers of the Bishop of Ossory killed a dog as the bishop passed through the town. The details speak for themselves….

The headings are mine but the rest is the 14th century text. Placenames Tristeldermot – Castledermot New Leghelyn – Leighlinbridge Carlow, March 6th 1305, Pleas before Edmund le Botiller, Custos of Ireland.

The charge

William Bishop of Ossory complains that on Sunday last, when coming to the town of Tristeldermot, on the affairs of his church, he went through the town of New Leghelyn, Thomas le Chapman the provost and the community of the town, as well men as women, assaulted him and his retainers in the King’s street and beat and wounded them.

The accused

And Thomas le Chapman, and Will, son of Geoffrey Cachepol, Ricard son of Jordan le Fisshere, Edmund du Vaal, Roger le Lange, John son of Henry, Walter de la Barre, John de Weston, Adam le Maceoun, Will. Penlyn, Will. Fyntenan, Stephen le Maceoun, Ric. le Tayllour, John le Crokere, Adam Gregori, Roger the smith, Nich le Soutere, Walter Traharne, David le Crokere, Peter de la Barre, Thomas son of William, David Robyn, John Southeuan, Gregory le Flemyng, Adam le Crokere, Will le Waleys, Adam le Tannere, John le Graunt, Oliver Deyncourt, Peter le Chapman, Will. Alayn, Adam Baret, Ric. Clement, Will, le Graunt, Ric. le Chapman, Geoffrey son of Ric. le Fysshere, and Ric. son of Thomas Chapman, men of said town, attached, come, and pray that they be admitted to answer singly. And say they are not guilty. And pray that it be enquired. The Bishop likewise.

Jurors Selected

And Will, de S. Ledger, Will. Waspayl, knights, Nich. de Valle, Robert de Lees, John SamjDson, Roger le Poer, John Martel, Ric. le Rous, Thomas le Rous, Alan son of Walter, John Capel, and Will. Traharne were chosen by assent of the parties.

Details of the case

These Jurors say that when the Bishop on said Sunday passed through said town of Leghelyn, it happened that Simon Purcel one of his valets rode at a distance after the Bishop, and a dog of one Ralph le Tannere, a man of the town, coming out of his master’s house attacked the servingman of Simon and tore his clothes, on which the servingman with his spear struck the dog, which Ralph, being in the house from which the dog issued, seeing, taking a short stick, went out of the house, and threw it at the servingman, striking him on the neck, from which he fell to the ground, his face being badly wounded. And Simon and one Robert de Racheford, one of the Bishop’s valets, seeing this rode towards Ralph threatening him for that blow. Ralph for fear of them entered his house and shut the door. Simon and Robert alighting tried to break the door to take vengeance on Ralph.

The townspeople react

But Ralph going into his yard by another door came into the street, and he and his wife raised hue-and-cry. On which William son of Geoffrey Cachepol, and the others (except Thomas le Chapman, Edmund de Valle, Adam Gregori and Oliver Deyncourt) and their households, men and women, came out with arms and stones, attacking Simon and Robert.

Enter the bishop

The Bishop being in the outlet of the town perceiving this, peacefully returned, and gave as is customary the benediction, asking those assembled to cease from doing evil to his men, and pledging himself to make satisfaction immediately for any trespasses done by his men to each person of the town.

The injuries

But they, not accepting his request, although often made, surrounding the Bishop, and Simon, Robert, and his other valets and servants, attacked them on every side; so that in the conflict a stone was thrown at the Bishop, and one of his valets, Michael de la Lyserne, was struck almost to death, so that his life is despaired of, and it is believed that he will die within three days. And Robert de Racheford was badly wounded with an arrow.

The verdict

And of Thomas Chapman and Ric. Clement they say that they were not present, but their wives and families were. And of said Edmund, Adam Gregori, and Oliver, they say tliat they are not guilty. Judgment, that the Bishop recover against Thomas and the others convicted his damages taxed at 100 marks. And William son of Geoffrey Cachepol and the others convicted be committed to gaol. And Thomas Chapman and Ric. Clement, whose families were participators, be guarded. And Edmund de Valle, Adam Gregori [and Oliver Deyncourt, go quit]. The same Bishop appears against Peter le Bret, Ralph le Tannere, John Ruget, Robert le Hopere, Will, le Lange, and Margaret Doneden, of same plea. And they come not. And they were mainprised by Adam son of Thomas le Tannere, and John le Graunt, Ric. Clement, and Will, le Graunt, Will, le Lange, Robert le Hopere. Therefore they in mercy. And the Sheriff is commanded to distrain them and have them at next coming, to answer. Ralph le Tannere and Margaret are not found. He is commanded to take them and have them at next coming.

Source Calendar of justiciar Rolls Volume III 1305 -1308 membrane 21 (pge 42)

Read online here http://archive.org/stream/calendarofjustic02irel#page/n0/mode/2up

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7 comments on “The 1305 riot against the Bishop of Ossory over a dead dog.

    • Irish History on

      Its not surprising Michael the Normans spoke french in Ireland until at least the 14th century. The Invasion of Ireland was only 100 years after the Conquest of England and most Norman Kings of England in the 12th and 13th centuries were as concerned about their estates in France as they were about England

      Reply
  1. Gerry Regan on

    Fin, what were the economic classes of the participants in this fray? It is clear in some cases, but in others, not, at least to me. Was class resentment a factor?

    Reply
    • Irish History on

      I would guess in this case most definately. what you read there is what info there is. However one of the many points of conflict in medieval society was between people who lived in towns with particular rights and the nobility. I imagine (and this is based on a generalisation) is that they are seriously miffed about being attacked by a man of the bishop. I doubt for example had another town inhabitant attacked the dog the same reaction would have happened. Or maybe Carlow people just liked a good scrap

      Reply
  2. Ollie on

    Would towns with the exception of the original viking settlements have been a relatively new development at this stage?

    Reply
    • Irish History on

      Hi Ollie
      Towns were developed on a much wider scale by the Normans after the invasion of 1169. The Normans established about 300 boroughs hoping they woudl develop into towns of which about 50 -100 (depending on your definition of a town) did the rest never really took off In Leinster a major period of building began after William Marshall arrived in 1208 as Lord Of Leinster. They were not a new development by 1305 in that context.

      Reply
  3. arranqhenderson on

    Excellent piece, very interesting piece of research, real eye-opener. Like your first commenter, I’m struck by how French-Norman the names are, in fact there is of course not a single Gaelic-Irish name. (baned from towns?) & even those that are not French/Norman are either Flemish (which makes sense since the first wave of the Norman conquest Ireland (Strongbow’s campaign 1169-1170) made use of Flemish mercenaries (mostly archers and foot soldiers). Or else they are, in a few cases, English names. It’s impossible to be sure now of course, but I’d hazard a guess that those Carlow townspeople who did have more English names hailed (or their parents hailed) from mostly Bristol and/or Chester specifically. Super piece, well done. I’ll be subscribing! -Arran.

    Reply

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