Lancaster (England : Duchy).

The charters of the Duchy of Lancaster [electronic resource] online

. (page 1 of 53)
Online LibraryLancaster (England : Duchy)The charters of the Duchy of Lancaster [electronic resource] → online text (page 1 of 53)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook




Ci)e Buc!)^ C!)amrs.



Cfie 3iucj)g of iancaster.












The Right Honorable







This volume is printed by the authority, and under the
direction, of the Chancellor and Council of the Duchy
of Lancaster. It contains the charters granted by the
Crown to the Earls and Dukes of Lancaster, from the
year 1342, to the accession of Henry of Bolingbroke,
Duke of Lancaster and Hereford, to the throne of
England, by the title of King Henry the Fourth, and
the subsequent statutes and acts of parliament relating
to the rule and management of the Lancastrian posses-
sions, as settled upon the King and his heirs for ever,
separate from the Crown estates.

Much valuable information concerning the origin and
constitution of the Duchy will be found in Plowden's Report
of the great case of the Duchy of Lancaster, in Michaelmas
Term, in the fourth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth
(1 Plowd. 212) ; and the recent cases of Alcock v. Cooke
(5 Bingham, 340) and Jewison v. Dyson (9 Meeson and
Welsby, 540) may be advantageously consulted with re-
lation to the pre-eminent rights exercised within the Duchy,
under the several royal grants, and the confirmations
of them by Parliament, which provide for its rule and
government as an inheritance vested in the person of the
Sovereign, but apart from the rest of the royal patrimony.

These cases seem clearly to establish the doctrine that
all the prerogatives and privileges of the King belong to
him with reference to the lands parcel of the Duchy of
Lancaster, in no less a degree than they do with reference
to lands which belong to him immediately in right of his
Crown. Without, therefore, entering here upon any inves-
tigation of the legal effect of these charters, it may be


convenient to add, in exposition, a brief notice of the
Earls of Lancaster prior to the union of the Duchy and
the Crown in the person of King Henry the Fourth.

Edmund Plantagenet, a younger son of King Henry
the Third, was the first who enjoyed this dignity. By a
charter dated 30th June, 51 Henry HI. 1267, he obtained
from his father a grant of the Honor, County, Castle,
and Town of Lancaster, and so was made Earl of
Lancaster. H6 had previously been created Earl of
Leicester and High Steward of England, upon the for-
feiture of Simon de Montfort, who was slain at the
battle of Evesham on the 5th of August, 1265; and
on the 28th of June, 50 Henry HI. 1266, he was also
made Earl of Derby, with a grant of all the estates of
the last Earl, Robert de Ferrars, who had taken an
active part in the rebellion of De Montfort. Earl
Edmund left by his second wife, Blanche Queen of
Navarre, three sons; of these the two elder, Thomas
and Henry, were successively Earls of Lancaster. He
died at Bayonne on the 4th of June, 25 Edw. I. 1297.

Thomas, second Earl of Lancaster, Leicester, and
Derby, was also Earl of Lincoln and Baron of Halton
in right of his wife, Alice, daughter and sole heir of
Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln and Constable of Ches-
ter. Having been engaged in a rebellion against King
Edward the Second, he was beheaded at Pomfret Castle
on the 22nd of March, 15 Edward II. 1322, leaving
no issue of his body.

Henry of Lancaster, third Earl of Lancaster, brother
of the last Earl, had been summoned to Parliament
by writ, as a Baron of the realm, from 6th February,
27 Edward I. 1299 ; and in the Parliament holden in the
1st of Edward HI. 1327, having succeeded in obtaining
a reversal of the judgment against Earl Thomas, he
was restored to all his lands and honors, and there-
upon became Earl of Lancaster and Leicester. On the


7th of May, 16 Edward III., a charter of divers Hber-
ties and franchises in all his lands and fees was granted
to him and the heirs of his body.* He died on the
22nd of September, 19 Edward III. 1345, and was suc-
ceeded by his son,

Henry, fourth Earl of Lancaster. This Henry was
created Earl of Derby on the 16th of March, 1337, in
his father's life-time, and Earl of Lincoln on the 20th
of August, 1349. By his repeated successes in the
wars he acquired the reputation of a distinguished sol-
dier, and his singular munificence is recorded in history.
The second English Dukedom having been bestowed
upon this Earl, the County of Lancaster became for
his life a Duchy, or County Palatine: the creation of
this regality was effected on the 6th March, 25 Edward
HI. 135J, and the title of Duke of Lancaster was con-
ferred on him at the same time by a charter of that date,
granted with the assent of Parliament.f Henry dying
without male issue on the 24th of March, 35 Edward
III. 1361, the Dukedom became extinct; but the Barony
of Lancaster, which was created by the writ of summons
of the 6th February, 1299, and was therefore a Barony in
fee, came into abeyance between his two daughters
and co-heirs, Blanche and Matilda, to whom, by par-
tition, his estates descended. The Lady Blanche, who
became eventually the sole heir to her father, mar-
ried John of Gaunt, Earl of Richmond, fourth son of
King Edward the Third.

John, surnamed of Gaunt, from Ghent in Flanders, the
place of his birth, fifth Earl and second Duke of Lan-
caster, in right of his wife Blanche Plantagenet, suc-
ceeded to all the lands and estates of the late Duke,
his father-in-law ; the portion of the Lady Matilda, the
other daughter and co-heir, having upon her death
without issue in 1362 vested in her sister Blanche.^ On

* I. page 1. t III. page 9. X ^* V^S^ 14-


the 13tb of November in the same year, he was created
Duke of Lancaster, to hold the dignity to him and the
heirs male of his body lawfully begotten for ever.* His
first wife Blanche survived the birth of her son, Henry of
Bolingbroke, scarcely more than three years, and died in
1369. In 1371 the Duke of Lancaster espoused Con-
stance, one of the two daughters and co-heirs of Pedro
El Cruel, King of Spain, by which marriage he became
titular King of Castillo and Leon; but he relinquished
his pretension to that title upon the marriage of his
daughter Katharine with Henry, son of King John
of Spain. In the year 1372, he surrendered into the
hands of King Edward his Earldom of Richmond, re-
ceiving, in recompense thereof, many valuable estates in
fee tail general ; among which are numbered the Honors
of Tickhill and Knaresborough, the High Peak, and many
other lands in several counties.f At his request, and
by a charter dated the 28th February, 1377,:!: the
County of Lancaster was again erected into a Palati-
nate, for the life of this Duke; and, in 1390, the
prerogative was extended to the heirs male of the
body of the grantee.§ Duke John of Lancaster having
been justly distinguished by the confidence of two suc-
cessive monarchs, his father and his nephew, whose coun-
sels he guided with disinterested zeal, his vast pos-
sessions endowed by their royal bounty with all but
sovereign power, closed his life on the 3rd of February,
1399, in the 22nd year of the reign of King Richard the
Second ; leaving to his only son and heir, by the Lady
Blanche Plantagenet, the rich inheritance of this Dukedom.
Henry of Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby and Duke of
Hereford, having been raised to the latter dignity on
the 29th of September, 1397, was at Paris in exile
when the news of his father's decease, and of the seizure

* VI. page 17. t VIII. page 26.

X IX. page 32. § XIV. page 65.


of bis paternal estates* by bis cousin, King Richard tbe
Second, determined bis immediate return to England,
ostensibly to claim bis inberitance of tbe Ducby of Lan-
caster, but perbaps witb tbe secret intention of assuming
a still bigber possession. Tbe result of Henry's pro-
ceedings on bis arrival bere is well known. He suc-
ceeded in wresting tbe Crown from tbe feeble bands
of its legitimate possessor, and assumed tbe title of King
Henry tbe Fourtb.

Tbe ducal possessions of Lancaster, and tbe ample
estates wbicb Henry beld witb tbe Dukedom of Here-
ford in rigbt of bis deceased wife, tbe Lady Mary de
Bobun, one of tbe daughters and co-beirs, of Humphrey
last Earl of Hereford, Essex, and Northampton, would,
by this assumption of the regal dignity, have merged in
the Crown : but this politic monarch was not minded
that so noble an inheritance, endowed witb the high and
splendid prerogatives which the policy of preceding Sove-
reigns bad conferred upon it, should wholly be lost in
tbe absorbing dignity of the Crown ; and, therefore, one
almost of tbe first measures taken by King Henry after
be ascended tbe throne, was to procure an act of par-
liament, declaring that bis eldest son, Henry, should
bear, among his other honors, tbe title of Duke of
Lancaster.f He also immediately caused a charter to
be passed, sanctioned by the Parliament, ordaining that
tbe Ducby of Lancaster, and all other bis hereditary

* Before Bolingbroke's departure from England, the King, to con-
ciliate John of Gaunt, had remitted four years of his son's banishment, the
original sentence being for ten years from 13 Oct. 1398 ; but no sooner
was the Duke of Lancaster dead, than Richard, throwing oiF all semblance
of moderation, exiled Bolingbroke for life and confiscated his property.
Froissart expressly says that Richard seized the Duke of Hereford's
patrimony, and divided it among his own favorites. Several grants of
these estates to the Duke of Surrey and other persons appear on the
Patent Roll, 22 Ric. II. p. 3. (Jewison v. Dyson, supra, 548.)
t XVIII. page 141.


estates, with all their royalties and franchises, should
remain to him and his heirs for ever ; and should re-
main, descend, be administered, and governed in like
manner as if he never had attained the regal dignity.*
And on the same day he caused a charter to be sealed
for maintaining a similar management, distinct from the
Crown, with respect to the Hereford estates held by him
in right of his late wife, Mary, Countess of Derby.*!-

Sir William Blackstone,| on the authority of Plowden
and Sir Edward Coke, assigns as the motive King Henry
had in not suffering his private inheritance to be united
with the Crown the consideration that — " if he lost one, he
" should lose the other also ; for he knew he had the Duchy
" of Lancaster by sure and indefeasible title, but that his
'' title to the Crown was not so assured : for that, after the
'* decease of Richard II., the right of the Crown was in
" the heir of Lionel Duke of Clarence, second son of
" Edward III. ; John of Gaunt, father to this Henry IV.,
" being but the fourth son." But surely very little foresight
is requisite to perceive that, in losing the Crown, Henry
would at once have been declared a traitor to the realm ;
and it is scarcely possible to conceive that, in such case,
he would have been allowed to retain possession of the
Duchy ; — a state of things which actually did take place
at the close of the reign of Henry, the grandson of
Bolingbroke, when the House of Lancaster fell before
the better fortune of the House of York. The learned
commentator proceeds justly to remark, that these here-
ditary estates "thus descended to his son and grandson,
'« Henry V. and Henry VI. Henry VI. being attainted
«' in 1 Edward IV., this Duchy was declared in Parlia-
" ment to have become forfeited to the Crown : and at
''the same time an act was made to incorporate the
'* Duchy of Lancaster, to continue the County Palatine
" (which might otherwise have determined by the attain-

* XVII. page 102. t XVI. page 99. X Bl. Com. i. 118.


" der), and to make the same parcel of the Duchy : and
"farther, to vest the whole in King Edward IV. and
"his heirs, Kings of England, for ever; but under a
*' separate guiding and governance from the other in-
" heritances of the Crown. And in 1 Henry VII. another
" act was made, to resume such part of the Duchy lands
" as had been dismembered from it in the reign of Ed-
" ward IV., and to vest the inheritance of the whole in
" the King and his heirs for ever, as amply and largely,
" and in like manner, form, and condition, separate from
" the Crown of England and possession of the same, as
"the three Henries and Edward IV., or any of them,
" had and held the same."*

* " Some have entertained an opinion (Plowd. 220, 1, 2 ; Lamb.
" Archeion, 233 ; 4. Inst. 206) that by this act the right of the Duchy
" vested only in the natural, and not in the political person of King Henry
" VII., as formerly in that of Henry IV. ; and was descendible to his
" natural heirs, independent of the succession to the Crown. And, if this
" notion were well founded, it might have become a very curious question
" at the time of the Revolution in 1688, in whom the right of the Duchy
" remained after King James's abdication, and previous to the attainder
" of the pretended Prince of Wales. But it is observable, that in the
" same act the Duchy of Cornwall is also vested in King Henry VII.
" and his heirs : which could never be intended in any event to be
" separated from the inheritance of the Crown. And indeed it seems to
" have been understood very early after the statute of Henry VII. that
" the Duchy of Lancaster was by no means thereby made a separate
" inheritance from the rest of the royal patrimony, since it descended
" with the Crown to . the half-blood in the instances of Queen Mary and
" Queen Elizabeth ; which it could not have done, as the estate of a
" mere Duke of Lancaster, in the common course of legal descent. The
" better opinion, therefore, seems to be that of those judges who held
" (Plowd. 221), that, notwithstanding the statute of Henry VII. (which
" was only an act of resumption), the Duchy still remained as established
" by the act of Edward IV., separate from the other possessions of the
" Crown in order and government, but united in point of inheritance."
The consideration of this question, however, is not material, as the union
of the Duchy and the Crown in the same person is now indisputably
established, having been recognised by numerous acts of the legislature
from the accession of Queen Anne to the present time. (1 Anne, c. 7 ;
48 Geo. III. c. 73 ; 10 Geo. IV. c. 50, s. 130 ; and many others.)


The Duchy of Lancaster thus being brought into the
same person as the Crown, the Sovereigns of England,
from the accession of Henry of Bolingbroke to the present
day, have continued in the actual possession of this rega-
lity, but have always held it as an inheritance separate
from the Crown.

The statutes and other proceedings in Parliament re-
lating to the Duchy, which passed after the union until
the last great annexation of lands made to it with the
sanction of the Legislature, in the 4th and 5th of Philip
and Mary,* afford the best possible account of its state
and condition during that period.

It only remains to add, that the charters in this
volume have been carefully collated with the originals,
where -^the original charter is in existence, and in every
instance with the inrolment on the Chancery Rolls pre-
served in the Tower of London, and in the custody of the
Master of the Rolls, pursuant to the Statute 1 and 2 Vict,
c. 94. The translations are close and literal, and no pains
have been spared to render them as accurate as possible.

The skill and assiduity of the Printers (Messrs.
Bentley and Co.) in carrying this volume through the
press, requiring, as it has done, no ordinary degree of in-
telligence on their part, cannot be passed over without
commendation ; and it would be unjust to withhold the
acknowledgment, that to their attention, and to the
valuable assistance derived from their establishment in
the revision of these sheets, is to be attributed much
of the correctness of the work.

W. H.

Duchy of Lancaster Office,
lith February, 1845.

* XLVIII. page 362.














iJ S5 ♦*

•^ fl rt

•-' be

^ o

- o ai


rt s 2


2 3"


fi o o



T3 t^

CI a

13 o


K o


*" 6




c ^

p - ,.

2 =» ij

W O) >

o M ^

o ^'S^.

a ^. a §3 II

.S eo eo

fe: f3 « 22

^ _:

.'Si: «

c3 . 02 S M So .2 5i
a d « -Ti 2i jrP5

s a o'S ^


"-«! "^ ^ a"


^ - ^ "^ ce ti



pq^p^^^^W aS

< O o +2 tJD

)^ ;h H^ a (=^
" ,a|

w5 >-

>-l ^3

-5 § o « ^^f^

fcc r- d 2

d a ««

r^ t^ a 6^

^ ;:5 'JS ^
Ph "^ O CO


C3' O) oj

I— I ..-cvi 5r

tf -? ^ ^



s « s
H a-^ 8

. O S3 _•

-^a "CO


d ^ .5


O^a CO

d '^ 'd oj

bS .S .2 d>
**^ 13 S CO

:g.2 a^

'^ -d".H

cs ?2 d -xJ

, CO •">« CO fe

; CO CO ^ ,5


) ,-1 ,— I ^ w
^ cs ai 'O




ea d *

ap *"

Wo •'


-^ OH
. -M o

dW S ««

t^ d H o ^*


pd « "^ b

d rt .e


-^ 2 da.
■^ d g



















• f-4








t^ 05



05 05



CO 50


















rd CO*

- ei




t8 _


05 o




•^'^ S

•d c3

§co «
d ^





w d a> ts
Oh o ►^ P.















•- S CO
•-5 W OH-.




7th May, 16 Edw. 3. 1342. — Recital of liberties previously grant-
ed to Henry Earl of Lancaster, viz. Return of writs ; pleas of
withernam; fines and amercements. Consideration for a
more extended grant — the merits of Henry Earl of Derby,
son of the said Earl. Grant to the said Earl of Lancaster
and the heirs of his body of further liberties, viz. — Acquit-
tance of paviage and other tolls ; Return of writs and sum-
mons of the Exchequer ; Attachment of pleas of the Crown ;
Chattels of felons and fugitives ; Fines and amercements, for-
feited issues, forfeitures, &c. Memorandum of cancellation of
this grant in the margin of the Charter Roll, 16 Ed. 3.


25th Sept., 23 Edw. 3. 1349.— Recital of Charter of 7th May,
16 Edw. 3, and of surrender thereof by Henry Earl of Lan-
caster, son and heir of the former grantee. Grant to him for
life of the same liberties, viz. — Acquittance of tolls, &c. ; Re-
turn of writs and summons of the Exchequer ; Attachment of
pleas of the Crown ; Chattels of felons and fugitives ; Fines
and amercements, forfeited issues, forfeitures, &c.


6th March, 25 Edw. 3. 1351.— Henry Earl of Lancaster created
Duke of Lancaster. Grant to him for his life of a Court of
Chancery, Chancellor, justices, cognizance of pleas, and other
jura regalia in the county of Lancaster which pertain to a
Count Palatine, as freely as the Earl of Chester enjoyed the
same in the county of Chester. Reservation to the Crown of
all tenths, fifteenths, and other subsidies and taxes granted by
Parliament, and of the power of pardoning life, with supe-
riority and correction of errors or defect of justice in the
courts of the Duke of Lancaster. The said Duke to send
knights of the shire and burgesses to serve in Parliament, and
to appoint collectors of parliamentary taxes and subsidies





13th Nov., 35 Edw. 3. 1361.— Grant to John Earl of Lancaster
and Richmond, and Blanche his wife, and the heirs of their two
bodies, of certain liberties in the lands and fees of the said
Blanche, one of the coheirs of Henry late Duke of Lancaster,
after the partition made between her and her sister Matilda,
viz. — Return of writs ; Pleas of withernam ; Fines and amerce-
ments ; Chattels of felons and fugitives . . .12

12th May, 36 Edw. 3. 1362.— Recital of Charter dated 13th Nov.
35 Edw. 3, and of descent of Matilda's portion on Blanche,
the surviving coheir. Grant to John Earl of Lancaster and
Richmond, and the heirs of his body and of the body of the
said Blanche his wife, of certain liberties in all their lands and
fees of the heritage of Henry late Duke of Lancaster, viz. —
Return of writs; Pleas of withernam ; Fines and amercements ;
Chattels of felons and fugitives . . . .14


13th Nov., 36 Edw. 3. 1362. — John Earl of Lancaster created
Duke of Lancaster in full Parliament : to hold the said name
and honor of Duke of Lancaster to him and the heirs male of
his body for ever . . • . . .17


14th July, 38 Edw. 3. 1364.— Recital of Charter of 7th May,
16 Edw. 3, to Henry Earl of Lancaster, and of surrender
thereof by the son and heir of the grantee ; and further recital
that the grant so made in fee-tail could not legally be an-
nulled. The said charter of liberties renewed in favor of John
Duke of Lancaster, and Blanche his wife, daughter and heir
of Henry the late Duke, viz. — Acquittance of tolls, &c. ;
Return of writs and summons of the Exchequer ; Attachment
of pleas of the Crown ; Chattels of felons and fugitives ; Fines
and amercements, forfeited issues, forfeitures, &c. Memo-
randum on the Charter Roll, 38 Edw. 3, shewing the limita-
tion of the above grant to the lands which were of the Earl
of Lancaster on the 7th May, 16 Edw. 3. . . .19




25th June, 46 Edw. 3. 1372.— Grant of certain estates to John
King of Castille and Leon, Duke of Lancaster, in exchange for
the earldom of Richmond .... 26


28th Feb., 51 Edw. 3. 1377.— Grant to John King of Castille and
Leon_, Duke of Lancaster, for life, of a Court of Chancery,
Chancellor, justices, cognizance of pleas, and other jura regalia
in the county of Lancaster which pertain to a Count Palatine,
as freely as the Earl of Chester enjoyed the same in the
county of Chester. Reservation to the Crown of all tenths,
fifteenths, and other subsidies and taxes granted by Parlia-
ment, and of the power of pardoning life, with superiority and
correction of errors or defect of justice in the courts of the

Online LibraryLancaster (England : Duchy)The charters of the Duchy of Lancaster [electronic resource] → online text (page 1 of 53)