Charter Pembroke

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(exhibited at the Council Chamber, Pembroke. 30/8/35

by A.J. Williams, M.A. LL.B.)


Richard, by the grace of God, King of England and France, and Lord of Ireland too, all to whom these present letters shall come, greeting.

We have inspected the letters, patent and exemplification, under the seal of the late Father, Adam, Bishop of Menevia, lately made in these words:


Adam, by divine permission, Bishop of Menevia, to all to whom the present letters shall come, greetings, and the permanent memory of these exploits. We deem it worthy and an acceptable work to God, and we trust to do a profitable service, if through us the noble exploits of Kings, and things particularly useful to the condition of our Diocese, which have long been buried in oblivion, be discovered and brought to light by the aid of our pen. We have discovered in our Treasury, and among the archives of our Church of Menevia, among other old records in an ancient book, the perfect tenours of charters of the old text, free from all faults and suspicions, granted by Henry of renowned memory, late King of England, Duke of Aquitain and Count of Anjou, to the town and burgesses of Pembroke and Haverford. The tenour of this Charter is a grant to the town and Burgesses of Pembroke, with a rubic of that kind written in red ink, “The Charter of Pembroke, word for word, with nothing added or taken away, is known to be on this wise”.


Henry, by the grace of God, King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and Count of Anjou, to the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Earls and Justices, Barons and Sheriffs, and to all his faithful people of all England, Wales, Ireland, Normandy, Brittany, Anjou, Poitou, Gascony, ant to all his men, whether dwelling on this side or beyond the sea, greeting. Know ye that I have given and granted, and by this my present Charter, have confirmed to my burgesses of Pembroke all their liberties, immunities and free customs as freely and fully as they had them in the time of King Henry, my grandfather.


Wherefore, I will and firmly enjoin that all persons who shall enter the port of Milford with merchandise, whether they wish to buy or sell on the land, shall come to the bridge of Pembroke and sell and buy there. Or, if they wish otherwise, let them do business at the Cross, discharging their lawful customs; and that all merchandise which is bought in the County of Pembroke to be carried into England, ought to be shipped at the bridge at Pembroke, paying their customs; and that all persons who come to my market at Pembroke, shall have the security of my peace from the ford of Landfey and from Stentbrigge, and from the Great Ditch at Pencoyt and from the Passage from the hour of nine on the Sabbath to sunset on Monday, if they do not break my peace I also command that if any of my burgesses of the said town, for one year and a day shall hold house or lands which belong to the said town, without reproach, and anyone shall afterwards claim right, let him not have it if he shall have in the meantime remained in my kingdom.

If any man of whatsoever place remain in the same town for a year and a day, without reproach, whether he be a freeman or a serf, he shall ever after remain my freeman and a burgess of the same town.

And, when a burgess of the said town, by whatsoever death and in whatsoever place, dies on land or sea with a will or without a will, his heir shall have all his goods by payment of a relief of twelve pence.

I also grant that the burgesses of the said town shall have grazing rights in my forest of Nerbart and Coytrath, and timber rights in the same town by permission of the forester, and they may take decayed wood to burn wheresoever they shall find it; and if they shall have swine in my forests, they shall be acquitted of pannage.

I also will and command that those things which the aforesaid burgesses shall perform in the said town, if the debtors are willing to render in the same town,  they may take their pledge (Cattle). But, if it shall happen that my said burgesses ought to go into our army, the safe keeping of my town being in the hands of their warden, let them go with my bailiff, so that they may return at night. But if the army be raised by their warden, so that the merchants may serve me at my camp, the custody of the town being safe, they shall go.

Whatsoever merchandise any of my aforesaid burgesses shall buy, if anyone shall claim the same as stolen, he shall acquit himself by oath and by his witnesses, and he shall lose the same chattel and what he gave for it.

Also, my aforesaid burgesses shall answer no plaint out of their hundred unless it be that which pertains to the royal crown. Their forfeiture in the hundred and shire court is twelve pence.

All the merchants of the County of Pembroke, by the appointment of the warden of the burgesses, shall come to their merchant guild.

I also will and grant, and firmly enjoin that the same burgesses shall have the aforesaid liberties and their customs well, quietly and freely, with the addition of their other liberties and customs which they still remember.

Know ye, furthermore, that I have given and granted, and by this, my present charter, confirm to the same my burgesses acquittance from toll, pontage and havenage, and from all customs whatsoever at Bristol, Gloucester, Winchester, Devon, Cornwall, Rochelle, Normandy and throughout all my lands in commotes, in burgages, in castles, in towns, in fairs and markets, in uplands, in woods, in plain, in roads, in lands, in waters and in all other places. I  also forbid anyone to do injury to them in the matters which I have granted to them, and by this my present charter, have confirmed; nor shall anyone draw them into pleas concerning the liberty and acquittance granted to them under forfeiture of fifty pounds sterling.

Furthermore, be it Known to you that I have given and granted to the same, my burgesses of Pembroke, a fair of eight days at the feast of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, and to all coming to the same, my firm peace, those being excepted who have forfeited my peace, and they shall have the same liberties and customs at the fair as they have at my market in the same town on Sunday.

And if any heir is such, ( ie. in respect of his youth), that he cannot hold and defend his land, if the burgess who has died left a will, let his heir and the inheritance remain the custody to which he, on his death  bed, committed him. But, if he shall not have left a will, then the heir and inheritance, by the advise and consent of the nearest relatives, being my burgesses, shall remain in the custody of any one of his friends.      In witness of the foregoing, we have ordered our seal to be hereto attached.

Given in our manor of Landfey, the seventh day of the month of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand three hundred and sixty eight, and in the eighth year of our consecration.

We, (Ie., Richard II ), therefore having perused the tenour of the exemplification of the said letters of the aforesaid Bishop, at the request made to us by the Burgesses of Pembroke, the tenour of these presents we have made to be exemplified. In

witness wherefore we have caused these, our letters, to be made patent. Witness ourselves at Westminster on the sixth day of the month of February in the first year of our reign.


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