Notarial Instrument 32
The Letter of Malachy O'Kelly
Submission text (English, translated by Edmund Curtis)
Notarial Instrument XXXII records that : on the 21st day of March, 1394 [N.S. 1395], in a room within the enclosure of the Friars Preachers at Drogheda, in presence of the notary, King Richard exhibited a certain letter sealed with red wax and handed it to the notary, requesting him to make a true copy of the letter, of which the tenor is as follows:
‘“To the most excellent, illustrious, and redoubtable lord our King. Your humble liege and subject, Malachy O’Kelly, offers himself with all submission and humility ever ready for your gracious commands. By these presents I signify to your sublimity that I and my father have ever been faithful and obedient to you and your progenitors and have humbly obeyed your commands and those of your officers as we were bound to do, on account of which many damages and innumerable vexations have been inflicted and done upon me and my father by enemies (‘emulos’) of you and your kingdom, both English and Irish, for the which I trust fervently to receive compensation from your Majesty when the opportunity shall come. Therefore I recommend myself, my men, and my possessions to your Majesty, knowing, my most excellent lord, that I should have visited your eminence on the first days of your joyful coming to Ireland, only that I was prevented, as even to this day I am prevented, by your and therefore my enemies and rivals continually warring against me and Thomas de Burgo, your faithful liege. Therefore if it please you, deign to have me excused until remedy shall come through your lordship to me and your other subjects in Connacht against the said enemies. Further, if it please you, deign to know that I understand from what I am told by certain people that the Earl of Ormond is attempting at present to take from me, on account of your power, certain lands which he claims that his ancestors held a hundred years ago, and which have been occupied since then by his enemies (‘emulos’), native Irishmen of Connacht, namely O’Conor, but for the last eighty years have been held by me and my father peacefully and by the assent of your officers. Therefore I ask and request your illustrious Majesty, if it please you, deign to afford me remedy against the said Earl and others thus greatly troubling me, in consideration of my service done in the past and in the future faithfully to be done to you and yours, so that, thus certified, I may be able to make war against your rivals and enemies as before and more vigorously to continue therein, and if this please you, deign to guarantee me to the end of my life by your letters patent and those of the said Earl. I recommend myself, my men, and my possessions as formerly to your eminence, which may the Most High preserve for long and happy years to the government of your kingdom and the defence and peace of me and your other lieges.
‘“Written at my hostel on the 11th day of March, Your lasting liegeman, the abovesaid Malachy, ever ready to your commands.”
‘Which letter I, the notary, saw, scanned, and perused. Thereupon the said King requested me to make him a public instrument.’
Witnesses: the bishop of Llandaff and William Scrope.