Schedule of Tolls:

"The king to the bailiffs and good men of Galvy in Ireland greeting"

James Hardiman (1782-1855), author of 'The History of the Town & County of the Town of Galway' (1820).
Courtesy of the James Hardiman Library, NUI, Galway.

Introduction

In 1361, Edward III (1312-1377), King of England, granted Galway a murage charter, which essentially enabled the town to strengthen its walled defences using the money obtained from the charging of tolls on commodities coming into the town.

The request for the murgage charter came from Elizabeth (née de Burgh), Countess of Ulster, who was married to Edward’s third son, Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence. In 1333, upon the death of her father, William Donn de Burgh, 3 rd Earl of Ulster, Elizabeth became the sole heir to all the de Burgh lands in Ireland, which included the town of Galway.

The charter encouraged trade in the town, and was so beneficial that, by 1375,Galway was deemed of sufficient importance as to have the king’s staple established in it, for the sale of wools, sheepskins, and leather. In the medieval period, the king’s staple was established in certain ports and towns, and certain goods could not be exported without first being brought to these places to be rated and charged with the duty payable of the king. Before 1375 the staple for the sale of these commodities was confined to just two places in Ireland: Cork and Drogheda.

The following extract from the charter appeared as a footnote in James Hardiman’s History of Galway (1820, 58); according to the author, the original charter, from which the extract was translated, remained on record in the tower of London. The schedule of tolls is a great account of the various commodities that were available in the west of Ireland in the mid-fourteenth century.

Schedule of Tolls

The king to the bailiffs and good men of Galvy in Ireland greeting.

At the request of our beloved daughter Elizabeth countess of Ulster, we have granted to you, in aid of the inclosing the said town, that for five years next following, you may take for saleable commodities, coming to the town aforesaid, the following customs, viz.

Bark for sale …

For every crannock of whatsoever kind of corn, malt, meal and salt, for sale one penny
For every crannock of wayde for sale, two pence
For every crannock of corker and symack for sale, one penny
For every crannock of bark for sale, one halfpenny
For twelve crannocks of every kind of coals for sale, one penny
For twelve crannocks of lime for sale, one halfpenny
For every horse, mare, hobby, ox or cow for sale, one halfpenny
For ten sheep, goats or pigs for sale, one penny

Wolf-skins, cat-skins and squirrel-skins for sale …

For five bacon hogs for sale, one halfpenny
For ten woolfells for sale, one halfpenny
For every hide of horse or mare, hobby, ox and cow, fresh, salt or tanned for sale, one farthing
For every one hundred lamb-skins, goat-skins, hare-skins, wolf-skins, cat-skins and squirrel-skins for sale, one halfpenny
For every one hundred lamb-skins, hides of stags, hinds, bucks and does for sale, one penny
For every mill-stone for sale, one penny
For two hand mill-stones for sale one farthing
For every large sack of wool for sale, four pence

Horse-load of sea-fish for sale …

For every measure of herrings for sale, one farthing
For twenty large fish in ship or boat for sale, one penny
For every horse-load of sea-fish for sale, one penny
For every man’s load of sea-fish for sale, one farthing
For every hundred of Iarge fresh-water eels for sale, one penny
For every salmon for sale, one farthing
For every lamprey for sale, one farthing
For every tun of wine and ashes for sale, four pence

Tun of honey for sale …

For every tun of honey for sale, four pence
For every horse-load of honey for sale, one penny
For every horse-load of ashes for sale, one penny
For every horse-load of cloth for sale, one halfpenny
For every entire cloth of assize for sale, one penny
For twenty ells of Irish cloth, sale-wyche and worstede for sale, one penny
For twenty ells of English or foreign linen cloth for sale, one penny
For twenty ells of canvas for sale, one farthing

Irish cloak for sale …

For ten felt caps for sale, one halfpenny
For every carpet or chaloun for sale, one farthing
For every cloth of silk or baudekin for sale, one halfpenny
For every Irish cloak for sale, one farthing
For every ship coming to the aforesaid town, laden with saleable commodities, three pence
For every bundle of iron for sale, one halfpenny
For one hundred gads of steel for sale, one halfpenny
For one hundred large boards for sale, one penny

Stone of tallow, grease, butter and cheese for sale …

For every thousand large sandals for sale, one penny
For every thousand small sandals for sale, one halfpenny
For one hundred large boards for sale, one farthing
For one hundred pounds of pitch and rosin for sale, one halfpenny
For every stone of tallow, grease, butter and cheese for sale, one halfpenny
For two thousand onions for sale, one farthing
For eight shanes of garlic for sale, one farthing
For every boat laden with brush-wood for sale, one penny

Thousand hinges for sale …

For every boat laden with timber for sale, one penny
For every thousand nails for sale, one farthing
For every one hundred horse-shoes and clout-nails for carts for sale, one halfpenny
For every thousand dishes and wooden platters for sale, one halfpenny
For twelve ropes for tackling for ships for sale, one farthing
For every thousand hinges for sale, one farthing
For every dozen of cordewane for sale, one halfpenny
For every one hundred of tin, brass and copper for sale, two pence

Gallons of olive oil for ointment for sale …

For every one hundred of scalpyn and dried fish for sale, one penny
For ten stone of hemp and flax for sale, one farthing
For ten gallons of lamp oil for sale, one halfpenny
For ten gallons of olive oil for ointment for sale, one penny
For every hundred of coloured glass for sale, one penny
For every hundred of white glass for sale, one halfpenny
For every hundred of averdupois for sale, one penny
For every other article exceeding the value of five shillings, not herein specified, coming to the aforesaid town, one farthing

By the Regent himself [Edward III]

Hardiman’s History of Galway (1820) is out of copyright and can be accessed and downloaded in full via Google books here

Bibliography:

HARDIMAN, James (1820) The History of the Town and County of the Town of Galway, from the earliest period to the present time. Dublin: W. Fold & Sons.

MACKAY, Ronan (2012) ‘Burgh, Elizabeth de’. Dictionary of Irish Biography . Cambridge University Press & Royal Irish Academy [online edition].

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