Hardiman's History of Galway

Chapter 4: From 1484 to the commencement of the Irish Rebellion in 1641

Charter of Richard III

Chapter 4

From 1484 to the commencement of the Irish Rebellion in 1641

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Old map of Galway

About the same time, the inhabitants also solicited Richard III. for a new charter, praying that they might be at liberty to elect thenceforth, for ever, a mayor and bailffs; that no person whomsoever, not even excepting the Kings lieutenant and chancellor, (who alone were then privileged>) should enter the town without a licence; and particularly that the lord Mac William, of Clanrickard, and his heirs, should be for ever deprived of all rule and authority within the town. A new charter was accordingly granted, dated at Westminster, the 15th December, 1484, whereby the king confirmed all former grants, and renewed the powers to levy the tolls and customs, which he directed should be applied towards the murage and pavage of the town; he also granted licence that they might, yearly, for ever, choose one mayor and two bailiffs, and ordained that no person whomsoever should enter the town without licence; and particularly ordained and granted, that from thenceforth neither the lord Mac William, of Clanrickard, nor his heirs, should have any rule or power whatsoever within the town, either to act, exact, ordain or dispose of any thing therein. by land or by water, as he and his predecessors were anciently accustomed to do, without the special license and by the consent and superintendence of the mayor, bailiffs and corporation, to whom he granted plenary power and authority to rule and govern the town.[c] The first mayor and bailiffs were accordingly elected under this charter, on the 1st August, 1485, and were sworn into office on the 29th September following, which practice has continued without intermission to the present day.

The bull was soon after received from Rome, and a meeting of the inhabitants was immediately convened in the town-house, where it was publicly read, in the hearing of all the people, on the 3d and 6th days of November, 1485. By this instrument, which is dated the 8th of February, 1484, the pope confirmed and approved of the erection of the church of St. Nicholas into a collegiate, to be governed by a warden and eight vicars, who should be moral, well bred and virtuous men, and who were to follow the English rite and custom, in celebrating the mysteries of religion; and he also granted the right of presentation of the warden and vicars to the chief magistrate or mayor, bailiffs and equals (pares) of the town for ever. [d]

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