General Pardons

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This is a list of general pardons covering treason for the period 1399-1509. It was compiled for my article on Exceptions to General Pardons 1399-1450 (forthcoming). A general pardon was an act of clemency, issued at irregular intervals, by which the king stayed prosecution and thereby remitted temporal punishment at his own suit for a wide range of serious crimes committed before a certain day (terminus ante quem).General pardons are seen by some as an expression of the realization that the legal system could not bring felons to justice.Looking at the coverage of these pardons, one might well get that impression, because the coverage grows enormously in the course of the fifteenth century. But if we turn our attention to exceptions, we get a more nuanced view (Susanne Jenks)

Henry IV

Number Occasion/Date Coverage Exceptions Requirements Availability Source
1 Henry IV’s first parliament, 1399 All treasons and felonies committed before 19 Nov. 1399 a) murder and rape of women

b) common thieves indicted before 19 Nov. 1399, approvers, those appealed of the death of a person, those captured with stolen goods, those who broke out of a royal prison before 19 Nov. 1399, those present at the murder of Thomas, duke of Gloucester

to stand to right in the royal court if a private person wants to sue Until 1 Nov. 1400 (PROME, Henry IV, 1399 October, item 156, Statutes ii, 119 c. 20) First copy on the pardon roll was issued on 20 Nov. 1399 (C67/32, m. 23), last copy on 7 Apr. 1400 (C67/32, m. 22), last copy found so far on plea rolls was issued on 6 May 1400 (KB 27/544 m 15 rex [1], KB27/554 m 13d Rex [2]. For a copy of the French version of this general pardon, issued on 15 December 1399, see KB 27/557 m. 21 Rex [3]
2a Rising of January, 1400 all treasons, insurrections, felonies, trespasses, rebellions, contempts, extortions and oppressions committed before the feast of the Purification of Saint Mary (2 Feb. 1400) a) murder and rape of women

b) common thieves indicted before 2 Feb. 1400, approvers, those appealed of the death of a person, those captured with stolen goods, those who broke out of a royal prison before 2 Feb. 1400, those present at the murder of Thomas, duke of Gloucester

to stand to right in the royal court if a private person wants to sue All twelve copies on the pardon roll issued on 18 March 1400 (C67/32, m. 20)
2b all trespasses, rebellions, contempts extortions, oppressions committed before the feast of the Purification of Saint Mary (2 Feb. 1400), and all treasons, insurrections and felonies committed before 2 Feb. 1400 a) murder and rape of women

b) ut supra

Eight copies of this pardon issued between 18 March and 20 March 1400 (C67/32, m. 20)
2c all treasons, insurrections, rebellions and felonies committed before 2 Feb. 1400, and all trespasses, contempts, extortions and oppressions committed before 2 Feb. 1400 a) murder and rape of women

b) ut supra

First copy of this version issued on 25 Mar. 1400 (C67/32, m. 20), the last copy issued on 20 Sep. 1400 (C67/32, m. 17)
2d all insurrections, felonies and rebellions committed before 2 Feb. 1400, and all trespasses, contempts, extortions and oppressions committed before 2 Feb. 140 a) certain persons whose names are on record in the chancery

b) murder and rape of women c) common thieves indicted before 2 Feb. 1400, approvers, those appealed of the death of a person, those captured with stolen goods, those who broke out of a royal prison before 2 Feb. 1400, those present at the murder of Thomas, duke of Gloucester

Enrolled on C67/32, m. 18 under the date 18 March 1400, but apparently no copies issued
2e De pardonacione Cestre all treasons, insurrections, felonies, rebellions and trespasses committed between Christmas 1399 and 2 Feb. 1400 a) murder and rape of women to stand to right in the royal court if a private person wants to ue First copy issued on 22 May 1400 (C67/32, m. 15), last copy issued on 23 Sep. 1400 (C67/32, m. 15)
2f all treasons, insurrections, rebellions and felonies committed before 2 Feb. 1400, and all trespasses, contempts, oppressions and extortions committed before 2 Feb. 1400 a) murder and rape of women

b) common thieves indicted before 2 Feb. 1400, approvers, those appealed of the death of a person, those captured with stolen goods, those who broke out of a royal prison before 2 Feb. 1400, those present at the murder of Thomas, duke of Gloucester

to stand to right in the royal court if a private person wants to sue First copy issued on 2 Oct. 1400 (C67/32, m. 14), last copy issued on 20 Oct. 1405 (C67/32, m. 10)
2g all treasons, insurrections, rebellions and felonies committed before 2 Feb. 1400, and all trespasses and oppressions committed before 2 Feb. 1400 a) murder and rape of women

b) common thieves indicted before 2 Feb. 1400, approvers, those appealed of the death of a person, those captured with stolen goods, those who broke out of a royal prison before 2 Feb. 1400, those present at the murder of Thomas, duke of Gloucester

to stand to right in the royal court if a private person wants to sue variant, issued on 12 April 1402, found only on a plea roll: KB27/564 m. 7 rex [4][5]
3a marriage (issued at the instigation of Queen Joan), 1403 all treasons, insurrections, felonies and trespasses committed before 7 September 1403 a) entering into lands and tenements which are being held directly from the king (transgressionibus pro ingressibus in terras et tenementas que de nobis tenentur in capite) without due process and transfer of such lands and tenements (non alienacionibus terrarum et tenementorum hujusmodi) without the king’s licence

b) common thieves indicted on 7 Sep. 1403 (dicto 7 September 1403 indictatus non fuerit quod est communis latro), those imprisoned for murder or theft and kept in prison without mainprise or bail (nec tunc in prisona pro murdro aut pro latrocinio absque manucapcione seu tradicione in ballium corporaliter detentus extiterit)

to stand to right in the royal court if a private person wants to sue 22 November 1403 (C67/32, m. 9) - first copy issued on 22 November 1403 (C67/32, m. 9), last copy issued on 1 February 1413 (C67/32, m. 1)
3b Percy insurrection, 1403 all treasons, insurrections, felonies, rebellions, misprisions,trespasses and evildoings to stand to right in the royal court if a private person wants to sue 22 November 1403 - 6 January 1404 (CCR 1402–05, 279 = C54/252, m. 28d)
3c at supplication of the king’s son, 3 Nov. 1403 (CPR 1401–5, 330–1)to all the king’s lieges in the county of Chester all treasons, insurrections, rebellions and felonies committed by them with Henry Percy and other rebels before this time (C66/370, m. 15) the mayor and commonalty of the city of Chester to stand to right in the royal court if a private person wants to sue for a fine of 3,000 marks payable within three years after Christmas next
4a at the request of commons, 1404 (Statutes ii, 147) all treasons, insurrections, rebellions, misprisions, felonies and trespasses committed before 14 Jan. 1404 a) murders and rapes of women; b) all who are in prison or in custody for treason (illis qui tunc in prisona vel in custodia occasione prodicionibus extiterunt), counterfeiters of the king’s seal, makers of false money (factoribus false monete</>), felons detained in prison or were released on mainprise or bail (<i>felonibus qui tunc in prisona corporaliter detenti vel ad manucapcionem seu ballium dimissi extiterunt) to stand to right in the royal court if a private person wants to sue No purchase of copy needed Note: Order to obey this pardon issued on 22 Jan. 1413 (KB27/607 m 1d Rex [6]), pleaded twice in the king’s bench in Michaelmas term 1421 (KB27/642 m 4 Rex [7])and KB27/642 m 27 Rex [8])
4b 1404 (Statutes ii, 147–8), to all the king’s enemies in the realm of England, the country of Wales and the marches of Scotland for all insurrections, rebellions, felonies, trespasses, misprisions, committed avaunt lour rendre ou venue einz a lour ligeance William Serle, Thomas Ward of Trumpington to stand to right in the royal court if a private person wants to sue within 40 days after the proclamation
5a 1405 all treasons, insurrections, rebellions and felonies committed between 1 May 1405 and 1 Aug. 1405 Proviso semper - clause to stand to right in the royal court if a private person wants to sue First copy issued on 8 Aug. 1405 (C67/33, m. 4), last copy issued on 1 Oct. 1408 (C67/33, m. 2), variant (C67/33, m. 1, ad valorem £10 and £8 resp.) issued between 10 Aug. 1409 (C67/33, m. 1) and 27 Sep. 1409 (C67/33, m. 1), another variant (C 67/33, m. 1, ad valorem 100 marks and £8 resp) issued on 9 Aug. 1409
5b 1405 De pardonacionibus communis gratie (no formula given) issued between 11 Oct. and 20 Oct. 1405 (C67/32, m.10)
6a Recovery from an illness, 1409 all treasons, insurrections, rebellions, felonies, offenses, misprisions, impeachments and trespasses committed before the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul (25 Jan. 1409) a) murder and rape of women; b) approvers, notorious thieves, those in prison for theft without being released on mainprise or bail First copy issued on 28 Jan. 1409 (C67/34, m. 11); last copy on pardon roll issued on 1 Mar. 1410 (C67/34, m. 4)
6b 1409 all treasons, insurrections, rebellions, felonies, misprisions, offenses, impeachments and trespasses committed before the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul (25 Jan. 1409) a) murder and rape of women; b) approvers, notorious thieves, those in prison for theft without being released on mainprise or bail First copy issued on 30 Jan. 1409 (C67/34, m. 3), last copy issued on 20 July 1409 (C67/34, m.2)

Henry V

Number Occasion/Date Coverage Exceptions Requirements Availability Source