Ceart Ui Neill
The Rights of O'Neill
|1. This is the customary right and
lordship of O Neill over the province
His right from O Domhnaill; that he come with his full muster from
Tarbh Chinn Chasla to Eas Ruaidh without regard to any benefit or
adversity that might befall them. And these are the chiefs who come
with O Domhnaill: O Baoighill from Tir Bhoghaine and Tir nAimhir,
and O Maolghaoithe from Tuath I Mhaolghaoithe, and Mac Giolla Shamhais
from Ros Buill, and O Breislein from Fanaid, and O Maoilegain from
Magh gCaoraind, and O Muireadhiagh and O Conaill from Tuath
Bhladhach, and O Toircheart from Cluain Eidheile and Mac Dhubhain from
Tir Eanna, and Mag Fhionnachtaigh from Ard Mheg Fhionnachtaigh, and
O Dochartaigh from Ard Miodhair and Mag Fhearghail from Tir Bhreasail,
and Mag Loinnseachain from Gleann Finne. And if those families
should die out, the dutry of hosting rests upon the tribes themselves,
exxcept the three free tribes of Muinter Chanannan in the territory
of the Ui Chonaill themselves. And whenever the UI Chonaill should break
away from their allegiance to O Neill, O Neill shall have what is his
own judge shall award. And if cows increase among the Ui Chonaill, two
in-calf cows are due each year. Provision for two hundred is the
normal billeting to which the Ui Neill are entitled from the Ui Chonaill
from Tarbh Chinn Chasla to Eas Ruaidh.
If O Domhnaill comes to the dwelling of O Neill on a visit, it is
O Maolchraoibhe who provides food and drink for him, and the heads
and hides belong to O Maolchraoibhe. If O Domhnaill should tarry for
food or on billet, O Donnghaile is his marshal; and if he slaughters the
beeves, the offal belongs to his people. O Neill is entitled to make
a royal circuit of the Ui Chonaill, and his own high-stewards are the
Ui Chuinne, and the Ui Again are stewards to him in every country
into which he goes.
2. Here is the customary right and rent of O Neill from Breifne. From
O Raghallaigh that he come with his full muster, without considering any
benefit or hardship of his people; twenty marks from Iochtar Tire;
twenty marks from the kin of Aodh O Raghallaigh; twenty marks and five
ounces from the kin of Aodh Caoch an Fheadha; and ten marks of An
Biatach; and ten marks from the kin of Scon mac Toirdhealbhaigh; and
five marks on the country of Cathal mac Maolmhordha; and five marks
from the kin of Giolla Iosa Og; and five marks and six ounces from
the kin of Feidhlimidh mac Feaghail; and the two and a half marks of
Toirdhealbhach Og mac Glaisne; and the mark of Eoghan O Raghallaigh.
Provision for one hundred and fifty men is the normal billeting to
which O Neill is entitled from Breifne. And twenty shillings from
Domhnall O Raghallaigh, and twenty shillings from Baile Trasna, and
the mark of Seon O Raghallaigh. And it was 'narrow-cross money',
or salfas which was due from everyone when the rent was first
3. The right of O Neill from Ui Eachach Uladh: that they come in full
muster, and if they should not come, O Neill shall have from them
what his own judge shall award. Three hundred beeves from them, or
six ounces (of gold) and two hundred marks instead. Provision for
two hundred men as normal billeting from them: provision for fifty of
them is due from the Ui Eachach themselves, namely Mac Aonghusa, and
provision for fifty from Mac Artain, and provision for a hundred
from the three chieftains Mac Shuileachain, Mac Duibheana and
4. The customary right and black rent of O Neill from the Oirghialla:
to come with their full muster upon summons, and if they should not
come, O Neill shall have what his own judge shall award. Two hundred
beeves from them. Provision for two hundred men as normal billeting
from them. Of that amount provision for twenty is due from Muinter
Cheallaigh (the O'Kellys).
5. This is the black rent of O Neill from Mac Cionath every year: to
come with his full muster whenever called upon; and a hundred white
groats; and forty-two groats for every baile biataigh; or a 'narrow-cross
groat' or salfas instead of the white groat; and provision for fifty
men as normal billeting.
6. The household of O Neill in Inis Eoghain is made free. And three
chieftains were left over them: O Heanna, and he was given as estate from
Tarbh Chinn Chasla to Tumog Eich I Eanna (where she died), a horse's run;
the estate of O Maolfhabhaill, from Tumog Eich I Eanna to Allta Gorma
entering the Breadach; the esate of O Duibhdhiorma, a horse's run from
Allta Gorma to Ard An Chro.
Here is the lordship of O Neill over Inis Eoghain: provision for
billeting a hundred men for half the year, and a hundred marks yearly
in rent, together with maintenance for himself and his army on a
circuit; and if it should fail him, O Neill shall have what his own
judge shall award; and every pledge that is sent in across Derry
Water as security for his rent shall not be restored until it is
7. The lordship of O Neill over O Cathain: provision for fourteen
men every quarter from Fir na Craoibhe; and provision for eight men
from Clann Diarmada, and provision for four men from Tir Chaorthaidh;
and four and a half from the Ciannachta; and provision for five men
from Muinter I Mhaoilmheana; provision for ten men from Muintir Bhranan.
He (O Cathain) is bound on account of his stipend to keep O Neill
as long as he wishes, and he is bound to come with his full muster
from the gate of Ath Deiridh. Twenty-one beeves are his old rent,
or two ounces and five marks a year, and to make hosting for Domhnall
son of Brian of the Battle of Down on Ard Mhe Giollagain. Forty
marks every quarter from O Floinn and hosting; and twenty-one beeves,
or an ounce and twenty-five marks from Mac Giolla Mhuire every quarter,
and hosting and encampment, and two ounces and five marks in lieu of
the twenty-one beeves.
8. Provision for two hundred men as normal billeting from Fir Mhanach,
and the same amount of beeves or of king's money, and a hosting of
two hundred men; and if those two hundred should not come, a cow
for every man lacking of them; and two in-calf cows for every cow
that is not delivered. And if Mag Uidhir himself should come on a
hosting without his people, he shall receive half the fine.
Every lord and chieftain that is appointed in the province of
Ulster, namely O Domhnaill, O Cathain, Mag Uidhir, Mag Mhathghamhna,
O Hanlauin, Mag Aonghusa, Mac Cana, O Gairmfhleadhaigh, etc. is
bound to pay to O Neill a hundred cows, each one who is made lord,
in addition to the intercession fee of the high-stewards.
Mag Uidhir is bound to convey all the dues and tax of O Neill
from the tribes west of the lake Lough Erne.
9. The lordship of O Neilll over Mac Cana: hosting and encampment,
and provision for forty men as normal billeting, and king's money:
one-third over in Clann Bhreasail and two-thirds on this side, and
provision for six men.
10. Over the Oirthir: provision for a hundred men as normal billeting,
and a hundred marks, and that they come in full muster. And if they do
not come, O Neill shall have from them what his own judge shall award.
11. The lordship of O Neill over Cineal Moen. Mac Conallaidh, if he
is senior to the stewards of O Gairmfhleadhaigh in succession to the
office of body-guard, receives the same bounty as O Gairmfhleadhaigh.
The lodging of O Neill due from them is one night from Mac Aodha
and one night from O Ceallaigh and one night from Mac Conallaidh; and
neither O DUibhin nor O Flaitbheartaigh are entitled to compensation,
however long O Neill should stay with them.
If O Neill be with O Gairmghleadhaigh, liability for supplying him
and the retinue to which he is entitled rests upon the four villages.
His mercenaries shall be supplied by Coille Iochtaracha on Friday and
Saturday when he is not with them himself. On the night that he is
in Ard Sratha his table is supplied by Mac Conmidhe from Loch I
Mhaoldubhain, the Reciter's land.
This is the rent of O Neill from Cineal Moen: two hundred beeves
and a hundred and fifty marks of king's money; and rising out when
they are summoned; and provision for a hundred and fifty men as
normal billeting. And Mac Conallaidh has the duty of delivering
the rent and handing it to the stewards; and fourpence with every
beef for them; and if it should go astray, Mac Conallaidh must pay.
l2. O Gairmfhleadhaigh is O Neill's steward of horses and his
chandler. A penny out of the ounce! For the service of the stallion
(O Gormley) gets two screpuls, but the lad who holds the stallion's
head gets a penny of this, and two pence for (the lad who holds) the
mare. The stewards of the prime stallion (attend) for service each
Tuesday. And O Gormley gets half a pig's scull, and its lard and its
guts for his candle-making but he only gets the lard of one pig
per night. Provision for sixty men from Tir Fhiachra, and provision
for sixty from Mac Cathmhaoil or from his territory. Provision for
sixty from Muinntir Bhirn; hosting and encampment in addition
from them all.
13. Aodh the Fat was the first of the Ui Neill to establish lordship.
Gormfhlaith, daughter of O Domhnaill, brought about through generosity
the commutation of the beeves for king's money, and that O Neill
should have his choice of the beeves or the money.
14. Mac Cathmahaoil and Mac Murchaidh and O Doighlin are the
fircheithearn of O Neill. And it is their duty to take and to guard
hostages; and they are bound by their office to keep watch for the
first three nights in camp and on a hosting; and wherever anything comes
to O Neill in tax or as a fine for theft or bloodshed or defrauding
customs, they receive a commission of two sheep on every cow. The
woman of the house has the choice of the sheep-fold, and they have the
second choice, that is a male sheep and a female and her lamb at foot,
till the Feast of the Cross, and for every increase in the cows there
is the same increase in the commission.
15. If a thief or an outlaw or anyone else is seized by order of the lord,
those who make the arrest have a choice from his equipment; and if a
prisoner be seized on a hosting, and be delivered into the custody of
the fircheithearn fully equipped, the equipment is theirs; and if a
prisoner go willingly, they have no right to any of it nor to booty,
and the man who captures him has a hosting right to ransom for the prisoner.
And if he go, it is the lord's custom that clothing and armour on which
there is gold or shining mail is not counted by them. And the
fircheithearna are not entitled to prey upon the people of the house,
save on a stranger, unless the lord say that they shall be despoiled.
If kernes be billeted upon the retinue of a king's son or of a
neighbor, they are not entitled to prey on them. If they force entry by
the king's command, they may take food. If cows are forthcoming from
the guilty man, they may eat one beef, and if not, they may have a
16. The right of O Neill from Muintir Dhoibhlin: twenty loaves of flour
in spring from each half-quarter, and a keg of butter with each loaf,
and four baskets of malt in the spring; or a barrel from each half-quarter,
and a keg of butter every week; four pence of Easter-Money every half-year
from Muintir Dhoibhlin.
Every king and every chieftain and every stranger in O Neill's whole
household shall pay according to the old custom of the Ui Neill from
the time of Domhnall son of Brian of the Battle of Down till Henry son
of Eoghan son of Niall Og son of Niall Mor was made king. He was a
perfect and righteous king, a king who used to quell falsehood and
injustice and maintain the rights of the strong and the oppressed. And
when that Henry was made king, the churches and cells were freed from
every servitude and hardship that had ever lain upon them up to then.
17. The household of O Neill is free of normal billeting; and no kindred
in their territory enjoys freedom from bonn beo unless they have the
equivalent of the bonn beo in men and money to supply a rising out. And
if a raid or plundering is made into any of O Neill's lands, five pence
from each tribe for fetters, except the tribe from which it is expelled.
If the raid is driven off as the result of an alarm or rising out or
summons, there is no charge for maintaining prisoners.
18. Muintir Chuinne and Muintir Again are the high-stewards and chief
administrators of O Neill in the province of Ulster. Two-thirds of the
revenue go to Muintir Chuinne, because there were two of them at the
killing of Mag Lochlainn in the battle; and one-third to Muintir
Again because only one of them was there present. Two cows out of every
score, whether they be taken or given, and five pence for each cow as
Muircheartach son of Muireadhach son of Eoghan son of Niall
Naoighiallach at the feast of Dun Turleim gave precedence of petition
to O Cuinne the Active, son of Ailill son of Eoghan son of Niall
Naoighiallach and to his descendants after him, and moreover they they
should be buried in every burial-place of the kings of Ireland in
preference to every other line descended from Eoghan, because it was
that Cuinne who went to the Munster war on behalf of the aforesaid king.
19. Muintir Dhonnghaile are the marshals of O Neill; one fortieth goes
to them (as levying share). A penny out of each man's provision on
account of a riad or of encampment. One of them should be present
at a parade. They have the heads and hides the first night on changing
ground from one tribal land to another; and if they are billeted all about,
O Maolchraoibhe still has a righ to the heads and the hides.