English Letter of Marque
issued by Henry IV, 1405


The King to all and singular Admirals &c., Greeting. Know ye that we have granted and given to our well-beloved John Wellys, master of a certain ship called the James of Bristol, and to Philip Taillour, master of another ship, called the Trinity of Bristol, liberty to equip in the port of the town of Bristol, at their own charges, the aforesaid ships with as many mariners, men-at-arms, and bowmen as shall be necessary for their navigation and defence at sea against our enemies, whosoever they may be, and for subduing, capturing, and destroying the same; and liberty to set forth with the same ships, so equipped, upon the sea for the purpose aforesaid. And we will that whatsoever they, John and Philip, succeed in winning, gaining, and having by capture from our enemies aforesaid, they may have and keep for their own proper use, without claim or hindrance by or from us, or our heirs or ministers, or the ministers of any our heirs whatsoever. Provided always that under colour of this licence they, John and Philip, their mariners, men-at-arms, and bowmen aforesaid, neither do nor permit to be done any violence, hindrance, or hurt to any who are in friendship with us. Witness the King at Westminster on the 4th day of February.


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