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[Translated by Thos Sinclair, M.A., author of Caithness Events, from the Latin in Torfaeus]

"To all who shall see or hear the present letters, Henry, Jarl of the Orkneys, Lord of Roslin, wishes salvation in the Lord. Because the very serene Prince in Christ, my most clement lord Hakon, by the grace of God, the king of the kingdoms of Norway and Sweden, has set us by his favour over the Orcadian lands and islands, and has raised us into the rank of jarl over the beforesaid lands and islands, and since this is required by the dignity, we make well known to all, as well to posterity as to contemporaries, that we have made homage of fidelity to our Lord the king himself, at the kiss of his hand and mouth, and have given to him a true and due oath of fidelity, as far as counsels and aids to our same lord the king, his heirs, and successors, and to his kingdom of Norway must he observed. And so, let it be open to all that we and our friends, whose names are expressed lower, have firmly promised in faith and with our honour to our same lord the king, and to his men and councillors, that we must faithfully fulfil all agreements, conditions, promises, and articles which are contained in the present letters to our beforesaid lord the king, his heirs, and successors, and to his kiugdom of Norway.

"In the first place, therefore, we firmly oblige us to serve our lord the king outside of the lands and islands of the Orkneys with 100 good men or more, equipped in complete arms, for the conveniences and use of our same lord the king, whenever we shall have been sufficiently requisitioned by his messengers or his letters, and forewarned within Orkney three months. But when the men shall have arrived in the presence of our lord the king, from that time he will provide about victuals for us and ours.

"Again, if any may wish to attack or hostilely invade, in manner whatsoever, the lands and islands of the Orkneys, or the land of Shetland, then we promise and oblige us to defend the lands named, with men whom we may be able to collect in good condition for this solely, from the lands and islands themselves, yea, with all the force of relatives, friends, and servants.

"Also, if it shall he necessary that our lord the king attack any lands or any kingdoms, by rigbt or from any other reason or necessity, then we shall be to him in help and service with all our force.

"Moreover, we promise in good faith that we must not build or construct castles or any fortifications within the lands aud islands beforesaid, unless we shall have obtained the favour, goed-pleasure, and consent of our same lord the king.

"We also shall be bound to hold and to cherish the said lands and islands of the Orkneys, and all their inhabitants, clergymen and laity, rich and poor, in their rights.

"Further, we promise in good faith that we must not at any time sell or alienate that beforesaid earldom and that lordship, whether lands or islands, belonging to the earldom, or our right which we obtain now to the earldom, the lands, and islands, by the grace of God and of the king our lord, from our lord the king himself, or his heirs, and successors, or from the kingdom, nor to deliver these or any of these for surety and for pledge to anyone, or to expose them otherwise, against the will and goodpleasure of him and his successors.

"In addition, if it happen that our lord the king, his heirs, or successors, wish to approach those lands and islands for their defence, or from other reasonable cause, or to direct thither his councillors or men, then we shall be held to be for help to our same lord the king, and his heirs, to his councillors and men, with all our force, and to minister to our lord the king, and his heirs, his men and councillors, those things of which they may be in need for their due expenses, and as necessity then requires, at least to ordain so from the lands and islands.

"Moreover, we promise that we must not begin or rouse any war, law suit, or dissension with any strangers or natives, by reason of which war, law suit, or dissension the king my lord, his heirs, or successors, or their kingdom of Norway, or the beforesaid lands and islands, may receive any damage.

"Again, if it happen, but may this be absent, that we notably and unjustly do wrong against any within the beforesaid lands and islands, or inflict some notable injury upon anyone, as the loss of life, or mutilation of limbs, or depredation of goods, then we shall answer to the pursuer of a cause of that kind in the presence of our lord the king himself and his counsellors, and satisfy for the wrongs according to the laws of the kingdom.

"Also, whensoever our lord the king shall have summoned us, on account of any causes, to his presence, when and where he shall have wished to hold his general assembly, then we are bound to go to him, to give him advice and assistance.

"Further, we promise that we shall not break the truces and security of our same lord the king, nor his peace, which he shall have made or confirmed with foreigners or natives, or with whomsoever others, in any manner whatever, to violate them, nay, defend them all as far as our strength, and hold those as federated to us whom the king of Norway himself, our lord, may wish to treat as his favourers and friends.

"We promise also that we must make no league with the Orcadian bishop, nor enter into or establish any friendship with him, unless from the good-pleasure and consent of our lord the king himself; but we must be for help to him against that bishop, until he shall have done to him what is of right, or shall be bound to do so for that special reason, upon those things in which my lord the king may wish or be able reasonably to accuse that bishop.

"Besides, when God may have willed to call us from life, then that earldom and that lordship, with the lands and islands, and with all the jurisdiction, must return to our lord the king, his heirs and successors freely; and if we shall have children after us, procreated from our body, male, one or more, then be of them who shall claim the above said earldom and lordship must demand, with regard to this, the favour, good pleasure, and consent of our lord the king himself, his heirs, and successors.

"Further, we promise in good faith that we shall be bound to pay to our abovesaid lord the king, or to his official at Tunsberg, on the next festival of St.Martin the bishop and confessor, a thousand golden pieces, which are called nobles, of English money, in which we acknowledge us to be bound to him by just payment.

"Also, we promise, because we have been now promoted to the earldom and lordship oftensaid by our lord the king himself, that our cousin Malise Sparre must cease from his claim and dismiss altogether his right, if it be discernible that he has any, to these lands and islands; so that my lord the king, his heirs, and successors shall sustain no vexation or trouble from him or from his heirs.

"Again, if we have made any agreement or any understanding with our cousin Alexander Ard, or have wished to enter into any treaty with him, in that case we will do similarly on our part and on the part of the king my lord to whatever was done in precaution about Malise Sparre.

"Further, we, Henry, earl abovesaid, and our friends and relatives, namely, Simon Rodde, William Daniels, knights, Malise Sparre, William Crichton, David Crichton, Adam Byketon, Thomas Bennine, and Andrew Haldaniston, armsbearers, conjunctly promise in good faith to our oftensaid lord the king, Hakon, and to his first-born lord the king, Olaf, and to his councillors and men withinwritten, namely, to the lords Siguard Haffthorsen, Ogmund Findersen, Eric Ketelsen, Narvo Ingualdisen, John Oddosen, Ulpho Johnsen, Giuther de Vedhousen; John Danisen, Hakon Evidassen, knights of the same lord the king; Hakon Jonssen, Alver Hardissen, Hantho Ericsen, Erlend Phillippsen, and Otho Remer, armsbearers; and for this, under preservation of our honour, we bind ourselves and each of us in a body to the aforesaid lords, that we must truly and firmly fulfil all the agreements and couditions and articles which are expressed above to our lord the king, within the above-written feast of St.Martin, the bishop and confessor, so far as one particular business was declared by itself above.

"That all these things now promised may have the greater strength for this, and may be fulfilled the sooner, we, the aforesaid Henry, Earl of the Orkneys, place and leave behind us our cousins and friends Lord William Daniels, knight, Malise Sperre, David Crichton, and the lawful son of the said Simon, by name Lord Alexander, here in the kingdom hostages. Upon their faith they oblige and promise themselves to this, that from our lord the king of Norway, or from that place in which he shall have wished to have them within his kingdom of Norway, they in nowise may go away, publicly or secretly, before all the abovesaid things be totally fulfilled with entire integrity to our lord the king; and particularly and specially, the conditions and articles for whose observation the within-written reverend fathers, bishops, and prelates of the churches of the kingdom of Scotland, and the other nobles within-written of the same kingdom, Lord William, Bishop of St.Andrews; Lord Walter, Bishop of Glasgow; Lord William, Earl of Douglas; Lord George, Earl of March; Lord Patrick Hepburn, Lord Alexander Haliburton, Lord George Abernethy, Lord William Ramsay, knights, must promise in good faith, and upon this remit their open letters to our same king the lord, with their true seals, in the before-noted time, as in our other letters written upon this is declared more fully.

NOTE - The text implies that Simon Rodde is the father of Alexander Ard.

NOTE - Ogmund Findzson as the King's steward, adjudged on 8th October 1386, to Herr John and Herr Sigurd Hafthorsson the estates left in Shetland by Fru Herdis Thorvaldsdaughter, and which Malis Sperra had unlawfully appropriated.

"Also, we promise in good faith that we must assume in no direction to us the lands of our lord the king, or any other rights of his which his progenitors and the king our lord are known to have reserved to themselves; and concerning those lands or jurisdictions not to intromit in any manner whatsoever. They have reserved those laws, indeed, and those pleas within the Orcadian earldom, as is before said, and the lands and pleas of that kind will remain in all cases safe for them; but if, upon this, we shall have his special letters, then we ought to be specially bound thereafter to our same lord the king.

"Besides, but may it he absent, if all those abovesaid things shall not have been brought to conclusion, and totally fulfilled to the same my lord the king as it has been expressed above, or if we should have attempted anything in the contrary of any of the premises, then the promotion and favour which we have experienced from the king our lord, and of his grace, ought to be of no strength; yea, the promotion and favour of that kind done to us must be broken down altogether, and in their forces be totally empty and inane, so that we and our heirs for the rest shall have no right of speaking for the beforesaid earldom or for the lands or beforesaid islands, or we of acting about those lands and islands in any way whatsoever, that it may he manifest to all that the promotion and grace of this kind was given by no force of law or justice.

"And so we append our seal, together with the seals of our said friends, to our present letters, in testimony and the firmer evidence of all the premises.

"These things were done at Marstraud, in the year of the Lord 1379, the 2nd day of August"


[From Caithness Events]

"Henry de St.Clair, Earl of Orkney, Lord of Roslin in Scotland, salvation in the Saviour of all. We make well known to your entirely, by the presents, that we have promised in good faith, and by the tenor of the presents we promise with all fidelity, to our most excellent prince and lord the lord Hakon, the illustrious King of Norway and Sweden, that we will on no account alienate, pledge, or deliver as surety the lands or islands of the earldom of Orkney, or the crown possessions of the kingdom itself, from our beforesaid lord the king, his successors, or from the kingdom, without the consent of our lord the king abovesaid, his heirs, or successors, and that we shall observe faithfully all the premises.

"The venerable lords and fathers in Christ, Lords William and Walter, Bishops of St.Andrews and Glasgow; William and George, Earls of Douglas and March; William Ramsay, Walter Haliburton, George Abernethy, Patrick Hepburn, John Edmonston, Alexander Haliburton, John Thumbee, Robert Dalzell, barons and knights, also have promised.

"In testimony of all which things our seal was appended, and we have procured to be appended to the presents the seals of the said bishops, counts, barons, and knights.

"Given at St.Andrews on the first day of the month of September, 1379."

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