See also: Medieval Navan - Ethna Cantwell and Town Walls


map medieval navan

Jocelyn de Angulo, the first Baron of Navan, endowed the town with a Charter to give it a commercial centre.  Under de Angulo's patronage, the town flourished as a market centre and it was one of the first towns in the Liberty of Meath to receive a Royal Charter.

Navan's first Charter was granted by Edward IV on 2nd May 1469.

The Charter authorised the Burgesses of the town to levy tolls on all goods coming into the town for sale.  Some of the oldest placenames in the town relate to this market function (ie. Market Sq., Old and New Cornmarket, the Shambles).  The Tholsel was the Market House, situated where Dublingate St. (now Ludlow St.) meets Market Square.

The Charter granted by James I echoed the charter of Edward IV.  Robert Plunkett was nominated the first Provost (later called Portrieve / Portreeve) or Mayor of the town, and William Cusack, Robert Everand, Patrick Begg and Walter Bedlow were the first Burgesses.

The Provost was to be Justice of the Peace, and also act as Coroner and Clerk of the Market.

The Freemen of the town could pass freely through all ports towns etc without having to pay any tolls or taxes, except those due to the king. Only a Freeman could bake bread for sale.

Henry VII gave Navan its second Charter in 1494.

The Charter of James I in 1623 confirmed the first 2 charters.

The Charter of Charles II in 1673 is addressed to "The Portreeve, Burgesses and Freemen of the Town or Borough of Navan",  and prescribes the mode of election of officers, and grants a court and four fairs a year. The officers of the Corporation were - one porteeve (Mayor) 12 Burgesses, 1Town Clerk, 2 Sergeants  at Mace, 1 Recorder and 1 Craner (who weighed goods to be sold at market).

Navan was also given the right to send 2 members to the Parliament in Dublin.


Note: The original medieval charters of Navan were lost in the fire in the

Four Courts in 1922.


Source: Navan by the Boyne Noel E. French ( first edition 1986)