Source 3: Order to arrest spies, 1323-27

This document reveals that King Edward II ordered that Portchester Castle should be garrisoned with soldiers if there was any sign that England might be invaded by forces from abroad. If this were to happen, any people who were suspected of being spies within the castle were to be arrested.

Order to arrest spies, 1323-27, catalogue ref: C 54/143 m. 11d., Close Rolls 1323-1327–19 Edward II Membrane 11d – cont. p. 551


To Robert de Hausted, constable of Porchester castle. Order to cause diligent search to be made in all places within his bailiwick [bailiff’s area of control] of all persons entering the realm, and to cause to be arrested all of whom there is probable suspicion that they are entering the realm to spy out the secrets of the realm in order to do certain things prejudicial to the king and his realm, and to certify the king from day to day of the names of those whom he shall thus arrest, as the king learns upon trustworthy information that many armed men, Englishmen and others, coming from parts beyond sea, are entering the realm in the port of Portesmuth [Portsmouth] and in other places on the sea coast in Robert’s bailiwick, and are wandering about secretly in divers [various] parts of the realm for the purposes aforesaid, and no search or arrest has hitherto been made by Robert or his men… 1326. March 10. Merevale.

Simplified transcript

An order for Robert de Hausted, constable of Portchester castle, to make sure that all places within his bailiwick are searched for people entering the realm who are suspected to be foreign spies. These people are to be arrested, and the constable of Portchester castle is ordered to send a daily report to the king listing the names of those he has arrested.


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  • What does Portchester Castle represent to the king?
  • What does Portchester Castle represent to the constable?
  • What does Portchester Castle represent to foreign spies?