In 1338 June 9, Abbas et Conventus de Bello (Abbot Alan of Kertling) were granted, by Edward III, (In year 12 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Bello (Battle Abbey)
Licence for the abbot and convent of Battle to crenellate the site of their abbey. By p.s. (CPR)
Abbas et Conventus de Bello ... situm Abbatiae suae ... Battle, Sussex. (Turner and Parker)
The king to all his bailiffs and liegemen, to whom, &c., greeting Know that of our special grace we have granted and given licence on behalf of ourselves and heirs, as much as in us lies, to the beloved by us in Christ,| the Abbot and Convent of Battle, that they may fortify with a wall of stone and lime, and krenellate the site (situm) of that Abbey, which is of the foundation of our progenitors, formerly Kings of England, and may hold that site so fortified and krenellated for themselves and successors for ever, without penalty or impediment, from ourselves, or our heirs, justiciaries, eschaetors, sheriffs, or others our bailiffs or officers whosoever. In witness whereof, &c. Witness the King at Lopham, on the 9th day of June. (Pat. 12 Edw. III., p. 2, m. 28). (Blaauw)
Granted at Lopham. Grant by privy seal.
Abbey has substancial gatehouse with portcullis and murder holes of C14 date and precinct wall with possible wallwalk. Possibly fortified in response to French raids, peasant unrest or purely for status reasons. Licence to crenellate granted to Abbot Alan of Kertling in 1338.
Original source is;
Lyte, H.C. Maxwell (ed), 1898, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1338-40) p. 92 online copy
(In fact, the original source given is usually a transcription/translation
of what are precious medieval documents not readily availably. It should be
noted that these transcription/translations often date to the nineteenth or
early twentieth centuries and that unwitting bias of transcribers may affect
the translation. Care should also be taken to avoid giving modern meaning to
the medieval use of certain stock words and terms. Licentia is best translated as 'freedom to' not 'permission'.)
Significant later sources are;
Woodburn, Bill and Guy, Neil, 2005-6, 'Battle Abbey Gatehouse' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol 19 p. 59 Coulson, C., 1982, 'Hierarchism in Conventual Crenellation' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 94 online copy Blaauw, William Henry, 1861, ' Royal Licenses to Fortify Towns and Houses in Sussex' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 13 p. 112 online copy Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 part 2 p. 412 online copy
Abbot Alan of Kertling
More information about licences to crenellate can be found here.
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Record created by Philip Davis. This record last updated on Sunday, October 4, 2015.