In 1348 April 18, the Bishop, Dean and Chapter were granted, by Edward III, (In year 22 of his reign) a Confirmation licence to crenellate Lichfield (Lichfield Cathedral Close)
Whereas Edward I granted licence for Walter de Langeton, the bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, to build a wall round the close of the cathedral church of Lichfield and crenellate such wall, and the present king at the suit of Roger, now bishop of that place, and the dean and chapter there, shewing that, although after the enclosing of the same they have hitherto held the close at their will, so that no transit through the close of men, carts, wains or horses other than their own has been permitted, except with their licence, nevertheless certain of the town of Lichfield and the vicinage now claim to have a common transit through the close, although the said bishop, Walter, of his own free will for the public benefit caused a new way to be made there leading from Bakenstrete by the gate of the close, with bridges over the water there, sufficient for the transit of men, carts, wains and horses, and praying that he would confirm the charter of Edward I, lately commanded John de Swynnerton, escheator in the county of Stafford, to make inquisition whether it would be to the damage of any if he were to grant the petition; and whereas by such inquisition it has been found that it will not be to the damage of any or a nuisance to the town to do this: the king by these presents confirms the charter, so that only the bishop, the dean and chapter, and the ministers of them and the church shall have transit through the close. By fine of 20s. paid in the hanaper. Stafford (CPR)
Granted at Westminster. Grant by fine of 20s. paid in the hanaper. Stafford.
This was a confirmation of the previous charter issued because the townspeople were claiming common passage through the close. The walls were clearly built by this time. Fundamentally a legal judgment to mollify friction between the churchmen and townsmen.
Original source is;
Lyte, H.C. Maxwell (ed), 1906, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1348-50) p. 56 online copy National Archive C 143/291/14 (The inquistion)
(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;
Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 167 Coulson, C., 1982, 'Hierarchism in Conventual Crenellation' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 94 online copy
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.