In 1366 Sept 18, Abbas et Conventus de Waltham Sanctae Crucis (Abbot Thomas de Wolmersty) were granted, by Edward III, (In year 40 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Waltham Sanctae Crucis (Waltham Abbey)
Whereas it has been shewn to the king on behalf of the abbot and convent of Waltham Holy Cross that they recovered in the king's court one William atte Ree as their bondman,and by pretext of such recovery entered into 30 acres of land, not held of the king, which the said William had acquired in fee simple, as the perquisite of their bondman, as lawful was for them to do, and whereas they fear they may be impeached on account of the said entry; pardon to them of any forfeiture of the land on account of the said acquisition and entry. Pardon also to them for acquiring from Roger Mareschall one acre of land of their fee in Waltham, and entering therein without licence. Licence also for them to crenellate the belfry of their abbey which is partly ruinous, as the king has heard. By p.s. (CPR)
Granted at Burstead. Grant by privy seal.
Licence to crenellate their belfry, which was ruinous. A licence to crenellate the abbey was granted in 1369. Coulson calls this licence 'an act of seignorial assertion'.
Original source is;
Lyte, H.C. Maxwell (ed), 1912, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1364-67) p. 309 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;
Coulson, C., 1994, 'Freedom to Crenellate by Licence - An Historiographical Revision' Nottingham Medieval Studies Vol. 38 p. 120 Coulson, C., 1982, 'Hierarchism in Conventual Crenellation' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 94 online copy Page, Wm, Round, J.H. (eds), 1907, 'Houses of Austin canons: Abbey of Waltham Holy Cross' VCH Essex Vol. 2 p. 166-72
Abbot Thomas de Wolmersty, elected 1345, died 1371
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.