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Bamburgh Town Defences

In the civil parish of Bamburgh.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NU178349
Latitude 55.60726° Longitude -1.71658°

Bamburgh Town Defences has been described as a Urban Defence although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


In 1332 Edward III granted murage rights to the townsfolk 'we have also granted leave to the inhabitants of Bamburgh . . . that they may strengthen, shut in, and crenellate the borough with a wall of stone and lime, as they will, and keep it so crenellated.' The charter was confirmed by Richard II in 1382 indicating that there had been little improvement during the century. There is no evidence this charter was acted upon. This close to the Scottish border defence may have been a real concern but the lack of work done suggests that the perception of danger, rather than the reality, was the concern. (Coulson)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1332 March 16 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


Edward's 1332 grant was a reconfirming of a borough charter, with the addition of a licence to crenellate, but while the market was confirmed, no grant of a power to take tolls for walls is made. There is no evidence that any attempt was made to enclose the town and given the pretty limited income the town would have made from its market and the presence of the castle with it large wards offering safe refuge if needed it is to be doubted if there was ever even a thought of walling the town but the royal licence was prestigious. The confirmation by Richard II in 1382 (known of only by an Inspeximus of the town charters made in 1405) is of the borough charter and any repeat of the licence to crenellate will be scribal copying rather than a renewed intent to wall.
None of the usual sources on medieval town walls (Turner 1973; Creighton and Higham 2005) mention this licence or any intent to wall Bamburgh town.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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