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In 1146, Rannulfum comitem Cestr (Earl Rannulph of Chester, Ranulf de Gernon) was supposedly granted, by Stephen, a Royal licence to crenellate tower in Lincoln Castle (Lincoln Castle)
178. Chester, Earl of (1146)
Abstract (made in 1325) of a concord between the king and the earl
Concordia inter regem Stephanum et Rannulfum comitem Cestr(ie) {marg.}
Carta Stephani regis Anglie per quam dedit et concessit Rann(ulfo) comiti Cestr(ie) castellum Lincoln(ie) et civitatem donee idem rex fecerit ei terram suam Norm(annie) et omnia castella sua habere. Quo facto idem rex concessit firmare unam de turribus suis de castro Lincoln(ie) de qua comes habebit dominium donee idem rex liberet ei castrum de Tichehilla, et tunc remanebit eidem regi turris et civitas Lincoln(ie), et dicto comiti remanebit turris sua quam mater sua firmavit cum constabulatione castelli Lincoln(ie) et Lincolneshir(e) hereditario jure. Et preter hoc idem rex dedit comiti predicto castrum de Belvedeire cum omni honore eidem pertinente et totam terram Willelmi de Albin(i) de quocunque eam tenuit, et Graham cum soka ; et si contingeret quod heredes de Graham cum rege concordiam fecissent, tamen remaneat comiti Rann(ulfo) honor predictus hereditarie, et idem rex dabit eis escambium suum. Dedit etiam idem rex hereditarie predicto comiti Novum Castellum de Staffordshira cum omnibus eidem pertinentibus, et Roeleiam cum soka, et Torcheseia cum pertinentibus, et villam de Derby cum pertinentibus, et Mammesfeld cum pertinentibus, et Stanlegam cum pertinentibus, et Oswarbec wapentache cum pertinentibus, et totam terram Rog(er)i de Bully cum toto honore de Blida sicut divisum est, et totam terram Rogeri Pictavis a Northampton(a) usque in Scotiam excepta terra Rog(er)i de Monte Begonis in Lincolnshire. Dedit etiam idem rex eidem comiti hereditar(ie) honorem de Lancastre cum pertinentibus suis et totam terram de Inter Ribliam et Mersam, et terrain quam habuit in dominio in manerio de Grymesby, et terram quam comes Gloec(estrie) habuit in dominio in manerio de Grymesby cum pertinentibus. Et preterea pro amore dict(i) comit(is) Rannulf(i) idem rex reddidit Adelid(i) de Condia totam terram suam sicut ilia finiit, scilicet Horncastriam (Foster emends to Tomegat) quando castrum ilium {sic) prostratum fuit. Et idem rex reddidit ei totam aliam terram suam.
MS.: P.R.O. 'DL 41/1/36, tn. 7.
Printed: Dugdale, Baronage i. 39; Reg. Antiq. i. 287; Farrer, Lancs. Pipe Rolls, 367-8.
Date: The two possibilities are Dec. 1140 or early 1146 (E.H.R. Ixxv (1960), 654-60). Though we, like A. L. Poole, have previously preferred the earlier alternative, we now think 1 146 the more likely, since this would explain the reference to Ranulf's Norman lands, which the Angevins seized (see 58) as soon as Ranulf made peace with Stephen. Of the English lands Tickhill had been held by the crown since 1 102 until Stephen gave it to John Count of Eu (grandson of Beatrix deBusli) who lost it in or after 1141. Belvoir was part of the inheritance of William d'Albini Brito. The soke of Greetham (Lines.) was held by Earl Hugh de Chester in 1086, though Grantham belonged to the King. The honor of Lancaster or land of Roger de Poitou had been given to Stephen by Henry I; West Derby (Lanes.) was part of it, and Roger de Montbegon was a prominent sub-tenant. All the other lands were royal demesne. (Cronne and Davis)

Although this document has been considered by some as a licence to crenellate it is rejected as a licence.


An agreement was made, following the war of the Anarchy, for Earl Ranulf to hold a certain tower, previously fortified by the Countess Lucy. Not, in a meaningful sense, a licence to crenellate although has been called this by some.

Original source is;

(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;

Ranulf (II) (Ranulf de Gernon), fourth earl of Chester (d. 1153)
Ranulf (II) (Ranulf de Gernon), fourth earl of Chester (d. 1153), magnate. The countess Lucy of Bolingbroke was his mother and had inherited considerable lands in Lincolnshire from her father but had to cede most of these to Henry I. Ranulf ceased Lincoln castle from Stephen in 1140. His involvement in the Anarchy was mainly about his personal ambition and grievances. The naming of this tower after his mother suggests a hereditary claim underlay his seizure of the castle.

Biographical source include;

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.