The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
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In 1199, Ricardo Malebisse (Richard Malebisse) was granted, by John, a Royal licence to crenellate Queldric [Qweldric] [Queldrie] [Oweldric] (Wheldrake)
Et idem rex dedit Ricardo Malebisse licentiam firmandi castellum apud Queldric: quod cum pene firmaret, cives Eboraci considerantes hoc fieri in eorum damnum et opprobrium, effecerunt adversus Willelmum de Stuteville, tunc temporis vicecomitem Eboraci, quod ipse ex parte regis prohibuit Ricardo Malebisse, ne ipse castellum illud firmaret, et ita remansit. {Chronica}.

The said king also gave a licence to Richard de Malebise to fortify a castle at Oweldric; but after he had nearly built it, the citizens of York, thinking that this had been done to their detriment and disgrace, prevailed upon William de Stuteville, at this time sheriff of York, on the king's behalf, to forbid Richard de Malebise to fortify the said castle, and accordingly in that state it remained. {Annals}

This licence was revoked.


The licence to fortify this castle, granted in 1199, was withdrawn before completion. King writes "Richard Malebisse was given a licence by King John, which was revoked at the request of the citizens of York, to whom such a castle appeared as a threat. The chronicler (Hoveden) is obviously telling the truth, for Richard had acquired an interest in Wheldrake, being licensed to plough up ('frussiare ad cultur') part of the forest there (Rot. Chart., 42b). This is the only licence in the rolls, and John's licence to crenellate was clearly verbal. It does not at all follow that Richard wished to fortify the Stephanic site. See also Holt, The Northerns (Oxford, 1961) 161, n7. Richard, as keeper of the forest of Galtres, had misappropriated 250 of the King's oaks to build his castle. It does not follow that he had actually used them; he had also been selling a lot of the King's timber."

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;

Richard Malebisse (1155-1209)
Richard was notorious in his own time for his leading part in the massacre of the Jews of York in 1190. The chronicler William of Newburgh thought his name ‘Mala-Bestia’ particularly apt. He had used antisemetic fervour to wipe out his debts to money lenders. This application for a licence was part of a series of action done to gain favour in the new court of King John.

The licence may be seen as a recognition from John for Malebisse's support of his rebellion against his brother King Richard in 1193-4, rather than a reward for his duties as a judge, although his poor reputation would have made the unusual process of revoking the licence an easy political action.

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.