The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 
In 1227 Jan 30, Richard, bishop of the same place, to his successors, to the canons of this church, and to their men (Richard Poor; Poore) were possibly granted, by Henry III, (In year 11 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate New Sarum (Salisbury City Defences)
Henry, by the grace of God king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, counts {earls}, barons, viscounts, provosts, ministers and all bailiffs and vassals: health and greetings.
You should know that we, out of reverence and honor for God and the blessed Mary, eternal virgin, and for the health of ourselves and of our ancestors and heirs, conceded and with the present charter confirmed to God, to the church of Saint Mary, whose translation from our castle of Salisbury to a lesser place we hold {to be} correct, and at whose foundation we laid the first stone, and {we confirmed} to bishop Richard, bishop of the same place, to his successors, to the canons of this church, and to their men, {we confirmed to all of these people} the liberties and free customs which they have held from the time of our predecessors, the kings of England, in all parts of our kingdom. Having been gathered together and confirmed through the charters of our ancestors and of other persons of our kingdom, these liberties and customs should be upheld according to the rational testimony of these same charters. Moreover, we want and concede for us and for our heirs that the place which is called "New Sarum" shall be a free city in perpetuity, with fortified enclosures as is noted below, and that the citizens of this town living there shall be quit throughout the entire realm of commerce-duties, bridge-tolls, passagium, tolls, lastage, stallage {due paid for stalls in a market}, cartage service, and every other custom throughout our whole realm, concerning all their goods that they will ship by land or by sea. And we prohibit anyone from troubling or disturbing them, their possessions, their lands, or their servants against the liberty of our charter or in spite of our penalty. And we confirm that the said citizens shall have in perpetuity the same liberties and exemptions throughout our entire kingdom as do our citizens of Winchester.
We wish and concede that the aforesaid bishop and his successors should enclose the aforesaid city of New Sarum with stout walls because of the fear of thieves, and that they shall hold {the city} in perpetuity as part of their own lordship, saving to us and our heirs the advocacy of this see and every other right that we have, and ought to have, when the see is vacant, just as we retain in other vacant cathedral churches within our kingdom. Indeed, it will not be legal for the aforesaid citizens to give, sell, or mortgage any burgage or tenement that they hold or shall hold in the same city to a church or to a religious person without the licence and consent of the aforesaid bishop and his successors.
On top of this, we concede to the same bishop and his successors that for their needs and those of their church they shall take a tallage or reasonable aid {both tallage and aid refer to a lordly exaction from dependents} from their aforesaid citizens whenever we or our heirs shall collect a tallage from our own domains.
We also concede to the bishop and to his successors that, for the completion and betterment {emendationem} of the said city, they shall create, shift, and alter the roads and bridges leading to this city as they shall see fit, as long as such correction does not infringe on the rights of anyone else.
We want and concede that the aforesaid bishop and his successors shall have {the right to hold} each year in perpetuity a fair in the aforesaid city of New Sarum, which shall last from the eve of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin until the morrow of the eighth day after the same feast, and {we also concede} a market {to be held} there each week through March, with all liberties and free customs pertaining to these fairs and market.
On top of this, we want and command that all merchants of our lands, as well as merchants of other lands who are within our peace, together with their merchandise, who are coming to the said city, delaying there, or departing from there, shall have the liberty to come, remain and depart, both by water and bridges as by land, and that they shall be free in entering and exiting our land, without any impediment from our bailiffs or those of any other lord, {as long as they shall} hold to the required and correct customs.
We concede all the aforesaid liberties and exemptions to the aforesaid bishop and his successors, to the canons and to the citizens of the said city, such that through this liberal concession made to the said church, to the bishop and his successors, to the canons, and to the citizens, nothing shall be subtracted from the liberties conceded to the bishop and his successors and to the canons of this church through the charters of our predecessors the kings of England or of other donors. All these aforementioned things we conceded to the said bishop and his successors, the canons, and the citizens saving the liberties of our city of London.
For which reason we want and firmly command that the aforesaid bishop and his successors, the canons, and the citizens of this city shall have and hold in perpetuity all the aforesaid liberties and free customs and exemptions well and in peace, freely and wholly, and honorably, in all things and places throughout our entire realm, just as has been said.
{Done} with these witnesses: Eustace, bishop of London; Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester; Joscelin bishop of Bath; Hubert de Burgh, our justiciar; Gilbert de Clare, earl {count} of Gloucestershire and Hertfordshire; Richard de Argenton; Ralph fitzNicholas, our seneschal; Henry de Capella; and others.
Written by the hand of the venerable father Ralph, bishop of Chester, our chancellor, at Westminster, on the thirtieth day of January, in the eleventh year of our reign. (Jones)

Granted at Westminster.

There is insufficient evidence to be certain about this possible licence to crenellate. (Some licences may be lost from record and others may have wrongly presumed to have been granted or may be total inventions.)


The original city charter. Although defences are permitted in the charter this is a licence to crenellate only in a marginal sense.

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;

Poor , Richard (d. 1237)’
Poor (Poore), Richard (d. 1237), bishop of Salisbury, was the illegitimate son of Richard of Ilchester, sometimes called Le Poer, bishop of Winchester (d. 1188). Richard Poor was a member of a curial family; his father was first recorded in the royal service in 1156 and worked both as a royal justice and within the exchequer. Richard had been appointed as one of the executors of King John, although this was probably an honorary position, and like his father he acted as a justice itinerant, visiting Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Hampshire in 1218–19. However, he was most active at court between 1223 and 1232, in the period of Hubert de Burgh's rise to power and Archbishop Stephen Langton's prominence. Hubert de Burgh (d. 1243), Richard Poor, and Bishop Jocelin of Bath, with the support of Langton, formed what was in practice a new government. (Hoskin)

Biographical source include;

More information about licences to crenellate can be found here.

Please do inform Gatehouse if you see any errors, can add information or can otherwise help to improve this resource. Please contact Gatehouse.

Record created by Philip Davis. This record last updated on Sunday, October 4, 2015.