The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
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In 1235 Jan 19, William earl de Ferrers was supposedly granted, by Henry III, (In year 19 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Leverepul (Liverpool Castle)
W. earl of Ferrers has letters directed to his knights and free men requesting them to make him an aid for the strengthen his castle at Leverepul. (CPR)

Pro W. com' de Ferar'.–W. com' de Ferr' habet literas patentes directas militibus et liberis hominibus suis deprecatorias quod ei faciant rationabile auxilium ad castrum suum de Leu'epul firmandum. T' apud Rading' xix die Jan. (Hand)

Granted at Reading.

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


Does not seem like a licence to crenellate. Royal support to William to extract an additional and exceptional tax from his people to 'strengthen' his castle. The original Latin term firmandum is of interest here but this was clearly a pre-existing castle and it may mean repair the building or just lay in provisions and supplies. However, the exceptional royal support may well suggest additional new building was planned.

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;

William de Ferrers (d. 1254)
The family was descended from Henry de Ferrers who arrived in England from Normandy during the reign of William I, and whose heir, Robert (d. 1139), was created earl of Derby by King Stephen. William Ferrers, fifth earl of Derby (d. 1254), married Margaret (d. 1281), eldest daughter and coheir of Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester (d. 1264). Had some royal connection and favour, did sit in parliament in 1230, but not active in government.

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.