The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
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In 1305 April 5, Robertus de Reynes (Robert de Reymes; Raymes) was granted, by Edward I, (In year 33 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Shortflat (Shortflatt Tower)
Licence for Robert de Reymes (sic) to crenellate his dwelling places of Shortflat and Eydon, co. Northumberland. By p.s. (CPR)

Robertus de Reynes ... mansum suum ... Shortflat, Northumbr. (Turner and Parker)

Granted at Westminster. Grant by privy seal.


Presumably Shortflat was obtained at a much the same time as Aydon.

On the same date Robert and Thomas de Bekeryng obtained a licence for a market and fair at Bolam (CChR 1300-26 p. 25)

Here the licence to crenellate, at first, really does appear to be a response for a need for fortification. Was Robert unaware of the 'real' situation regarding the need for a licence, was he being over cautious? Or was he just establishing himself as a 'gentlemen' with a crenellated house? Had he funded some of the Scottish wars and was this licence a royal recognition of that help? If the risk was so high what was the purpose of the licence for a market? Raids didn't start until 1311.

'There was therefore no compelling reason for Raymes to build any fortifications when he acquired his licence. However, as a parvenu, he still needed to mark his arrival in Northumbrian society' (King, 2007, p. 387) Nortumbrian gentry society was particularly defined by militarism.

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;

Robert de Reymes
No biographical details for Robert although an effigy of a C14 knight, said to be of 'Sir Robert de Reymes' lies in St Andrew's Church, Bolam.

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.