The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
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In 1307, was supposedly granted a licence to crenellate (Birtley Castle)

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


The listed building report for this building states "Ruined castle. Licence to crenellate 1307. Said to have been dated 1611 over door. Roughly dressed stone. Fragmentary remains. Parts of two walls stand to c.7ft. One slit window with dressed-stone surround, widely splayed inside, with old wood lintel. South-west corner is rounded."
Having spent some years researching licences to crenellate Gatehouse is not aware of any evidence this house ever received a licence to crenellate. The date 1307 is associated with the date of an inquisition post mortem and I suspect this record is a confused misreading of the Northumberland County History where this date, and a reference to a licence for a chapel occur closely together. Without knowing the source it is not possibly to be absolutely sure of this but it is quite certain there is significant doubt that this house was granted a licence to crenellate. Such a licence is certainly not recorded in the standard calendars of the royal patent letter and charters and the various other such source.
The National Heritage List has been informed of this but for bureaucratic reason do not feel they can change their inaccurate record.

Significant later sources are;

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.