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In 1335 Oct 8, Willielmus de Whitefeld (William de Whitefield) was granted, by Edward III, (In year 10 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Wyrdesford (Woodsford Castle)
Licence for William de Whitefeld to crenellate the dwelling-place of his manor of Wyrdesford, co. Dorset. By p.s. (CPR)

Willielmus de Whitefeld ... mansum manerii ... Wyrdesford, Dors. (Turner and Parker)

Granted at Berwick-on-Tweed. Grant by privy seal.

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 Whitefeld (d. c. 1344)
William de Whitefeld was ordered, with others, to be arrested in 1321 and have his property siezed (CPR 1321-24 p. 40), presumably he was a rebel against Edward II but reconciled under Edward III. William was appointed as a custodian of Bindon Abbey in 1329, after what appears to have a prolonged period of misrule in that abbey, including accusations and counter accusations of assault and trespass, but the custody was transferred the next year. He appears in the Rolls doing other commissions, in the south-west, in the 1330's.

In 1327 a commission of oyer and terminer to investigate his complaint 'that John Conyng, Henry de Corston, John Belet, and others, broke his houses at Berdesford, Doddyngbere and Mulburn, co. Dorset, and carried away 100 oxen and 1,000 sheep, worth £200, felled his trees, fished his ponds, and carried away fish, trees, timber of the houses, and other goods.' (CPR 1327-1330 p. 220). This was not 'criminal' activity but a resort to force of a civil dispute resulting from the seizing and counter granting of manors during the troubles of the previous decade. None of these houses was given a licence to crenellate, which would not have protected the livestock. William's real solution to these problems was not 'fortifications' but royal support and aid from sheriff and court.

He is described as 'late sheriff of Somerset and Dorset' in 1344, when his widow is granted terms to pay off his debts. (CPR 1343-45 p. 270-1)

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.