The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
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In 1340 March 29, Radulphus, Bathon et Wellen. Episcopus was granted, by Edward III, (In year 14 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Wellen (Wells Bishops Palace and Cathedral Close)
Licence, for the glory of God, the honour of the cathedral church of Wells and the saints whose bodies repose therein, and the security and quiet of the canons and ministers resident there, for Ralph, bishop of Bath and Wells to build a wall round the churchyard and the precinct of the houses of him and canons, and to crenellate and make towers in such wall. He is to make doors and posterns in the wall where necessary, and to cause any streets enclosed to be diverted in such manner as shall be most to the public convenience, and the doors and posterns to be open for thoroughfare from dawn till night. By p.s. (CPR)

Radulphus, Bathon et Wellen. Episcopus ... Cimiterium ecclesiae Cathedralis Wellen. et procinctum domorum suarum et Canonicorum infra civitatem Wellen. muro lapideo circumquaque includere et murum illum kernellare batellare ac turres ibidem facere &c. (Turner and Parker)

Granted at Westminster. Grant by privy seal.


This licence was for the palace and close, but the current palace is the main result of this licence. Clearly much of this licence is about mollifying the concerns of the citizens of Wells.

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;

Ralph of Shrewsbury (1286-1363)
Ralph of Shrewsbury (1286-1363) elected to see in 1329. Previously a scholar and chancellor of Oxford University. Does not seem to have held political office. There seems to be little reason for this licence beyond the glorification of the see of Wells to which he was particularly dedicated.

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.