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In 1341 June 3, Robertus Bourghchier (Robert de Burghcher) was granted, by Edward III, (In year 15 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Stanstede (Stanstead Hall)
Licence for Robert de Burghcliur to crenellate his dwelling-place of Stanstede. By K. (CPR)

Robertus Bourghchier ... mansum ... Stanstede, Essex. (Turner and Parker)

Granted at Tower of London. Grant by King.


Parker mislocated this as Stansted Hall, Standsted Montfitchet also in Essex an error unfortunately repeated in earlier versions of this record (prior to Jan 2011). The actual house was near Halstead in a substantial park which had been licenced in 1336.

A licence that is clearly about producing a house, decorated in martial symbols, fit for a major minister of state and old soldier.

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;

Bourchier , Robert, first Lord Bourchier (d. 1349)
Robert Bourghchier (c.1320-1349) Lord Chancellor of England in 1340, and the first layman to ever hold that office.

Bourchier (Bousser), Robert, first Lord Bourchier (d. 1349), administrator... He is first recorded in 1318, and later appears to have been employed by the de Vere earls of Oxford, whose estates were concentrated in Essex, but from the late 1320s he also served the crown... He was returned as a knight of the shire for Essex to the parliaments of 1328–9, 1330 (twice), 1332 (once), and 1339 (both)... in 1334 he was appointed chief justice of the justiciar's bench in Ireland, he never took up office. If anything he pursued a military career... On 14 December 1340 Bourchier was appointed chancellor of England, the first layman to hold that office. The context of his appointment was Edward III's quarrel with Archbishop John Stratford, over the alleged failure of the English administration to support the king's war effort in Flanders and France. The primate's brother Ralph Stratford, bishop of Chichester, was dismissed as chancellor, and Bourchier was chosen to replace him, presumably as a competent man of affairs who could be relied upon to do the king's bidding. His relative lack of personal means, which led to special arrangements having to be made to finance the chancery clerks in his household, and to the king's providing an annual fee of £100... Bourchier resigned as chancellor on 27 October 1341, but continued to serve as a member of the king's council... early in 1348 he was commissioned to accompany the king's daughter Joan to Spain, there to marry the future Pedro I of Castile, but she fell victim to plague at Bordeaux. In November 1348 he received a personal summons to parliament, and is consequently regarded as having become Lord Bourchier. Robert Bourchier died between 12 March and 18 August 1349, probably of the black death, and was buried at Halstead (Rose)

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.