The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
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In 1345 April 9, Gilbertus de Whitleye (Gilbert de Whitley) was granted, by Edward III, (In year 19 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Whitleye (Whitley Tower)
Licence for Gilbert de Whitleye to crenellate his dwelling-place of Whitleye, co. Northumberland. By p.s. (CPR)

Gilbertus de Whitleye ... mansum ... Whitleye, Northumbr. (Turner and Parker)

mansum suum de Whitleye (Bates)

Granted at Westminster. Grant by privy seal.


One can only speculate that Gilbert served as a soldier, possibly a serjeant but unlikely to be a knight, made some money and a bit of a reputation and decided to retire to a tenanted farm in his home town and then died, possibly of the plague, before he could start a family. Presumably during his military service he impressed some courtier who assisted him with the licence.

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;

Gilbert Whitley
Gatehouse is unable to trace any biographical details of this Gilbert Whitley. The tenant in chief of the manor was the Prior of Tynemouth. In 1333 Richard de Emeldon seems to be the sub tenant. In the 1415 list of Northumberland fortifications it is held by the the Prior of Tynemouth and called a 'turris'. A very modest tower of a sub tenant of (?part of) a modest manor who does not seem to have established a dynasty of note.

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.