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In 1346 Sept 15, Abbas et Conventus de Langeley (Abbot John de Strumpeshagh) were granted, by Edward III, (In year 20 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Langeley (Langley Abbey)
Licence for the abbot and convent of Langeley to build a belfry within the abbey and crenellate the same. By p.s. (CPR)

Abbas et Conventus de Langeley ... quoddam campanile infra Abbatiam de novo construendum ... Langeley. (Turner and Parker)

Granted at Westminster. Grant by privy seal.


Parker identifies this as Abbot's Langley, Hertfordshire. However there was no Abbey there (It was a manor of the Abbot of St Albans). The VCH records the licence for Langley Abbey, Norfolk. The crenellated belfry can hardly have been defensive and church tower were, anyway, systematically built with decorative crenellations without licence.
Quite what this licence is about is unclear. However, William, abbot of Langdon, Kent was commissary for the abbot of the mother house Prémontré and was interfering in Langley's affairs so possibly a mark of royal support for the independence of Langley. See also the licence granted to Langdon Abbey in 1348 which may be a counter to this 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;

Abbot John de Strumpeshagh
Abbot John de Strumpeshagh, elected 1340.

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.