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In 1352 July 22, Homines de Gippewico were granted, by Edward III, (In year 26 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Gippewico (Ipswich)
Licence for the good men, the king's tenants, of the town of Ipswich, to strengthen and crenellate their town with a stone wall. By p.s.
July 22. Westminster. Grant to the bailiffs and good men of Ipswich of murage for six years. By p.s. (CPR)

Homines de Gippewico ... villam ... Ipswich, Suff. (Turner and Parker)

Granted at Westminster. Grant by privy seal.


The town had some earthern defences from at least 1204, and possibly earlier. Some walls may have existed and a barred gate (portas barratas) is recorded in a deed of 1343. Here civic pride and economic conflict with Harwich (granted a licence the next month) seem the most likely motivation for obtaining a licence, although the loss of trade following the Black Death of 1348-9 may have also been significant, since the main function of town walls was to regulate trade and the collection of taxes. The licence to crenellate may have also have given some support for the taking of the murage tax.

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;

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.