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In 1377 July 20, Radlphus episcopus Saresbiriensis, et successores sui (Ralph Ergham; Erghum) was granted, by Richard II, (In year 1 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Bisshopwodford (Woodford Court House)
Licence for Ralph, bishop of Salisbury, and for his successors to strengthen with a wall and crenellate that city and his manor there, also his manors of Bisshopwodford, Shirbourne, Chirdestoke, Potterne, Canynge, Rammesbury and Sunnyng, and his manor in Fletstrete in the suburb of London. By p.s. (CPR)

Radlphus episcopus Saresbiriensis, et successores sui ... manerium ... Bisshopwodford, Wilts. (Turner and Parker)

Granted at Westminster. Grant by privy seal.


Licensed in 1337 and licenced again in 1377. A Commission of 20 July 1377, reciting the licence lately granted, empowered the bishop "to take as many workmen and labourers within six leagues of the city (of Salisbury) as he shall for the strengthening of the same, excepting the fee of the church, and put them upon the works at reasonable wages; with power to arrest and imprison the disobedient." (CPR (1377-81) p. 10). If the bishop didn't need some protection from the mob before crenellating his houses he certainly would not have improved the situation by arresting people for not working on his houses.

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 Ergham (d. 1400)
Ralph Ergham, bishop of Salisbury from 1375 to 1388, Chancellor of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (Virtual ruler of England at the time) from 1373 to 1377, member of King Richard II's first council, representing John of Gaunt's interests.

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.