The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
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In 1381 June 15, the mayor and commonalty were granted, by Richard II, (In year 4 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Oxford (Oxford Town Wall)
Licence for the mayor and commonalty of Oxford to fortify {the town} with a ditch (fossa) 200 feet wide, within its soil and liberty, and to hold the same as parcel of the town, at the same yearly fee farm.
Vacated by surrender and afterwards cancelled by command of the king, because granted and sealed at the time of the insurrection of the commons. (CPR)

Granted at London.

This licence was revoked.


The town obtained licence to enlarge the ditch to a width of 200 ft., but the grant was canceled after protests from Merton College, whose manor of Holywell extended up to the north wall. The leading townsmen of Oxford making use of a crisis to strengthen their position with regard to the long standing uneasy relationship with Oxford University.

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.