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In 1385 May 4, the mayor, bailiffs, and good men of Coventry were granted, by Richard II, (In year 8 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Coventry (Coventry City Wall [Cheylesmore Manor House])
Licence, upon the petition of the mayor, bailiffs, and good men of Coventry, promising to enclose the site of the king's manor of Cheillesmore within the walls of their city, in accordance with the bounds limited by the kind's steward for the time being, and reciting the like licence of the late king, dated 20 November, 37 Edward III. and his subsequent letters patent assigning certain persons to assess the merchants, inhabitants and other dwellers in Coventry, and apply the sums levied for the purpose, and that the work has been left unfinished, to crenellate the residue of the wails accordingly, on condition that they fulfil their said promise, with power to assess the merchants and inhabitants as aforesaid, until the work is complete, and during its progress to take sufficient stone from the king's quarry within the park of Cheillesmore tor fencing the said manor and making a gate through the city wall near the park in the highway by the house of the Friars Minors. Further grant to them, as from Easter last, of the farm yearly accruing to the king from the sealing of woollen cloth in Coventry, to the value 24/., receivable for the next five years, in aid of the said work. By p.s. {3641} (CPR)

Granted at Westminster. Grant by privy seal.


Murage first granted 1329 but work probably didn't start until 1364. A licence to complete the work was issued in 1385. Circuit was only finally completed in 1540. Clearly, since murage had been already granted, there was no requirement for a licence to crenellate. Was this licence sought more to motivate and encourage those citizens who thought the wall was a needless financial burden? If so then it had some limited success and the technique was repeated in 1385 with rather less success, despite the 'Peasant's revolt'. The specific details regarding the making a gate etc. needed legal consent but the licence to crenellate was not a legal requirement and its mention clearly has another function.

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.