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In 1385 Oct 26, Matilda de Well was granted, by Richard II, (In year 9 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate mansionem in hospitio suo infra clausum domus fratrum ordinis carmelis London. (Whitefriars, London)
Licence for Matilda de Well to crenellate a dwelling (mansionem) in her lodging (hospicio) with the close of the house of the Carmelite friars of London, and to hold the same for life, and after her death for the said friars, to whom it will belong, to hold it in perpetuity By p.s {3782} Sa mansion de son houstel. (P.S.) (CPR)

quandam mansionem in hospitio suo infra clausum domus fratrum ordinis carmelis London. muro ... kernellare ... et eandem mansionem sic, ... kernellatam teneri possit eidem Matill. ad totam vitam suam et post decessum suum praefatis fratribus ad quos praedicta mansio pertinebit in perpetuum ... (Turner and Parker, p. 19n.t)

Granted at Westminster. Grant by privy seal.


Matilda de Well had licence to crenellate a dwelling in her lodging within the close of the Carmelite Friars issued 26 Oct 1385. The friars were to retain the building, and licence, after her death. Coulson writes that any link between this license and the sacking of the, nearby, Savoy Palace in 1381 "seems improbable".

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;

Maud de Welles (nee de Ros c. 1320-1399)
De Well (of Wells) is too vague a name to be certain but this may be Maud de Welles (nee de Ros c. 1320-1399), daughter of Sir William de Ros, Lord Ros of Helmsey, widow of John de Welles, Lord Welles, (c. 1320-1361) of Lincolnshire. An elderly widow, of high status, retiring to hospital of a religious order is certainly not unusual but the function of the licence is quite unclear. Perhaps it was a request of the friars who may have felt at risk both from the recent revolt and the anti-clerical feelings aroused by Wycliff. Matilda, herself, may have wanted to remind the friars and her London neighbours, of her social status.

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.