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In 1393 Feb 27, Johannes, Dominus de Lovell was granted, by Richard II, (In year 16 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Werdour (Old Wardour Castle)
Licence for John, lord Lovell, to crenellate his manor of Werdour, co. Wilts, and make a castle of it. By p.s. (CPR)

Johannes, Dominus de Lovell ... quoddam manerium suum de Werdour in Com. Wilts, ... kernellare ... et Castrum inde facere ... (Turner and Parker)

Granted at Westminster. Grant by privy seal.


A soldier with long royal service and marriage to a wealthy heiress. Wardour castle was a new build with all the flourish one would expect from such a wealthy and powerful baron including the cachet of royal licence. Later alterations have made the castle look even less military but it was never a fortress.

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;

Lovell (Lovel), John, fifth Baron Lovell (c.1342–1408)
Lovell (Lovel), John, fifth Baron Lovell (c.1342–1408), courtier and royal councillor... he is described as a ‘knight of the king's house’ when assisting Henry Percy, first earl of Northumberland, at the recapture of Berwick Castle in November 1378. Appointed master of the king's hounds in December 1377, Lovell was a king's knight by 1383 and served as one of a group of ten bannerets attached to the royal household between 1385 and 1387. It was in this capacity that he had joint command of a force of 300 men within the king's ‘battle’ during the Scottish campaign in 1385. Although the appellant lords used Sir John as an intermediary between themselves and the king in the early stages of the political crisis of 1387–8, his close links with Richard's household rendered him suspect and he was among a group of courtiers whom the appellants banished from the king's presence. Lovell's rehabilitation was swift once Richard resumed power, however, for he was certainly present at meetings of the royal council by September 1389, and for the next decade he acted as one of the king's regular advisers: present at most of the more important council meetings; a consistent witness of royal charters. (Walker)

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.