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In 1403 Aug 15, Jacobus de Radclif, armiger (Sir James Radclyffe; James Radcliffe) was granted, by Henry IV, (In year 4 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Radclif (Radcliffe Tower)
Licence for the king's esquire James de Radclif to enclose his manor of Radclif, held of the king in chief as of the duchy of Lancaster, with walls of stone and within them to make a hall with two towers of stone and to crenellate the walls, hall and towers and hold the manor as a fortalice. By K. (CPR)

Jacobus de Radclif, armiger ... manerium (Cum muris de petris et calce de novo includere et infra eosdem muros quandam aulam cum duabus turribus de petris et calce similiter de novo facere et eosdam muros aulam et turres sic factos kernellare et batellare) "quod de ducatu Lanc. tenetur." ... Radclif. (Turner and Parker)

The king, &c., greeting, Know ye, that of our special grace we have granted and licensed, for us and our heirs, as much as in us is, to our beloved esquire, James de Radcliffe, that be his manorhouse of Radcliffe (which is held of us as of the Honor of Lancaster, in capite, as it is said) with walls of stone and lime to enclose anew; and within these walls a certain hall, with two towers, of stone and lime in like manner to make anew; and those walls, hall, and towers, so made, to kernel and embattle { "kernellare et battelare" }. And the manor-house so enclosed, with the hall and lowers aforesaid so kernelled and embattled, for a certain fortalice he may hold to him and his heirs for ever, without any accusation or impediment of us or our heirs, or our officers, or those of our said heirs whatsoever. In testimony whereof, we have caused these our letters to be made patent. Witness the king at the Castle of Pontefract, on the 15th day of August {1403}, by the king himself‘.— Patents of 4 Hen. IV. (1403) p. 2. m. 11. (Baines)

Rex omnibus ad quos hae litterae nostras patentes pervenerint salutem. Sciatis quod de gratia nostra speciali concessimus et licenciam dedimus pro nobis et heredibus nostris quantum in nobis est dilecto armigero nostro Jacobo de Radclif, quod ipse Manerium suum de Radclif quod de nobis ut de ducatu nostro Lancastrie tenetur in capite ut dicitur, cum muris de petris et calce de novo includere et infra eosdem muros quandam Aulam cum duabus Turribus de petris et calce similiter de novo facere, et eosdem muros aulam et turres sic factos kernellare et battellare. Ac manerium illud sic inclusum cum aula et turribus predictis sic kernellatis et battellatis tanquam quoddam fortalicium tenere possit sibi et beredibus suis imperpetuum sine impeticione aut impedimento nostri vel heredum nostrorum aut Ministrorum nostrorum vel dictorum heredum nostrorum quorumcunque. In cujusrei testimonium has litteras nostras fieri fecimus patentes. Teste Rege apud Castrum de Ponte Fracto xv die Augusti. Per ipsum Regem. — (Paten, de Anno Henrici Quarti quarto, p. 2, m. 11.) (Whittaker)

Granted at Pontefract Castle. Grant by King.


King writes "an unusually detailed licence." Only one tower survives and the other one licensed may not have been built.

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;

James Radclyffe (c. 1355-1410)
James Radclyffe (c. 1355-1410). Knighted in 1385. Gentry, grandfather and son both sheriffs of Lancashire, although James apparent not sheriff.

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.