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In 1483 Oct 9, John Kelyng, clerk, rector of the parish church of Houghton was granted, by Bishop Dudley, (In year 8 of his pontificate) a Durham Pardon licence to crenellate (Houghton le Spring Rectory)
Has pardon for having without licence begun to fortify a house within his rectory; and licence to continue the works. (Rep. Dep. Keeper)

Rot. A. Dudley, No 87.–Will's d. g. &c.Sciatis, &c. Joh'es Kelyng, cl. r'r eccl'ie p'oial de Houghton quad. dom. sup'a p'tam suam inferiore inf'a rectoriam suam apud Houghton cum muro, &c. includere erigere fundare ac domum illam batellare, &c fine, &c. Nos de gra. n'ra, &c. & p' quod, fine, &c. pardonavimus, &c. Et ult'ius concessimus & lic. dedimus p' nob & succ. n'ris &c. p'fat Joh'i q'd ip'e donum suam p'dcam batellare kirnellare macheculare & turillare, ac fortallicium inde facere, &c. In cujus, &c. Dat. &c. 6 die Oct. Anno pont, n'ri 8 A. D. 1483.
Randal's MSS. (Hutchinson)

to enclose, fortify, and embattle a Tower above the lower porch within his manse (Surtees)


A tower was built at Houghton le Spring without licence in 1483. A pardon was granted by the Bishop of Durham to John Kelyng, rector, in 1483.

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;

John Kelyng
John Kelyng was Chancellor of Durham, keeper of the Great Seal, and Receiver-General of the Bishopric of Durham. Given the large number of rectory towers erected with no licence, or, indeed, no real requirement for a licence, this pardon and licence seems more a political statement of the bishops need to express his power rather than any real attempt to control the building of fortifications. Dudley was not a particularly good bishop and his position was due to favouritism from Edward IV, who died in April 1483. Dudley, himself, died in November 1483. The bishop was granted the see in July 1476 and consecrated in September or October that year.

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.