The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
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In 1215 May 12, probis hominibus (Good men of Stafford) were supposedly granted, by John, (In year 16 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Staff' (Stafford Town Defences)
Rex Probis homnibus suis Staff' salutem. Sciatis quod mandavimus Vicomes nostro Staff' quod sine inpedimento promittat vos villam vostram claudende et firmare, et ideo vobis mandamus quod sub quanta poteritis festin' et diligencia illam claudende et firmare studeatis. Mandavimus etc. Hugo de Neville quod vobis maremium habere facit in loco aptiori et propinquiori ad illam claudendam et firmandam. Teste ut supra. (Rot. Litt. Claus)

45. Rex vicecomitit Staff' salutem. Scias quod licenciam dedimus probis hominibus nostris Staff' quod villam suam firment et claudant. Et ideo tibi precipimus quod eos sine impedimento illam claudere et firmare permittas. Teste me ipso apud Waling', xii die Maii.
46. Rex H. de Neuvill' salutem. Mandamus vobis quod sine dilacione habere faciatis probis hominibus nostris Stafford' mairemium in bosco apiciori et propinquiori ad villam suam claudendam et firmandam. Apud Waling', xii die Maii.
47. Rex probis homnibus suis Staff' salutem. Sciatis quod mandavimus vicomiti nostro Staff' quod sine inpedimento permittat vos villam vostram claudere et firmare. Et ideo vobis mandamus quod sub quanta poteritis festinacione et diligentia illam claudere et firmare studeatis. Mandavimus etiam Hugoni de Nevill' quod vobis mairemium habere facit in loco apciori et propinquiori ad illam claudendam et firmandam. Teste me ipso apud Walingef', xii die Maii. (Brown (ed))

Granted at Wallingford.

Although this document has been considered by some as a licence to crenellate it is rejected as a licence.


A grant of timber for the repair of existing defences. Neither the term licence or crenellate occur in these close roll entries.

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.