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In 1327 Oct 23, Abbas et Conventus Sancti Benedicti de Hulm (Abbot and Convent of St Benedict Holme; Abbot John de Aylsham) were granted, by Edward III, (In year 1 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate St Benet Holme (St Benets Abbey)
Licence, at the request of Burga de Vallibus, for the abbot and convent of St. Benet Holme to protect the site of their abbey with a wall, and crenellate the same. By p.s. (CPR)

Abbas et Conventus Sancti Benedicti de Hulm ... situm abatiae ... Hulm. (Turner and Parker)

Granted at Nottingham. Grant by privy seal; at request of Burga de Vallibus.


Parker misatrributed this to Holme Cultram, Cumbria. It was for Benet Holme Norfolk.

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;

Burga was widow of Sir William de Vaux. Gatehouse not been able to establish the connection with St Benet's but this branch of the de Vaux had estates in Norfolk and the Abbey may have been the burial place of Sir William.

The ancient connexion of the abbeys of St. Benet and St. Edmund naturally tended to promote good feeling between them, and the relations of the two houses appear to have been particularly friendly during the first half of the fourteenth century, the abbots alternately inviting one another to various functions. Consequently, when the townsfolk of St. Edmund's attacked the abbey in 1326-7 and drove its inmates to seek shelter, it was to Holm that William Stowe, the sacrist, fled for safety, and there he was joined by many of his brethren who had been absent from the monastery at the time of the riots. The abbot of St. Benet's was further consulted on this occasion by the abbot of St. Edmund's, and was afterwards appointed by the pope to enforce restitution of the property stolen at Bury, by virtue of which authority he excommunicated the offenders in spite of a humble petition for leniency from the burgesses. (VCH)

In 1381 when the revolted peasantry attacked it (the Abbey) in the hope of capturing the bishop of Norwich, whom they believed to be within its walls... In the autumn of the following year,1382, a fresh rising was planned in Norfolk, of which the chief feature was the design of seizing the abbey of St. Benet and occupying it as a fortress, for which its strength made it very suitable; the plot, however, leaked out, and the scheme was nipped in the bud. (VCH)

More information about licences to crenellate can be found here.

Please do inform Gatehouse if you see any errors, can add information or can otherwise help to improve this resource. Please contact Gatehouse.

Record created by Philip Davis. This record last updated on Sunday, October 4, 2015.