In 1369 March 3, the mayor and commonalty were granted, by Edward III, (In year 43 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate La Rye (Rye Town Wall)
At the supplication of the mayor and commonalty of La Rye shewing that, whereas for lack of enclosure their town was lately burned in time of war by the king's enemies from foreign parts and they, in view of the perils which may ensue if the town remain unenclosed, have by common assent ordained among themselves that of every 20s. of rent in the town, 1 1/2d. and of every 20s. of goods and money, 1/4d. weekly, shall be levied and applied to the enclosure of the town until it is complete; the king has granted licence for them to crenellate their town, and empowers the mayor and bailiffs to distrain on any of the town who will not pay their portion of such assessment. By K. (CPR)
The King to all persons to whom, &c., greeting. The Mayor and Commonalty of the town of la Rye have petitioned us, &c. We assenting to their petition in this particular, have granted and given license on behalf of ourselvas and our heirs, as much as in us lies, to the aforesaid Mayor and Commonalty, that they may with a wall of stone and lime enclose, fortify, and kirenellate the said Town of la Rye, and may hold the same so enclosed, fortified, and krenellated for themselves, their heirs, and successors of us and our heirs, by the services due and accustomed thereon for ever, &c. Witness the King at Westminster, the third day of March. (Pat. 43. Edw. III. p. 1. m. 20.). (Blaauw)
Granted at Westminster. Grant by King.
Town frequently raided by French in C14. First grant of murage in 1329 and then in 1333, 1336, 1343, 1348. In 1369 murage granted and licence to crenellete. Murage granted again in 1377. In 1385 a committee appointed to supervise the fortification of the town and town granted dues paid on fish landed in ports between Hastings and Whitstable. Here the licence to crenellate seems to be less permission to build a wall as to be permission to 'distrain' (either fine or seize property from) those who will not pay the granted tax.
Original source is;
Lyte, H.C. Maxwell (ed), 1913, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1367-70) p. 224 online copy
(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;
Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 161-2 Blaauw, William Henry, 1861, ' Royal Licenses to Fortify Towns and Houses in Sussex' Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. 13 p. 113 online copy
More information about licences to crenellate can be found here.
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Record created by Philip Davis. This record last updated on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.