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In 1380 March 10, Simon, archbishop of Canterbury was possibly granted, by Richard II, (In year 3 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Canterbury Westgate (Canterbury City Wall)
Licence, in consideration of Simon, archbishop of Canterbury, having begun, for the fortifying of the city enclosure, the construction of a new gate in the place of the old one called 'Westgate,' whereon used to be the old parish church of 'St. Cross, Westgate,' which the prior and convent of St. Gregory in the suburb of Canterbury have held to their own uses, the church and gate being razed and the parishioners unprovided with their own parish church, for the alienation in mortmain by Thomas Holt, John Bate, William atte Wode, Robert Plomer, Richard Tanner, Adam Jolif, Thomas Cokkere and Thomas Spile, of a plot of land in the city, held of the king in free burgage, fourteen yards (virgas) four feet long, six yards four feet wide, to the said prior and convent, who have licence to construct thereon a new parish church in honour of St. Cross (as their said old church was), and a churchyard, and to appropriate the same in mortmain. By p.s. (CPR)

Granted at Westminster. Grant by privy seal.

There is insufficient evidence to be certain about this possible licence to crenellate. (Some licences may be lost from record and others may have wrongly presumed to have been granted or may be total inventions.)


Does this licence to build the Westgate really count as a licence to crenellate. The licence seems to be to obtain new land in mortmain for a replacement church. The freedom is to do land exchange not improve the existing town fortifications.

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;

Simon Theobald or Simon of Sudbury (d. June 14, 1381)
Simon Theobald or Simon of Sudbury (d. June 14, 1381) was created Lord Chancellor in January 1380. Particularly unpopular he was beheaded in the Peasants Revolt.

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.