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In 1410 Sept 23, Ralph de Eure, knight (Sir Ralph Eure; Ewer) was granted, by Cardinal Langley, Bishop of Durham, (In year 5 of his pontificate) a Durham Pardon licence to crenellate Witton' (Witton Castle, Witton-le-Wear)
Thomas Dei gratia Dunelmensis episcopus salutem. Sciatis quod cum Radulphus de Eure Miles nuper manerium suum de Witton cum muro de petra et calce includere et manerium illud batellare, kirnellare, et turillare, ac fortallicium inde facere incipit, licentia nostra aut praedecessorum nostrorum super hoc non obtenta: nos de gratia nostra speciali pardonavimus transgressionem sactam in hac parte: et alterius concessimus et licentiam dedimus pro nobis et successoribus nostris praesato Radulpho, quod ipse manerium praedictum cum muro de petra et calce includere, et manerium illud castellare, kirnellare, et turillare, ac fortallicium inde facere possit, et tenere sibi et haeredibus suis imperpetuum absque impedimento nostri vel successorum nostrorum justiciarium, escaetorum, vice-comltum, aut aliorum ballivorum seu ministrorum nostrorum, vel successorum nostrorum quorumcumqu; imperpetuum. In cujus rei teslimonium, &c. Dat, &c. viceslimo-tertio die Septembris, anno Pontisicatus nostri quinto.
Thomas, by the grace of God bishop of Durham sendeth greeting. Know ye, that whereas Radulphus de Eure, knight, did begin to inclose his manor of Whitton with a wall of lime and stone, and to embattle, crenelate, tourillate, and erect a fortress on the said manor, not having first obtained either our licence or that of our predecessors; we, out of our special grace, have pardoned that transgression; and moreover have granted and given licence, for us and our successors, to the said Radulphus, to inclose his manor aforesaid with a wall of lime and stone, and to castellate, crenellate, tourillate, and build a fortress thereon; to have and to hold the same to himself and his heirs for ever, without impediment from us, or our successors, our justices, escheators, sheriffs, or other bailiffs or officers whatsoever, or those of our successors for ever. In witness whereof, &c. &c. Given the 23d day of September, in the fifth year of our Pontificate. (Grose)


The document is actually a pardon for unlicensed crenellation. In 1433 Ralph's son William was discontent with Langley's administration but it is unclear if this pardon represents unusual interference by the bishop into Ralph's building or a joint recognition by two leading men in the north of their status.

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;

Langley, Thomas (c.1360–1437)
Ralph Eure (c.1346-1421), Sheriff of Northumberland (1389-97), Sheriff of Yorkshire 1396, Governor of the Castle of Newcastle, Constable of York Castle, Commisioner of Array.

Bishop Langley, royal diplomat and councillor, but spent considerable time in the north and undertook reorganization of the palatinate powers of the bishops of Durham.

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.