In 1473 April 14, Richard Whetehille, esquire (Richard Whetehill) was granted, by Edward IV, (In year 13 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Boughton (Boughton House)
General pardon to Richard Whetehille, esquire, late lieutenant captain of the king's castle of Guysnes, late one of the king's controllers in the town and marches of Calais, of all offences committed by him and all fines, issues, amercements, debts, accounts and arrears due from him to the king; grant to him of licence to construct a fortalice, castle or embattled tower defended with 'loupes' and other necessary engines within his manor of Boughton, co. Northampton, or elsewhere of stone, timber and other stuff and of such size as shall seem best to him, with power for himself, his heirs and assigns to amplify and repair the same; ... By p.s. (CPR)
Granted at Westminster. Grant by privy seal.
A general pardon; licence to crenellate; licence to impark 100 acres; grant of free warren; exemption from being made a knight, mayor, sheriff, escheator, tax collector (in several different forms), officer of the king; exemption from being put on assizes, juries, recognisances, attaints or inquisitions; grant for life that none of the king's ministers, servants or officers shall take anything of his from Broughton manor; he shall not be compelled to entertain anyone of the king's household. This is an extraordinarily extensive set of privileges, nearly unique. The mention of 'loupes' (probably gun loops) is unique in an English licence to crenellate. Richard had been Comptroller of Calais and involved in negotiations with France but it is something of a mystery the reason for such extensive privileges. He was also granted an annuity of 20 marks in 1485.
In 1473 he retired from his many posts. Clearly Richard wanted to retire in the fullest sense to his new manor. The licence to crenellate certainly reflects a desire to be cut of from society and possibly the house reflected this in architectural form.
Original source is;
Lyte, H.C. Maxwell (ed), 1900, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1467-77) p. 392 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;
Coulson, C., 1994, 'Freedom to Crenellate by Licence - An Historiographical Revision' Nottingham Medieval Studies Vol. 38 p. 112
Richard Whetehill (1410-1484)
Richard Whetehill was born circa 1410 in Calais, Pas-De-Calais, France. He died before 4 Mar 1484/1485 in Boughton. He married Joan of Calais about 1434. One of many knights, squires, merchants etc granted a general pardon in 1471 after the battle of Tewkesbury, prior to which had joined the Lancastrians. About 1472 Richard Whetehill, a Merchant of the Staple, Lieutenant of Guines Castle and comptroller of the town, marches and mint of Calais, purchased one of the two manors of Boughton.
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.