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In 1540 March 25, Thomae Kytson (Thomas Kitson) were granted, by Henry VIII, (In year 31 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Hengrave (Hengrave Hall)
we find the following warrant for the privy seal granting a licence to build Hengrave:
"To the King, oure Sovereigne Lorde. Pleas it your Highness, of your mooste habundante grace, to gunt your most gracious lres. patente, under yor. great seale of England, in due forme to be made after the tenour ensuying."
"Rex omnibs. ad quos &c. Salutem. Sciatis qd. nos de gra. nra. spiali. voluimus et licentiam dedimus ac p. pntes. concedimus et licentiam damus pro nobis hereds. et successor. nris. quantum in nobis est dilco. nob. Thomae Kytson militi qd. ipe. heredes et assign. sui ad libitum suu. et voluntatem suam moros et turres cum petris et sabulo et calce circa et infra manerium suum de Hengrave in Com. nro. Suff. edificare facere et constituere. Ac etiam de ubiori. gra. nra. pdonamus. praeato. Thomae Kytson hereds. et assign. suis omes. et oimod. battillacoes. turriu. sive alior. edificior. constructur. in et sup. predto. manerio de Hengrave in Com. predto. preantea fact. constuctas sive edificatas ac idem manerium omihmdi. turribus et muris ac petris et sabulo includere possit et possint. necnon turres et muros illos batellare tannlare. karnellare et machicollare ac manerum. illud sic modo inclus. et muros et turres illos battellat. vel tannelatos karnellat. et machicolat. edificat. et construct. tenere et gaudere filiter. possit et possint sibi hered. et assign. suis predict. in ppm. absq. impeticoe. pturbacoe. molestacoe. impedimento seu gvamine. nri. hered. vel successor. nror. aut quor-cumq. ballivor. escaetor. viccoronator. seu alior. officiarior. vel ministror. nror. aut hered. vel successor. nror. Eo quod expressa mencio &c. In cujus rei &c." (Gage)

Sir Th. Kytson, of London, and Margaret, his wife. Grant, in fee, for 3,710l. 20d., of the manors of Risbye, Sextens alias Westley, Chevyngton, Hargrave, Downeham, Forncham All Saints, Forneham St. Geneveve, and Forneham St. Martin, and the park of Chevyngton, Suff., belonging to the late monastery of Bury St. Edmund's, Suff.; the manor or messuage called the “Priorie” in Forneham St. Geneveve, with certain closes, water-mills, and land in Forneham St. Geneveve, thereto belonging; a close of land and pasture called Oxe pasture in Magna Barton, Suff., belonging to the said late monastery; and all rents and services, &c., in the said manor and the parish of Hengrave, Suff., which belonged to the said late monastery; the advowsons of the churches, chantries, and chapels of Risbye, Westley, Chevington, Hargrave, Forneham All Saints, Forneham St. Geneveve, and Forneham St. Martin, Suff.; and all appurtenances of the manors aforenamed in Rysbye, Westley, Chevington, Hargrave, Downeham, Hengrave, Forneham All Saints, Forneham St. Geneveve, Forneham St. Martin, and Magna Barton, Tymworth, and Babwell, Suff., in as full manner as John Reve alias John Melford, the late abbot, held the same:—with reservation of the rectories appropriated to the same late monastery: To hold at certain stated rents; with liberties; certain rents being reserved for fees of officers. Del. Walden, 25 Mar., 31 Hen. VIII.—S.B. Pat. p. 4, m. 24.(LP Hen. VIII)

Granted at Walden. Grant by S.B..


Hengrave was purchased from the duke of Buckingham shortly before his arrest by Thomas Kytson, a wealthy London merchant eager to create a country seat, and in 1525 he received a licence to fortify this new building with battlement and turrets. (Goodall p. 416)

The date of 1525 was an estimate by Goodall as it is not given in Gage 1822 although it is given in Gage 1838. The calendists transcription of this as 'with liberies' has hidden this licence for earlier version of this list (before June 2011). 1525 marked the start of Kitson building work at Hengrave which ended in 1538, two years before the licence was granted.

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;

Kitson, Sir Thomas (1485–1540)
merchant and local politician. He served as sheriff of London in 1533–4, and on 28 July 1534 was elected alderman of Castle Baynard ward, where he remained until his death. He was a warden of the Mercers' Company in 1525–6 and 1533–4, and served as master in 1534–5. He was knighted in 1533.
His most important purchase was the manor of Hengrave in Suffolk, bought from the duke of Buckingham, together with the manor of Colston Basset in Nottinghamshire, for £2340 in 1521, shortly before the duke's attainder. It was at Hengrave that Kitson built the splendid mansion which still survives. More than £3500 was spent on building works there between 1525 and 1539; the house was graced with an avant-garde oriel window incorporating several Renaissance features, and its chapel was decorated with stained glass probably imported from France. (Welch)

Extremely wealthy, mainly from trade in textiles, but of relatively humble birth. As a wealthy man had some connections to the court and important government figures but not a national politician or courtier and no particular royal service beyond providing loans and gifts of money.

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.