In this document, we find rare evidence that a castle, such as Framlingham, was owned by a woman, the Countess of Norfolk, during the reign of Richard II. She granted land to one of her yeomen (wealthy farmers).The grant was recorded in a letter patent (a type of legal document) at Framlingham Castle.
Framlingham Castle owned by the Countess of Norfolk, 1384 – Patent Rolls, Richard II 1381-1385, Volume 2, p. 450-451; 8 Richard II, part 1, Membrane 29, August 24 1384 Westminster (catalogue reference: C 66/318, m. 29)
Inspeximus and confirmation in favour of Richard de la Chambre, of letters patent (in French) of Margaret Mareschall , countess of Norfolk, dated at her castle of Framlingham, 10 May, 5 Richard II (in the fifth year of the reign of King Richard II) being a grant, for life, at the yearly rent of 1d. to the said Richard, her yeomen, for service to her and her son, the earl of Pembroke, of a place called ‘Crowes’, within Framelyngham in the street opposite the east end of Framelyngham church, between the tenements of William Gerveyse and Amias Hook, together with six acres of land in a close called ‘Petitys’, one end abutting on Framelyngham park, four acres of land in another close next to the place called ‘Moriel’, three acres of land at Smythisbrok, two acres of Giuloteswall, four acres at Alputeswill, another piece of land at Deneysesdich in the open field (campe) of Framelyngham aforesaid and two acres of meadow in Perham by Framelyngham, all which lately escheated to the said countess after the death of John Crowe of Framelyngham. For ½ mark paid in the hanaper. Aug. 26. Westminster. 1384.
The inspection and confirmation shows that the legal document drawn up by Margaret Marshall, Countess of Norfolk, at her castle of Framlingham, dated 10th May in the fifth year of the reign of King Richard II is valid. The document grants Richard de la Chambre, a place called ‘Crowes’ in Framlingham with acres of land and meadow in the same village. This has been granted in return for Richard’s service to her and her son (the Earl of Pembroke), for a yearly rent of 1d (one penny).
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- What does this tell us about the function of Framlingham Castle in the Middle Ages?