Murderer in priest’s clothing

In 1516 John Bewesbury, a shoemaker of Maidstone in Kent, assaulted John Hudson, also of Maidstone. Stabbing him with the usual knife, Bewesbury gave Hudson a wound from which he died several weeks later. Bewesbury fled to the collegiate church of All Saints in Maidstone to claim sanctuary. He later escaped, the inquest jurors reported, with the help of a local chaplain named Sir Humphrey Jones (“Sir” was the honorific for priests as well as knights).

Image
All Saints, Maidstone. Source

Sir Humphrey disguised Bewesbury in priest’s clothing and secretly led him out of the church before anyone noticed what was happening. The jurors accused Sir Humphrey as an accessory to murder, as he helped the felon after the deed.

Bewesbury himself disappeared and was outlawed in 1518. Sir Humphrey Jones was released from the accessory charge at King’s Bench because the indictment was improperly drafted. Probably he wasn’t too popular around Maidstone after that, though.

TNA, KB 9/471, m154; KB 29/148, m28d. Top image Getty Library. Top image source

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