Chasing a runaway dog

William Thorpp of Welwick, Yorks, sought sanctuary at Durham cathedral in December 1500 because a month before he and several other men ended up killing a man when they went after their runaway dog in a park.

Thorpp and his three companions were probably out hunting or poaching, as they had a dog (no name given: let’s call him Rex) and bows and arrows with them. Thorpp’s story was that Rex ran into Winestead Park, it seems some kind of private wood or deer park.

The parkers or gamekeepers, suspecting poaching, seized the dog. Thorpp and his companions asked the parkers if they could have Rex back, because (they said) he’d run into the wood against their will, but the parkers refused, and began to get aggressive. One of Thorpp’s friends, named only as Nicholas, shot an arrow at the parkers and struck one of them on the neck. The wound was serious and the parker soon died. Thorpp thus sought sanctuary as an accessory to homicide, as he’d been present when his companion shot the arrow.

Thorpp said that he didn’t deserve to be indicted, as the whole thing hadn’t been his fault (a frequent refrain), but he sought sanctuary anyway. No word of what happened to Rex, but I’m sure he was sorry if he caused all that trouble.

SDSB, 33. Top image P. Bruegel, source.

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