Feud in Teesdale

Eight men from villages in Teesdale – six of them with the surname Appleby – sought sanctuary at Durham Cathedral for two different homicides in 1505. This seems to have a spiralling feud of some sort; it may have had a prelude in 1496 involving canons from a Premonstratensian abbey.

In March 1505 John, Thomas, and Jenkyn Appleby, along with Henry Snell, all from Hunderthwaite, took asylum for the death of William Wilson. They claimed Wilson and friends attacked them in a field; in self-defence they struck back and Wilson died.

In June more Applebys – two more Johns & a Cuthbert, from Rumoldkirk, “Cornepath” (Corn Park?), and Cotherstone – also took sanctuary with Ralph Bell. They said Christopher Wilson had attacked them (in retaliation for William Wilson’s death?), and again in self-defence they’d killed him.


So the Wilsons and the Applebys were at odds, and now two Wilsons were dead and six Applebys in sanctuary. I’m guessing that their mothers, wives, and daughters were at home cursing them all for their idiocy.

Sanctuarium Dunelmense, 41-42, 43 Top image British Museum.

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