Burglary in London, 1491

On 5 October 1491, John Archer, a London baker, broke into the house of Margery Marsshe in the parish of St Clement in London, taking a mazer (a wooden drinking bowl) decorated with silver gilt.

From London Archer apparently fled to the West Country, and eventually took sanctuary in the parish church at Nunney, Somerset. That didn’t go well – for disputed reasons, as below – and he ended up at King’s Bench facing a private prosecution from Marsshe.

Image
Source

Archer claimed his due rights to take sanctuary and abjure had been frustrated by the coroner, who refused to assign him a port from which to go into exile. The coroner responded that Archer refused to divulge exactly what he had done and where, so he could not abjure.

The justices decided that he couldn’t be restored to his sanctuary as his acknowledgement of felony had been incomplete. He’d already been convicted of another felony and on that basis was hanged. Margery Marsshe got back her mazer.

Image
Source

Archer’s case made it into the law reports: Baker, Caryll’s Reports, 111; KB 27/924, plea m. 36; KB 27/926, plea m. 21. Top image: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: