A Dutch slayer flees to Westminster

On 9 November 1485, a coroner held an inquest over the body of John Spencer of Westminster. The jurors reported that Dedirick Blase alias Dirrik Barbara, yeoman also of Westminster, was responsible.


The jurors said that Blase had lain in wait for Spencer and assaulted him with a sword, killing him. Taking his sword with him, Blase fled to the nearby sanctuary at Westminster Abbey.

Blase’s forename Derek/Dirk/Dietrich suggests he was Dutch or German. Though “yeoman” seems a very English designation, it was often used in criminal records for aristocratic retainer/henchman (or just generic guy without identifiable occupation).


Blase was never brought to trial – perhaps having slipped out of sanctuary back to his home country. He was eventually outlawed in September 1488.

TNA, KB 9/1060, m. 91; KB 29/117, m. 4d. Top image: Source

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