A London goldsmith in trouble

Robert Myndrym, a London goldsmith, had numerous problems from the mid-1480s into the early 1490s, and found two different recourses to sanctuary helpful.

The first time around 1485 he went to Westminster for debt. As his wife Margery explained in a Chancery petition, she went to visit him “as a true wife ought to do … to comfort him in his heaviness there,” but she was arrested for his debts by the bailiff of Westminster.


Presumably both Robert and Margery were able to get out of that situation, but longer-term problems lingered. On 26 September 1491, Robert ended up seeking sanctuary again, this time in the parish church of St Martin Outwich in London, preparing to abjure the realm.

St Martin Outwich church. Source

Robert Myndrym told the coroner that in 1490 in Northumbria (the precise place left blank) he had killed someone (unnamed) with a dagger. Also, he had some months prior broken into a parish church in Lincolnshire (unspecified) and stolen two chalices.


The coroner’s report on this has an additional note at the bottom, in different ink, presumably written a different day: he says that although he (the coroner) had quizzed Robert about the details of time and place for these felonies, Robert had refused to give details.


He didn’t abjure but instead “submitted himself to the law.” About three weeks later Robert came before King’s Bench and argued that the coroner’s memo was insufficient in law, presumably because of the missing details, and so he should be dismissed.


The justices looked at the report, agreed with Robert Myndrym, and let him go. That is a pretty strange outcome, if we assume that Myndrym really had refused to give further details.

Justices at King’s Bench

But why did Myndrym go into sanctuary in the first place? Did he plan this whole chain of events somehow, or change his mind about abjuring once he was in the middle of it? Did he notice the coroner was incompetent and so decided to take a chance at trial? Or were Myndrym and the coroner in cahoots, planning an insufficient indictment that would then get Myndrym off? Another sanctuary mystery…

TNA, C 1/78/1; KB 27/921, rex m2d; KB 9/391, mm 78-79. Top image: Morgan Library.

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