Self-defence with bow-and-arrow

Robert Person, a carpenter from Barnard Castle, county Durham, sought sanctuary at Durham Cathedral on 2 February 1480 because four years before at Haldworth near Halifax, Yorkshire, he shot an arrow at Thomas Ferrour.

Person claimed self-defence. I guess the idea was that Ferrour attacked, and somehow Person whipped out his bow and could get far enough away to let loose an arrow? (If so, then he could have run away, and so it was not technically self-defence…)

Ferrour was hit in the throat and then died nine days afterwards, although for some reason it took Person four years to seek sanctuary. Maybe this was because Barnard Castle was over 100 km from Haldworth, where the killing took place. Person perhaps scampered back to county Durham after the encounter and it was only several years later that his whereabouts came to light. Person was probably the ancestor of another co. Durham man with a penchant for illicit flights to Barnard Castle and questionable explanations for wrongdoing.

SDSB, 5. Top image BNF-Gallica


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