To Murder a Monk

Another early entry in the Beverley sanctuary register is for John Boys, who interestingly was from Durham – he travelled about 150 km from the perfectly good sanctuary in his own home town to enter Beverley sanctuary on 24 May 1478.


Maybe he decided to go to Beverley because he committed what we might imagine was a shocking homicide in Durham itself: he killed one Dom (Brother) Baxter, a Cistercian monk from Jervaulx Abbey.

The victim seems to have been Brother Robert Baxter, monk of Jervaulx; the only other record I’ve found for him is ordination records in 1466-67 (bonus: discovery of this groovy online edition of York Clergy ordinations! See pp 169, 172, 175).


As with so many of these sanctuary cases, what exactly happened to lead to the death of a monk at the hands of John Boys is left to our imaginations, since the records themselves are not telling us.

SDSB, 161, link. Top image: The Morgan Library.

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