Failed insurrection in sanctuary

Although sometimes sanctuaries were portrayed as cradles of sedition, in a 1463 case it appears that sanctuary seekers themselves resisted (and reported) an attempt to stoke them into rising.

A Middlesex jury charged with reporting local crime and disorder noted that a sanctuary man named John Coydon, resident in the Westminster Abbey precinct, had told them that he and many other sanctuary folk had heard one Nicholas Bowyer exhorting them to “rise up against beneficed priests and by war to destroy and kill them, and take all their goods.” Bowyer was indicted for spreading opinions against the Catholic faith and the lord king’s peace both within the sanctuary and more broadly in the counties of Middlesex, Surrey, and Sussex.


Despite his alleged incendiary words, in the end Bowyer paid only a fine – maybe he wasn’t that much of a danger after all. There’s no indication of why Coydon was in sanctuary, but he and his fellow seekers were apparently not keen to be associated with the likes of Bowyer.

TNA, KB 9/306, m. 15; KB 29/95, m. 1d. Top image: Source

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