Fake your own death, run to sanctuary

One day in 1452 William Bowre, pre-trial prisoner in Cambridge castle, fell mortally ill and called for a priest to hear his last confession. The castle’s keeper, believing Bowre was living his last hours allowed him to go out to the castle garden with the priest to confess in privacy.

Bowre was, of course, faking it – as medieval adventure film fans have already guessed – and as the guards turned their back to give him space, Bowre jumped up, escaped over the castle wall, and ran to a sanctuary (unspecified).

The castle’s keeper was liable for the escape, but the king issued him a pardon. Bowre was then still in sanctuary and his ultimate fate is unknown. We’re free to imagine he escaped to the greenwood to join the merry men.

CPR 1446-52, 551. Top image: Cambridge castle – Source

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