False confession, abjuration, then pardon

In 1457, Richard Grene of Lincolnshire was travelling on the king’s highway from the Louth fair when a stranger attacked him and threatened his life; on 25 July he fled to a sanctuary, but his enemies appeared and tried to drag him out.

To stop them he called for the coroner, falsely confessed he’d been present at a homicide 15 years before, and abjured the realm. He must have immediately appealed to the king for a pardon for this “false” confession as he was pardoned three weeks later.

So one more royal pardon for an abjurer who convinced the king he’d confessed falsely to long-ago homicides just to escape the clutches of his enemies. And for good measure, here’s another: In 1458 a husbandman of Gloucestershire, Richard Wode, had been labouring in a field when he was suddenly attacked by “certain riotous persons.”

Image

In fear for his life, he fled to Bath Abbey. The prior of the abbey was not thrilled about this, fearing the rioters would also attack the monastery, so he advised Wode to confess to the coroner and abjure; Wode didn’t have a felony to confess, so the prior suggested a 12-year-old cold case, the homicide of John Withewes.

Image

Wode, “though guiltless,” confessed he had been present when Withewes was murdered, and abjured. He, too, was pardoned.

CPR 1452-61, 361, 432. Top image: Source

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: