Immigrants and judicial exile

On 17 March 1432, a Dutch scrivener, Bartholomew Bertram – alias John Clerk, alias John Bartram – took sanctuary in St. Magnus’s church (one of medieval London’s largest churches, near London bridge). Bertram confessed to the coroner that he had broken into a London pointmaker’s shop in 1428 and then he abjured the realm; the coroner directed him to the port of Southampton. He seems not to have made his way southward, however, as soon after he was arrested at Enfield in Middlesex, in possession of two chalices and a book. Given he was Dutch, it makes me wonder why he didn’t want to go home…

On his second arrest and trial, he tried another mitigation, apparently successfully: he claimed benefit of clergy and was handed over to ecclesiastical officials for imprisonment.

TNA, KB 9/226, mm. 88, 110-11. Image: St Magnus from the Agas map,

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