The long road to sanctuary

Some sanctuary seekers taking asylum in a parish church travelled remarkable distances across the kingdom of England committing crimes and then escaping from the consequences. In the late 1420s, one seeker left his home in Yorkshire seeking work in Northumberland; things went awry at his workplace in Newcastle, however, causing him to flee a murder scene and run far south to Middlesex; from a Middlesex parish church he was sent to Kent to go (at least in theory) “beyond the seas” into exile.

On 4 May 1427, Robert Tewdemouth of Leeds took sanctuary in the parish church of Acton, Middlesex. He confessed to the coroner that at “Neucastel epontyne” two years before, he had killed his master, Robert Fekynham, and fled south. Finally taking asylum in the Acton church in early May, he abjured the realm and was assigned the port of Sandwich in Kent to find a ship to take him across the sea.

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I haven’t found anything further about Tewdemouth, but the fact that the report was filed at King’s Bench may indicate he was later found in the realm, not having gone into exile as he promised.

TNA, KB 9/222/3, m. 35

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