Angry townspeople vs. cathedral clergy

In 1425, the bailiffs and citizens of Canterbury drew up a list of complaints against the prior of Canterbury cathedral; one grievance was that the prior refused to hand over to them a goldsmith “from across the seas” named Bernard Oswyck, who had taken sanctuary in the priory precinct.

The early historian of English sanctuary Charles C. Cox refers to this case but seems to have a different source than I found (frustratingly, he gives no reference), which tells the story from the side of the cathedral clergy rather than the citizens of Canterbury: in his source, Oswyck escaped the custody of the bailiffs of Canterbury and then ran into the cathedral church. He was followed by a furious crowd, including the bailiffs, who ran noisily and violently into the church even as service was being sung. They tried to drag Oswyk from a tomb surrounded by iron railings where he was hiding. The cathedral clergy intervened and prevented the citizens from breaching the sanctuary and dragging him away.

(It strikes me perhaps Cox’s source was Archbishop Chichele’s register, but unfortunately I don’t have that at hand: if anyone does and finds the case, reference gratefully received!)

Canterbury Cath. Archives, DCc-ChAnt/C/1232/4&5 (calendared on TNA Discovery); Cox, Sanctuaries, 233-34. Image: Canterbury cathedral.

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