Abjuration, new style: the 1531 sanctuary statute

In 1531, a new statute changed how abjuration of the realm worked: henceforth abjurers were to proceed from sanctuary in a parish church to a chartered sanctuary, rather than into exile. It was a bit confusing at first. The new statute came into effect on 31 March 1531 but some must have known about theContinue reading “Abjuration, new style: the 1531 sanctuary statute”

Just in time

Today a quite ordinary sanctuary seeker, whose case is interesting because he’s one of the last to use the old system before it changed mid-1540: he snuck under the wire. The story of John Porter, a labourer of Fewston, Yorkshire, had begun much earlier, in 1528. In that year Porter had been at Lancaster (someContinue reading “Just in time”

A horse thief uses the new sanctuary system, 1541

The first example I’ve found of a sanctuary seeker explicitly using the new system mandated by the 1540 statute was William Cripps, a fisher from Rye, Sussex. He took sanctuary after stealing a horse at Stratton Audeley, Oxon, in June 1541. Cripps had made his way to Bledlow, Buckinghamshire, presumably on the stolen horse, whenContinue reading “A horse thief uses the new sanctuary system, 1541”

Seeking sanctuary after 1540

Only about six* records survive of men seeking sanctuary under the new post-1540 system; of those, Westminster remained the most popular choice – three of six went there. One was a labourer from Cambridge, Robert Mere. He’d stolen a grey horse in the university town, but something evidently went wrong with his getaway plan asContinue reading “Seeking sanctuary after 1540”

Wells as a sanctuary town

Though eight towns were designated as sanctuary cities by the 1540 Sanctuaries Act, we only have evidence for seekers going to Westminster, Norwich, and Wells. The latter cathedral town in Somerset was the destination for a weaver from Milson, Shropshire named William Arthur, who ran into the cemetery of the church at Culmington, Shropshire inContinue reading “Wells as a sanctuary town”