Shifting sands

Thomas Stathom, a London vintner, took sanctuary in 1525 in the London church of St Sepulchre, confessed to a theft, abjured, and (theoretically) went into exile. Four months later he was arrested in London, clearly not having actually left the kingdom. He thought he had other mitigations up his sleeve, but as it turned outContinue reading “Shifting sands”

The “degree of St Edith”: sanctuary at a nunnery

A curious aspect of sanctuary in 15th-16th century England is that though many different kinds of churches offered shelter, I’ve found only one case where a nunnery provided shelter to a fleeing felon. In 1529, Geoffrey Jenyns, a yeoman of Brentwood, Essex, was hauled into court in 1529 or 1530 to answer to a chargeContinue reading “The “degree of St Edith”: sanctuary at a nunnery”

Rubbing Cromwell the wrong way

This sanctuary seeker seems to have been another felon who rubbed Cromwell the wrong way, and was not fortunate enough to successfully use Westminster’s asylum to gain time to organize a pardon. In February 1539 a London yeoman named George Brewce was tried for burglary in Colchester. He claimed benefit of clergy in an attemptContinue reading “Rubbing Cromwell the wrong way”