Beverly, a sanctuary town

In July 2019, I visited Beverley for the first time: I was impressed to see the sanctuary town, including the purported “frith stool” in Beverley Minster. Alas, sanctuary seekers probably didn’t use this seat; but though our guide told me that tales of sanctuary at Beverley were invented by fanciful Victorian antiquarians, we do indeedContinue reading “Beverly, a sanctuary town”

Flight following the murder of a monk

Another early entry in the Beverley sanctuary register is for John Boys, who interestingly was from Durham – he travelled about 150 km from the perfectly good sanctuary in his own home town to enter Beverley sanctuary on 24 May 1478. Maybe he decided to go to Beverley because he committed what we might imagineContinue reading “Flight following the murder of a monk”

Galloping to sanctuary

Amongst the Beverley sanctuary seekers was John Marshall, painter of Banbury, Oxfordshire. He sought sanctuary at Beverley on 14 December 1479 for the death of a man whose name was unknown to him. He–somehow–killed him in a certain pit (delva) by Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire. Marshall must have hightailed it to Beverley, because he showed upContinue reading “Galloping to sanctuary”

A gentlewoman seeking sanctuary for homicide

This is a rare example of a woman seeking sanctuary for homicide: in September 1480 Robert Beawmont, “litteratus” of Almondbury, Yorkshire, and Elizabeth Beauwmont, gentlewoman of Hedon, Yorkshire, sought asylum at Beverley. The two Beawmonts confessed the killing of Thomas Aldirlay of Almondbury, eleven months before. Elizabeth Beauwmont is one of only seven women I’veContinue reading “A gentlewoman seeking sanctuary for homicide”

Child abduction and unmentionable crimes

In November 1510 a number of men abducted Richard Horsley from his mother’s house in Catton, Yorks, took him to a field, and gave him “several wounds from which blood flowed.” A month later Richard died from those wounds. The laconic records of his case suggest something horrific – even more horrific than the usualContinue reading “Child abduction and unmentionable crimes”