Seizing property from debtors in sanctuary

The second half of the 15th century saw many high-status participants in the civil wars running to sanctuary at each regime change, but more ordinary people continued also to use sanctuary for their ordinary problems, including debt. Although debtors could avoid an uncomfortable stay in prison by taking refuge in an ecclesiastical liberty – aContinue reading “Seizing property from debtors in sanctuary”

Sanctuary and Henry VII’s new regime: The story of Francis Lovell

Sanctuary offered both a useful rhetorical opportunity and a potential major headache for Henry VII’s new regime in 1485-86. Henry VII publicly supported sanctuary as royally-granted refuge from injustice and tyranny. It was one thing, however, to note with righteous indignation that your predecessor had been so terrible that everyone had to flee to theContinue reading “Sanctuary and Henry VII’s new regime: The story of Francis Lovell”

Henry VII and Humphrey Stafford

In 1485-86 Richard III loyalist Humphrey Stafford sought sanctuary twice as he continued to resist the new regime of Henry VII: the first time Henry VII left him unmolested, but at the second attempt he found a technicality that allowed him to be dragged out. Humphrey Stafford first sought sanctuary at St John’s Abbey inContinue reading “Henry VII and Humphrey Stafford”

The Raynsfords and their local sanctuary: aristocratic criminality, Tudor-style

The Raynsfords, an important Essex gentry family, patronized St John’s abbey in Colchester; this was in itself unremarkable, as pious gentlefolk often donated to their favourite local monastery. The monks of St John’s offered the Raynsfords more than prayers for departed ancestors, however: they also provided asylum when the Raynsfords themselves and their retainers committedContinue reading “The Raynsfords and their local sanctuary: aristocratic criminality, Tudor-style”