Homicide and the Canons of Egglestone Abbey

In 1496, three canons and a servant of a Premonstratensian Abbey in Yorkshire, Egglestone Abbey, took sanctuary at Durham after they had an altercation with Richard Appleby of Cotherstone and killed him. It’s not quite clear what was happening here, but it’s worthy of note that a number of Applebys of Cotherstone and region wereContinue reading “Homicide and the Canons of Egglestone Abbey”

Abjuring from a chartered sanctuary

Though most who came to Durham cathedral for sanctuary requested time-unlimited asylum, it was still possible to request a coroner to abjure the realm rather than stay long-term in the cathedral precinct. In 1497, a man named Colson from Wolsingham, county Durham, had been arrested for theft and put in prison, but managed to escape.Continue reading “Abjuring from a chartered sanctuary”

Chasing a runaway dog

William Thorpp of Welwick, Yorks, sought sanctuary at Durham cathedral in December 1500 because a month before he and several other men ended up killing a man when they went after their runaway dog in a park. Thorpp and his three companions were probably out hunting or poaching, as they had a dog (no nameContinue reading “Chasing a runaway dog”

Feud in Teesdale

Eight men from villages in Teesdale – six of them with the surname Appleby – sought sanctuary at Durham Cathedral for two different homicides in 1505. This seems to have a spiralling feud of some sort; it may have had a prelude in 1496 involving canons from a Premonstratensian abbey. In March 1505 John, Thomas,Continue reading “Feud in Teesdale”

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”

One Gye, or two?

There were two separate claims of sanctuary at Durham by men named Thomas Gye of Wistow, Yorkshire, in 1510 and 1511, one for homicide, the other for cattle theft. The same man? In October 1510 Thomas Gye came to Durham and confessed that earlier that month at Womersley, Yorks, he’d struck William Pynchebek in theContinue reading “One Gye, or two?”

Another Savage sanctuary seeker

In 1518, about two years after the assassination of John Pauncefote by the two Sir John Savages and their retinue, one of those retainers, Anthony Savage, took sanctuary as an accessory at Durham Cathedral. Anthony Savage was named in the private prosecution of the homicide by Pauncefote’s widow; it’s unclear why it took him untilContinue reading “Another Savage sanctuary seeker”

“In defence of his own body”: a killing in Lincolnshire

In May 1518, John Watson of Swineshead, Lincolnshire, was minding his own business near the town of Stamford when two unknown men attacked him. He struck back “in defence of his own body” with a sword (which he conveniently enough happened to have on him), and wounded his assailants in many parts of their bodies.Continue reading ““In defence of his own body”: a killing in Lincolnshire”

“The town of Crayke, which is a sanctuary”

The intertwining of sanctuary with other jurisdictional rights allowed churches’ dependent properties to offer shelter to felons – as at Durham Cathedral’s Yorkshire manor at Crayke. At a 1521 coroner’s inquest in the city of York over Gregory Honchonson, the jurors reported that Thomas Feysche of York, lumberer, had attacked and killed Honchonson in theContinue reading ““The town of Crayke, which is a sanctuary””