The evil sheriff Leoffstan

An early English king, a woman seeking asylum, an evil sheriff, and an avenging fiend: these are all part of a story written by poet and monk John Lydgate to influence the impressionable young king Henry VI. In the later 1430s, John Lydgate, poet and monk of the abbey of St Edmunds, translated the lifeContinue reading “The evil sheriff Leoffstan”

Mercy and the young Henry VI

Henry VI (r. 1422-60; 1470-71) came to the throne as a baby; in the 1430s and into the early 1440s as he moved through his teens he gradually began to assume personal control of the royal government. A hallmark of the early years of his rule was his determination to govern in a Christian fashionContinue reading “Mercy and the young Henry VI”

Henry VI: Defender of sanctuaries

In 1448, a prisoner named Thomas Brodeley escaped from pre-trial custody in Wakefield, Yorkshire and made his way to the (impressively large) parish church of Wakefield to take sanctuary. The sheriff of Yorkshire seized him from the churchyard and took him to the presumably more secure prison in York castle. The archbishop of York promptlyContinue reading “Henry VI: Defender of sanctuaries”

Jack Cade’s Revolt and Sanctuary: Could traitors seek sanctuary?

Another Jack Cade’s Revolt story, this time a challenging one for Henry VI, as one of the rebels who sought to overthrow him sought shelter in a sanctuary. Over recent entries from the 1440s, we’ve seen Henry VI as protector of sanctuary, part of his exercise of royal mercy and patronage of the church. TraitorsContinue reading “Jack Cade’s Revolt and Sanctuary: Could traitors seek sanctuary?”