The curious case of the Welsh knight

Another felony-inventor, this time a curious case of a Welsh knight who took sanctuary for an already-pardoned killing. His chequered career – including dabbling in Lollard revolts – suggests he was quite a guy. In London in 1431, Sir Nicholas Conway “of Caernarfon in parts of Wales,” recently returned from the war in France, killedContinue reading “The curious case of the Welsh knight”

Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester: Witchcraft, treason, and sanctuary denied

In 1441, Eleanor, duchess of Gloucester, wife of the king’s uncle and next heir Humphrey of Gloucester, was accused of employing astrology & necromancy to “imagine the king’s death.” If the young Henry VI died, her own husband Humphrey was the next heir, and she would become queen. Allegedly aided by scholars learned in theContinue reading “Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester: Witchcraft, treason, and sanctuary denied”

“A great cross of gold”: Theft of religious objects

On 24 January 1444, William Porter, yeoman of Yorkshire, took sanctuary at the London Charterhouse for a breaking and entering at Barking nunnery, stealing a “great cross of gold” and other church plate. He abjured the realm through the port of Winchelsea. It’s ironic that he committed a theft in one religious house and thenContinue reading ““A great cross of gold”: Theft of religious objects”

Treason, gunpowder, heresy, bagpipes

In 1515, John Cowley, yeoman of London, was arrested with five other men and accused of treasonous plots against the king and chief minister Cardinal Wolsey. Cowley’s treachery had evidently begun while he served as part of the king’s forces in the French war, at the siege at Tournai in 1513. Amongst his charges wasContinue reading “Treason, gunpowder, heresy, bagpipes”