Sir Banger

In 1527 yeoman John Mathew assaulted and killed “a certain priest vulgarly called Sir Banger.” Yes, the whole point of this post is to point out that a 16th-c priest was nicknamed Sir Banger. Mathew revealed this homicide when he took sanctuary later that year at a London church, All Saints Bread Street. He alsoContinue reading “Sir Banger”

Cop takes sanctuary, London 1528

The London civic government and especially its sheriffs were hostile and aggressive towords felons who avoided arrest by running to sanctuary. So it was pretty embarrassing in 1528 when one of the sheriff’s staff had to flee to St Martin le Grand. On 16 April 1528, sheriff’s servant Robert Panke was in the Rose tavernContinue reading “Cop takes sanctuary, London 1528”

The “degree of St Edith”: sanctuary at a nunnery

A curious aspect of sanctuary in 15th-16th century England is that though many different kinds of churches offered shelter, I’ve found only one case where a nunnery provided shelter to a fleeing felon. In 1529, Geoffrey Jenyns, a yeoman of Brentwood, Essex, was hauled into court in 1529 or 1530 to answer to a chargeContinue reading “The “degree of St Edith”: sanctuary at a nunnery”

The Southwell-Pennington feud

On 20 April 1532, near the king’s palace at Westminster, two gentlemen, Richard Southwell, esquire, and Sir William Pennington, faced one another in a sword fight, a quarrel that ended in Pennington’s death. The slaying came at a sensitive time in Henry VIII’s reign: much attention was focused that spring on ‘the King’s Great Matter’,Continue reading “The Southwell-Pennington feud”

A serjeant of the mace slain

On 4 March 1533, John Ode alias Wode, serjeant of the mace (one of the London sheriffs’ officers) had an altercation with George Cornwall, a young Hereford gentleman known for his unruly life. Though the records don’t say so, it seems quite likely that their quarrel had something to do with Ode’s job, which includedContinue reading “A serjeant of the mace slain”

The Cappadocian gunner

In 1534 a gunner and gunpowder maker from Cappadocia in the Ottoman Empire got into a quarrel with a beer brewer, himself probably also an immigrant to England. The brewer ended up dead. The gunner’s name was hard to render into English, so he was listed by a number of aliases in the indictment: LucasContinue reading “The Cappadocian gunner”

A pesky bit of youthful murder

One October afternoon in 1534, two lawyers fell into a quarrel. Both were at Barnard’s Inn (one of the “law inns,” where common lawyers received their training), and they may have been students. John Margettes, an Irishman, mortally wounded John Yaxley, stabbing him in the stomach. Margettes immediately fled to Westminster Abbey. This allowed himContinue reading “A pesky bit of youthful murder”

The death of Geoffrey Jones, member of the king’s household

Aristocratic retainers and servants weren’t part of the civic political community in London, but they often lived there, certainly walked its streets, and killed one another there from time to time. On 7 March 1536 around 8pm, Geoffrey Jones, yeoman, was found dead in Tower Street on the east side of the City of London.Continue reading “The death of Geoffrey Jones, member of the king’s household”

Quarrel with a “master of fence”

One day in early spring 1538, gentleman Edward Wolff was in the precinct of St Martin le Grand visiting the shop of a goldsmith. Wolff was servant to Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford and brother of the recently deceased Queen Jane. St Martin’s was home to a number of alien (immigrant) goldsmiths, whose work wasContinue reading “Quarrel with a “master of fence””

Cheshire feuds

Cheshire was a hotbed of violent gentry rivalries. The violence wasn’t confined to Cheshire itself: in 1539, two killings occurred in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The first: on 10 February 1539, a coroner’s inquest was held over the body of gentleman Richard Cholmeley of Cheshire, who lay “feloniously murdered” near StContinue reading “Cheshire feuds”