Sanctuary and coups d’état

The issue of traitors in the sanctuary arose again in 1451, when on 23 November of that year Sir William Oldhall, speaker of the House of Commons, took refuge in St Martin le Grand. He knew perfectly well what he was doing. Oldhall was not only speaker but also chamberlain to the duke of York;Continue reading “Sanctuary and coups d’état”

The Saga of Henry Holland: Sanctuary and the Wars of the Roses

A Game of Thrones-ready storyline for a seeker who went into sanctuary twice to escape his royal in-laws. (Casting: more Reek than Rob Stark…) In the crisis years of the mid-1450s and through the next half century of civil war, sanctuary served many times as a refuge for those fleeing opponents in the dynastic struggles.Continue reading “The Saga of Henry Holland: Sanctuary and the Wars of the Roses”

Sanctuary and regime change in the Wars of the Roses: The Readeption, 1470 (pt. 2)

The War of the Roses was a major factor in the figuring of chartered sanctuaries as refuges from tyranny and arbitrary rule, because at each regime change the losing side ran to sanctuary. Many others joined Queen Elizabeth Woodville in the sanctuaries when Henry VI regained the throne (the “Readeption”). One was Yorkist supporter WilliamContinue reading “Sanctuary and regime change in the Wars of the Roses: The Readeption, 1470 (pt. 2)”

Sanctuary and regime change in the Wars of the Roses: The Readeption, 1470 (pt. 1)

The first major episode of sanctuary seeking in the mid-fifteenth-century civil wars came with the Readeption: the overthrow (temporary as it turned out) of Edward IV, which brought with it the flight of his queen and children to refuge in Westminster Abbey. Henry VI had been deposed in 1461 by Edward IV, but not killed;Continue reading “Sanctuary and regime change in the Wars of the Roses: The Readeption, 1470 (pt. 1)”

Jaquetta of Luxembourg

When Queen Elizabeth, wife of Edward IV, took sanctuary with her children in October 1470, her mother, Jaquetta of Luxembourg, dowager duchess of Bedford, went along with her, according to John Paston III. “The queen that was,” he wrote his mother, “and the duchess of Bedford be in Seyntuary at Westmestyr.” Jaquetta had an interestingContinue reading “Jaquetta of Luxembourg”

Yorkist refugees and Lancastrian operatives in sanctuary

Yorkist refugees in sanctuary during Henry VI’s 1470-71 readeption lived alongside the usual felons and debtors – including an apparent Lancastrian operative, working on war finances from within the sanctuary. A “travelling man” (in this case evidently meaning courier), Robert Byby, was assigned in December 1470 to convey some liquidated assets for the Lancastrian warContinue reading “Yorkist refugees and Lancastrian operatives in sanctuary”

Edward IV and disdain for sanctuary

Edward IV was much less respectful of sanctuary than his rival Henry VI. Though by no means seeking to dismantle sanctuary altogether, he was in contemporary terms unprincipled in his disregard for the sacredness both of the refuge and of his own word. In this he followed the policy of his father, Richard duke ofContinue reading “Edward IV and disdain for sanctuary”

Lancastrian sanctuary at Beaulieu, 1471

First Yorkists on the run to sanctuary, then Lancastrians… Henry VI’s wife and son Queen Margaret and Prince Edward took a breather from the struggle with Edward IV at Beaulieu Abbey, touching base in a (deadly) game of tag before going back into the fray. Queen Margaret of Anjou and son Edward had arrived inContinue reading “Lancastrian sanctuary at Beaulieu, 1471”

Edward IV and the desecration of sanctuary at Tewkesbury

What to do, what to do, when you’re in a civil war and your enemies have flown to sanctuary? If you’re Henry VI, Richard III, or Henry VII, you let them stay because breaching sanctuary would destroy your moral standing, which you can’t afford. But if you’re Edward IV – not a man especially knownContinue reading “Edward IV and the desecration of sanctuary at Tewkesbury”

Anne Neville: widowed heiress in sanctuary

Following the Lancastrian defeats of April and May 1471, amongst those whose fortunes were in disarray was Anne Neville, daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker and widow of Prince Edward, both killed in battle. Co-heiress with her sister to the Warwick inheritance, Anne had been a much sought-after marital prize from childhood. She had originally beenContinue reading “Anne Neville: widowed heiress in sanctuary”