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

Another Jack Cade’s Revolt story (see the first one here), 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 andContinue reading “Jack Cade’s Revolt and Sanctuary: Could traitors seek sanctuary?”

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”

False Confessions

On 25 July 1457, Richard Grene of Lincolnshire was travelling on the king’s highway from the Louth fair when a stranger attacked him and threatened his life. He fled to a sanctuary, but his enemies appeared and tried to drag him out. To stop them, he called for the coroner, falsely confessed he’d been presentContinue reading “False Confessions”

Seizure from sanctuary at Ely cathedral

In 1459, Cambridgeshire officials were pursuing felon Henry Mullyng when he darted into Ely cathedral and took sanctuary. The officers, led by gentleman and Justice of the Peace John Ansty, seized Mullyng from the church and took him into custody. The bishop of Ely, William Grey, wasn’t going to stand still for a breach ofContinue reading “Seizure from sanctuary at Ely cathedral”

Sanctuary at Pembroke College, Oxford?

After stabbing someone with a “little knife” one day in August 1463, John Harry, a tailor of Oxford, fled to Broadgates Hall, now part of Pembroke College, then a residence hall for law students at the university. Harry claimed sanctuary there, as the hall belonged to the Hospitallers, which according to the Acts of theContinue reading “Sanctuary at Pembroke College, Oxford?”

Thiefcatchers and felonious priests

One day John Kirkeham, a London “catchpoll” (thief-catcher) arrested Geoffrey Warmyngton, “vicar of St Martin’s,” for an unspecified offence. Warmyngton twisted out of Kirkeham’s grasp and ran to St Martin le Grand for sanctuary. It’s unclear which church dedicated to St Martin was Warmyngton’s place of employment, as there were six churches dedicated to StContinue reading “Thiefcatchers and felonious priests”

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)”

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”

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”

Parishioners fight off a sanctuary breach

The realm returned to ordinary time, and ordinary people taking sanctuary, in 1472. Around then John Creymer of Canterbury was put into the town prison for several debt and trespass lawsuits. Creymer managed to escape from the prison and ran next door to the church of the Holy Cross at Westgate, “and there toke saintwaryeContinue reading “Parishioners fight off a sanctuary breach”