Bull and Roo: Affirmation of sanctuary at King’s Bench

Two burglars manipulated sanctuary in the early 1530s and the result was something of a surprise: the justices at King’s Bench affirmed the right of felons to take sanctuary – even when they were trying to cheat the system. In May 1530, Maurice Bull & Nicholas Roo, both yeomen of Westminster, appeared before the courtContinue reading “Bull and Roo: Affirmation of sanctuary at King’s Bench”

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”

Rubbing Cromwell the wrong way

This sanctuary seeker seems to have been another felon who rubbed Cromwell the wrong way, and was not fortunate enough to successfully use Westminster’s asylum to gain time to organize a pardon. In February 1539 a London yeoman named George Brewce was tried for burglary in Colchester. He claimed benefit of clergy in an attemptContinue reading “Rubbing Cromwell the wrong way”

Lucky man

In some 1539 cases, sanctuary seekers seized from church precincts on Thomas Cromwell’s orders had unhappy endings. Anthony Spencer was also unceremoniously grabbed from the Westminster sanctuary late that year, but the conclusion of his case was quite different. In mid-October 1539, Spencer, a “yeoman of London,” robbed and murdered one John Morres in Surrey.Continue reading “Lucky man”