On surrendered stolen goods

In the 1410s, tensions between the City of London and the two metropolitan-area sanctuaries, Westminster Abbey and St Martin le Grand, began to heat up. In 1417, a London citizen, Edmund Chymbeham, sued two canons of St Martin’s, Simon Floure and William Gerveys, in the court of Common Pleas. He claimed that a thief namedContinue reading “On surrendered stolen goods”

Buying wine on credit

In 1423 a merchant from Lombardy named Nicholas Martin (Niccolo Martini?) wanted to buy fourteen casks of red wine, at the very considerable cost of £46, from a London vintner named William Fromond. Fromond was reluctant to contract with a stranger who had no property in London to act as collateral for payment, but aContinue reading “Buying wine on credit”

Seeking sanctuary for debt

In 1429 three Londoners – John and Joyce Shenyfeld, and Rose Barnet, widow – were jointly sued in the court of Common Pleas for a debt of £310 (a very substantial amount of money), which seems to have been attached to the probate of the estate of Barnet’s late husband. When they failed to appearContinue reading “Seeking sanctuary for debt”

Apprentices left to fend for themselves

Twice in 1425, apprentices came forward to the London authorities to ask to be released from their apprenticeship contracts with masters who had gone into sanctuary for debt at St. Martin le Grand without leaving any provision for their trainees. Laurence Smith asked to be freed from his obligations to the grocer Thomas Mason, andContinue reading “Apprentices left to fend for themselves”

Apostasy and sanctuary, 1430

In 1430, Henry Ciprian and Roger Bukke, two Augustinian canons, fled from their priory at Waltham, Essex, and sought sanctuary at the collegiate church of St. Martin le Grand in London. Their request for asylum sparked a major conflict between the dean of St. Martin’s and the mayor and aldermen of London over the church’sContinue reading “Apostasy and sanctuary, 1430”

A quarrel between two priests

On 19 November 1435, a London chaplain, William Burght, was found dead in the parish of St. Gregory, right by (attached to, really) St. Paul’s cathedral. The coroner’s inquest jurors reported that Thomas Curteys, parson of Shere, in Surrey, had lain in wait to kill Burght, brutally stabbing him many times with a “trencherknife” –Continue reading “A quarrel between two priests”

Jack Cade’s Revolt and Sanctuary: Beheading at the Tabard Inn

In 1450, popular dissatisfaction with local corruption and the rule of Henry VI erupted in an uprising known as Jack Cade’s revolt – which had a couple of sanctuary incidents, including one relating to a famous tavern. An anonymous chronicle recounts that a certain Richard Haywarden was beheaded during the revolt at the Tabard InnContinue reading “Jack Cade’s Revolt and Sanctuary: Beheading at the Tabard Inn”

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

Another Jack Cade’s Revolt story, 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 and patronage of the church. TraitorsContinue reading “Jack Cade’s Revolt and Sanctuary: Could traitors seek sanctuary?”

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”

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 if Warmyngton was vicar at St Martin le Grand itself, or one of the five other London churches dedicatedContinue reading “Thiefcatchers and felonious priests”