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)”

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”

Margaret, countess of Oxford, at St Martin le Grand

Another woman stranded by the Lancastrian defeat was Margaret, countess of Oxford, whose husband, the earl John de Vere, had escaped to Scotland and then to France following the Lancastrian defeat in 1471. With her husband in exile, Countess Margaret went into sanctuary at St Martin le Grand. Without means of support, according to aContinue reading “Margaret, countess of Oxford, at St Martin le Grand”

Sanctuary-seeking and the residents of St Martin le Grand

On February 8, 1476, a coroner’s inquest jury in the parish of St Anne Aldersgate over the body of a London yeoman, William Duglas, reported that pewterer John Walker had murdered him. Jurors said that Duglas had been walking in God’s peace and the king’s about 3 P.M. when Walker suddenly attacked him with aContinue reading “Sanctuary-seeking and the residents of St Martin le Grand”

Robert Purfote and the boundaries of sanctuary

Here is one of my old favourites: a London grocer named Robert Purfote who took sanctuary at St Martin le Grand around 1480 for debt. By twists and turns his house came to straddle the boundary of the sanctuary precinct, so that one side was within the refuge, one side out. In a 1530s royalContinue reading “Robert Purfote and the boundaries of sanctuary”

Murderer of the princes in the Tower flees to sanctuary

In an earlier post, we saw the drama of the dowager queen Elizabeth seeking sanctuary at Westminster and the disappearance and likely murder of her two sons in 1483. Thomas More in his later account claimed one of the princes’ killers fled to sanctuary. In his History of King Richard the Thirde, More said RichardContinue reading “Murderer of the princes in the Tower flees to sanctuary”

Lying in wait in London, 1486

In February 1486, a coroner’s inquest was convened over the body of John Lowthe of London, gentleman, found dead in the parish of St Nicholas Olave. The jurors reported to the coroner that Nicholas Wagstaff, a yeoman of London, had lain in wait to assault Lowthe. He stabbed him with a dagger and Lowthe died.Continue reading “Lying in wait in London, 1486”

Pardoned decades later

A curious case featuring Westminster gentlemen who seems to have committed a series of attacks on foreigners (or strangers, as the contemporary term was) in 1491, one ending in death. First, in mid-September 1491, William Bartholomew, Westminster gentleman, together with John Bartholomew, also gentleman of Westminster (some relation, presumably) and William Chawcey, gentleman, attacked twoContinue reading “Pardoned decades later”

Death and the Knitster in Knightrider Street

In 1492 a coroner’s inquest was held in Knightrider Street, London, over the body of Robert Scoley, plumber. Every time I read the name Knightrider St, I see David Hasselhoff …but I doubt there were muscle cars involved. Instead: knitting. Scoley the plumber had been peacefully minding his own business, the coroner’s inquest ruled, whenContinue reading “Death and the Knitster in Knightrider Street”

Treason and sanctuary: the case of Thomas Bagnall

The 1495 claim of sanctuary made by Thomas Bagnall, traitor, supporter of Perkin Warbeck, thorn in the side of Henry VII, is one of the most famous sanctuary cases of the Tudor period. I also think it’s been misinterpreted. In 1495 five men—Thomas Bagnall, John Heth, John Skotte, John Kenyngton, and Alexander Synger—were accused ofContinue reading “Treason and sanctuary: the case of Thomas Bagnall”