Walking the boundaries: Bland, the St Martin’s sanctuary man

Though Perkin Warbeck’s stay at Beaulieu Abbey was short, some of his followers remained in sanctuaries long term, including well-known sanctuary men of St Martin le Grand (SMLG) in London. In the 1530s, Henry VIII mandated a royal enquiry into the boundaries of the SMLG precinct as part of a long-running dispute between the CityContinue reading “Walking the boundaries: Bland, the St Martin’s sanctuary man”

Seyntbarbe, retainer of Lord Audley

The second Warbeck follower who became a sanctuary man in St Martin le Grand in London was named Seyntbarbe, a retainer of Lord Audeley. Seyntbarbe fled to SMLG after the battle of Blackheath in 1497. We learn about Seyntbarbe from London grocer William Mathew, who lived in St Martin’s as a youth when apprenticed toContinue reading “Seyntbarbe, retainer of Lord Audley”

Murder in the Savoy liberty

In 1501 the Middlesex coroner was summoned to the parish of St Mary le Strand to call an inquest over the body of Laurence Starke, who’d worked in the Savoy liberty prison, where the Savoy hotel is today. The Savoy liberty was an independent jurisdiction belonging to the duchy of Lancaster, which had been foldedContinue reading “Murder in the Savoy liberty”

Three sanctuary breaches

The last years of Henry VII’s reign (he died in 1509) are often seen as rife with judicial corruption. That might not be completely fair, but there were lots of cases with odd outcomes in these years. Three sanctuary breach cases ended up in King’s Bench on the same day in 1508. The first involvedContinue reading “Three sanctuary breaches”

Arsenic and old lace

A rare woman sanctuary seeker, an alleged husband-murderer no less: in July 1503, a coroner’s inquest over the body of Richard Bery at Sevenoaks, Kent, ruled that he had been murdered by his wife Agnes. The jurors reported that Agnes had administered ratsbane (arsenic) to her husband in his food and drink (though nothing inContinue reading “Arsenic and old lace”

Sanctuary in dependent manors

In 1506, a husbandman from Tottenham, Middlesex named Hugh Bradbury, along with an accomplice, broke into the house of widow Joan Iwardeby at Quainton, Bucks, and stole a number of goods. Afterwards Bradbury made his way to the manor of Hoddesdon, Herts, and there claimed the “sanctuary of St Martin.” Bradbury was one of aContinue reading “Sanctuary in dependent manors”

Robert the hermit

In 1537 London butcher George Isotson told a story in court about a long-ago sanctuary seeker at St Martin le Grand named Robert. Robert’s story stuck in Isotson’s mind because he later became a hermit. One day around 1508, Isotson said, Robert escaped from the Marshalsea prison and ran to the sanctuary of St MartinContinue reading “Robert the hermit”

Henry VIII and the sanctuary men of St Martin’s

In the King’s Book of Payments, three times between late 1514 and mid-1516, Henry VIII gave 100 shillings (£5) for the support of two men in the sanctuary of St Martin le Grand. The two men, John Gamlyn and Thomas Porter, were termed in the records “prisoners, sanctuary men.” But why was the king supportingContinue reading “Henry VIII and the sanctuary men of St Martin’s”

Treason, gunpowder, heresy, bagpipes

In 1515, John Cowley, yeoman of London, was arrested with five other men and accused of treasonous plots against the king and chief minister Cardinal Wolsey. Cowley’s treachery had evidently begun while he served as part of the king’s forces in the French war, at the siege at Tournai in 1513. Amongst his charges wasContinue reading “Treason, gunpowder, heresy, bagpipes”

Prostitution, jurisdiction, and sanctuary

Both prostitution and sanctuary for felons thrived in situations of contested jurisdiction, but there is relatively little evidence that they flourished in the same places. This case proves this rule. In 1523, Elizabeth Troublefeld alias Vaughan, said to live in the precinct of St Martin le Grand, was arrested at the order of the localContinue reading “Prostitution, jurisdiction, and sanctuary”