A “certificate of persons within St Martin’s sanctuary,” 1525

In 1525 – probably as a result of a fact-finding mission directed by the king’s right-hand man Cardinal Wolsey – a “certificate” of the “persons within St Martin’s sanctuary” was drawn up. This is a fascinating snapshot of 1520s sanctuary seekers. There were 12 people listed, 11 men, 1 woman. In another post I lookedContinue reading “A “certificate of persons within St Martin’s sanctuary,” 1525″

Drinking at the Sanctuary Parlour

If you took sanctuary at St Martin le Grand in London, you had to be careful about the boundaries: in many places they were invisible lines running down the middle of a street or between buildings. One step over, and you could be arrested. In the 1520s Londoners disagreed about the sanctuary status of aContinue reading “Drinking at the Sanctuary Parlour”

Cop takes sanctuary, London 1528

The London civic government and especially its sheriffs were hostile and aggressive towords felons who avoided arrest by running to sanctuary. So it was pretty embarrassing in 1528 when one of the sheriff’s staff had to flee to St Martin le Grand. On 16 April 1528, sheriff’s servant Robert Panke was in the Rose tavernContinue reading “Cop takes sanctuary, London 1528”

Accusations and reversals

When an accused criminal was indicted in an English court, the indictment reads as established fact, an account of something that actually happened. We need to exercise skepticism, though: it was not always so. In 1529, a London tailor named Henry Hawes was found dead in the parish of St Boltulph Aldersgate and a coroner’sContinue reading “Accusations and reversals”

Quarrel with a “master of fence”

One day in early spring 1538, gentleman Edward Wolff was in the precinct of St Martin le Grand visiting the shop of a goldsmith. Wolff was servant to Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford and brother of the recently deceased Queen Jane. St Martin’s was home to a number of alien (immigrant) goldsmiths, whose work wasContinue reading “Quarrel with a “master of fence””