Seeking sanctuary : crime, mercy, and politics in English courts, 1400-1550 /
Shannon McSheffrey.
First edition.
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2017.
viii, 219 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
More Details
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2017.
contents note
Introduction: Richard Southwell flees to sanctuary -- Tavern brawls, civil wars, and remedies for tyranny : the evolution of sanctuary in England, c. 1380-1500 -- Dean Caudray and the city of London : the politics of sanctuary in the fifteenth century -- The hospitaller's cloak : mercy, justice, jurisdiction -- Francis Woodleke's window : stranger shoemakers, boundaries, and sanctuary in London in the 1530s -- The sanctuary town of Knowle : crime, local authorities, and the state in 1530s England -- Cheshire feuds : aristocratic violence and the uses of sanctuary in the reign of Henry VIII -- Conclusions: Sanctuary, law, and politics.
"Seeking Sanctuary explores a curious aspect of premodern English law: the right of felons to shelter in a church or ecclesiastical precinct, remaining safe from arrest and trial in the king's courts. This is the first volume in more than a century to examine sanctuary in England in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Looking anew at this subject challenges the prevailing assumptions in the scholarship that this 'medieval' practice had become outmoded and little-used by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Although for decades after 1400 sanctuary-seeking was indeed fairly rare, the evidence in the legal records shows the numbers of felons seeing refuge in churches began to climb again in the late fifteenth century and reached its peak in the period between 1525 and 1535. Sanctuary was not so much a medieval practice accidentally surviving into the early modern era, as it was an organism that had continued to evolve and adapt to new environments and indeed flourished in its adapted state. Sanctuary suited the early Tudor regime: it intersected with rapidly developing ideas about jurisdiction and provided a means of mitigating the harsh capital penalties of the English law of felony that was useful not only to felons but also to the crown and the political elite. Sanctuary's resurgence after 1480 means we need to rethink how sanctuary worked, and to reconsider more broadly the intersections of culture, law, politics, and religion in the years between 1400 and 1550."
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (pages 199-212) and index.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem