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The Abby-Church Sanctuary.39

The Abby-Church Sanctuary.

man brought into the Sanctuary nine Cloths, the Owner whereof was Tho. Bradley Clothier. Whereupon a Letter was sent from the Lords of the Council to the said Abbot, to deliver those Cloths, taking first Bonds of him, to be answerable to all such as should make Claim by Order of the Laws to the said Cloths.

This Privilege of Sanctuary continued. For Hampton and Whitacre, in Queen Elizabeths Reign, betook themselves here for Debt. Whence a Case relating to this Sanctuary happened in the Eleventh of Queen Elizabeth, in the Star Chamber. And it being thence referred to the Lord Dyer, and Justice Southcote, it was shown, in behalf of their Privelege of Sanctuary, how two Sheriffs of London, for taking a Man away out of the Sanctuary at St. Martins le Grand, which belonged to Westminster, were grievously fined in the Star Chamber, in the Time of Henry the Sixth.

What follow'd upon taking one away from Sanctuary.

But that bad Men might not shelter themsleves here, to defraud their Creditors, it was thought convenient, towards the Beginning of Queen Elizabeths Reign, to administer an Oath to such as should claim Sanctuary at Westminster, and to require certain Conditions upon their Admittance.

The Oath was to this Tenor: "First, that they should swear, not to crave or claim the said Privilege or Sanctuary, to defraud or deceive any manner of Person thereby of his Goods, Money or Debts willingly; but only for Safeguard of their own Bodies, where they were not able presently to pay it."

The Oath of such as took Sanctuary at Westminster.

"Item, That they should make a true Declaration of all such Sum or Sums of Money as they did justly owe to any Person or Persons, with the Persons Names to whom they were indebted: And what Goods, Chattels, Wares, Money, or Debts they had to satisfy their Creditors with; and also to declare by what Means they were behind Hand."

" Item, Whereas they were not able with all they could make presently, to pay their Creditors, that they should endeavour themselves to travel, by all Means, to satisfy them as soon as they could possible."

" Item, That they should resort and be present in the Collegiate Church, both at Morning and Evening Prayer, to serve God."

" Item, That they should behave themselves honestly and quietly; to eschew all suspected Houses, unlawful Games, all banqueting and riotous evil Company."

" Item, That they should wear no Weapon; nor be out of their Lodgings before the Sun rising in the Morning, nor after the going down thereof at Night: Nor that any of them should depart out of the Precinct of the Sanctuary, without License of the Dean of Westminster for the Time being, if so he were present; or of the Arch-deacon there for the Time being, if the Dean were absent."

" Item, That they should be obedient to Mr. Dean, to the Arch-deacon, and to other Officers there, during their Abode there."

" Item, That they should swear, that if they should infringe or break any of the Articles above mentioned, or should be proved to have made an untrue Certificate touching the Premisses; then they should Claim no Privilege of Sanctuary, notwithstanding any their Admission thereunto."

The Order of their Admission.


"First, the Archdeacon was to declare them, what a Danger it was before God to defraud any Man wittingly of his Goods; the which was against his Laws, which willed every Man to pay, saying, Reddite omnibus, i.e. Render to all Men. And also against the Law of Nature, which saith, Hoc facias alteri &c. i.e. Do that to another, which you would have another do to you. And what a Rebuke it was to any Man to claim Sanctuary, and a Discredit to his Occupying for ever. And to advise him therefore to remember these Premises, and to return before he were known openly."

" Then after this, Knowledge should be given to their Creditors of them that were in the Sanctuary. Or else, if they came unsent for, immediately the said Sanctuary-men should be called before the said Dean and Archdeacon, to hear their Demands. And if any of the said Creditors could certainly prove, that the said privileged Men had brought in with them Money or Wares, they should be satisfyed thereof presently."

" And if the Creditors did lay unto their Charge, that they had more Money, Debts, and Wares, than they would confess, straitway they should be committed to Ward for a certain Time, to make them confess the Truth of the same, if it might be, and thereupon to make an End."

" And then, if they could not make them confess more than was before confessed, to travail from Time to Time, to make them agree. And if any of them would not be ordered accordingly, then to punish him."

" And finally, if it were possible for them, to bring in some honest Persons, to testify of their Decay."

And lastly, for a Conclusion of the Account of this famous Monastery and Church of St. Peters, I shall give a List of the Spiritual Governors of it from anicent Times to this present, whether Abbots or Deans.

Names of the Abbots, the Bishop, and the Deans of Westminster.

980S. Wulfinus
1000 ob.Alfwynus
1114Gislebertus Crispinus
1160Gervasius de Blois
1201Gulielmus Postard
1215Radulphus Papilon
1222Gulielmus de Humes
1246Richardus de Barking
1258Richardus de Crokesley
1259Philippus Levisham
1283Richardus de Ware
1307Walterus de Wenlok
1315Richardus de Kedington, alias Sudbury
1331Willielmus Curlington
1342Thomas Henley
1347Simon de Burcheston
1376Simon Langham
1386 ob.Nicholas Litlington
 Gulielmus de Colchester
 Richardus Harounden
 Georgius Flaccet
1438Johannes Estney

J. S.

Monum. Westmon.


© hriOnline, 2007
The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
34 Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY