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from viclence. A law of Justinian affirms this : Templorum cautela non nocentibus, sed laesis datur a lege.
Boniface V, who became Pope in 609, enacted that criminals who fled to churches should not be taken thence by force.' From the words quovis crimine patrato it appears that no crime was bad enough to exclude a malefactor from the protection of the Church. The same spirit is found in the Decretum Gratiani compiled in 1151.3 By a capitular in 779, conformable to one of Carloman and Pepin passed about 744, Charlemagne decreed that churches should not be asyla for criminals who had committed such crimes as the law punished by death ; and if the Emperor did not go so far as to make it lawful to force a criminal from his asylum, yet he prohibited people from giving them food.
As the ages advanced the bonds of any sanctuary extended, first from the church to the cloisters and cemetery. We hear about this specially in connexion with the greater churches. In some cases the right of sanctuary extended for a few miles surrounding a church, and we find in some districts sign-posts to direct the refugee. At the present time one can be seen at Armathwaite, Cumberland, and another at St. Buryan's, Cornwall. During mediaeval times there were several famous sanctuaries which included St. Mary-le-Bow, Beaulieu, Wells, Ramsey. The knocker on the north door at Durham Cathedral and at St. Gregory's, Norwich, are said to have been used by those who fled from their pursuers to rouse the watchmen, who were in readiness in the place above to let them in at any hour, and to toll the Galilee bell as public notice that someone had come in for sanctuary. At the collegiate church at Beverley anyone who sought refuge had food provided for them with a lodging in the precincts for thirty days, after which the privilege secured them as far as the borders of the county. In some churches there was a seat provided for the delinquent called the fridstool (peace stool); one is still preserved at Hexham Abbey ; it is of Norman style and belongs to the twelfth century.
Sometimes, however, the pursuers braved the spiritual censures and laid violent hands upon the runaway. But it was a dangerous thing to do, so they kept watch outside. A porter in a church at Newcastle, Nicholas by name, who helped to seize one who had taken refuge there, was whipped at Durham in public for three days, and could only obtain pardon by the influence of the Pope's Nuncio. Inter alia it must be remembered that the whole privilege of sanctuary was closely connected with that known as benefit of clergy. If a malefactor took sanctuary, the four neighbouring townships had to watch the church and prevent his escape; thus in 1221 the towns of Stone, Heath and Dunclent, near Kidderminster, failed in their duty. About the year 1300 the bailiffs and coroners of Waterford caused the neighbours to be summoned to watch a church in which a criminal had taken refuge. But exemptions were sometimes obtained. In 1340 the burgesses of Cardiff obtained exemption from the duty of watching fugitives who had fled to churches outside the walls of that town.3
1 Platina, Vitae Pontificum. 2 Archaeologia, vol. viii. p. lv.' 3 Migne, Patrologiae, tom. 16, 'Regni Caesla,' p. 1255.
The first authentic recorded cases in England are uncertain. Suspicion attaches to the legends which have been attributed to the Christian King Lacius (180) who conferred the privilege of sanctuary upon the church at Winchester. The earliest mention of sanctuary in England was a code of laws promulgated by King Ethelbert in 600. Sebert, the first Christian King of Essex (604), granted the right of sanctuary to the church at Westminster.
In 690, Ina, King of Wessex, enacted that “if a person who has committed capital offences shall fly to a church, he shall preserve his life and make satisfaction as right requires.' The fugitive was under obligation to make reparation for his crime; and the Council of Mentz, in 813, decreed : • Rerum confugientem ad ecclesiam nemo abstrahere audeat
tamen legitime comparat quod inique fecit.' The most ancient and famous sanctuary in England was that of Beverley, the immunities of which originated in a grant by Athelstan to St. John of Beverley after returning from his victory over the Danes at Brunamburg (937). Innocent III (1198–1216) enjoined that refuge should not be given to a highway robber or to anyone who devastated cultivated fields at night, and according to Beaumanoir's Coutumes du Beauvoisis, dating from the thirteenth
1 History of English Law, Pollock and Maitland, i. p. 531 ; ii. p. 688.
Borough Customs, ed. Bateston, ii. p. 34.
century, sanctuary was also denied to those who were guilty of arson or sacrilege. In 1209, venison having been found in the house of Hugh de Scot, he fled to a church in Shropshire, refused to leave it and lingered there a month. Afterwards he escaped in a woman's clothes. Again in 1232, when Hugh de Burgh was deprived of his office of justiciar, he betook himself to the chapel of Boisars, in Essex, where he was besieged by a military force, who surrounded the chapel by a pallisade rampart.”
In Edward III's reign (1327–77) the persons accused were allowed to flee the country provided they kept certain conditions--they had to keep to the king's highway, and travel with a wooden cross in their hands, barefooted and bareheaded and in coats only. They were not allowed to remain any two nights in the same place, and were only allowed nine days to reach Dover from Yorkshire; this abjuring of the realm involved forfeiture of everything they possessed. If they could find no passage over sea, the delinquent was bound each day to walk out knee-deep in the water in proof of his good will to make the passage. While on such a journey it was decreed that the felon was to wear a costume which would cause him to be recognized as one who had taken sanctuary, and the king 'forbade anyone under pain of life and limb to kill them so long as they were on their road pursuing their journey.' An officer branded them on the brawny part of the thumb with the letter ‘A,' standing for the word 'abjure,' so
A that all men might know in what relation they stood henceforth to society.
Further, the question of sanctuary was brought before the Parliaments of Gloucester (1378) and London (1379) on account of the abuses of sanctuary privileges. John Wyclif thought that the Church and civil courts keep their jurisdictions entirely separate; as previously both had quarrelled concerning each other's right. But it was not until 1418 that the Pope Martin V tried to regulate the question by a Bull. In 1450 during the Jack Cade rebellion, one of the fugitives fled to St. Martin-le-Grand. The King wrote to the dean of the church ordering him to produce the traitor. This the dean refused to do, and he exhibited his charters which were found to be correct.
1 Select Places of the Crown (Seldon Society), xii. p. 9.
Perhaps one of the most notable persons to claim sanctuary in the fifteenth century was Elizabeth Woodville, Queen of Edward IV, who took refuge at Westminster Abbey with her children from the hostility of Richard III, on October 1, 1470, when Thomas Meylling was Abbot. One Christopher Brown fled from the town of Lezburn to the sanctuary of St. Cuthbert at Durham, on Saturday, July 26, 1477, begging with anguish, Peciit cum instancia, the safety and freedom of the Saint. In 1487, Prior Selling of Canterbury was sent by Henry VII to Pope Innocent VII concerning the sanctuary laws. The Pontiff agreed that, (1) if any person in sanctuary went out at night and committed trespass and mischief, and then go back again, he should forfeit all privileges ; (2) that debtors were only protected and not their goods from their creditors; and (3) that when a person took refuge for treason the king might appoint
appoint him a keeper within the sanctuary. Further, Henry VIII enacted in the twenty-sixth year of his reign that no person accused of high treason should enjoy the privilege. In the year 1546 the only valid
1 places of tuition were Wells, Manchester, Westminster, York, Norwich, Derby,
Derby, Launceston. In each of these places there was a governor who had to muster every day his men, who were not to exceed twenty in each town, and who had to wear a badge when they appeared out of doors.
At length in 1623 all right of sanctuary was abolished. Certain shadowy rights still attach to the palace of Holyrood in Scotland. In England Whitefriars, or ‘Alsatia,' had still a vague right to be claimed as an asylum. The name “ Alsatia' first occurs in Shadwell's plays in Charles II's reign. So flagrant were the abuses here that the sovereign in 1697 abolished all the privileges and of the quasi-sanctuaries as well. These convenient retreats were
. situated at the Mint, Gray's Inn Lane by Baldwin's Gardens, Fleet Street by Salisbury Court, and a few others. But it was not until the time of George 14 that the asylum of St. Peter's at Westminster was demolished. Some church towers were used as sanctuaries. In 1716 the parishioners of Tingwell, in Shedland, had a tradition among
1 Stat. 26 c. 13, E. 2. 2 Stat. James I, c. 28. 3 Cf. Scott's Fortunes of Nigel and Peveril of the Peak. 1 1723, 9 Geo., c. 28.
them that after one had received sentence of death upon the Holme he obtained a remission, provided he made his escape through the crowd of people, and touched the church steeple (tower) before any could lay hold of him.
In the legislature of Sweden the last reference to this sacred privilege is found in a document dated 1528. In France it was abolished par ordonnance sur le fait de la justice in 1539; and in Spain it lingered on to the nineteenth century. The houses of ambassadors were sometimes quasi-sanctuaries. At Rome this right was finally denied by Innocent XI (1767-89), and in 1682 the Spanish ambassador to the Vatican renounced all right of such even for his house. Four years later the English did the same. To the present day Members of Parliament cannot be served with a writ or arrested within the precincts of the Houses of Parliament. Even during the Irish troubles in the eighties' Parnell avoided arrest for some time by living within the building.
CLAUDE C. H. WILLIAMSON.