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Robbery And Sanctuary Seeking In 1285

Worlington Church - Simply click to enlarge... then close new window to returnRecords of the Hundred Court for this date have survived and one of the entries describes how Thomas, the son of Norman of Worlington, and William Altot were alleged to have broken into the house of Simon de Tainisball in Mildenhall and carried off his goods. Thomas took sanctuary in the church at Worlington and confessed himself to be a thief. Whilst he was in the church it would have been the duty of the villagers to bring him food and drink and also to guard against his escape; he had the right to remain there for 40 days. The Coroner of St. Edmund was summoned and Thomas swore to "abjure the realm" i.e. to relinquish all his property and legal rights, to travel by the most direct route to the nearest port and there to leave the country for ever; there was a set procedure for this but it is doubtful whether many such criminals ever fulfilled their promise to leave the country.

Colin Dring 1979
see also Fugitives In 1285
 

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