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Seeking SanctuaryCrime, Mercy, and Politics in English Courts, 1400-1550$
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Shannon McSheffrey

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798149

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198798149.001.0001

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Francis Woodleke’s Window

Francis Woodleke’s Window

Stranger Shoemakers, Boundaries, and Sanctuary in London in the 1530s

(p.112) 5 Francis Woodleke’s Window
Seeking Sanctuary

Shannon McSheffrey

Oxford University Press

A royal enquiry was commissioned in the mid-1530s to investigate the boundaries of the sanctuary of St Martin le Grand. This enquiry was precipitated not by a problem with felonious sanctuary seekers, but instead by a conflict between the City of London and Dutch-born shoemakers making and selling their wares in St Martin’s precinct despite prohibitions against immigrant labour. The testimony in the enquiry uncovers the complexity of jurisdictional rights woven into the idea of sanctuary: battles over labour, trade, and immigration were conflated with asylum for accused felons in both attacks and defences of sanctuary privilege. The witnesses’ statements also reveal how the boundaries of the sanctuary—often marked only by convention or by drainage channels in the street—functioned in the urban environment.

Keywords:   sanctuary, London, jurisdiction, guilds, artisans, space, labour, immigration, crime, urban politics

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