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Seeking Sanctuary - Crime, Mercy, and Politics in English Courts, 1400-1550 | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Seeking Sanctuary: Crime, Mercy, and Politics in English Courts, 1400-1550

Shannon McSheffrey


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 book 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 ... More

Keywords: sanctuary, law, crime, religion, Christian church, jurisdiction, space, politics, Middle Ages, early modern England

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780198798149
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198798149.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Shannon McSheffrey, author
Professor of History, Concordia University