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SANCTUARY


sanctuary, was regulated in the minutest detail. The fugitive had to make confession of his crime to one of the clergy, to surrender his arms, swear to observe the rules and regulations of the religious houses, pay an admission fee, give, under oath, fullest details of his crime (the instrument used, the name of the victim, &c.), and at Durham he had to toll a special bell as a formal signal that he prayed sanctuary, and put on a gown of black cloth on the left shoulder of which was embroidered a St Cuthbert's cross.

The protection afforded by a sanctuary at common law was this: a person accused of felony might fly for safeguard of his life to sanctuary, and there, within 40 days, go, clothed in sackcloth, before the coroner, confess the felony and take an oath of abjuration of the realm, whereby he undertook to quit the kingdom, and not return without the king's leave. Upon confession he was, ipso facto, convict of the felony, suffered attainder of blood and forfeited all his goods, but had time allowed him to fulfil his oath. The abjurer started forth on his journey, armed only with a wooden cross, bareheaded and clothed in a long white robe, which made him conspicuous among medieval wayfarers. He had to keep to the king's highway, was not allowed to remain more than two nights in any one 'place, and must make his way to the coast quickly. The time allowed for his journey was not long. In Edward III.'s reign only nine days were given an abjurer to travel on foot from Yorkshire to Dover. Under the Norman kings there appear to have been two kinds of sanctuary; one general, which belonged to every church, and another peculiar, which had its force in a grant by charter from the king. This latter type could not be claimed by prescription, and had to be supported by usage within legal memory. General sanctuaries protected only those guilty of felonies, while those by special grant gave immunity even to those accused of high or petty treason, not for a time only but apparently for life. Of chartered sanctuaries there were at least 22: Abingdon, A'mathwaite, Beaulieu, Battle Abbey, Beverley, Colchester, Derby, Durham, Dover, Hexham Lancaster, St Mary le Bow (London), St Martin's le Grand (London), Merton Priory, Northampton, Norwich, Ripon, Ramsey, Wells, Westminster, Winchester, York (Soc. of Antiq. of London, Archaeologia, viii. 1-44, London, 1787. Sketch of the History of the Asylum or Sanctuary, by Samuel Pegge). Sanctuary being the privilege of the church, it is not surprising to find that it did not extend to the crime of sacrilege; nor does it appear that it was allowed to those who had escaped from the sheriff after they had been delivered to him for execution.

Chartered sanctuaries had existed before the Norman invasion, About thirty churches, from a real or pretended antiquity of the privilege, acquired special reputation as sanctuaries, e.g.. Westminster Abbey (by grant of Edward the Confessor); Ripon (by grant of Whitlase, king of the Mercians); St Buryans, Cornwall (by grant of Ethelstan); St Martin's le Grand, London; and Beverley Minster. '“The precinctstof the Abbey, ” says Dean Stanley, “ were a vast cave of Adullam for all the distressed and discontented in the metropolis, who desired, according to the phrase of the time, to 'take Westminster.” ” Elizabeth Woodville, queen of Edward IV., took refuge in the Abbeywith her younger children from the hostility of Richard III. In the next reign the most celebrated sanctuary-seeker was Perkin Warbeck, whothus twice saved his neck, at Beaulieu and Sheen. John Skelton, tutor and afterwards court poet to Henry VIII., fearing the consequences of his caustic wit as displayed in an attack on Wolsey, took sanctuary at Westminster and died there in 1529.,

The law of abjuration and sanctuary was regulated by numerous and intricate statutes (see Coke, I institutes, iii. 115); but grave abuses arose, especially in the peculiar sanctuaries. The attack on these seems to have begun towards the close of the 14th century, in the reign of Richard II. During the 1 5th century violations of sanctuary were not uncommon; the Lollards were forced from churches; and Edward IV. after the battle of Tewkesbury had the duke of Somerset and twenty Lancastrian leaders dragged from sanctuary and beheaded. At the Reformation general and peculiar sanctuaries both suffered drastic curtailment of their privileges, but the great chartered ones suffered most. By the reforming act of 1540 Henry VIII. established seven cities as peculiar sanctuaries. These were Wells, .Westminster, Northampton, Manchester, York, Derby and Launceston. Manchester petitioned against being made a sanctuary town, and Chester was substituted. By an act of James I. (1623), sanctuary, as far as crime was concerned, was abolished throughout the kingdom. The privilege lingered on for civil processes in certain districts which had been the site of former religious buildings and which became the haunts of criminals who there resisted arrest-a notable example being that known as Whitefriars between Fleet Street and the Thames, E. of the temple. This locality was nicknamed Alsatia (the name first occurs in Shadwell's plays in Charles II.'s reign), and there criminals were able to a large extent to defy the law (see Sir Walter Scott's Fortunes of Nigel and Peveril of the Peak), arrests only being possible under writs of the Lord Chief Justice. So flagrant became the abuses here and in the other quasi sanctuaries that in 1697 an act of William III., known as “ The Escape from Prison Act, ” finally abolished all such alleged privileges. A further amending act of 1723 (George I.) completed the work of destruction. The privileged places named in the two acts were the Minories, Salisbury Court, Whitefriars, Fulwood's Rents, Mitre Court, Baldwin's Gardens, The Savoy, The Clink, Deadman's Place, Montague Close, The Mint and Stepney. (See Stephen, History of Crim. Law, i. 113.) In Scotland excommunication was incurred by any who attempted to arrest thieves within sanctuary. The most famous sanctuaries were those attaching to the Church of Wedale, now Stow, near Galashiels, and that of Lesmahagow, Lanark. All religious sanctuaries were abolished in the Northern Kingdom at the Reformation. But the debtor found sanctuary from “ diligence ” in Holyrood House and its precincts until late in the 17th century. This sanctuary did not protect criminals, or even all debtors, e.g. not crown debtors or fraudulent bankrupts; and it was possible to execute a meditation fugae warrant Within the sanctuary. After twenty-four hours' residence the debtor had to enter his name in the record of the Abbey Court in order to entitle him to further protection. Under the Act 1696 c. 5, insolvency concurring with retreat to the sanctuary constituted notour bankruptcy (see Bell, Commentaries, ii. 461). The abolition of imprisonment for debt in 1881 practically abolished this privilege of sanctuary. .

A presumptive right of sanctuary attached to the royal palaces, and arrests could not be made there. In Anglo-Saxon times the king's peace extended to the palace and 300p paces around it: it extended to the king himself beyond the precincts. At the present day Members of Parliament cannot be served with writs or arrestedgwithinthe precincts of the Houses of Parliament, which extend to the railings of Palace Yard. During the Irish agitation of the 'eighties Parnell and others of the Irish members avoided arrest for some little while by living in the House and never passing outside the gates of the yard. The houses of ambassadors were in the past quasi-sanctuaries. This was a natural corollary of their diplomatic immunities (see DIPLOMACY). The privilege was never strictly defined. At one time it was insisted that the immunity accorded an ambassador included his house and those who fled to it. At an earlier date sanctuary had actually been claimed for the quarter of the town in which the house stood. At Rome this privilege was formally abolished by Innocent XI. (Pope 1676-1689), and in 1682 the Spanish ambassador at the Papal Court renounced all right to claim immunity even for his house. His example was followed by the *British ambassador in 1686. Portugal, Sweden, Denmark and Venice abolished by express ordinance in 1748 the asylum-rights of ambassadorial residences. In 1726 the Spanish government had forcibly taken the duke of Ripperda out of the hotel of the English ambassador at Madrid, although the Court of St Tames had sanctioned his reception there. At Venice, too, some Venetians who had

betrayed state secrets to the French ambassador and had taken