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Seipp Number:
Year
Court
Writ
Marginal Heading
1486.044 1486 Exchequer Chamber Attaiinder for High treason (Alta perditione) Atteinder
Quaere
Conditio
Judicium in Proditione
Term
Regnal Year
King: Plea Number Folio Number
Pasch. 1 Hen. 7 15 22b-24a
Serjeants/ Justices Plaintiff Surname Plaintiff First Name v. Defendent Surname Defendent First Name
all the Justices of CP and KB
the Justices (mentioned)
all the Justices of CP and KB
Markham, John CJKB1461-1468 Markham mil' tunc Capitalis Justiciarius (mentioned)
all the Justices of England
Rex
Other Plaintiffs Other Names Places Other Defendents
Abingdon, C., Abbot of
Tower (of London), Constable of the
Radcliff (Radclyffe), Sir James, deputy constable of the Tower
the Marshal
Kenulphus (= Cenwulf), King of Mercia
Ruthino, predecessor Abbot of Abingdon
Edwin (= Edwy?), King of Britain and of the English
Edward III, King of England
Knights Templar, Master of
Lord of St.John (Prior of Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem)
Waw, William, party in cross-referenced case
Pope Leo (Selden Society version)
Pope Innocent (Selden Society version)
Parliament
Colchester (or Culham, Culneham), Sanctuary of, in Essex
Essex, County of
Worcester (Wigorn'), County of
Culnam, Sanctuary of, in Oxford (= Culham)
Oxford, County of
Tower of London
King's Bench
the Council
Abingdon (Abynto in Brooke Patents 43), Monastery of, in Berkshire
Berkshire, County of
Culnam, vill of (= Culham)
Britain (Britaniae)
the Angles (Anglorum)
Abingdon
Beaudley (Beaulieu? in Hampshire)
England
London, City of
Tyburn (Tiburnum), gallows at
Abridgements Cross-References Statutes
Fitzherbert Corone 49, Prescription 20
Brooke Corone 128, Treason 18 (not Proditio), Sanctuarie 15 & 7, Imprisonment 96, Monstrans 104, Pledinges 65 (not Placit'), Prescription 56, Francheis 21, Patents 43 
prior proceeding 1486.002 =
Later proceeding 1486.048 = Trin. 1 Hen. 7, pl. 1, fol. 25a-26b
perhaps 1462.040 = Mich. 2 Edw. 4, pl. 13, fol. 18b-19a, and 1462.048 = Mich. 2 Edw. 4, pl. 21, fol. 23a-24a 9same case) (discussion of sanctuary at Westminster Abbey, not holdings of Master of the Temple)
casum Wilhelmi Waw captum extra Beaudley, 1429.071 = Trin. 7 Hen. 6, pl.18, fol. 42b-43a
Plowden, Commentaries 335
9 Edw. 4, fol. 2
Stanford, Praerogative 151 b
9 Edw. 4, fol. 43
49 Edw. [3], [fol.] 4 (?)
Stanford, Praerogative 50
9 Hen. 7, fol. 11, 12
9 Hen. 7, fol. 21
Stanford, Praerogative 112 A
7 Hen. 6, fol. 48
27 Hen. 8, fol. 15
43 Edw. 3, ,fol. 34
Stanford, Praerogative 182 E 
 
Incipit (First Line) Number of Lines
Humfridus Stafford attinctus fuit de Alta proditione in Parliament ultima tento, & cepit Sanctuary 82
Process and Pleading
Defendant was attainted of high treason in Parliament.
Defendant took sanctuary in a county.
Afterwards, defendant left that place and went into another county.
There defendant treasonously caused a large gathering and insurrection.
Aferwards defendant was in a third county in another sanctuary, and remained in the second sanctuary until defendant was dragged out by force.
Defendant was taken to the Tower of London.
An Act of Parliament against defendant was sent by a writ of Mittimus before King's Bench.
From King's Bench a writ was directed to the Constable of the Tower or his deputy ordering that defendant's body be before King's Bench on a day (Tue. 20 Jun. 1486?).
On the day, defendant was brought to the bar (of King's Bench) by a knight, deputy Constable of the Tower, who returned the writ.
Defendant was given the chance to say (allocution) whether defendant knew anything to say for himself why he should not die.
Defendant said that defendant had been dragged out from the second sanctuary, and defendant prayed counsel to plead for him.
By advice of all the Justices of KB and CP, counsel was assigned to defendant.
A day was given to defendant (Mon. 26 Jun. 1486?) to defend his plea concerning the same matter.
Because the Constable of the Tower was not an officer of King's Bench, except to bring prisoners to Court, and this was always by special writ of the king, as soon as defendant appeared defendant was committed to the Marshal of KB, who had been waiting the whole time.
Another writ was directed to the Constable of the Tower to receive defendant and to take defendant back to the Tower of London.
On the day (Mon. 26 Jun. 1486?), defendant appeared, and by his counsel defendant pleaded that before time immemorial a king by his letters patent, with the counsel and consent of bishops and leading men (Senators) of his people, had granted to a monastery a certain portion of the king's lan, with all benefits (utilitatibus) pertainint to it in perpetual inheritance, that the abbot would be exempt from all royal tribute and episcopal authority in perpetuity, so that its inhabitants would not be in subjection to any king or bishop or their ministers, but trial of cases should be subject to the abbot's decrees; that another king had granted that the monastery would be free of all earthly services; that by virtue of these letters (patent) the vill was a sanctuary and privileged place; that the present abbot and all of his predecessors, by virtue of the letters (patent), continuously and from time immemorial had such sanctuary, as in the plea annexed to this book, an defendant pleaded how defendant had been dragged out by force, by whom, and on what day, and defendant prayed restoration to the second sanctuary.
Because defendant had alleged such title of a privilege place, a writ of Scire facias was directed to the abbot, returnable in King's Bench on a day (Wed. 28 Jun. 1486?).
Defendant had a day (Thu. 29 Jun. 1486?)
On thefirst day (Wed. 28 Jun. 1486?), the abbot returned his writ, and had a day (Thu. 29 Jun. 1486?).
On the day, the abbot by counsel pleaded all the aforesaid charters and franchises, as appeared in (defendant's) plea, but the abbot pleaded that an inspection (Inspeximus) of the first king's charter from the time of Edw. 3, and the abbot also showed the charter of the second king, not sealed but signed with a cross, which was for the whole monastery, but the abbot did not show the allowance of the franchise and privilege (sanctuary) in any Court of record.
Three questions remained.
The first question was whether or not such privilege (sanctuary), to have protection for treason, could claim prescription of itself alone, without showing the charter before time immemorial.
The second question was whether it was necessary to show a charter befor etime immemorial, and whether it was then necessary to show allowance of the charter in an Eyre since time immemorial.
The third question was whether or not the Justices should give judgment according to words spoken before time immemorial.
All the Justices of KB and CP, sitting in King's Bench, by unanimous assent and agreement, after they had fully understoo the plea for the king, were of one opinion, that such a privilege (sanctuary) cold not be prescribed solely by a charter before time immemorial without the original (charter0, because treason raised itself so gravely against the king's prerogative, so in this case it was necessary to construe the words of the first king's charter, because no allowance was alleged in any Court of record, and although (the privilege (sanctuary)) might have been allowed before Justices of Gaol Delivery, it should not now be so allowed, and the words in the charter contained a condition that was not fulfilled by the abbot.
By the assent of all the Justices of England, defendant was adjudged to be taken back to the Tower of London, from there placed upon a hurdle drawn through the middle of the City of London to Tyburn, there to be hanged by the neck, to have his heart cut out before his death, his head cut off, and his body divided into four parts (quartered) and sent at the king's will, and may God have mercy on his soul.
Language Notes (Law French)
Abstract Context
Sir Humphrey Stafford of Grafton (of the cadet line of the Stafford family, who were dukes of Buckingham) was an active supporter of Richard III., and was executed for high treason by Henry VII in 1485. For discussion of Stafford's rebellion, see C. H. Williams, "The Rebellion of Humphrey Stafford in 1486," English Historical Review vol. 43 (1928), pp. 181-189; Peter Iver Kaufman, "Henry VII and Sanctuary," Church History, vol. 53 (Dec. 1984), pp. 465-476. A Parliament was summoned 15 Sep. 1485 to assemble 7 Nov. 1485, and was prorogued from 10 Dec. 1485 to 23 Jan. 1486 and dissolved c. 4 Mar. 1486. Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary Virgin at Abingdon, Berkshire. Cenwulf was King of Mercia from 796 to 821. Edwin was associated with his brother Aethelstan, who as King of Wessex and Mercia from 924 and of Northumbria from 927; Edwin died in 933 (Donahue note). The Knights Templar arrived in England in 1128, and were suppressed by Apostolic Decree in 1312. The properties that had belonged to the Templars were then granted by the king to the Priory of Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem.
Commentary & Paraphrase
Humphrey Stafford was attainted of high treason in the Parliament last held, and he took sanctuary at Colchester in the county of Essex. And afterwards in the month of April then next following, he left that place (and went) into the county of Worcester, and there treasonously (proditorie) caused a large gathering (convocationem) and insurrection. And afterwards he was at Culnam (= Culham) in the county of Oxford, called the Sanctuary of C. of the Abbot of Abingdon, and entered the same, etc., until he was dragged out (extractus fuit) by force (vi & potentia) and taken to the Tower of London. And an Act of Parliament against him was sent by a writ of Mittimus before the King's Bench (coram Rege in Banco), and from there a certain writ was directed to the Constable of the Tower or his deputy (Locum tenenti) (ordering him) to have the body of the aforesaid Humphrey before the King's Bench (coram Rege in Banco suo) on the Tuesday next before the feast of the nativity of St. John the Baptist (= Tue. 20 Jun. 1486?). On which day the same Humphrey was brought to the bar by James Radcliff, knight, deputy (constable) of the same Tower, and he returned the writ, etc. And the same Humphrey was given the chance to speak (allocuta fuit), whether he knew anything to say for himself why he should not die. He said that he had been dragged out from the Sanctuary of Culnam, and he prayed counsel to plead for him. And by the advice of all the Justices of both benches, counsel was assigned to him, and a day was given to him on the Monday next following (= Mon. 26 Jun. 1486?) to defend his plea concerning the same matter. And because the Constable of the Tower of London is not an officer of the court of King's Bench, except to bring prisoners to this court, and this always by a special writ of the king, therefore as soon as the same Humphrey appeared, he was committed to the Marshal (of the Court) etc., (who had been) waiting for the whole time at the bar. And then another writ was directed to the same Constable to receive the same Humphrey and take him back to the Tower of London etc.
On that Monday the same Humphrey appeared, and by his counsel said that Kenulph (Cenwulf), King of Mercia, in whose rule and royal power (Monarcha & Regali potestate) the monastery of Abingdon in the county of Berkshire and the vill of Culnam in the county of Oxford then were, a long time before time of memory, by his letters patent, with the counsel and consent of the Bishops and leading men (Senators) of his people, had granted (largitus fuit) to the said monastery etc. (a certain Ruthinus then being abbot of that monastery, which monastery etc. had been founded out of an abbot and monks before the time of memory), a certain portion of his land (quandam rur' sui portionem), to wit, 15 hides of land (mansias) in a place which then was called Culnam by the country folk (a ruricolis), with all benefits (utilitatibus) pertaining to the same in things both great and small (tam in magnis quam in modicis rebus), in perpetual inheritance. And that the aforesaid Ruthinus would be exempt (quietus) from all royal tribute (obstaculo) and episcopal authority in perpetuity, so that its inhabitants would not be in subjection (deprimentur) to any king or his ministers, or to bishops or their ministers, continuously (jugo), but in all things occurring (in cunctis rerum eventibus) and trials of cases (discussionibus causarum) should be subject to the decrees of the abbot of the aforesaid monastery, so that (ita quod) etc. And that Edwin (= Edwy), then king and ruler of the Angles of Britain, granted that the aforesaid monastery would be free of all earthly services (omnis terrenae servitut'), because his Catholic predecessors, to wit, by the said Kenulph (Cenwulf), Catholic King, etc. And that by virtue of the aforesaid letters, etc., from the time of their making, the same vill of Culnam was a sanctuary and a privileged place, etc. And that the present abbot and all of his predecessors etc., by virtue of the letters aforesaid, continuously (successive) and from time immemorial etc., had the same such sanctuary, to wit, as in the plea annexed to this book etc. And he pleaded how he had been dragged out by force, by whom, and on what day etc. And he prayed restoration to the aforesaid sanctuary.
And because he alleged such title, a privileged place in Abingdon, a writ of Scire facias was directed to the same abbot, returnable in the King's Bench on the Wednesday then next following (= Wed. 28 Jun. 1486?). And the same Humphrey had a day on the Thursday then next following (= Thu. 29 Jun. 1486?). On that Wednesday the same abbot returned his writ, and had a day until the Thursday (= Thu. 29 Jun. 1486?), etc. On that day the abbot by counsel pleaded all the aforesaid charters and franchises (Libertates), as appears in the plea, but he pleaded the charter of Kenulph (Cenwulf) by an inspeximus (we have reviewed) of the time of King Edward III, and he also showed the charter of King Edwin, not sealed, but signed with a cross, and this was of the whole monastery etc. And he did not show the allowance of the franchise and privilege in any court of record, etc.
And then three questions remained. First, whether such privilege, that is, to have protection for treason (tuitione' pro p'dition'), could claim prescription of itself alone, not showing the charter of Kenulph (Cenwulf) (made) before time of memory, or any charter before time of memory. Second, if it was necessary to show a charter before the time etc., whether it was then necessary to show allowance (of it) in an eyre after time of memory, etc. Third, whether the Justices should give judgment according to words spoken before time of memory, etc. See the pleas annexed to this book, both of Humphrey and of the abbot.
And all the Justices of both benches, sitting in the (King's) Bench, by unanimous assent and agreement, after they had fully understood the plea of the king, were of one opinion, that such a privilege cannot be prescribed alone by a charter before time of memory without the original, because in itself the matter of treason (proditione) raised itself so greatly against the king's prerogative that it [the privilege] cannot be prescribed of itself alone, as someone could as to abandoned cattle, stray (extrahetis), wreck, and things of like kind, but it is the same as when one claims the chattels of felons, outlaws, and cognisance of pleas outside the king's court, it is necessary to show charters of the king by general or particular words, and allowance in an eyre after time of memory, etc. Hence in the case at bar it is necessary to construe the words of King Kenulph (Cenwulf) contained in his charter without allowance. And although (it might have been) allowed before Justices of gaol (delivery) of the king, it should not now be so allowed. As occurred in the first or second year in King's Bench in an Appeal of homicide, where the defendant said that he had been taken against his will outside a house in the ancient tenure (mesuagium antiquae tenur') of the Master of the Knights of the Temple, where they had such liberties and privileges as the church from time (immemorial) etc. And it was written to the commander (Dn'o) of St. John (of Jerusalem) etc. by Scire facias, who showed his liberties granted in that respect before time of memory to his predecessors, brothers of the Knights of the Temple, and that such privilege had been used from time (immemorial) etc. And he alleged various allowances before Justices of various gaol deliveries. And nevertheless Markham, knight, then Chief Justice, would not allow that, etc. Reporter: See similarly the case of William Waw, taken out of Beaudley, Trin. 7 Hen. 6, fol. 47.
In the present case it is necessary to construe the words contained in the charter of King Kenulph (Cenwulf), and the intention thereof, because no allowance is alleged in any court of record, and the words contained in the same in themselves mean ' to do justice', and not 'to be exempt from any justice', which would clearly be contrary to the words contained in the charter, etc. And similarly that charter contains a condition, that is, as the inhabitants will not be subject to any king, etc., but in all things occurring shall be subject to the decree of the abbot, which words contain in themselves a condition, because by the same words it is affirmed that the abbot should hold pleas among the inhabitants, etc., and it is not alleged in the plea that the abbot held any court there to do justice to the parties inhabiting etc., and thus it is not alleged that the condition was fulfilled by the abbot.
And by the assent of all the Justices of England, the same Humphrey was adjudged to be taken back again to the Tower of London, and from there placed upon a certain hurdle and drawn through the middle of the City of London and thus to Tyburn, and there to be hanged by the neck, and have his heart (cor) cut out before his death, and his head cut off, and his body divided into four parts, and sent at the will of the king, and may God have mercy on his soul.
Note: Selden Society version (version II) includes references to grant of the immunities and privileges by then Pope Leo to the Abbot of Abingdon, and states that the abbot did not show any bull of Pope Leo before the King's Bench. It also includes a reference to the claim by the Prior of St. John of Jerusalem that his liberties and privileges had been granted by Pope Innocent to the brotherhood of Knights of the Temple. All references to popes are omitted in the 1679 Vulgate edition.
Manuscripts Mss Notes Editing Notes Errors
BL MS Hargrave 105 Fitzherbert Corone 49, fol. 211v, dated this Hil. 1486 and identified the defendant as Humfre Stafford and the lieu tenant of the Toure, seintuare de Culhm-, prayer for and assignment of counceyle, Ruthinus abbas, le sentence del pape, and beheading (decolle) at Tower Hill (Tower hyll)
Fitzherbert Prescription 20, fol. 100r, dated this Hil. 1486, and mentioned the Seintware (sanctuary) of Culham
Brooke Corone 128, fol. 184v, a very long entry,
Translations/Editions
M. Hemmant, ed. Select Cases in the Exchequer Chamber, 64 SS 115-120 (1945) (case 34) (Trial of Humfrey Stafford for High Treason) (The King v. Humphrey Stafford) (version II)
Plea Roll Record Year Record Plaintiffs Record Defendants Last Update
Coram Rege Roll, Trin. 1 Hen. 7, rot. 8 Rex 0 2009-05-11
Keywords
Attaint
Attainder
Treason
Height
High Treason (alta proditione)
Parliament
Taking
Sanctuary
County
Month
Next
Following
Leaving
Place
Treasonous (proditorie)
Assembly
Convocation
Insurrection
Abbot
Entry
Extraction
Dragging Out
Force
By Force
Power (potentia)
Tower
Act
Act Of Parliament
Sending
Mittmus
Writ Of Mittimus
King's Bench
Certainty
Constable
Deputy
Locum Tenens
Body
(Habeas Corpus)
Feast
Day
Appearance
Knight
Deputy Constable
Warden
Return Of Writ
Chance
Speaking
Allocution
Knowledge
Death
Counsel
Prayer
Advice
Assignment
Assignment Of Counsel
Lawyer
Pleading
Giving Day
Defence
Denial
Concern
Matter
Same Matter
Constable Of The Tower
Officer
Court Officer
Officer Of King's Bench
Exception
Prisoner
Bringing
Special Writ
King's Writ
Soonness
Soon
As Soon As
Committal
Marshal
Waiting
Time
Direction
Receipt
Remand
King
Rule
Monarchy
Royal Power
Power
Regal Power
Monastery
Abbey
Vill
Length
Long Time
Time Immemorial
Memory
Letter
Patent
Letters Patent
Consent
Counsel And Consent
Bishop
Senator
Great Man
Council
People
Senator Of People
Grant
Largess
Foundation
Monk
Portion
Hide (mansias)
Manse
Country Folk (ruricolis)
Rurals
Benefit
Utility
Pertaining
Thing
Great Thing
Small Thing (modicis rebus)
Perpetuity
Inheritance
Perpetual Inheritance
Exemption (quietus)
Quiet
Tribute
Tax
Royal Tribute (obstaculo)
Episcopal Authority
Authority
In Perpetuity
Inhabitant
Subjection (depirmentur)
Minister
King's Minister
Bishop's Minister
Continuation
Continuity (jugo)
Occurring (eventibus)
Trial
Case
Trial Of Cases
Discussion
Dispute
Subject
Decree
Abbot's Decree
Ruler
Angle
Grant
Freedom
Freedom From Services
Services
Earthly Services
Temporal Services
Catholicism
Predecessor
Catholic Predecessor
Catholic King
Virtue
By Virtue Of
Making Letters
Privilege
Privlileged Place
Successive
Annexation
Book
Annexed To Book
By force
Restoration
Title
Scire Facias
Writ Of Scire Facias
Returnable
By Counsel
Franchise
Liberty (franchise)
Libertates
Inspeximus
Inspection
Review
Showing
Seal
Unsealed
Not Sealed
Signed
Signature
Cross
Signing With A Cross
Whole
Entirety
Allowance
Court Of Record
Record
Of Record
Question
Protection (tuitione)
Protection For Treason
Claim
Prescription
Alone
Eyre
Judgment
Giving Judgment
According
Speaking
Sight
Sitting
Unanimity
Unanimous Assent
Assent
Agreement
Fullness
Understanding
Full Understanding
Plea Of The King
Opinion
Original
Original Grant
Matter Of Treason
Raising
Against The King's Prerogative
Prerogative
Praerogative
KIng's Prerogative
Abandoment
Abandoned Cattle
Stray
Estray (extrahetis)
Wreck
Similar Thing
Suchlike
Chattel
Felon
Chattels Of Felons
Outlaw
Chattels Of Outlaws
Cognisance
Cognisance Of Pleas
(Jurisdiction)
General
General Word
Particular
Particular Word
Allowance In Eyre
Construction
Interpretation
Construing
Gaol
Gaol Delivery
Justice Of Gaol Delivery
Disallowance
Appeal
Homicide
Against His Will
Will
House
Ancient Tenure
Old Tenure
Messuage
Master
Temple
Knight Of The Temple
Templar
Liberty Of The Church
Writing
Commander
Lord
Respect
In Respect
Brother
Usage
Allegation
Chief Justice
Similarity
Folio
Intention
Doing Justice
Contrary
Condition
Subject To The King
Subject To The Abbot
Abbot's Decree
Affirmation
Holding Plea
Abbot's Court
Inhabiting
Fulfilment
Performance
Assent
Hurdle
Drawing
Middle
Tyburn
(Gallows)
Hanging
Neck
Heart
Cutting Out
Decapitation
Head
Division
Quartering
Four Parts
Part
Will Of The King
God
Mercy
Soul
(Immunity)
(Pope)
(Bull)
(Prior)
(Brotherhood)
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