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                SANCTUARY    
  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM                      
                             
            one in fear of pursuit.   " Isabel, who was the wife of John le Chapelier of Beeding," has committed a crime.   The hue and. cry has been raised and she knows well enough that pursuit follows hard upon her heels.  
Mathew le King, Thomas Coxtyll, John Judde, Thomas Wedende, James le Best, David Fynian and Thomas his brother, Richard, Stephen, and John Must, Roger Germayn, Richard and John Vigorous, Ralph le Groonde, John do Perchyng, John le Spicer, John le Crouchepreste, John Swele, Ralph le Baker, Reginald de Washington, Henry de Blechyngton, and Henry Alleyn.    
  The parish priest of Shoreham, concluding his early ministration at the altar, is disturbed by a slight commotion at the far end of the church. As he turns thitherward, a panting, hunted  
The jurors found that " Thomas de Weston and all the others, except Henry Alleyn, Ralph le Baker, Reginald le Cartere, Reginald de Washington, and Henry de Blechyngton "were guilty ,of the trespass and that they were to pay Richard de Peshale damages to the tune of £500.    
  creature runs toward him and falls exhausted at his feet. Isabel has sought refuge in the Church of Shoreham, or in other words claims the privilege of sanctuary, and thence none dare drag her forth to answer for her crime.            
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The following year we learn that German Hobelit, probably the same individual whose name is recorded in the above list, " put himself against Thomas Comyn " in a plea. that he " with force and arms " took and carried away his goods and chattels to the value of £30 and did " other grave damage, to the hurt of the said German and against the peace." This case was adjourned several times and its conclusion is not found in the Rolls.          
  The priest is familiar with such cases. It is not his duty to question this poor wretch as to the reason why she has sought this city of refuge.   Possibly it is robbery, it may be murder-anythingshort of sacrilege. In due time the Coroner will pay his visit and then all will be enquired into.   But for the present the woman is safe and safe for forty days. The priest commends her to the care of some women-folk standing there and passes out to  
" On Saturday next after the Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle," in the sixth year of Edward III., William, Hugh, and John Panethorne, brothers, " with other malefactors " broke into the house of John le Younge at Shoreham, and carried away his goods. These included a silver coffer "full of florins," gold buckles and precious stones, eight cups of mazer, belts of gold and of silk, silver spoons, gold rings, seals and silver chains tied together, cloths of linen and wool, which the owner valued at £300. They also " hurt and wounded " Agnes, wife of John le Younge, and, carrying her off, kept her imprisoned at Shoreham for 15 days " and badly treated her, against the peace." John Panethorne seems to have been the ring-leader in this affair. After the case had been adjourned several times he was found guilty, both as to the robbery and the assault, and was fined £50 for the former and £10 for the latter; "and John is taken," says the record. The process against his brothers was continued and many adjournments followed, without, as regards their case, any decision being recorded.    
  his vicarage.            
    But news of the crime has already reached Shoreham. Isabel's two children have been found, murdered. The mother has fled and is suspected of having killed them. Some of the men of Beeding, knowing full well that the crime will be put upon their village unless they can take the woman, have hunted for her all night long and are even now in the town, whither they  
                   
It is yet early morning and the mists have scarcely lifted from the Downs above Shoreham. A woman hurries down from the hill-side and along the road into the town ; her hair is unkempt, her skirt be-draggled, she wears a " hunted " look. With fearful glance, again and again she half-turns her head, as                    
                             
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002