Friday, April 20, 2018

Richard Puddlicott and the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid, 1303


Summary: Richard Puddlicott confessed to carrying out the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid, without co-conspirators, eight months after April 26-27, 1303.


In his 2005 history of the 1303 Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid, Paul Doherty notes the bravery and honor displayed by Richard Puddlicott in adhering to his confession despite betrayal by other participants; drawing of Richard Puddlicott as sole plunderer of Westminster Abbey Crypt, Cottonian Manuscripts, "nero," D. II, f. 192d (The British Library): History Things ‏@history_things via Twitter Jan. 11, 2017

Richard Puddlicott admitted to April 24-26, 1303, as the date of the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid in Westminster, England, and to absconding with a cross, a Marian image and royal treasures.
The self-described "itinerant trader in wool, cheese and butter" blamed King Edward I (June 17, 1239-July 7, 1307) for his becoming a burglar of Abbey treasures. He confessed, perhaps Dec. 3, 1304, to committing a criminal carryout of Abbey refectory silver cups, dishes and hampers and then another of Abbey royal treasures. He described drawing upon a ladder and a knife and upon "two tarriers, one large and the other small, knives and many other engines of iron."
Richard Puddlicott explained sales as ensuing from extracting Abbey refectory silver even though his confession ended without elucidating whether sales ensued from extricating Abbey royal treasures.

Puddlicott filled one "great jug" with a cup and precious stones, three sacks with jewels and vessels and 12 jugs with cups and jewels April 26.
One sack got broken and whole cups while another got "a great crucifix [the Cross of Neath], jewels, a case of silver and some gold dishes." He had "cups, plates, nine saucers and a silver-gilt image of Our Lady and two little jugs" in another and "a pot and cup of silver." He included "dishes, plates and saucers for spices, a crown cut up, a ring, clasps, precious stones, crowns, belts and other jewels" from the Royal Treasury.
Puddlicott justified the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid because "when his money failed [before Christmas], he thought, he might return to break into the King's Treasury."

Puddlicott kept the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid gold, jewels and silver "outside the breach" and "outside the gate close to the church of St. Margaret."
Puddlicott listed the cross, icon, jewels, plateware and vessels as loaded away from the St. Margaret church cemetery "without leaving anything behind him within that gate." He mentioned nothing about moving the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid objects eastward across Westminster Palace grounds, through Palace gates, to King's Bridge northwestward to London. He noted Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid belts, clasps, crowns, dishes, gems, jewels, ring and saucers "found in his possession" upon his arrest June 18-19, 1303.
The Puddlicott confession offered the raid's occurrence from being arrested in Bruges and paying "fourteen pounds and seventeen shillings" on the king's reneged debts to Flanders.

Puddlicott, from Oxford landowners near Benedictine monasteries in Abingdon, Evesham and Waverley since the twelfth century, presented suit at Westminster Palace in August 1302 for compensation.
The Puddlicott confession quoted nothing about the suit's outcome even though it quoted quitting Westminster Abbey of refectory silver in November and royal treasures in April. It revealed nothing about remaining in Sheriff Hugh Pourte's custody and bailiffs Gaucelin and Thomas Attewell removing Puddlicott from sanctuary in St. Michael's Church June 25. It never saved Puddlicott, despite self-stated clericalism, from non-ecclesiastical sentencing to wheelbarrowing to a Westminster hanging Nov. 28, 1305, and skinning for Chapter House door show-and-tell.
Who took clerical status and ecclesiastical exemptions from Puddlicott, who took full responsibility for the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid that took £100,000 in royal treasures?

Richard Puddlicott's seeking of sanctuary in St. Michael's Church, Crooked Lane, Candlewick Ward, London, was violated with his removal June 25, 1303, by two bailiffs; depiction of St. Michael's Church (top center) on ca. 1560 "Ralph Aggas" map of London: The British Library, No known copyright restrictions, via Flickr

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

Image credits:
In his 2005 history of the 1303 Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid, Paul Doherty notes the bravery and honor displayed by Richard Puddlicott in adhering to his confession despite betrayal by other participants; drawing of Richard Puddlicott as sole plunderer of Westminster Abbey Crypt, Cottonian Manuscripts, "nero," D. II, f. 192d (The British Library): History Things ‏@history_things via Twitter Jan. 11, 2017, @ https://twitter.com/history_things/status/819424724166017024
Richard Puddlicott's seeking of sanctuary in St. Michael's Church, Crooked Lane, Candlewick Ward, London, was violated with his removal June 25, 1303, by two bailiffs; depiction of St. Michael's Church (top center) on ca. 1560 "Ralph Aggas" map of London: The British Library, No known copyright restrictions, via Flickr @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary/11222125046/

For further information:
Damon. 12 January 2017. "King-size Heist; Richard of Pudlicott Was The Dumbest Thief Of The 1300s." History Things.
Available @ http://historythings.com/king-size-heist-richard-pudlicott-dumbest-thief-1300s/
Doherty, Paul. 2005. The Great Crown Jewels Robbery of 1303: The Extraordinary Story of the First Big Bank Raid in History. New York NY: Carroll & Graf Publishers.
Hall, Hubert. 1891. The Antiquities and Curiosities of the Exchequer. With Illustrations by Ralph Nevill. The Camden Library. New York NY: A.C. Armstrong & Son; London, England: Elliot Stock.
Available via HathiTrust @ https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015035120412
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/details/cu31924032413340
Harrod, Henry. 31 March 1870. "On the Crypt of the Chapter House, Westminster Abbey. Read March 31, 1870." Archaeologia: Or, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquity, vol. XLIV, issue 2 (1874): 373-382. London, England: Nichols and Sons, MDCCCLXXIII (1873).
Available via HathiTrust @ https://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101076451788?urlappend=%3Bseq=163
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/stream/archaeologiaopt244sociuoft#page/373/mode/1up
Herbert, William. 1833. The History and Antiquities of the Parish and Church of Saint Michael, Crooked Lane, London. Part III. London, England: Harvey & Darton.
Available via The British Library @ http://access.bl.uk/item/pdf/lsidyv391e07bd
History Things ‏@history_things. 11 January 2017. "King-size Heist; Richard of Pudlicott Was The Dumbest Thief Of The 1300s." Twitter.
Available @ https://twitter.com/history_things/status/819424724166017024
Horn, Andrew. ca. 1320. "I. Annales Londonienses MS. Cotton Otho B. 3: Sacrilegious Arrest of Richard Podyngtone." In William Stubbs, ed., Chronicles of the Reigns Edward I and Edward II, vol. I. London, England: Longman and Co. and Trübner & Co., 1882.
Available via HathiTrust @ https://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101013899156?urlappend=%3Bseq=266
Keay, Anna. 2011. The Crown Jewels. London UK: Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Tout, T.F. (Thomas Frederick). October 1915. "A Mediaeval Burglary: A Lecture Delivered at the John Rylands Library on the 20th January, 1915." Bulletin of the John Rylands Library Manchester, vol. 2 (October 1914-December 1915). Manchester, England: The University Press; London, England: Longman, Green and Co. and Bernard Quaritch; New York, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras: Longmans, Green and Co., 1914-1915.
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/details/mediaevalburglar00toutuoft
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/stream/bulletin02johnuoft#page/348/mode/1up


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