Friday, June 15, 2018

Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid: Palmer Confession June 17, 1303


Summary: A proclamation June 16, 1303, pertaining to the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid April 30-May 3, 1303, prompted William Palmer to provide 16 names.


screenshot of William Palmer's June 17, 1303, confession, as presented in Sir Francis Palgrave's The Antient Kalendars (1836): Public Domain via Internet Archive

William Palmer appeared before a royal-appointed justice and three London officials June 17, 1303, to admit to acquaintance with and assistance to the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid April 30-May 3, 1303.
A proclamation by the king's investigator brought Palmer to bear witness against those whom he believed to be Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid burglars and beneficiaries. It called for cooperative confessors to come into the Guildhall to communicate information and convey treasure "between this and Sunday next at the hour of Vespers." Paul Doherty, in The Great Crown Jewels Robbery of 1303 for Carroll & Graf Publishers Sep. 26, 2005, describes only Palmer's delivery during the deduced dates.
Justice Ralph de Sandwich and London Mayor John le Blund, Coroner John Clicot and Sheriff Simon de Paris expected to extract tales and treasure June 16-23.

The undated proclamation fit achivally into Liber de Antiquis Legibus (Book Concerning Ancient Laws, literally) found Anglicized as Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London.
Doherty got Palmer's confession from Sir Francis Palgrave's The Antient Kalendars and Inventories of the Treasury of His Majesty's Exchequer at the National Archives in Kew. He has the English translation of the Norman French confession by Palmer (died March 15, 1304), deputy Keeper of the Palace and valet of John Shenche. He earlier indicates the alternate name William of the Palace, the alternate title lieutenant and the simultaneous title deputy Keeper of the Fleet Prison in London.
Doherty judges Palmer "unfit" company for juggling a bride in Fleet and Edelina, prostitute daughter of Nicholas the Cook and relative of John Cook of Lechtesman.

Edward (June 17, 1239-July 7, 1307) knew of unsuccessful Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raids, in 1296 under John the Cook and in 1300 under Abbey monks. John the Cook landed in Newgate Prison for high treason whereas Abbot Walter de Wenlok's (died Dec. 25, 1307) bribing Edward let Westminster Abbey monks off.
Palmer mentioned, among 16 "consenting" people, second subprior Alexander de Pershore and third Thomas de Dene, Keeper of the Larder for Abbot Wenlok and monastic treasurer. He noted fourth John de Butterley, fabric restorer for St. Mary's at Westminster, Keeper of the Chapel of Our Lady and Steward of Abbot Wenlok's household.
Palmer offered an unnamed novice "ordained for that Chapel," mason John of St. Albans and his valet John and William, valet of Dominus Arnold de Campania.

Palmer presented ninth an unnamed valet from Essex; 10th John, son of carpenter Geoffrey/Philip; 11th sacristan's valet Roger de Wenlok; and 12th cellar-worker Roger de Prestok.
Palmer queued up as 13th through 16th "consenting to the burglary" Abbey monks Robert de Cherring, John de Noteley, John de Prescot and Thomas de Lichfield. He revealed sacristan Adam de Warfield first and, for rewarding Palmer's secrecy regarding the planned raid with 10 shillings remanded by John of St. Albans, 17th. He never specified what "consenting" stood for, what strategies he shared before the bribe and what the proclamation sought: treasure and its discoverers, purchasers, retainers, sellers.
What took William Palmer from Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid anonymity into testifying against 14 candidates for Church court trials and two for Sanctuary and escape?

Fleet Prison (inserted blue X, upper center), Guildhall (inserted blue arrow, upper center) and Westminster Abbey (inserted blue arrow, bottom left); W.R. Shepherd's Historical Atlas (1926); Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection: Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

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

Image credits:
screenshot of William Palmer's June 17, 1303, confession, as presented in Sir Francis Palgrave's The Antient Kalendars (1836), vol. I: 267: Public Domain via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/stream/antientkalendars01grea_0#page/268/mode/1up
locations of Fleet Prison (inserted blue X, upper center), where confessor William Palmer worked; Guildhall (inserted blue arrow, upper center), where he confessed; and Westminster Abbey (inserted blue arrow, bottom left), where the confession's crime occurred; W.R. Shepherd's Historical Atlas (1926), page 75; Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection: Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin @ https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/shepherd/london_plan_1300.jpg

For further information:
Doherty, Paul. 2005. The Great Crown Jewels Robbery of 1303. New York NY: Carroll & Graf Publisher.
Keay, Anna. 2011. The Crown Jewels. London UK: Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Marriner, Derdriu. 20 April 2018. "Richard Puddlicott and the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid, 1303." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2018/04/richard-puddlicott-and-westminster.html
Marriner, Derdriu. 4 May 2018. "Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid in April and May 1303 in England." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2018/05/westminster-abbey-royal-treasury-raid.html
Marriner, Derdriu. 11 May 2018. "Mysteries of the April-May 1303 Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2018/05/mysteries-of-april-may-1303-westminster.html
Marriner, Derdriu. 1 June 2018. "King Edward I's Letter on the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2018/06/king-edward-is-letter-on-westminster.html
Marriner, Derdriu. 8 June 2018. "Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid: Royal Proclamation June 16, 1303." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2018/06/westminster-abbey-royal-treasury-raid_8.html
Palgrave, Sir Francis, ed. 1836. "Appendix: Records Relating to the Robbery at the Treasury, 31 Edw. I." The Antient Kalendars and Inventories of His Majesty's Exchequer Together with Other Documents Illustrating the History of That Repository. Vol. I: 251-299. London England: Commissioners of the Public Records of The Kingdom.
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/stream/antientkalendars01grea_0#page/251/mode/1up
Shepherd, William R. (Robert). 1911. Historical Atlas. New York NY: Henry Holt and Company.
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_6Zc9AAAAYAAJ
Thornbury, Walter. 1878. "Chapter XXXIII: The Fleet Prison." Old and New London: A Narrative of Its History, Its People, and Its Places. Vol. II: 404-416. London, England; Paris, France; New York NY: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.
Available via British History Online (BHO) @ http://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol2/pp404-416
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/stream/oldnewlondonnarr02thor#page/404/mode/1up


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