Friday, June 8, 2018

Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid: Royal Proclamation June 16, 1303


Summary: A proclamation a month after the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid April 30-May 3, 1303, netted a confession, searches, seizures and three suspects.


Guildhall (inserted blue arrow, upper center) and Westminster Abbey (inserted blue arrow, bottom left) on ca. 1300 Plan of London: 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

An undated proclamation from unspecified sources announced acceptance at the Guildhall, "between this and Sunday next," of acquaintances with and assistants to the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid April 30-May 3, 1303.
Paul Doherty, in The Great Crown Jewels Robbery of 1303 for Carroll & Graf Publishers Sep. 26, 2005, broaches issuance June 16 and interviews June 16-23. The dates correlate with correspondence conducted from Linlithgow, Scotland, June 6, 1303, to London, England, and with the first confession "Monday, the Feast of St. Botolph." Doherty deems about a week by road for delivery, and less by ship, from Linlithgow to London and deduces the correspondence as delivered June 14, 1303.
Doherty extracts the expected encounters "at the hour of Vespers" from the entry on William Palmer's confession of June 17 as the Feast of St. Botolph.

The proclamation followed formulations from King Edward I's (June 17, 1239-July 7, 1307) correspondence for finding felons and filchings from the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid.
Doherty gives authorship of the proclamation to John de Drokensford and to correspondence recipients John Bakewell, Ralph de Sandwich, Roger de Southcote and Walter of Gloucester. Drokensford (1260-May 9, 1329), Keeper of the King's Wardrobe and official responsible for the Royal Treasury since 1295, had the royal appointment to handle London investigations. Edward identified as London court justices for London, Middlesex and Surrey inquiries Bakewell, London Clerk until 1298-1299; Sandwich, Tower Constable; Southcote, Sheriff of Essex; and Gloucester.
The quintet joined to inquire and investigate "on behalf of Our Lord the King, upon forfeiture of life and of limb and of lands of chattels.

The five royal appointees knew of "gold or silver or precious stone or anything whatsoever" discovered, purchased, retained, stolen from the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid.
The proclamation listed the Guildhall as venue, "the Mayor and Sheriffs" as presiding officials and the week from that Sunday to next at Vespers as timeline. It mentioned for intended London area audiences "all those who found any of the treasure of Our Lord the King" in "whatsoever the place may be." It likewise notified "all those who have sold or bought any of the said treasure, or know any persons who have sold or bought" Edward's treasure.
The proclamation ordered likewise for all who "know any persons [who] have found any part of the said treasure, or have the same in their keeping."

The five appointees proclaimed that finders, purchasers, retainers and sellers of Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid loot "shall show and acknowledge what they know about it."
The proclamation qualified as punishment that "Whoever shall not do this, on or before such a day, the King will hold them as felons against him." The proclamation resulted in William Palmer's confession June 17 and the arrests of John of Newmarket, John of St. Albans and Richard de Puddlicott June 18-19. Drokensford supplemented his official audit of the Royal Treasury June 20, 1303, with subsequent recoveries through searches, seizures June 20-23, 1303, and sessions at the Guildhall.
It took one royal proclamation June 16, 1303, for five appointees to turn up Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid informants, loot and suspects by month's end.

Sicilian marble statue of Edward I presenting Hull, Yorkshire's first Royal Charter of 1299, about four years before 1303's Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid: Notafly, CC BY SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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

Image credits:
Royal Proclamation June 16, 1303, identified London's Guildhall as the venue for information about the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid April 30-May 3, 1303; locations of Guildhall (inserted blue arrow, upper center) and Westminster Abbey (inserted blue arrow, bottom left) on ca. 1300 Plan of London: 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
Sicilian marble statue of Edward I presenting Hull, Yorkshire's first Royal Charter of 1299, about four years before 1303's Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid; sculpture completed 1866 by Yorkshire artist/sculptor Thomas Earle (ca. 1810-April 28, 1876); Guildhall, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, England; March 21, 2016: Notafly, CC BY SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GuildhallHull_(2).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/westminster-abbey-royal-treasury-raid.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
Mulcahy-Parker, Gerardine. "Earle, Thomas (1810-1876)." Oxford DNB Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Available @ http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-110201
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. "Chapter XXXIII: Guildhall." Old and New London: A Narrative of Its History, Its People, and Its Places. Vol. I: 383-395. London, England; Paris, France; New York NY: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/details/oldnewlondonnarr01thor_0


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