Abjuring the realm

This extract demonstrates the procedures followed when a criminal opted to abjure the realmGlossary - opens new window, instead of standing trial for his crimes. John Baltre - who had confessed, among other things, to stealing a horse from the Abbot of Waltham, in Essex - preferred to avail himself of this option rather than surrender to the authorities. Consequently, the coroner, John atte Church, came to take Baltre's oath of abjuration. However, the story did not end there. As the record shows, Baltre - in common with a significant number of other abjurers - foolishly returned without the king's licence, and was apprehended and sentenced to be hanged.
Catalogue reference: KB 27/467, m. 9d (1377)

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