Letter, in English, of King Edward [IV, 1473]
This letter, set beside that of Joan Beaufort of 1426 (Loc.XXV:124), illustrates the way which informal correspondence produced in establishments that could support writing-offices conformed to certain norms, notably the use of landscape format, the text-block flushed right, and the identification of the sender in the upper margin. Here, however, the king wrote his sign manual 'RE' [view]above the main text, which begins 'Trusty and welbeloued in god we grete you well / And whereas we vnderstond that Robert Marshall late comitted to prison- for treason- is now escaped and broken- from- the same into your Church of Duresme' [view]. He re-assures the prior that for devotion to God and St Cuthbert and regard for the bishop of Durham, chancellor of England, he 'wol that for that occacion- no thing be attompted that shud be contrarie to the liberties and immunitie of our church' [view], but charges that Marshall be 'surely kept'; 'Yeuen vnder our signet at our Towne of Stamford the xxvijth day of July' [view]. Under Edward IV the only period when a bishop of Durham was chancellor was 27 July 1473 - 27 May 1474.
It is evident that Robert Marshall had taken sanctuary in the cathedral. The king makes the rather ominous suggestion that but for his regard for the bishop steps might have been taken to infringe the sanctuary.