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The term 'sanctuary cities' has been in the news a lot in the past few weeks, as places in the USA declare themselves to be havens for undocumented immigrants. Though 'sanctuary' has a history of meaning safety for the persecuted, it has an even longer history of meaning something rather different: refuge for criminals.
Rosalind Brown, a canon at Durham Cathedral, and historian John Jenkins explain how and why, for 1000 years, churches in England offered shelter to murders and thieves fleeing justice.
- Take a look at Durham Cathedral's sanctuary knocker/ring. You could even buy yourself a (legally ineffective) replica.
- Durham Cathedral starred in the film Elizabeth as Elizabeth's palace - and bits of Hogwarts in the first couple of Harry Potter films.
- The role of the coroner in sanctuary - looks like a lot of admin.
- Hot take from 1878 on the history of sanctuary.
- The origins of asylum, parts 1 and 2.
- The Old English term for sanctuary was 'grith'. 'Grith cities' don't sound quite as welcoming.
- About 'frith', as in the frith stool. Here's one, in Hexham Abbey.
- Read the transcript of this episode at theallusionist.org/sanctuary.
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YOUR RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Rosalind Brown is one of the canons at Durham Cathedral. Attend some events there, and go to see the Magna Carta on display this summer!
- John Jenkins is a researcher on cathedrals and pilgrimage at the University of York. He tweets @armentarius.
- This episode was produced by me, with music by Martin Austwick. Thanks to Catherine Hodgson and Greg Jenner.
- Find me at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/helenzaltzman and instagram.com/helenzaltzman.