Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Sanctuary Knocker Definition

History and Architecture

Sanctuary Knocker

Also called a sanctuary ring, a sanctuary knocker was a metal ring attached to the door of a church. A fugitive from the law had only to touch the knocker in order to claim the right of sanctuary. This allowed him to stay in the church, free from prosecution, for a period of time, usually 40 days. The most famous sanctuary knocker in Britain is that at Durham Cathedral, which is quite ornately carved, with a lion's face, but a sanctuary knocker could equally well be a simple iron ring, usually set on a round iron plate affixed to the door. The right of sanctuary was abolished by law in the early 17th century.

Related: Sanctuary  

  • Wenhaston, Suffolk

    Wenhaston, Suffolk

Wenhaston, Suffolk

Wenhaston, Suffolk

Attraction search
in



English Heritage

English Heritage membership

English Heritage membership

Free entry to English Heritage properties throughout England, plus discounted admission to Historic Scotand and Cadw properties in Scotland and Wales

Membership details

About English Heritage


HISTORY CORNER
Name the mystery historic attraction
See larger image



This northern British kingdom was formed the merger of Bernicia and Deira in the 6th century



12 December, 1889

Death of Robert Browning

Best known as a poet and playwright, Browning (b. 1812) was married to poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

This king died at Burgh by Sands, Cumbria



Passionate about British Heritage!