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




National Trust

National Trust membership

National Trust membership

Free entry to National Trust properties throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, plus discounted admission to National Trust for Scotland properties.

Membership details

About the National Trust


HISTORY CORNER
Name the mystery historic attraction
See larger image



Who is the patron saint of Scotland?



27 May, 1199

John I crowned at Westminster Abbey

John had already been anointed Duke of Normandy after the death of his brother, Richard I

Which of the following was NOT married to Henry VIII?



Passionate about British Heritage!