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



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 Scotand properties.

Membership details

About the National Trust


HISTORY CORNER
Name the mystery historic attraction
See larger image



This famous military debacle was immortalized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in his poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade



20 September, 1066

Battle of Fulford near York

Harald Hardrada of Norway and Earl Tostig defeat Northumbrians under the earls Morcar and Edwin

This king was born Henry Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt



Passionate about British Heritage!