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By Philip_H
Medieval hagoday or sanctuary knocker at Holy Trinity church, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.

Hagoday’s often took the form of a human, animal or fabulous beast head, with a large knocker or ‘closing ring’ held in the mouth. In medieval times, anyone touching the rings (usually those fleeing from justice or persecution) could claim the right of sanctuary. The right of sanctuary was based on the inviolability attached to things sacred.

The earliest mention of sanctuary in England was in a code of laws promulgated by King Ethelbert in 600. In Norman times there were two kinds of sanctuary in England, one belonging to every church by prescription and the other by special royal character.

A fugitive convicted of felony and taking the benefit of sanctuary was afforded protection from thirty to forty days, after which, subject to certain severe conditions, he had to "abjure the realm", that is leave the kingdom within a specified time and take an oath not to return without the king's leave. Violation of the protection of sanctuary was punishable by excommunication.

The ecclesiastical right of sanctuary ceased in England at the Reformation. The most famous sanctuary knocker in England is at Durham cathedral.

Thanks for the great response to 'Devil's Door' Grin

Best wishes,

Tags: Architecture Sanctuary Warwickshire Close-up and macro Stratford-upon-avon Keyhole Church door Holy trinity church Hagoday Sanctuary knocker Shakespeares church

Voters: andylea, Hermanus, gwynn56 and 36 more

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Hermanus 5 4 South Africa
24 Aug 2013 8:00AM
Excellent history lesson with interesting info - and the image is stunning Philip ! Lovely texture and earthy colours here !

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ColleenA Plus
5 354 5 Australia
24 Aug 2013 8:00AM
What an amazing door knocker, and good narrative to match. love all the textures on the door...a great capture
Canonshots 7 145 13 United Kingdom
24 Aug 2013 8:16AM
Th right of Sanctuary has played an important part in the recent TV series "The White Queen". This detailed account of its significance is therefore particularly timely. The vote, though, is for the image itself.
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1887 United Kingdom
24 Aug 2013 8:20AM
Beautifully precise, balanced composition. You see these details so well, the picture in the bigger scene.
woolybill1 Plus
11 22 71 United Kingdom
24 Aug 2013 8:28AM
Perfectly composed to bring out the location of the main subject, and a very tactile image to boot.
I can't help wondering whether the smith was allowed a certain artistic freedom with his creation, just as medieval masons were sometimes given their head with the final decoration of an ecclesiastical building, thus giving rise to anything from carved bunches of grapes to peasants apparently mooning at the bishop. Replace the ring with fingers literally pulling the face and you have a real 'yah boo sucks to you' expression.
Fascinating: thank you.
nonur Plus
9 17 13 Turkey
24 Aug 2013 9:23AM
Nicely framed, great texture, colour and shine.
jdinne 14 16 England
24 Aug 2013 10:34AM
Very interesting Philip greatly composed. Great intro.

Brovy 4 England
24 Aug 2013 11:02AM
Nice pic and great history lesson, enjoyed it coz im a bit of a history buff
Nikonuser1 Plus
5 150 16 United Kingdom
24 Aug 2013 11:55AM
Great image withh a great write upSmile

CaroleS Plus
7 433 3 United Kingdom
24 Aug 2013 11:57AM
Lovely detail - I wonder how big that key was?Smile
EAS 8 1 13 Scotland
24 Aug 2013 12:25PM
Fascinating info and a well captured image.

barbarahirst 9 27 12 United Kingdom
24 Aug 2013 1:37PM
how interesting... great image
24 Aug 2013 6:02PM
Excellent image and interesting info
pamelajean Plus
12 1.0k 1996 United Kingdom
24 Aug 2013 7:30PM
Good textures, and I like the way your frame includes the important door furniture of the time. I have learnt something today, because I didn't know they were called hagodays.
24 Aug 2013 10:56PM
A great find Philip and interesting write up..Lin
xwang 8 56 8
24 Aug 2013 11:39PM
Interesting writing up.. nice shot..Smile
Potra 4 Venezuela
25 Aug 2013 1:57AM
Outstanding shot. Great light and textures.
A Booth 15 11 4 United Kingdom
25 Aug 2013 11:38AM
nicely composed with good detail. fascinating story.
Rende 11 38 4 Netherlands
25 Aug 2013 12:00PM
Beautiful shot and interesting info Philip.
Chinga Plus
7 3 1 United Kingdom
28 Aug 2013 1:48AM
A very interesting image!
Lovely texture and colour in this shot

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