Tag Archives: Middle Ages

A Legal Looting in Medieval England

A Legal Looting in Medieval England


In 1547, Thomas Michell murdered Eleanor and John Sydnam and then killed himself. Knowing Michell to be “a man of great possessions”, the local undersheriff, Nicholas Sarger, rushed to the murderer’s home to seize his belongings. When Sarger arrived, he found Michell’s neighbours already in the house, busily removing everything they could carry. And they weren’t the only ones taking an interest in the dead man’s effects for, soon after, Nicholas Heath, the king’s chief almoner, launched suits against Sarger and the others, claiming that the goods belonged to him.