Parish Priests and Their People in the Middle Ages in England

By Edward L. Cutts | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI.
CUSTOMS.

IT remains to mention a great variety of observances and customs, some of them superstitious, some innocent enough, many of them picturesque and poetical and giving colour and variety to the popular religious life. It would need another volume as large as this to do justice to the subject which we find ourselves compelled to deal with in a single chapter.

The right of Sanctuary, the immunity from violence even of the criminal who had put himself under the protection of present Deity, which was provided for in the Levitical cities of refuge, which attached to the temples of the gods of Greece and Rome, was, when the empire became Christian, readily accorded to churches and their precincts. We have had occasion to mention its existence in Saxon times;* it seems desirable to say that it continued to be an important feature in the life of the times of which we are now speaking. There were special sanctuaries

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