Archbishop Reynold’s flight

1326 AD

As darkness fell in the evening of the 15th October 1326, a party of horsemen slipped out of a rear entrance of Lambeth Palace, on the bank of the Thames opposite Westminster. In the midst of the party was Walter Reynolds, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The riders fled to the archiepiscopal palace at Croydon. The cause of their hasty departure from London was a rebellion, partly anti-clerical. Earlier in the day a prominent churchman, Walter Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter and adviser to King Edward II had been dragged from his horse by the mob in Cheapside whilst attempting to seek sanctuary in St. Paul’s Cathedral. He was brutally murdered by them in cold blood. The rebels then sent his severed head to Edward’s estranged queen. After a brief stop at Croydon, the fleeing party rode to the newly enlarged Manor at Otford, in all some 25 miles, arriving in the middle of the night. The next morning they travelled on to the Archbishop’s Manor at Maidstone and safety.