St. Martin le Grand, a precinct within the walls of London, was both a sanctuary and a liberty: it offered asylum to accused felons, and it allowed immigrant craftsmen to work and sell within its bounds despite London’s strict restrictions on alien labor. St. Martin’s privileges had long rankled civic governors and guilds, sparking a series of legal and political skirmishes between the City and St. Martin’s in the 1520s and 1530s. This article examines St. Martin’s community of Dutch and French immigrants, who constituted the densest concentration of aliens in the metropolitan area. Living cheek by jowl with felonious sanctuary seekers, the strangers came to share both a conceptual and a physical space with the felons who sought St. Martin’s sanctuary privilege. In the reign of Henry VIII, the control of labor and retailing came to be tightly imbricated with the larger issues surrounding crime, mercy, and punishment that sanctuary inspired.

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