My interest was first aroused in the question of sanctuary rights in mediæval England by inquiries that were made of me by the late Mr. Mazzinghi, Librarian of the William Salt Library, Stafford, in 1886-87. I had at that time the pleasure of the friendship of that gentleman, as I was a member of the editorial committee of the Salt Archæological Society. Mr. Mazzinghi published a short treatise on this subject in 1887, and it has up till now remained the only English book dealing exclusively with Sanctuaries. It is doing no injustice to that work to say, notwithstanding its obvious research, that the treatment is scanty and at times inaccurate.
Having occasion six years ago to consult various old Assize Rolls, my interest in this fascinating and much neglected side of England's social and religious life, extending over several centuries, became revived. From time to time documents have been consulted, with the result that the present book is submitted to the public.