Alsatia


Alsatia

:"See also: Alsace"

Alsatia in London, was the name given to an area lying north of the River Thames covered by the Whitefriars monastery, to the south of the west end of Fleet Street and adjacent to the Temple. Between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries it had the privilege of a sanctuary, except against a writ of the Lord Chief Justice or of the Lords of the Privy Council; and as a result it was the refuge of the perpetrators of every grade of crime, debauchery, and offence against the laws. The execution of a warrant there, if at any time practicable, was attended with great danger, as all united in a maintenance in common of the immunity of the place. It was one of the last places of sanctuary used in England, abolished by Act of Parliament named "The Escape from Prison Act" in 1697 and a further Act in 1723. Eleven other places in London were named in the Acts (The Minories, The Mint, Salisbury Court, Whitefriars, Fulwoods Rents, Mitre Court, Baldwins Gardens, The Savoy, The Clink, Deadmans Place, Montague Close, The Mint and Stepney).

Alsatia was named after the ancient name for Alsace, Europe, which was itself outside legislative and juridical lines, and, therefore, they were literally places without law. The name is thought to be a cant term for the area and is first known in print in the title of "The Squire of Alsatia", a 1688 play written by Thomas Shadwell (?1642–1692).

The name was used into the 20th century as a term for a ramshackle marketplace, "protected by ancient custom and the independence of their patrons".

As of 2007, the word is still in use among the English judiciary with the meaning of a place where the law cannot reach: "In setting up the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the state has set out to create an Alsatia - a region of executive action free of judicial oversight," Lord Justice Sedley in UMBS v SOCA 2007 [http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article2586539.ece] .

External links

* [http://80.1911encyclopedia.org/S/SA/SANCTUARY.htm 1911 Encyclopaedia article on "sanctuary" includes details of Alsatia]
* [http://philobiblion.blogspot.com/2004/12/new-old-words.html Use of the term in a 1952 novel]


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  • Alsatia — (von fr. Alsace = Elsass) steht für: (971) Alsatia, ein Asteroid Alsatia (London); ein Gebiet nördlich der Themse Alsatia Straßburg, eine ehemalige französische, katholische Studentenverbindung in Straßbung im Elsass Die …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ALSATIA — vulgo Elsatz, Germaniae superiorisregio, quam quidam quasi Edelsatz, i. e. nobilem et praeclaram sessionem: alii ab Illa fluvio, a in i mutatô, quasi sessionem ad Illam fluvium dictam autumant: Unde et quidam regionem Illesas et non Alsass… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Alsatia — n. 1. a region of northeastern France famous for its wines. Syn: Alsace, Elsass [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Alsatĭa — Alsatĭa, lat. Name für Elsaß; daher Alsatiae taberna, neulat. Name für Elsaßzabern …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Alsatĭa — Alsatĭa, latinisierter Name des Elsaß (franz. Alsace) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Alsatia — Alsatĭa, lat. Benennung des Elsasses …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Alsatia — Alsatia, latinisirter Name des Elsaß …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Alsatia — geographical name see Alsace …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Alsatia — /al say sheuh/, n. 1. name formerly given to the Whitefriars district in London, England, which was a sanctuary for debtors and lawbreakers. 2. ancient name of Alsace. * * * …   Universalium

  • alsatia — al·sa·tia …   English syllables


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