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The Allusionist


The term ‘sanctuary cities’ has been in the news a lot in the past few weeks, as places in the USA declare themselves to be havens for undocumented immigrants. Though ‘sanctuary’ has a history of meaning safety for the persecuted, it has an even longer history of meaning something quite different: refuge for criminals.

Rosalind Brown, a canon at Durham Cathedral, and historian John Jenkins explain how and why, for 1000 years, churches in England offered shelter to murders and thieves fleeing justice.

For more information about this episode, visit; and listen to the 99% Invisible episodes about the modern sanctuary movement at

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