I have been reading about Doctor John Clements, who married Sir Thomas More’s adopted daughter, Margaret Giggs, in 1526. Margaret and John seem to have lived at Bucklersbury in London and, from 1545, to have also had a country house at Hornchurch in Essex. They had one son, Thomas, the godson of More; and five daughters, Winifred, Bridget, Helen, Dorothy and Margaret. The eldest girl, Winifred, married Thomas More's nephew, William Rastell.
Following the accession of Edward VI in 1547 Clement left the country for Louvain in July 1549, being joined there by his wife in October. Clement was one of those who were specifically exempted from the general pardon later granted by Edward.
There are two fascinating inventories of the Clement’s family possessions resulting from various court cases he undertook to regain them, after returning during Mary’s reign. The library at Bucklersbury alone contained 302 books.
It appears the Clements just walked out. That got me thinking about the logistics of such departures.
I note also that in 1550 the wealthy Italian merchant and More family friend, Bonvisi, with his family, "against his allegiance," as the inquisition taken shortly after recites, "went and departed out of England into the parts beyond the sea, without license, and against the force, form and effect of a statute and certain proclamation in that behalf made, published, and proclaimed.'' It would appear also that at the same time Bonvisi’s leaseholders in Crosby Place, the Rooper and Rastell families, were likewise "departed beyond sea," by which means, and ‘in pursuance with the effect of the above-mentioned statute and inquisition, their estates and effects became forfeited.’
So, my questions are as follows:
Was absolute secrecy essential? What would you do with your moveable possessions in such circumstances? (There don’t appear too many options.) How would you survive financially while you were overseas? Obviously you could only carry so much coin and jewellery. Were you searched on your departure? Alternatively, were there ‘letters of credit’ redeemable at your destination? Why the tendency to go to Louvain, and why was Portugal not a popular destination?