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Abbot William Sadyngton, Onychomancer


William Sadyngton was made Abbot of Leister Abbey on 26th October 1420 and he died in 1442. The Abbot is probably best known for using the occult power of Onychomancy to catch the thief of a silver plate and some coinage. William did not by all accounts have a good relationship with the fourteen Canons he worked with and he accused one of them, Canon Thomas Asty of the theft. Asty refused to confess, so Sadyngton turned to occult means to prove his guilt. In September 1439, whilst at Ingarsby, he polished the thumb nail of a boy called Maurice and whilst he recited a magical incantation the boy stared at the nails surface and told the Abbot what he saw. The boy named Thomas Asty as the culprit, though it is feasible that William had told Maurice what he expected the answer to be.  Upon his return to Leicester he accused Asty again, who then sought absolution from the Abbot in the confessional, which Sadyngton refused to give. 


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