Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries. Originally published by Longmans, Green, London, 1868.
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Roll of Felonies committed, and Misadventures that happened, in the City of London, in the time of Matthew de Columbers, Chamberlain of our Lord the King in the same, Walter le Cornewaleys and John Adrien being then Sheriffs of the same city. (A.D. 1277, 8.)
On Thursday, the morrow of St. Laurence the Martyr [10 August], in the sixth year of the reign of King Edward, the Chamberlain of our Lord the King in the same city, and the Sheriffs, were given to understand that a certain man, William Cole by name, a citizen of London, was lying dead, by another death than his rightful death, in the Ward of William de Hadestoke, (fn. 1) and the Parish of St. Dunstan, near the Tower of London. On hearing which, the said Chamberlain and Sheriffs went there, and calling together the good men of the Ward and of the two nearest Wards, those, namely, of Wolmar de Essex (fn. 2) and Nicholas de Winton, diligent inquisition was made how this had happened.
Who say that on the Wednesday next after the Feast of St. James the Apostle [25 July], the said William was in the fields of the village of Stratford, getting in his corn; and that one John, parish-clerk of the same village, as to whose surname they are ignorant, came into the same fields on that day, and secretly took and carried off certain sheaves belonging to the said William, and certain neighbours of his. Whereupon, it so happened that the said William met this same John, and rebuked him for so carrying off the sheaves, and took them away from him; upon which, the said John went to one Richard, Chaplain to the Prioress of Stratford, but as to whose surname they are ignorant, as also to one John de Scheld, and made grievous complaint to them that the said William had taken away from him the sheaves beforementioned; upon which, being greatly moved thereat, they went to the fields aforesaid, and finding the said William there, suddenly rushed upon him and threw him on the ground, beating him with sticks both behind and before, all over the body, from his neck down to the soles of his feet; and then left him in the said fields for dead. Afterwards, he was carried to the village of Stratford aforesaid, where he lay languishing from the effects of the blows before-mentioned, down to the Saturday next before the Feast of St. Laurence; upon which day he was carried in a cart to London, and still lived on from that day to Thursday the morrow of St. Laurence; early in the morning of which day he died, from the blows before-mentioned. And the body was viewed, which was black and blue all over, and quite crushed by excessive and most grievous blows, from the neck down to the soles of the feet, as before-mentioned. Being asked what became of them, after committing the felony aforesaid, they say that they fled forthwith to the Parish Church of the same village, and afterwards secretly escaped therefrom, and have never since been found. Being asked if they hold any one else suspected of his death, they say they do not, but only the before-named Richard the Chaplain, and John de Scheld; who, on hearing the complaint of John the Clerk before-mentioned, went off in haste to the fields to avenge him. But whether the same John was present when the said William was so slain, or whether he gave any blow, they cannot ascertain. Being asked as to the goods and chattels of those felons, they say that they know nothing thereof, because they are foreigners. (fn. 3)
On Thursday, the Feast of St. Giles [1 September], in the year above-mentioned, the said Chamberlain and Sheriffs were given to understand that one Godfrey de Belstede was lying dead, by another death than his rightful death, in the house of John de Salle, in the Parish of St. Michael le Quern, in the Ward (fn. 4) which was that of Ralph le Fevre. Upon hearing which etc., and calling together the good men of that Ward, and of the two nearest Wards, that is to say, the Ward of William de Durham (fn. 5) and the Ward of Castle Baynard, diligent inquisition was made thereon.
Who say that as the before-named Godfrey, on the Day of St. Bartholomew [24 August] last past, was coming from Cestrehunte towards London, (fn. 6) mounted on a hackney, hired of a certain man of that village, as they believe, but as to whose name and person they are ignorant, and having one Richard le Lacir in his company, they met certain carters coming from London, with three carts, but as to the names and persons of whom they are altogether ignorant. Whereupon, one of the carters aforesaid began most shamefully to abuse the said Godfrey, for riding the said hackney so fast, and a dispute arising between Godfrey and the said Richard, on the one side, and the said carters on the other, one of the carters seizing with his hands a certain iron fork, struck Godfrey upon the crown of his head with such force, as to inflict a wound two inches in length, and penetrating almost to the brain. The other carters also badly beat him all over the body with sticks, and maltreated both him and the said Richard le Lacir; so much so, that the latter hardly escaped with his life. Godfrey before-named survived from the Day of St. Bartholomew to the Thursday before-mentioned, languishing from the wound and beating aforesaid; and on that day, at about the third hour, (fn. 7) he died. And the body was viewed; upon which was seen the wound aforesaid, and it appeared altogether disfigured from the beating before-mentioned.
And John de Salle was attached, in whose house he died, by William de Boxebrigge and Ralph le Paumere; and Sarra, his wife, by John de Wilesdene, barber, and Roger de Bury, paternostrer. (fn. 8) And the two nearest neighbours were attached; namely, William de Kaustone by Roger le Cheyne and Richard le Bryd, paternostrer; (fn. 8) Robert de Bury, by Gilbert le Armorer and John Gretheued, paternostrer. (fn. 8) And the aforesaid Richard le Lacir, the companion of the said Godfrey on his journey, was attached by Henry de Bury, glover, and Richard le Eschot, cutler.