Angry Welsh People

This is another piece from Richard Gough’s The History of Myddle. The man, Clarke, had been a Quaker, and that name is still associated with them, with the town of Street in Somerset being home to their shoe museum. But this man just seems to have lost the plot. He must have known he could not say such things, but it is interesting to see the process of punishment from the time.

A limner [painter] was imployed to beautyfy the Parish church at Ellesmere. This Clarke went to see his work, and said, ‘You doe well to leave the Chruch in good repaire for us; for you had it from us in good order.’The limner (knowing him to be a Papist) said, ‘What, doe you thinke the Papists must have te Church?’ ‘Yes, I doe,’ says Clarke. Then syes the limner, ‘What doe you think shall become of us Protestants?’ Then Clarke answered, ‘Ihope to see all the Protestants fry in theire owne grease beefore Michaelmas next.’ The limner proved those woerds before Mr Kinaston, of Oatley, a justice of the peace: Clarke was committed to prison, and indicted to the next Assizes, for these sdeditious words; and judgement was given against him, that hee should stand on the Pillory att 3 market townes on 3 market days…

He was sett on the pillory at Shrewsbury; but the under-sherrif, (knowing how inraged the people were against him) suffered him to stand without fastening of his head through the penance-board.

The People, by pelting him with egges, turnips, carrotte, stones and dirt, used him soe hardly, that the under-sheriff tooke him downe, for fear he should bee killed outright. The people followed him to the Goale-door, and pelted him all the way. Hee lay some while sick and sore at Shrewsbury, and after hee was brought to Elesmere and there put to stand on the pillory, where hee fond the like favour from the under-sheriff, and the like hard usage, or worse, from the People; and hereupon the High Sherrif wrote a letter to the Judge, and acquainted him what hee had done, and with all told him, that he could promise to putt Clarke upon the Pillory att Owaldstre, buttt could not promise to bring him alive from amongst the inraged Welshmen; and thereupon the rest of the punishment was remitted. Clarke lay in gaol afterwards some tyme, and then came to Ellesmere, where he lived a few years, and then dyed.


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