Making Hay with Rent Arrearers

This is another excerpt from Richard Gough’s History of Myddle. Ale houses are venues for a lot of disputes in the book, often run by women:

There was one Clarke, of Preston Gubballs, who had formerly been a tenent to Sir Edward Kinaston, of a tenement in Welsh Hampton and was indebted for arearages of rent, due to Sir Edward; whereupon hee sued out a write against this Clarke, and sent a bayliffe to arrest him; and because Clarke had some lusty young men to his sons, therefore Sir Edward sent one of his servants to assist the bayliffe, if need were. Clarke was cutting peates on Haremeare Moss; Sir Edward’s man stayed in the wood in Pimhill; the bailiff went towards Clarke, and beeing beaten back by clarks’s sons, Sir Edward’s man came with his sword drawn, and swoare he would make hay with them. But one of Clarke’s sons, with a turf spade, which they call a peate iron (a very keen thing) struck Sir Edward’s man on the head, and cloave out his brains. The bayliffe fled; Clarke was rescued, and his son fled, and escaped. The coroner was sent for and by appointment of Sir Humphrey Lea, the inhabitants of Myddle paid the coroner’s fees. Clarke’s son escaped the hand of justice, but not the judgement of God, for he that spilled man’s blood, by man shall his blood be spilt, for when al things were quiet, and this thing seemed forgotten, Clark’s son came into this country agen, and lived att Welsh Hampton, where a quarrel happening between him and one Hopkin, his next neighbour, about their garden hayment, as they stood quarrelling, each man in his owne garden Hopkin cast a stone at Clark, which strooke him soe directly on the head, that is killed him.

How Hopkns ecaped the law, I have not heard; butt vengeance suffered him not long to live, for a quarrel happened between him and one Lyth, a neighbour of his, as they were in an alehouse in Ellesmeare, in the night time, which quarrel ended in words, and Hopkins went towards home; and not long after Lyth went thence. The next morning Hopkin was found dead in Oatley Parke, having been knocked on the head with the foote of a washing stock which stood at Ellesmeare meare, which foot was found not far from him. Lyth was apprehended, and committed to prison on suspicion of the murder, and lay there severall years, for it was in the heate of the warres, and noe Assizes or Gaole delivery was then held.. But when the Parliament forces had taken Shrewsbury they sett att liberty all prisoners, as well criminal as debtors.


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