Rough Justice

This is from a wonderful book by E P Thompson, whigs and hunters:

Reverend Thomas Power seems to have married a local Wokingham woman for her money; and she was so truculent as to neglect to settle all her worldly goods upon him. A year or two before, Power had been assiduous in attempting to persuade her to make over the residue of her estate to him, which ‘she being unwilling to consent to he lately threatened to hang her out of the window by one Leg’ and if she continued to be obstinate, to cut the string ‘and so make an end of her’. Her neighbours who heard of the affair thought this exercise in persuasion excessive and 4 of them, ‘famed for chivalry’, came to the aid of ‘the distressed dame’. One of them disguised himself as a woman, and knocked at Power’s gate. When he came to inquire, the ‘woman’ seized him and shrieked for help. The others then leaped from the bushes, secured Power’s arms (a blunderbuss and 2 guns), dragged him though a pond, took him a mile into the forest and tied him to a tree. The ‘woman’ there pretended to be the spirit of his wife’s grandmother and upon her plea a mock trial was held and Power was condemned to die. He, half dead with fear, not knowing whether they were in jest or earnest desired time for his praying.’ The ‘knights errant’ then fired over his head and left him tied up in the forest, threatening worse treatment if he did not reform his behaviour to his wife.


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