14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

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14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby admin » 11 Dec 2014 12:45

This is one of the weirdest examples I've ever seen, where a woman called Margaret accused a whole large group of collectively killing her husband with an array of different weapons.

Coram Rege. Mich., 8 E. II.

Staffordshire.
Margaret, formerly wife of Robert de Esnyngton, appeared against John son of Roger de Swynnerton, and Nicholas his brother, Hugh, Parson of the Church of Byshebury, John de Levyngton, Robert Personesune of Byshebury of Esyngton, John Charles, Richard de Chelle, Ithel Poker, Thomas de Stretton of Esnyngton, Robert Knyght of Stretton, Agnes wife of Ralph de Byshebury, Thomas son of Richard Pecok, Petronilla sister of Thomas, and Alice daughter of Margery le Dene of Esnyngton and four others named, for the death of Robert her husband, and the Sheriff returned that none of them could be found and held nothing within his bailiwick. He was therefore ordered to put them into the exigend, and if they appeared, to arrest them and produce them Coram Rege at a month from Easter. m. 7.

Staff. In the appeal of Margaret formerly wife of Robert de Esnyngton, against John son of Roger de Swynnerton, and the seventeen others previously named, for the death of Robert her husband, the Sheriff returned that he had put them into the exigend according to the term of the writ, in full co. of Stafford, on the Thursday before the Feast of St. Clement the Pope, 8 E. II., and so on from County Court to County Court up to the fourth County Court, at which Court all the defendants appeared except Thomas de Dunnesby, and surrendered themselves prisoners. Thomas is therefore to be outlawed, and the said John son of Roger de Swynnerton and the others now appeared, brought up by the Sheriff, and Margaret the appellatrix also appeared and stated that Robert de Esnyngton formerly her husband, was in pace dei et in pace domini Regis in the vill of Esnyngton in co. Stafford on the Wednesday after the Feast of the Apostles St. Peter and Paul, 7 E. II., at the third hour on a piece of land contiguous to a garden called Berard Orchard, when the said John son of Roger de Swynnerton came up as a felon feloniously holding in his left hand a bow of Spanish yew, two ells in length, and of the thickness of four men's thumbs, and with a barbed arrow called a clotharewe which he held in his right hand, and with the said bow and arrow he shot Robert her husband through the heart, and of which wound he died within her arms, (fn. 1) etc., and the said Margaret had raised immediately the hue and cry and followed the said John from vill to vill up to four vills, and if the said John should deny the said felony, she was prepared to prove the said felony and homicide against him as a woman ("ut femina") and as the Court should think fit, etc.

And the same Margaret appealed Nicholas the brother of the said John of the death of Robert her husband, and stated that at the day, and place, and hour above named, the said Nicholas was present holding in his left hand a bow of Irish yew, and in his right hand a barbed arrow called a Doggearewe, and with the said bow and arrow he shot Robert her husband under the left breast, and of which he died immediately within her arms, and if the said Robert was not killed by the wound inflicted by the said John son of Roger de Swynnerton, he died of the wound inflicted by the said Nicholas, and the said Margaret immediately raised the hue and cry, etc. (as before).

The same Margaret appealed John de Levyngton of the death of Robert her husband and stated that at the hour and place named, the said John came up as a felon feloniously, holding in his right hand a sword of Cologne, six feet (sic) in length, and of four inches in width at the hilt, and struck the said Robert her husband, half-way between the left foot and thigh, and cut off the foot of the said Robert, and she said that if he did not die of the wounds made by the said John de Swynnerton and Nicholas, then he died of the wound inflicted by the said John de Levyngton, and the said Margaret raised the hue and cry, etc. (as before).

And the same Margaret appealed Roger Personesone of Byshebury, of the death of Robert her husband, and stated that on the day and place named, he came feloniously, and with a bow called Turkeys of Spanish yew, one and a half ell in length, and with a barbed arrow called a Wolfare we made of ash and three-quarters of an ell in length, shot the said Robert her husband, wounding him under the right breast, and of which wound he died within her arms, and so that if he was not killed by the wounds made by the said John son of Roger, Nicholas, or John de Levyngton, he was killed by the wound inflicted by the said Roger Personesone, etc.

The same Margaret appealed John Charles of the death of Robert her husband, and stated that at the time and place named, he came feloniously with a bow made of elm, and with a barbed arrow called a Scotische arewe, which was made of a wood called in Romanis Boul, an ell in length, and feathered with the red feathers of a peacock, and shot the said Robert her husband in the back, and if he was not killed by the wounds inflicted by the others above named, then he died of the wound inflicted by the said John Charles, etc.

The same Margaret appealed Richard de Chelle of the death of her husband, and stated that at the hour and place named, he came feloniously with a bow made of Irish yew, and with a barbed arrow called a Scotische arewe, shot the said Robert her husband in the stomach below the navel, so that he died immediately within her arms, and if he did not die of the wounds inflicted, etc. (as before).

The same Margaret appealed Ithel Poker of the death of Robert her husband, and stated he had shot him with a bow and arrow under the right breast, etc.

She also appealed Thomas de Stretton of Esnyngton, of the death of her husband, and stated he had struck him on the head feloniously with a staff called a Kentisshstaf made of ash, two ells in length, and which he held in both hands, etc.

The same Margaret appealed Hugh the Parson of the Church of Byshebury, as an accessory to the death of Robert her husband, and she stated that he had feloniously held him with both his hands by the right shoulder whilst Thomas de Dunesby, who had been outlawed for the death of her husband, struck him with an Irish dagger (de uno cultello de Hiberniâ) in the breast to the heart, and if the said Robert her husband was not killed by the wounds inflicted by the said John son of Roger de Swynnerton and the others above named, he died of the wound made by the said Thomas de Dunesby with the help of the said Hugh, etc.

The same Margaret appealed Robert Stywardman as an accessory to the death of her husband, and stated that he had held him by the left shoulder whilst Thomas de Dunesby struck him with a dagger, etc.

The same Margaret appealed John Fox as an accessory to the death of her husband, and stated he held his right arm whilst Thomas de Dunesby struck him with a dagger, etc.

The same Margaret appealed Robert Knyght of Stretton as an accessory to the death of her husband, and stated he held him by the left arm whilst the said Thomas de Dunesby struck him with a dagger, etc.

The same Margaret appealed Thomas Bynde as an accessory to the death of her husband, and stated he held him by the throat with both hands whilst the said Thomas de Dunesby struck him with a dagger, etc.

The same Margaret appealed Thomas son of Richard Pecok as an accessory to the death of her husband, and stated he had struck him with a staff of elm, etc.

The same Margaret appealed Agnes wife of Ralph de Byshebury as an accessory to the death of her husband, and stated she had sent the said Thomas de Dunesby to kill him, and had afterwards received the said Thomas knowingly in her house at Bysshebury, etc.

The same Margaret appealed Petronilla sister of Thomas son of Richard Pecok as an accessory to the death of her husband, and stated she had sent the said Thomas de Dunesby to kill him, etc.

The same Margaret appealed, Alice daughter of Margery Le Dene of Esnyngton as an accessory to the death of her husband, and stated she was present and had sent the said Thomas de Dunnesby to kill him, etc.

And the said John son of Roger de Swynnerton and Nicholas his brother John de Levyngton and all the others except Thomas de Dunesby who had been outlawed, appeared and denied the felony, etc., and the said John son of Roger de Swynnerton, Nicholas his brother, John de Levyngton, John Charles, Richard de Chelle, and Hugh, Parson of the Church of Bysshebury, stated they were Clerks, and could not answer without their Ordinary, and upon this appeared Brother William Chalk, a monk of the Church of Westminster and claimed them as Clerks in the name of the Prior and Convent, by a letter signed with his seal and dated 10 April, 1315. (Here follows the letter claiming them as Clerks in the name of the liberty of the Church, and appointing the said William Chalk and John de Butterle, the attorneys of the Prior to receive them.) And as the Court was not satisfied that the said letters were sufficient, the said monk was ordered to appear again at the Quindene of Trinity, and as regarded the other defendants, each of them being arraigned singly, put themselves on the country; a jury is therefore to be summoned for the same date, and in the meantime all the defendants, Clerks as well as laics, were committed to the custody of the Marshall. A postscript adds that the process was continued from term to term at the suit of the said Margaret until three weeks from Easter in 9 E. II., on which day John, son of Roger de Swynnerton, Nicholas his brother, Hugh, Parson of the Church of Bysshebury, John de Levyngton, John Charles and Richard de Chelle who had pleaded they were Clerks, and likewise Roger Personessune of Bysshebury of Esnyngton, Robert Stywardsman, John Fox, Thomas de Stretton of Esnyngton, Robert Knyght of Stretton, Agnes wife of Ralph de Bisshebury, Thomas son of Richard Pecok, and Petronilla sister of Thomas were brought before the King by the Marshall William de Graham, and the said Ithel Poker, Thomas Bynde and Alice daughter of Margery le Dene of Esnyngton, did not appear as shewn on the said Roll of Easter, 9 E. II., and the said Margaret, being solemnly called on the first, second, third, and fourth day did not appear and she was the appellatrix. Therefore the said John son of Roger de Swynnerton and all the other defendants, so far as the suit of the said Margaret was concerned, were quit for ever, and the said Margaret is to be apprehended, and the said John son of Roger de Swynnerton and the other defendants both Clerks and laics being arraigned at the suit of the King, the said John son of Roger de Swynnerton, Nicholas his brother, Hugh Parson of Bisshebury, Johnde Levynton, John Charles and Richard de Chelle, stated they were Clerks, and John de Bittele a monk of the Abbey of Westminster and Archdeacon, appeared and claimed them as Clerks, and the said Roger Personessune and the other laics, being arraigned at the suit of the King, stated as before that they were not guilty of the death of the said Robert, and put themselves on the country. And upon this the King by word of mouth (oretenus) commanded that Henry Spigurnel, associated with a Knight of co. Stafford, should try the case in the vill of Stafford, and the Marshall was ordered to produce all the defendants both Clerks and laics before the said H. Spigurnel at Stafford on the morrow of Holy Trinity. And afterwards at Stafford on the Monday, the morrow of Holy Trinity, the said John son of Roger de Swynnerton, Nicholas his brother, Hugh Parson of the Church of Bisshebury, John de Levynton, John Charles, and Richard de Chelle, Clerks, Roger Personessune, Robert Stywardsman, John Fox, Thomas de Stretton of Esnyngton, Robert Knyght of Strettou, Agnes wife of Ralph de Bysshebury, Thomas son of Richard Pecok, and Petronilla sister of the said Thomas being brought up by the Marshall, appeared before Henry Spigurnel, with whom was associated John Hastang Knight; and the Prior of Ronton, acting for the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, produced the Bishop's Letters Patent and claimed the said Clerks, and a jury of the vicinage appeared and stated on their oath that the said John and all the others named were not guilty of the deed, nor accessory in any way to the death of the said Robert de Esnyngton, and Richard Hastang, Henry de Cresswall, Roger de Swynnerton, Robert le Mareschal, John de Houton, and William de Chauldon, were sureties to produce the prisoners coram Rege to hear judgement. Afterwards at the said Quindene of Holy Trinity, the said John son of Roger de Swynnerton and all the others, Clerks as well as laics, appeared, and as it appeared by the above verdict that the said John son of Roger de Swynnertone and the other Clerks and the said Roger Personessune and the other laics were not guilty nor accessory to the death of the said Robert, they are quit of the suit of the King for the felony in question. m. 105a, 106 and 107.


From: 'Plea Rolls for Staffordshire: 8 Edward II', in Staffordshire Historical Collections, Vol. 10, Part 1, ed. G Wrottesley (London, 1889), pp. 15-19
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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby MEversbergII » 12 Dec 2014 16:40

Many more shootings that I'd have guessed. Thanks!

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With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby Sean M » 12 Dec 2014 22:20

Thanks Matt. I think that I have seen excerpts from that cited in books on archery (because one bow is two ells long) but as often happens, seeing the whole thing feels different.

It would be good to know what medieval people understood by "Turkish bow" and what the Italians, Spaniards, etc. did with the yew bowstaves which they did not sell to the English.
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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby Jonathan Waller » 12 Dec 2014 23:37

Interesting find Matt
The Turkish bow is likely one of the steamed and recurved bows that one see in Italy or perhaps one of Steamed tipped long bows that one sees in Burgundian art,

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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby Monzambano » 12 Dec 2014 23:45

More kinds are barbed arrowheads than there are types of iPhones
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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby Sean M » 13 Dec 2014 17:17

Jonathan Waller wrote:Interesting find Matt
The Turkish bow is likely one of the steamed and recurved bows that one see in Italy or perhaps one of Steamed tipped long bows that one sees in Burgundian art,

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Could you elaborate? There are certainly people using medium-sized bows with siyahs in late medieval art, but I do not know of any evidence for how they were constructed. On the other hand, we also have some texts which show that Latins occasionally used sinew-backed and composite bows, such as the "hornbogi" in the Norwegian Speculum Regale, but linking those to art is difficult.

Researchers have been so excited by the so-called English longbow that they tend to neglect other types of bow in medieval Europe.
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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby Sean M » 20 Dec 2014 20:07

I would still be interested in any evidence that some bows in later medieval Europe were steamed into shape. "Here are references on five cultures which used this technology, and here are the websites of two bowyers who make functional bows which match medieval art" would be evidence. I have just found that its best to give supporting evidence in forum discussions and not just claim things, however expert on the topic one thinks one is.
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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby Dan Howard » 06 Feb 2015 10:56

Four different arrows:
clotharewe - "cloth-yard" arrow?
Doggearewe - "dog" arrow?
Wolfare - "wolf" arrow?
Scotische arewe - "Scottish" arrow?

Does anyone have any idea how these might have differed?
How many other types of arrows are mentoned in accounts like this?
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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby MEversbergII » 06 Feb 2015 15:57

To add to Dan's questions, I recall mention of two types of arrows used in combat: Flight arrows, which are lighter and meant for range (morale damage?) and heavier arrows meant to be shot shorter distances for actively trying to discourage someone from breathing.

Might be mixing fiction novels in with my reality, though.

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When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby Dan Howard » 06 Feb 2015 22:04

Doesn't Smythe say that a fourth of each sheaf of arrows should be flight arrows to "gall" the enemy at range?
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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby MEversbergII » 07 Feb 2015 01:42

That may be where I get the idea from. Could also have been in The Deadly Spring...

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby Dan Howard » 15 Dec 2018 23:51

Dan Howard wrote:Four different arrows:
clotharewe - "cloth-yard" arrow?
Doggearewe - "dog" arrow?
Wolfare - "wolf" arrow?
Scotische arewe - "Scottish" arrow?

Does anyone have any idea how these might have differed?
How many other types of arrows are mentoned in accounts like this?


Just stumbled upon this.
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.u ... 60ffd4c461

(Annunciation, 10 Hen V); at Notewyll, Inventory of arrows, Sir John Dynham, 25th March, 1422.

Inventory of arrows
Sir John Dynham, knight = (1)
William Michell, servant of (1) = (2)

Indenture testifying that (1) has delivered to (2) at Notewyll various items of archery (parcelle archerie) to keep, namely:

'Ferst a doseyn of pocokke arwys nywe ybounde yn tweyne placys wyth golde & sylke and wyth whyte horne nokkys yhedyth wyth sperhedys; and 1 doseyn of pocokke arwys nywe wyth whyte horne nokkys, ylayde yn thre placys wyth golde foyle yn the federys, yhedyth wyth sperhedys; and xiii arwys of pocokke, the scheftys nywe and the federys olde, yhedyth wyth sperhedys; and 1 doseyn arwys of whyte gose, ybounde wyth rede & blak sylke, yhedyth wyth byker; and 1 doseyn arwys of whyte gose, ybounde wyth golde & rede & blak sylke, yhedyth wyth byker; and xxiiii scheftys of whyte gose, ybounde wyth golde & rede sylke; and xlviii scheftys of whyte gose, ybounde wyth rede & blak sylke, alle of on sorte; and ix hole scheuys & xx arwys olde & febell of grey gose, alle of on sorte, yhedyth wyth dokebyll hedys; and vi arwys of pocokke, olde & ybounde wyth golde of seprys & rede & blak sylk, wyth blak horne nokkys, yhedyth wyth dokebyll; and 1 doseyn of pocokke arwys wyth blak horne nokkys, ybounde wyth golde & rede & blak sylke, yhedyth wyth dokebyll; and xxi pocokke arwys, the nokkys ypoudart therof, olde & forwered yhedyth wyth dokebyll; and xxii pocokke arwys olde & febell, the nokkys ypoudart, ii therof tobroke, yhedyth wyth dokebyll; and xxiiii pocokke arwys wyth blak horne nokkys, olde & forwered yhedyth wyth dokebyll; and xxii pocokke arwys olde and forwered, som wyth blak horne nokkys & som onne honne & som tobroke, yhedyth wyth dokebyll; and 1 doseyn of pocokke arwys, som the nokkys ypoudart & som onne poudart, yhedyth wyth dokebyll; and xxvi scheftys of diuerse federyng, som therof pocokke, som whyte gose, som grey gose; and vi whyte arwys yhedyth wyth byker; and v smale pocokke arwys yhedyth wyth byker; and xvii brode hokede arwys of pocokke, olde and febell, alle of on sorte; and xii brode hokede arwys of pocokke of another sorte; and xii brode hokede arwys of pocokke of another sorte; and iiii brode hokede arwys of pocokke ylayde yn the federys, alle wyth golde foyle; and x brode hokede arwys of whyte swanne; and xiii boltys of pocokke of on sorte; and viii boltys of pocokke of another sorte, v therof pere hedys and thre brode hedes; and xii nywe sperhedys.'

Looks like five different arrowheads.

1. "spearhead"
2. "byker"
3. "duckbill"
4. "broadhead"
5. "broad hooked"

"Byker" means to harass or irritate so this is likely the flight arrow that Smythe recommends to "gall the enemy at range".
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Re: 14thC legal case mentioning lots of weapons

Postby admin » 18 Dec 2018 10:53

Thanks for sharing that, really interesting!
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