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Medieval Sudden Death in Cainhoe

Volume 41 produced by Bedfordshire Historical Records Society in 1961 is devoted to 13th and 14th century coroner's rolls for Bedfordshire from the National Archives, edited and translated by R. F. Hunnisett.

Entry 180 reads as follows: "About midday on 14th August [1275], Sarah, daughter of James at Mill, aged 2½, was near the south side of the pond of the water-mill at Cainhoe, fell into a well near the pond and drowned by misadventure. Her mother Alice searched for her, found her  drowned, immediately shouted, at which the neighbours came, and found pledges, Nicholas le Hunte and John the Reeve of Cainhoe".

This mill may or may not have been at or near the site of the watermill which still stands on the High Street in Clophill. Circumstantial evidence perhaps suggests that Clophill was then the name of the settlement on the top and sides of the ridge around the old church. If so, perhaps the land at the bottom of the hill was called Cainhoe. No mill is recorded in Clophill in the Domesday Book of 1086 whereas there is one recorded at Cainhoe. Cainhoe has a greater population in 1086 than Clophill. It is also interesting to note that Cainhoe has more entries than Clophill in the coroner's rolls, suggesting it was still more populous than Clophill in the 13th century.