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Medieval Manslaughter in Colmworth

Volume XLI of Bedfordshire Historical Records Society series comprises translation by R.F.Hunnisett of medieval coroner's rolls for the county. A curious case of manslaughter took place in Colmworth in 1274, entry 173 reads: "On 6th November Hugh Bel, servant of Richard le Chanu of Colmworth, came from Richard's plough and met John dil Brok in "Grenecroft" in Colmworth, where a quarrel arose between them and John drew his bow and shot Hugh in the left thigh with a barbed arrow so that he immediately died. Hugh's mother Mabel Veskunte first found him dead…" At the eyre, a court held by itinerant justices who followed a circuit, it was presented that John had immediately fled and he was outlawed.

Then, nearly a year later on 2nd September 1275 Richard le Chanu appeared in court and accused Wymund le Chanu of killing Hugh Bel on 13th November 1274 "shooting him with a barbed arrow of peacock feathers of which the shaft was beech wood" and noting that the wound inflicted in the brawn, or muscle, was 3 inches deep, I inch wide and 3 thumbs long. At the following eyre Richard did not appear and Wymund was acquitted by the jury