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The Unicorn Inn Hockliffe

The Unicorn is mentioned in two depositions (statements of evidence) given in a case heard at the Winter Assizes of 1680 in which Richard Knight and his "wife" Alice (or "Ellis") were accused of stealing seventeen sheep from a farmer at Swanbourne in Buckinghamshire. Knight, a labourer from Bedford, stated that he and Alice, on returning from three weeks harvesting at Rochester, Kent in August 1679 "lay at the signe of the Unicorne" at Hockliffe where they left a shirt of his and a smock of his wife's to be washed before continuing their travels [HSA1680/W/80]. Although her "husband" stated that this stay at Hockliffe was before 25th August Alice was insistent that they lay at the Unicorn on Friday 29th August, that she had never previously visited the village, and that the linen they collected had been left there by her husband in her absence [HSA1680/W/80]. Their marital status was clearly in some doubt. Richard stated they had married at Naseby in Northamptonshire; Alice said they had married at Rainstrip [Northamptonshire] and then subsequently corrected this to Naseby; however a third witness, William Nedham of Southill, stated that Alice had told him she was not Knight's wife and that she had "gone two yeares about the country a mumping (as she called it) with a pretended husband, who feigned himself dumbe" [HSA1680/W/82]. The outcome of the case is not known.

No other references to the Unicorn are known.

References:

  • HSA1680/W/80-81: Depositions from Winter Assizes, 1680