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Medieval Murder in Husborne Crawley

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 97 reads: "before day-break on 10th July 1272 Ralph son of William the Clerk and Robert Yun, both of Crawley, Gervase Barun of Holcot, Richard Benin of Lidlington and Ralph of Lidlington went together to "Brandendon" in the eastern part of Crawley to guard the corn of Ralph his [sic] father. Maud of Hazeldean of Crawley. Mabel and Alice, daughters of William Seer, Margery daughter of Constance, Alice Passeforrere and her daughter Margaret were then there reaping, as if to take seisin of certain land in Margery's name. Peter of Tingrith and his servant Peter, Nicholas son of Alice, Hugh son of lady Hilary, Adam Colibof, Robert Feele and Robert son of the parson of Tingrith [whose name was Gilbert] immediately came and assaulted Ralph [son of William]. The other men who were with Ralph fled to Crawley in fear. The others wounded Ralph with a sword across his right arm between the elbow and shoulder, so that he fell, and withdrew, leaving him almost dead, to the house of Alice Passeforrere. When they heard the noise the said women all immediately fled to the same house. Robert Yun, Gervase, Richard and Ralph [of Lidlington] shouted and the neighbours came and found Ralph mortally wounded; they immediately lifted him and brought him to his father's house. He spoke, but soon afterwards, before sunset, he died of the said wound. The hue was raised and followed".

"Inquest before the same coroner [G. Rodlond] by Eversholt, Crawley, Ridgmont, Segenhoe, Birchmore and Aspley Guise, who did not know which of those who were present gave him the wound. It was therefore ordered that Peter, Peter, Nicholas, Hugh, Adam, Robert and Robert be attached by their bodies and that Alice daughter William Seer be attached. The following were attached: Robert Yun by Hugh the Clerk and John Brun of Crawley; Ralph of Lidlington by Nicholas Aylmar and Robert Yun of Husborne Crawley; Gervase Barun by William the Clerk and Philip Beynin of Crawley; Richard Beynin by Walter Beynin and Robert Yun of Segenhoe; Maud of Hazeldean by Nicholas at the Cross of Husborne Crawley and Philip Acun of Aspley Guise; Mabel Seer by Nicholas Richer and William Seer of Husborne Crawley. Later Crawley and Husborne Crawley presented in full county court that Robert Wale of Toddington gave Ralph the mortal wound".

"Denise, Ralph's widow, came to the full county court of Bedfordshire on 8th August and appealed Robert Wale of her husband's death; she had not yet formulated her appeal, but found pledges to prosecute, Robert Yun and Richard Beynin of Crawley. She came to the county courts of 5th September and 3rd and 31st October and sued. Robert was exacted three times and did not come".

Denise went to court again on 28th November and again prosecuted her appeal against Robert, called Robert Fale in a later document. The sheriff was ordered to arrest Robert. Sadly, that is all we know of the case. It looks as if this was a dispute over land between the two parties. Brandendon lay south-east of today's Crawley Lodge on Turnpike Road and now forms part of Woburn Park. A number of fields in the area bore the element "Brandom" as part of their name on a map drawn for the Duke of Bedford in 1760 [R1/42].