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Axe Murder in Campton

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 49 reads as follows: "At twilight on the evening of 9th March 1270 Warren of Polehanger, miller, and his servant Walter of Maulden came to the house [i.e. ale house] of Lucy atte Hatch of Campton in Campton. A quarrel arose between Warren and Walter and Walter accused Warren of stealing a bushel of flour. They then went from the house towards Polehanger mill and came to "le Inlond" on the fee of the Prior of Chicksands, Warren carrying a Scottish axe and Walter a gisarme [a long-bladed battle-axe]. There Warren assaulted Walter, striking him with a Welsh axe on the top of his head near the crown so that he immediately fell. Hugh, son of Reynold of Campton, aged 6, who was carrying a torch to the mill with them, imemdiately ran to the said Lucy's house and told her and Warren's wife Margery le Superere and Margery's sister Agnes how Warren struck Walter. Margery and Agnes immediately went to the said place and found Walter lying speechless. They took him to Lucy's house, but the same night, when they did not see recovery, they replaced him where he had been found. The next day his sister Parnel of Maulden came there and found Walter still alive, but he soon died. She raised the hue, which was followed, and found pledges, Geoffrey Tuprest and Richard le Colyere, both of Campton. The neighbours were attached: Peter Attehuln by Richard le Koliere and William Atwater; John of Kingston by Nicholas the Smith and William le Blund; all the pledges were of Campton. Lucy found pledges, Richard le Koliere and John le Schild. It was ordered that Margery, Agnes and Hugh be attached".

"Inquest before the same coroner [Geoffrey Rodland] by Shefford, Campton, Chicksands, Meppershall and Shillington. Asked about Warren's chattels they said that he had three sheep worth fifteen shillings and a chest and a bushel of oats worth sixpence; they were delivered to Campton".

At the eyre Warren, a fugitive, was exacted and outlawed and his chattels were forfeited. Campton was amerced for receiving him although he was not in the tithing. Englishry was not presented  so a murdrum fine was imposed on the Hundred. Shefford, Chicksands and Meppershall were amerced for not coming fully to the inquest. It was ordered that Hugh, Agnes (called Agnes la Custrere) and Margery be arrested for  moving the body. They later denied being guilty of homicide and were acquitted by the jury.