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A Fatal Fight

The Annals of Dunstable, a medieval chronicle written at Dunstable Priory, describes a fight which took place at Hockliffe in the thirteenth century with fatal consequences: "In the same year [1283] on the day of the beheading of St John the Baptist, a fight took place at Hockliffe in front of the Hospital [of St.John] where many of our household were present; as the fight was ending, and [with] nearly everyone having left, John our smith was killed there with an axe [or cleaver]. On the side of William de Muntchesney, who then had wardship of the heir of John Malherbe, Simon Mustard, a very fierce rogue, was killed."

The matter was subsequently placed before the coroner and it was found that the pair had killed each other. The chronicler records with satisfaction that "our household was saved" and none of them were prosecuted for the death of Simon Mustard.