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Medieval Murder in Ion

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. At the county court on 18th March 1275 an inquest was held “by Ion, Gravenhurst, Silsoe, Clophill, Cainhoe and Shillington, who said that on 22nd February Thomas Kek of Oxford came into Shefford market, cut Walter Sparuwe of Meppershall’s purse, which contained seven shillings in coin, and was immediately captured with the mainour by John of Flegg, bailiff of Shefford, and put in the pillory. When he was later taken down from the pillory, Alan le Kachepol of Shefford cut off his ear and then led him outside the liberty of Shefford. Thomas took the road towards Shillington, and on 24th February Robert le Vavasur of Ion came to “Tedwey” [Theedway] in the middle of Ion and found him dead, immediately raised the hue, which was followed by the said townships and found pledges, John le Vavasur and William Saly of Ion. The townships said that Ralph Otuy of Pulloxhill struck Thomas with a “spitspade” outside the liberty of Shefford, but that he did not die of this blow”.

“Another inquest was later taken before the sheriff and coroners in the full county court of 8th April by Walter the Clerk and Walter Hode, both of Stotfold, Robert Reynold, John de Claydich, Robert son of Chiche, Richard le Noble, John Ruffe, William le Grant, Henry Paulyn Roger of Cringleford, Roger Pessun and Ralph de la Hulle, who said that Ralph Otuy was guilty of the death because he struck Thomas with the “spitspade”. The sheriff was therefore told to arrest him”.

At the eyre it was presented that Ralph had withdrawn because of Thomas death but was not suspected. It was therefore ordered that he might return if he wished; he had no chattels. Nothing was known of his tithing but Gravenhurst was amerced because he was received there outside a tithing.