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Accidental Death in Medieval Sandy

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 107 reads: "About bed-time on 17th August [1271] John Dreu and Thomas son of Philip of Coventry took two horses and John took a haqueton [a padded jacket] and helmet and carried a lance in his hand and they went to Beeston fields to look for a cart of corn, because it was late and night-time. John returned to his house at Stratford the same night without Thomas, and about bed-time the next day he went from his house to a mill in Sandy formerly belonging to Philip of Coventry outside his court-yard to fish, extended a net and by misadventure fell into the River Ivel on the south side of the mill and drowned because he was drunk. An unknown servant had gone with him, immediately raised the hue, fled and did not return. The same night Alice wife of John Codenot searched for the said John, her husband, found him drowned, immediately raised the hue and found pledges, Robert Codenot and Richard Juel. Mary, wife of the said John, found pledges, Patun of Leicester and William Arnebur. The neighbours were attached: Robert Codenot by Walter le Plouman and Merlin of Kinwick; Gilbert de Daudewill by Merlin of Kinwick and Gilbert le Osseylur. Walter le Carver, who was in the said house the night John went out, found pledges, Osbert and Alexander of Caldecote. The net was appraised at three pence and delivered to Sandy. Inquest before the same coroner by Beeston, Sandy, Everton and Northill, who said as above and that Thomas was still alive". This is not an easy passage but it seems as if the Coroner's clerk may have mistaken Alice, wife of John Codenot for the wife of John Dreu, the man who drowned, the text suggesting that her name was Mary - perhaps Alice was a relation of Dreu's such as a sister. 

Entry 138 reads: "On 20th November [1274] Rose Crane of Sandy came from Tempsford towards Sandy on the highway and saw a man lying dead in a piece of cultivated land called "Redegigis"[?] in Sandy Field, immediately raised the hue, which was followed by Sandy, and found pledges, Gilbert le Oyselier and Robert son of the parson of Sandy [who was Henry la Suche in 1274]. Inquest before the coroner by Beeston, Blunham, Sandy and Tempsford, who said that he man was unknown and had died because he was weak and that they knew nothing more".