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Murder in Medieval Sandy

The view from Beeston towards Sandy Heath March 2010
The view from Beeston towards Sandy Heath March 2010

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 101 reads: After vespers on 9th October 1270 Gilbert the Shepherd of Kinwick went from his house in the hamlet of Kinwick in the parish of Sandy to his sheepfold a furlong outside the town on the east and did not return that night. His wife Rose searched for him with her neighbours, and on the next day through the neighbourhood in towns and fields and could not find him. On 13th October Gilbert's son Hugh was watching sheep on Sandy Heath and there found his father slain, being struck through the middle of the hattrel (either the crown of the head or nape of the neck) apparently with an axe, raised the hue and ran to the town. The neighbours came and the hue was followed. Hugh found pledges, Ralph Wybet and Henry Blanfrunt, both of Kinwick".

"Inquest before the same coroner [Geoffrey Rodland] by Sutton, Potton, Everton and Sandy, who did not know who killed Gilbert or where he was killed, but they well knew that he was not killed where he was found. Rose found pledges, Ralph Wybet and Peter the Shepherd of Kinwick. The neighbours were attached: Peter the Shepherd by Hugh Rikeld and Martin Petyt; Martin Petit by Hugh Aubre and Peter the Shepherd; William Aylline by John Ayline and Robert the Clerk; Richard Muriel by Hugh Aubre and William le Marchant".

R. F. Hunnisett notes that at the eyre it was presented that Gilbert the Shepherd, who was shepherd to the Prior of Chicksands, was killed  by unknown felons. No Englishry was presented so murdrum was imposed on the hundred. The neighbours did not come but were not suspected though their pledges were amerced. The four townships were amerced for not attending the inquest.