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Medieval Crime in Upper Dean

Volume XLI produced by Bedfordshire Historical Records Society in 1960 was a selection of medieval coroner’s rolls for Bedfordshire held at the National Archives and translated by  R. F. Hunnisett. Entry number 282 reads as follows, it is a salutary lesson to all burglars.

“Inquest at Dean before the same coroner [W. Mordaunt] by Dean, Melchbourne, Shelton and Yielden. On 17th March 1317 John de Long came to Maud Bolle’s house at Dean, took a ladder, climbed up the house, burgled and entered it and took a ham. As he left with it Maud saw him and raised the hue, and through fear of the hue he fell from the house with the ham and thereby died. William the Cobbler first found him, raised the hue and found pledges, Richard le Marschal and John Broun. The neighbours [were attached]: Geoffrey Edward by Geoffrey Broun and Walter Hurde; Reynold of Clifton by Simon of Witham and Robert le White; Henry the Miller by Reynold the Smith and Robert Adam. The ham was appraised at 18d. for which Dean will answer”.

Dr. Hunnisett  notes that at the following eyre the ham was said to have been hanging on a beam, that the burglary occurred at night and that John broke his neck when he fell from the ladder, which was assessede at twopence and adjudged deodand. By that time William the Cobbler and three of the neighbours had died.