Murder with a twist

An interesting twist and a frustrating lack of conclusion in this case: In 1505 an inquest was held over the body of Edward ap Evan ap Tidder – called “of London, yeoman,” but presumably originally from Wales.

The inquest jurors reported that in the parish of St Bride, Fleet Street, between 10 and 11 at night, Edward had been assaulted by George Heyborn alias Herberd, who struck him with a “Buklersword” on the left side of his chest, giving him a wound that immediately killed him. Heyborn, carrying his sword, fled from the scene of the crime to the church of St Bride. This all sounds like a garden-variety London homicide: the twist is that Heyborn was a chaplain rather than a standard thug (he was evidently a clerical thug).

Most clergy, like most laypeople, weren’t criminals – but some were, and in Heyborn’s case evidently going around at night armed with a sword. And though not hugely plentiful amongst sanctuary seekers as a whole, there are a fair few priests and monks in these here posts.

The frustrating part of his story is that I can’t find anything further about Heyborn’s case: it doesn’t show up in the King’s Bench administrative (controlment) rolls where it should be. So I don’t know what happened to him. If he came to trial he could have claimed benefit of clergy (which would have seen him incarcerated in an ecclesiastical prison), but it’s also possible that he disappeared and was outlawed.

TNA, KB 9/1062, mm. 17-18. Top image: Source

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