Murder with a staff in East Smithfield

In October 1475, John Gogh, yeoman of Theydon Garnon, Essex, attacked William Chadworth the younger, esquire, at East Smithfield outside London – he hit him on the head with a staff.

Chadworth died from his wound early in the new year and, according to the indictment, Gogh then fled (on the feast of the Epiphany, 6 January 1476) to sanctuary at Westminster. He was aided by London scrivener Thomas Clyfford, and Gogh’s own employer, John Prynce, gentleman of Theydon Garnon.

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Gogh was never caught and was outlawed in 1478; Clyfford and Prynce were arraigned in fall 1476, but they were released on bail pending Gogh’s outlawry, which had to be completed before they could be tried as accessories. I haven’t found any further record, but bail usually meant judges foresaw acquittal.

Again, the records omit a great deal: did Gogh kill Chadworth on orders from his employer, Prynce (“yeoman” often meant retainer/henchman)? Or did Prynce just protect his man who had gotten himself into a scrape? What did the London scrivener have to do with this?

TNA, KB 9/343, m. 88; KB 29/106, m. 19; KB 27/861, rex m 8d, 9d

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