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.


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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