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Unfortunate Ends: On Murder and Misadventure in Medieval England

Soren Lily
Status: published
Publication Date: 01.09.2022
  • Hardback
  • Ebook£6.99


Thomas, son of Henry Robekyn, died 1286 after cutting off his left foot and then his left hand in a frenzy.

Henry Debordesle, died 1343. Long sick with diseases, smote himself in the belly with a knife worth one penny.

On 11 August 1267, Henry Constentin is driving a horse-drawn cart of wheat through the field of Tweedscroft. His feet slip and he falls upon ‘a certain pole’ of his cart ‘so that it penetrates into his fundament’.

From the bizarre to the mundane, each death tells a tale from a dangerous time to be alive, and even to die. Coroners’ rolls list every inquest held for a death by misadventure – or accident – as well as grisly murders, some witnessed by others, some only coming to light when the hidden body was found.

A handful of these deaths rise to the top, their tales too ridiculous or heartbreaking to not be spun again for the modern ear. Through death, Unfortunate Ends gives us a rare, first-hand look into everyday life for the common people of medieval England.

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