Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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Sussex Tragedies and Romances.            191
old pleading that " for fear lest they (the poachers) might be known by them " (the keepers), they attacked and wounded them, and gave certain mortal wounds to John Busbrydgge, in consequence of which he died on the 2nd May then next following.
For this tragical act an indictment for murder was laid against three of the party—John Mantell, John Frowds, and George Roidon, described as " gentlemen," in the ordinary course of law, and they were found guilty by a Grand Jury, which is described as meeting first at Hellingly—the place where the crime was committed—and afterwards, by adjourn­ment, at Maresfield, in the vicinity of it, before Sir Humphrey Brown, Knight, Sergeant-at-Law, and Robert Oxenbridge and Thomas Darell, keepers (Justices) of the Peace, and they were sentenced to death and executed—by hanging, we presume—at a spot called " St. Thomas Waterings," the usual place of execution within the Sheriffdom of Sussex and Surrey, situated near the 2nd milestone on what is now called the Old Kent Road, by which, in former days, pilgrims travelled to the shrine of St. Thomas-a-Beckett, at Canterbury.
Thus three of the conspirators were soon called to a bloody reckoning for their night's frolic. Nor was the head and chief of it—at whose great house it was planned, and under whose direction it was carried out—to escape. A few years before, such an act would doubtless have excited little or no attention, amidst the license and disorder of the Civil Wars, or in the times preceding them, when great men did pretty well as they pleased. But the Tudors had brought in a new state of things; and a striking example was now to be given that laws were made both for high and low—for Peer and peasant. As a Peer of the Realm, the legal procedure against Lord Dacre was different from that taken against the three commoners. On the 27th June (33 Henry VIII) a Com­mission was issued, by which the Lord Chancellor Audley was appointed Lord High Steward and Judge, and, upon his precept, a jury of Peers was summoned for the trial of Lord
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