14 June 2011

Tudor accidents

According to the BBC Oxford University historian, Dr Steven Gunn, has been scouring 16th Century coroners' reports as part of research on accidental deaths in Tudor England.

In these modern times some of the ways of departing this life may seem rather strange. Then again they are perhaps no stranger than the ways we find to do ourselves in this day and age.

A widow called Agnes Rapte was killed by Lord Bergavenny's bear when it broke loose at his house at Birling, Kent in 1563. Another victim, Agnes Owen from Herefordshire, was killed in her bed by a runaway bear. When a bear bit a man to death in Oxford in 1565, the bear wasn't punished but was taken into royal custody.

There were also some bad judgement calls. Thomas Curteys of Bildeston, Suffolk, was practising archery on a fine June evening in 1556, when he took off his hat and invited another bowman called Richard Lyrence to try to hit it with an arrow… Meanwhile In 1552, Henry Pert, gentleman, in Welbeck, Nottinghamshire, drew his bow to its full extent with the aim of shooting straight up into the air. The arrow lodged in the bow, and while he was leaning over to look, the arrow was released.

Over in Houghton, Hampshire John Hypper was 'playinge Christenmas games' on Boxing Day 1563 at about 6pm with divers other parishioners of Houghton, Hampshire in the house of Thomas Purdew of Houghton, husbandman. While playing he involuntarily crushed himself and injured his testicles so that by reason of his old bodily infirmity he became ill and languished until about 3am on 28 December when he died."

Thomas Alsopp of Coventry was standing in the former cemetery of the Coventry Greyfriars under a stone wall on 26 April 1558 when a maypole fell over. It hit the city wall and knocked a stone out of the top of it, which hit him on the left part of his head and penetrated his brain, killing him instantly.

Oh and people fell into cesspits and choked on their own shit.

Plus ca change


Francis Hunt said...

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose! Hundreds of thousands have been seriously injured by Wall Street Bears in the past few years.

Oh, and if not so many people drown in shit these days, I often have the feeling that I'm being suffocated by bullshit ... :-)

Claude said...

Then the King's lovers were always in extreme danger of losing their heads.

Today's girls lose theirs for Justin Bieber, or other clowns.

Not as bloody but as foolishly sick. Rien de nouveau sous le soleil.

Anonymous said...

At last, good justification for my annual refusal to engage in "Christenmas games". Next time I am invited I shall be able to cry: "Are you mad? Do you think I would be so careless with my testicles?". Thanks.

jams o donnell said...

I know how you feel Francis, I'm a mushroom too!

Gah Justine Beiber. Isn't he 10 or something?

Glad to give you good reason to protect your testicles Andrew

Anonymous said...

Poor Thomas Purdew

jams o donnell said...

That was terrible Nursie!

Liz said...

Makes you wonder how any of our ancestors survived to produce us.

jams o donnell said...

We certainly do our best to make ourselves extinct Liz!