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THE TRIALS OF ADAM BOLEHEAD

By Geoff Ledden

 

 

In 1358, Adam was one of several people whom the Sheriff had been ordered to take to Exeter to appear before the Justices. They included clerics and at least one woman, and were accused of various crimes. Adam was accused of having caused the death of Nicholas Lampray. This transcript was made from a photograph of the original document, which had been obtained by a researcher employed by my sister and Jack Bulleid, the former family historian. Jack sent the document to be transcribed. It came back in 1982 when Jack wrote to my sister, "It represents many hours of very hard work, as I am sure you already know, particularly so since parts of the document were so badly worn that they were unreadable – if the original were available it might be possible to improve the situation by means of an ultra-violet lamp light. Odd words are missing because they either defy recognition, or else they no longer fit the text in a way we can understand."

A magnifying glass had to be used to read the script. I have omitted most of the blanks. The outcome of this fascinating matter is contained in a second document, as you will see.............

The Sheriff was ordered to take John Cokkerheade, Joan daughter of Simon of Nithercote, Roger son of Walter of Northayssch, William son of Adam Penkerigge, Adam Tregonet chaplain of Sourton, Adam Boleheude, William Webbere de Chilmelegh, John Sacrament, Robert Webbe of Okampton, John Liskerd Skynner, William Hayne Skynnere, Adam Cornysch, Eustace son of Stephen atte Werlond, John Touket of Totton, Matilda [or Maud] Possele wife of John Hody, Robert Speare of Comworthy, Henry Wace of Wodeby, Eustace atte Werlonde, Nicholas Soseford of Kyngesbrigge, John Wyper of Uggeburghe, John of Newport vicar of Northmolton, Nicholas Beket chaplain, Walter servant of John Clorva, John nephew and servant of William vicar of St Ciricius, William of Combe, John servant of William Wodeland senior, John Bour Knyght, William Burgh chaplain, Richard Boghwode of Smytham, Adam Bolehead, Geoffrey son of Nicholas Cook of Stonweye, Adam Mileward of Bradford-next-Pilton, Walter Taillour of Wall, Henry son of Adam Penkerigge, Ralph Machon of Okampton, John Willecoke who lives with John Whitele, John Strote of Cherde, John son of Roger Webbere of Kylmyngton, Roger Bekerd of Axeminster, Richard atte Wythye of Ilmynster, Nicholas Dighere of Launceton, John Potter of Shirbourn, Thomas Cayne of Okampton. He was to bring them in person to the presence of William of Shareshull and his colleagues, Justices of our Sovereign Lord the King at Exeter on Monday in the first week of Quadrigesima [1358] to answer to the King about various crimes for which they are indicted.

 

Exeter Castle in 1618

Exeter Castle in 1618 - only the ruined gatehouse remains today

This is where prisoners were brought for trial

 

Besides their appearance before the said Justices at Exeter on the said Monday ........... The Sheriff was ordered to interrogate the same list, with some omissions but no additions, [list follows, including Adam Bolehead]. He was to have their bodies before the said Justices on Monday in the first week of Quadrigesima to answer ........ indicted. And let it be known that at the sessions at Exeter on Tuesday in the feast of St Dionisus [9 October 1358] in the 32nd year of King Edward who now reigns, the said John Cockesheade and the others were first summoned to answer to the King and they did not appear, and so from this court in session to the fifth session held at Exeter on Tuesday next before the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Mary [2 February 1359] in the 33rd year of King Edward who now reigns to which court the said John Cockesheade and all the others above named were summoned for the fifth time to reply to the King and they did not put in an appearance. Therefore, by the consideration of all the court in the presence of Richard Duraunt and Richard Okebeare, Coroners of the King for the said County who delivered thence their judgement, they were outlawed; by which decision the Sheriff was ordered to make enquiries about their lands and their chattels.

So Adam was in danger of having his property confiscated. The final outcome of the case is revealed in the Calander of Patent Rolls, Edward III, 1358 – 1361, page 228, membrane 28 dated 7 June 1359 at Westminster. It transpires that Adam had given long service to the King in Gascony in the company of John de Chevereston, Seneschal of Gascony. In recognition of this service, John sought and obtained the King’s Pardon for Adam.

 

 

 
 
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