The many deaths of John Grene, Gentleman.

King’s bench records are full of oddities and light on details. I have no idea if the very thorough killing of John Grene, in July 1457 will lead to anything useful for my thesis but it has some promise. If only I could explain why he keeps showing up with new murderers, that would be great.

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Say John, what’s in the bag?

I’m sure John Crok of Tetworth, Cambridgeshire, enjoyed his game of ‘guess what’s in the bag’, and won drinks at some public house in Southwark until a disgruntled husbandman, blabbed to the bailiffs. What no-one could manage to guess, and what became known to the bailiffs, was that John Crok was walking around the south bank of the Thames, with a head in a bag—capud cuiusdam Sarisini—a certain Saracen head, from Toledo.

In October of 1371, Crok was called before the court of King’s Bench at Westminster to explain himself (and the head).

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George Clooney will get the role of John Baker when this is adapted to film

While I dig through the tedious and often illegible cases in the coram rege rolls, looking for elites behaving badly, I am occasional rewarded with something neat. This one isn’t very relevant to my interests but it has its charm.

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