A jerkin, a joke and a death

I’ve just been reading this extract from the Assize  Court records:

William Lamparde of Hadlow, indicted for felonious killing.  By an inquisition held at Strood, 3rd September 1598, before Martin Cotes, coroner, on the body of Neville Godden, gent., a jury found that on 1 September Lamparde, Godden and several others were drinking and jesting together in The White Hart at Rochester.

Godden, without malice, made a joke about the jerkin which Lamparde was wearing.  Nothing further was said in pubic, but shortly afterwards they exchanged words privately in the porch and in the stable.  About an hour later Lamparde mounted his horse and rode to The King’s Head in Rochester, while Godden shortly afterwards rode off to The Angel in Strood.


A little later Lamparde rode to Strood and entered a lane leading towards Cuxton, and Godden followed close behind until they reached the gate of Home field.  There they dismounted and, after tethering their horses, entered the field where they fought with rapiers.  In the course of the duel Lamparde ran Godden through the body, inflicting a wound from which he died half an hour later.  Lamparde returned to The White Hart where he was arrested.

Tried at the next assizes and found not guilty: he killed in self-defence.

There are so many unanswered questions in this account … I’d love to know what was said in the porch of the White Hart, and what they were fighting about, but the only answers are going to be fictional ones!


Extract from Calendar of Assize Records: Kent Indictments, Elizabeth I, ed. J.S. Cockburn (London, 1979)

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