Manor Court Case 1

Case 1: Killing Hugh de Audley's Animals

Aymer Walter is accused of killing one of Hugh de Audley's stags. He is also accused of carrying a bow and arrow in the forest. If Aymer Walter is found guilty of killing the stag he will have his thumb and first two fingers on the right hand amputated. If he is found guilty of carrying his bow in the woods he will be fined two pence. Witnesses are called in the following order: John Nash, Gilbert Payne; Henry Rolfe, Thomas Brooker, Aymer Walter, Joanna Cheeseman and Margaret Mannering.

Case 1: John Nash

Every Monday evening at about 7 o'clock, all men aged between the ages of seven and fifty take part in longbow training at Yalding Lees. John Nash, the village reeve, is in charge of this. While at Yalding Lees on Monday 15th September, he saw a movement in the forest. At first he thought it was a deer but eventually he identified Aymer Walter coming out of the forest. John Nash told Walter that he should not have been in the forest with his longbow. When Nash looked at Walter's arrows he discovered that one of them was smeared with blood.

Case 1: Gilbert Payne

On Wednesday 17th September Gilbert Payne was in the forest near Yalding Lees helping the pigs find acorns. While he was there he found a dead stag. An attempt had been made to hide the stag under some leaves and twigs. The animal had an arrow wound and had been killed within the last couple of days. One of the legs had been removed. Part of the leg was found close-by. The shoulder of the stag was missing. Gilbert Payne went to see John Giffard and told him what he had found.

Case 1: Henry Rolfe

Henry saw Aymer Walter walking along with his longbow in his hand a couple of hours before archery training was due to start. When Rolfe asked him about this, Walter claimed he wanted to try out the new longbow he had made. Walter said he hoped this would improve his accuracy. Rolfe said he needed a new pair of eyes for that.

Case 1: Thomas Brooker

Thomas Brooker is in the same tithing group as Aymer Walter. Brooker, like all the other men in the village make jokes about Aymer Walter's inability to hit the target during archery training on Monday night. Aymer gets very annoyed at these jokes and has on several occasions been involved in fights over this issue. In all the years they have been friends, Brooker has never known Walter to go poaching. On the evening of 15th September, at about 6 o'clock, he saw Aymer Walter in the forest. He was some distance away but Thomas thought he saw Aymer Walter carrying something in his arms.

Case 1: Aymer Walter

Every Monday evening, all men aged between the ages of seven and fifty must take part in longbow training. Aymer Walter is the worst archer in the village. The men kept on making jokes about it so he decided to take some extra practise. On 15th September, 1340, Walter decided to walk out of the village to a place where no one else would see him. On the way he met his friend, Henry Rolfe. After a short conversation with Henry he walked to the forest behind Joanna Cheeseman's house. While he was there he saw a squirrel climbing a tree. Much to his surprise, Walter was able to kill it. Walter called in to see Joanna Cheeseman at about 6 o'clock. Joanna cooked the squirrel. When they finished eating the meal Walter realised he was in danger of being late for archery training. Walter did not want people to see him leaving Joanna's house so he slipped into the forest behind her house.

Walter does not want to tell the court about the meal with Joanna as his wife is very jealous of her. To help Walter, Joanna intends to say that she saw him firing arrows at the squirrels in the trees behind her house.

Case 1: Joanna Cheeseman

On the evening of 15th September, 1340, Joanna Cheeseman was visited by Aymer Walter at about 6 o'clock. He brought her a squirrel he had killed in the forest. She cooked the squirrel and the two of them had a meal together. As Aymer's wife is jealous of Joanna's friendship with her husband, she does not want to tell the court of this meeting. However, Aymer is in danger of being found guilty of killing one of Hugh de Audley's stags. Therefore she intends to say that she saw him firing arrows at the squirrels in the trees.

Case 1: Margaret Mannering

Margaret was working on her croft all evening on Monday, 15th September. At about 6 o'clock Margaret saw Aymer Walter enter Joanna Cheeseman's house. He was carrying his longbow. He also appeared to be carrying something else in his arms. He stayed some time and when he left he went into the forest between Joanna Cheeseman's house and Yalding Lees.