The Cup of Easter Ale (1531)

The Shepherd’s Testimony

And Death said:

Henry and his wife Kateren
had between them
for eight years
prior to his death
great malice, grudge,
dissension, discord.

It is said Kateren
many and sundry times
procured and imagined
the death of her husband
Henry Wombwell

Three years estranged
before he died

The Shepherds Testimony

Between January and March 1531
whilst Henry visited London
I, Thomas Shepherd
a tenant of Henry’s
was discharged by Kateren,
from his ground.

Upon Henry’s return
from London
ground was returned.
But Kateren drove
my beasts
away from my ground again.

I visited Henry
who was staying
at Mexborough
and requested
my closes be returned,
and asked why
Henry did not return

Henry staying at Mexborough
almost two years
said to me
he feared poisoning
commanded me
to gather his rent.

Kateren came to my close
and because I was still
there killed one
of my sheep.

Easter Day,
Darfield Church Mass over
Henry and Katerin rode
home passing
my Close
my wife
Bade good morrow
Henry bade same
Katerin none.

Easter day afternoon
at one Bradley’s home
I over heard Richard Lumby,
servant to one John More

Say ‘Kateren said
Ay, Roger
I love not him
I shall have my will
both of thy master
and Shepherd.’

Henry dead
Katerin sent word
that I leave.


The Saying of Elizabeth Green

I, Elisabeth Green,
to mistress Kateren,
master Henry’s wife
dwelled with master Henry
quarter of a year
before his death

I was at Mexburgh
with my mistress Kateren
when one Husteler
came to me and said
Henry would have me
come to him.

I told mistress Kateren
of it, who bade
me go to him,
and so I did.

When I got there
I told my master Henry
that for his worship
he needed to come
home at Easter,
and so he did.

At that time
I said no more to him,
but told him how
Shepherd had treated
Kateren evilly,
and therewith
Henry was angry at him.

Sir William Gascoignes servant
has laid rotten
bread in the house
at Shrovetide before.
Master Henry’s complained
himself sick at Mass
or at Easter day,
I cannot remember which
and I sat at table end
with him
and mistress at supper
of Easter day last past
and he desired me

to fetch him
a drink,
and so I did;
Ralph Metcalf
was not there,
at the time.

My master had no more
drink at supper
and one of Henry’s
children and Ralph Metcalf
drank of the same cup
and I knew not
Master was sick
before Monday,
but neighbours said
he was sick in the town
at afternoon,
I never asked him
for forgiveness and
he offered to kiss me
diverse times
when he lay sick,
and I sat on his bed
and I asked how he was
and he said well
and Thomas Upton
said he will do well
if I lay down,
at his back,

I was not content.

The Testimony of Thomas Kitson

Thomas Kitson of Mexburgh,
aged about 50 says
Henry boarded at his house
for about two year

to her master,
I did see Elisabeth there
one time, but we
never spoke
and never knew
my master never
loved her nor
favoured her.

The Testimony of William Morewood

William Morewood of Wombwell, age indecipherable.

I went to Wollow Hall
(Wombwell Hall),
Wednesday, Easter week
in afternoon.

Asked Mistress Wombwell
‘How is Master Wombwell?’
‘He is sore sick.’
‘What’s he ail?

‘He’s eaten Calf’s Head
as poisoned him.
I went into Henry’s chamber
where he lay.

Asked him ‘How are you?’
‘I’m done, done, done.’
Night after he was dead
of surfit, of what it were
 I don’t know.

The Deposition of Christofer Husteler

Christofer Husteler, aged 60,
household servant
to Henry Wombwell said:

At London
When my master Henry
dispatched his designs,
Sir Richard Tempest
advised him to go home

I durst not
said my master
I am feared
to be poisoned
By whom?
Amongst them.

Sir Richard said
Go to your friends
come not among them
or else come me,
and I shall give
you board.

That’s all I know
as when my master died
I was with my wife
at Bylburgh of the hill,
beside Tadcaster.

I never sent no message
to Elisabeth
to come
to her master,
I did see Elisabeth there
one time,
but we
never spoke
and never knew
my master
loved her
favoured her.

The Testimony of Thomas Upton

Thomas Upton, aged about 32 servant to Henry Wombwell

Master was in good health
on Easter Day.
he went
to Darfeld to evensong,
many folk went
with him,

according to custom
When evensong
were done,
and others went
on to Gorrells house

for a pennyworth of ale,
and mistress Wombwell,
Ralph Metcalf, Elisabeth
rode home soon
as evensong were done.

Afterwards Master,
and Edward Lee
to Wombwell.
I set up me horse,

came into parlour,
and mistress
were sat at table.
one at one side, one other
They had two cups of ale

they were accustomed to have.
I ate meat with other servants
sat at another table
in the parlour

And when Master took
the cup and drank
Mistress went out
the parlour door.

And then my master rose
leaned in a window
afterwards went
into the hall

I followed him asked him
‘How are you?’
‘Elisabeth gave me
a cup of ale

I am poisoned.

My master began to be sick
(Thomas Upton holds his head)
Ralph Metcalf came out
parlour to speak to master


My master said to him
Ralph, I pray thee
give me drink,
for Elisabeth Green

has given me drink
and I will no more
At her hands.

Ralph said Mercy, Sir,
I gave you no drink.

Mistress Kateren came in
again to the hall and said
I have been sick too.
It’s calf’s head

we had at Nicholas Gorrells.
My master went to bed,
and I went with him,
and master said to me

I am poisoned
and I said to him
Sir, if ought come to you,
I shall tell it.

Master said to me
Pray tell it to Sir Richard
Tempest for he
has helped me.

On Monday my master
got up from his bed,
but as soon as
he was sick again,

went to bed again
and never rested
until he was dead.

Women who wound
My master asked me
to fetch a green sod,
cut it into three

one laid at his heart,
and others under
either arm and they
wound him in two sheets

and buried him by
Ten of the clock
on Twysday
he died






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