STAC 5/C3/11 - B A - 1 Eliz - Hampshire - Jane Cotton v Edward Bayshe, Richard Peters, William Peters, Edward Gayner, David Loyd see STAC Cotton
Transcribed by Helen Good
To the Queens most excellent Majesty
Most humbly showeth and informeth your excellent majesty your obedient subject Dame Jane Cotton widow. That where one Richard Bocher late of the forest of Eastbere in the county of Southhampton [Hampshire] yeoman . . . Edward Bayshe gentleman, upon malice which he of long time in his heart against one Richard Bosyer late servant to your said subject and keeper of her park at Bedhampton in the said county of Southhampton had borne the . . [20th or 30th] day of December in the first year of your most gracious reign, at your majesty’s said forest of Eastbere in your said county of Southhampton in a certain place there called London high way together with Thomas Bocher, Robert Bocher, Richard Morley and Stephen Paye also servants and keepers of the said forest under the said Edward Bayshe, upon the said Richard Bosyer then and there being in god’s peace and your majesty’s made an assault. And the said Richard Bosyer then and there did beat wound and evil entreat, And the said Richard Bocher with a crosbow arrow called a forker which he in his crossbow then had nocked and in his hands then and there did hold of his malice before against the said Richard Bosyer prepensed and thought, at the said Rychard Bosyer then and there did shote. And the said Bosyer with the said arrow upon the right leg then and there did strike and give unto him a mortal wound, of which said mortal wound he the said Richard Bosyer then and there by the space of one half hour greviously languished, and then and there of the said wound perished and died, the said Thomas Bocher, Robert Bocher, Richard Morley and Stephen Pay then and there being present as felons aiding helping and assisting the said Richard Bocher to do and commit the felony and murder aforesaid in manner and form above declared.
And after the said felony and murder by them so done and committed as is aforesaid, they the said Richard Bocher, Thomas Bocher, Robert Bocher and Stephen Paye fled. Whereupon the said Dame Jane Cotton minding and purposing to apprehend the said murderers, caused fresh pursuit as well by his own servants as by divers other honest persons in these parts dwellings after them to be had and made until such time as the said Richard Bucher, Robert Bucher and Richard Morley thereby were apprehended and taken, and thereupon brought before John Whyte esquire one of your grace’s Justices of your Peace within the said countie of Southhampton, and by him examined upon the murdering of the said Richard Bosyer and confessing to the same, by the said Justice were sent and comitted unto your castle of Winchester there to abide their trial concerning the said murder according to your highnes laws, and they the said Richard Bucher, Thomas Bucher and Richard Morley were afterwards before your Justices of Peace in your said county of Southhampton by several indictments lawfully indicted of murder for killing of the said Richard Bosyer.
So it is (most gracious sovereign lady) that the said Edward Bayshe of the manner of the committing of the said heinous and willful murders and of the indictments aforesaid not being ignorant but certainly and evidently knowing and understanding the same to be done and committed in manner and form aforesaid, and perceiving your said subject and divers others of your faithful subjects according to their bounden duty to god and your majesty did go about to see your laws duely executed upon the said felons and murderers for the same their felony and murder, and minding to conceal cover and hide the same heinous and wilfull murder by his said servants as is aforesaid done and committed did not only prosecute and sue out of your honourable court of Star Chamber divers and sundry writs of Subpoena against the said Lady Cotton and divers other which travelled about the apprehension of the said felons and murderers to their great cost trouble and vexation.
But also since their said apprehension and imprisonment, and since they were indicted as aforesaid, hath unlawfully comforted aided and releived them divers and sundry ways both secretly and apparently as well by suing of process to remove them before your highness into your bench at Westminster and other ways to defer and delay their trial . . in those parties where the said heinous offence and murder are most notoriously known, as also by relieving of them with money, meat, drink and other necessaries, and in procuring and obtaining for them ease and liberty to go at their pleasures within the said prison, By reason whereof the said Richard Bocher and Rycharde Morley about the 20th day of September last past out of your said gaol of your said castle of Winchester feloniously have escaped. And the said Edward Bayshe not being with all these misdemeanours satisfied ne contented, of his further perverse and froward mind as well by himself by Edward Gayner, William Peters, Richard Peters and one Lloid who have been means and helpers for the secret conveying out of the said county of Southamptonshire the said persons which have escaped as is afore shewed do report and say, that he the said Edward Bayshe will procure further proces suits and troubles against the said Dame Jane Cotton and divers others which have and can testify as well of the cruel committing of the said murder, as also of sundry other misdemeanours by the said felons in those parts committed. By reason whereof the said witnesses stand in doubt and have refused to declare their knowledge in the premises.
And thus (most gracious Lady) the said Edward Baishe not regarding the due execution of your majesty’s laws nor the punishment of such as have offended therein of his pervers and evil mind and disposition as well by braggs threats and menaces, as by other unlawful ways and means used unto your subjects seeketh to cover and hide the offences and murders of his said servants by them most cruelly maliciously and unlawfully done and committed as is aforesaid to the overthrow of divers and sundry good laws of your highness realm and the commen vtylytie of the same, and to the perilous and evil example of others your loving and obedient subjects, and to the great encouragement of other evil disposed persons to attempt and do the like if condign punishment herein be not speedily provided. In consideration whereof may it please your majesty to grant your majesty’s gracious writ of Subpoena to be directed unto the said Edwarde Bayshe, Rycharde Peters, William Peters, Edward Gaynor and Davyd Lloid commanding them and every of them by virtue thereof personally to appeare before your majesty’s most honourable council in the Starred Chamber at Westminster, There to make answer to all the premises and to receive such punishment for their said midemeanours as to your majesty’s said council shall be thought consecute to equity. And your said subject shall daily pray to god for your majesty with most riotous and prosperous reign.