Samuel Newman: alehouse keeper

In 1657 William Worcester, the constable, brought Samuel Newman, alehouse keeper, before the magistrates for allowing Richard Wills and Samuel Brabson to continue drinking late into the night at his alehouse. He wasn’t the first Newman in the village to keep an alehouse and turn an occasional blind eye to the law. Over 70 years […]

William Worcester: parish constable

There was no police force in the 17th century. In those days a constable was the senior local government officer at parish level – roughly equivalent to today’s Parish Council Chairman – but law and order was part of his remit and he was responsible for organising the ‘hue and cry’, a posse of able […]

John Warde: an unspeakable grief

On the day of the fire, John Warde and his wife Elizabeth had buried their daughter Clement. And the following day they buried their son James. It’s just possible that the children were casualties of the fire, but it seems unlikely that funerals would have been arranged quite so quickly in the aftermath of the […]

Samuel Newman: butcher and brawler?

The year before the fire Samuel and his wife Mary had a son, Sam junior. The register of baptisms recorded the proud father as a¬†butcher. A 17th-century butcher wasn’t only a man selling sausages from a shop. He was a man with a good eye for livestock and access to good grazing. He would have […]

The great fire of West Haddon, 1657.

¬†There were no local newspapers to report on a village disaster 360 years ago. The only reason we know about the fire in West Haddon is because the report of the Court of Quarter Sessions at Northampton Castle in the autumn of 1657 has survived the centuries. …upon the first day of August last there […]