ABOVE: Farleigh Castle, where John Cotell was murdered by his wife, Agnes
After the death of her second husband, courtier Lord Hungerford, the circumstances of the death of Lady Agnes’ first husband, John Cotell, came under scrutiny. He had been strangled and his body burned in the kitchens of Farleigh Castle on the 26th July, 1518. On the 20th February, 1523, Agnes and an accomplice were found guilty of murder and hanged at Tyburn. It is unclear if there were suspicious circumstances surrounding her second husband’s death which prompted the investigation into Cotell’s death.
Agnes’ conviction meant that all her worldly goods were forfeited to the Crown. The inventory of these goods survives and provides a fascinating insight into daily life in the castle of a minor baron, and the goods which were required to manage and sustain a castle.
INVENTORY OF GOODS BELONGING TO THE KING BY FORFEITURE OF LADY AGNES HUNGERFORD, WIDOW, ATTAINTED FOR MURDER
Plate and Jewels.—A silver basin and ewer, parcel gilt, with the Hungerford arms in the bottom. 2 wreathed salts, double gilt. 2 flat silver gilt bowls, with knots of sickles in the bottom. 2 silver gallon pots, wreathed with the Hungerford arms. A pair of double gilt salts, with roses. A silver shaving basin, with an ewer. A silver-gilt goblet, with a child on the cover. A “leyer” of silver, double gilt, with a strawberry on the top. A little silver bottle, with a chain, double gilt. 3 doz. silver spoons, with knots of sickles on the head. 6 silver gilt spoons, with maidens’ heads on the end. A great silver double gilt spoon, with the Hungerford arms at the end. A silver spoon, with “myn assuryd truthe” written at the end. A silver gilt spoon, with “A” graved on the end. Two forks and spoons double gilt, for green ginger. A silver double gilt fork, with lyberts graved on the end. 3 double gilt silver “chales.” 6 parcel gilt ernets. A double gilt Pax, with a crucifix, and Mary and John. A silver sacring bell. A silver holy water stock, with a knot of sickles on the side, and a silver holy water stick, &c.
Ornaments belonging’ to the Chapel.—2 parchment mass books, with silver gilt clasps. A great French book of parchment, with 2 silver clasps. An altar-front of red damask, with a crucifix embroidered with Mary and John. A pair of vestments and a red damask cope. A front and a pair of vestments of white damask, with a blue cope. An altar-front and pair of vestments, of red and green satin of Bruges, embroidered with the garter. A crimson and green velvet corprax, embroidered with C and A in gold. 2 linen cloth fronts, with black letters. A “canabe” of russet velvet, fringed with red and green silk, with all things belonging to the sepulchre, &c.
The Hall.—Three pieces of red and green say paned. 4 tables, with forms. A cupboard.
The Parlor.—A spruce table, with 2 joined forms. A doz. joined stools.
The Chamber.—A trussing bed, with a red and green sarcenet sparver and curtains.
The Nursery.—A sparver of red and green say, and a cupboard.
The Lady’s Chamber.—A hanging of red say, with a hundred pair of pine apples, embroidered with gold, to put on the hangings, &c.
The Middle Chamber.—A new arras hanging, a counterpane and a sparver paned with crimson tinsel and black velvet, with red and green sarcenet curtains. A joined cupboard, &c.
The Great Chamber.—A hanging, ceiler and tester of arras. A chest, with 2 red and green sarcenet sparvers.
The Chapel Chamber.—A hanging of red say, embroidered with branches. A sparver and curtains of red and green sarcenet, and a counterpoint of verder.
The Lylly Chamber.—Red say hanging and sparver, and a plain cupboard.
Knyghton Chamber.—Red say hanging. White ceiler and tester, with Cornish choughs upon it. A counterpoint, white quilt, joined cupboard, and carpet.
Wardrobe Chamber.—7 velvet cushions, divers colors, embroidered with C and A in gold. 4 russet damask cushions, with E. C. A.; one, black and white velvet, with A and C; other cushions embroidered with branches and roses. 6 fine carpets for cupboards. 4 great table carpets, of arras and verder. 7 bastard carpets, for cupboards and tables. A red and yellow silk quilt. A hanging for the chapel, of red and green say. 23 feather beds; 6 of down, on one of which 6 persons may lie. 2 feather beds at the Black Friars at Salisbury. 7 palett beds in the place of Hachebery. 10 pair of blankets. 2 red mantles.
The Gallery Chamber.—A great chest bound with iron, covered with leather, with 2 locks, containing 24 pr. of sheets of Normandy canvas, 4 chests with old writings, a spruce table and a bastard carpet. In a window, a great glass, and beneath it a carpet.
A Chamber within the Gallery.—A trussing bed, the sparver of white and black damask paned, embroidered in gold with A and D. A leather chest with 4 locks, containing sheets, and an ivory image with silver “gymalls.” The hangings of red say. A glass in the window, with a knot of sickles in the cover. In a press in a closet, 2 pieces of “past” embroidered with gold letters C and A, and one piece with knots of sickles. A new horse harness of black velvet, with gilt bit and bosses. A side saddle covered with black velvet. Parcel gilt stirrups and spurs. A “sugre stue,” containing 100 bags of white soap. A press full of glasses with waters in them. 2 crossbows, with their racks. A coffer with spices.
The Women’s Chamber.—Red say hanging and sparver. A great chest, containing 34 down pillows, a pair of bryggyn irons with gilt knots of sickles, 2 crimson velvet horse harnesses, napkins of diaper and Normandy canvas, 5 new board cloths for the hall, &c. A coffer containing sheets and cupboard cloths, and the Hungerford pedigree. A great white box with the sickle on it, containing “my jointure and my husband’s testament and his father’s,” with other writings.
The Cellar.—½ tun of Gascon wine. 12 torches of clean wax wrought with gold.
The Buttery.—Tablecloths and buckram napkins. 1½ doz. bell candlesticks. A sheath of carving knives with ivory hafts. 1½ doz. leathern pots.
The Kitchen.—”5 garnish pewter vessel.” 6 “brochis,” round and square. 4 racks and dripping pans.
The Storehouse.—21 pots. 4 chaffers. 20 pans and kettles; 6 of 2 bushels. 2 frying pans. 2 “gyrde irons.” 4 dressing knives. 4 bowls for the larder. A laten straining basin. A pipe of bay salt. 2 brazen mortars.
The Brewhouse.—A furnace. 4 great vats. 6 kelders of 100 gallons. 30 beer barrels. 4 bowls. 4 buckets. 11 sacks. 2 winnowing sheets of sackcloth and canvas. 2 “heyrys” for the kiln.
Of sown grain.—240 acres, 120 being wheat. 80 acres meadow land.
The Grange Place.—10 great and 2 small cart horses. 2 plough oxen. A great grey colt, and a bay colt, for the saddle. A bay ambling gelding. 3 “comyng” saddles of white buff 2 iron-bound carts. A four-wheel wagon, iron-bound. Gear for the plough. 200 ewes, with their lambs.
Farley Castle.—6 score pair of Almain rivets and brigandines. 50 sheaf of arrows. 80 bills. A pipe full of mail “of a purves and gorgets.” 200 saletts and a pavilion.
Raiment.—A crimson velvet gown, with French sleeves, lined and bordered with tinsel. Other gowns of russet and black velvet and tawny camlet; kirtles of purple and black satin, popyngay color and tawny camlet; sleeves of crimson tinsel, cloth of gold and damask, green tinsel and yellow satin; ribbons; gold frontlets lined with tawny velvet, crimson and white satin; a frontlet of green satin, with a gold caul, and flat gold underneath. 2 velvet bonnets. An egg of goldsmith work, “for a past,” set with pearl; the weight 91b. 2 eggs of gold of damask, for the same past. 14 score pearls of 8d. each. 24 ropes of small pearl. 34 knots of small pearl, with truelove knots. A great golden flower, and in it “a saffer, an amytys (amethyst) and a gret perle.” A flower of fine rubies, with a “trulufe.” 3 orient pearls. “A flower of gold, full of sparks of diamonds, set about with pearls, and the Holy Ghost in the midst of it.” A gold table, with the picture of St. Christopher. A heart of gold in hand, with a wide “shleve”(?) enamelled white and blue. A great gold brooch, with a man and a woman, value 4l. 2 gold brooches, with St. Katharine, 5 mks. 35 pr. of gold aglets, 4l. 13s. 4d. 6 gold buttons, with hearts enamelled on them. 6 gold buttons with E and A. A gold chain weighing 41 lb. A gold table with the Passion of Christ hanging from it. Smocks of holland and cambric. 8 partlets of Cyprus, garnished with gold and Spanish work. 3 white partlets, wrought with scole work; another of black satin, furred with black lamb. A casket of sewing silk containing 24 quarterns of Venice gold. 3 pipes of damask gold. “5s. of voyde money to dyvers seynts.” 2 gold rings, one with “a nemrorde,” with 4 sparks of diamonds. 2 gold hoops wrought like a strawberry. A scarlet gaberdine, guarded with velvet. Debts owing by Dame Anne Dawers, Wilts; Wm. Bonname, Wyshford; Wm. Jonnes, Marleborowe; Robt. Tommes, Red Aston; John Stanlake, Warnloster; and Ric. Inge, Hachebery.
In my husband’s House at Charyng Crosse.—7 beds, 4 pots, 4 pans, 2 kettles, “a garnish and half vessell,” &c.
At Greenwich Park, with Thos. Trossell.—2 nags, dun and skewed. 2 side saddles, black velvet and fustian.
At Fayrley.—100 loads of hay.
My husband’s raiment in my son-in-law’s keeping.—A black velvet gown lined with sarcenet, and the forequarters with tinsel. A yellow satin doublet, the foresleeves and “plagarde” of cloth of gold. A black tinsel jacket, which cost 15l. A crimson velvet coat laid under with cloth of silver. Doublet and coat of black satin. A bonnet of black velvet, with a brooch, 5 mks.