Pub has to pay fine for 1664 murder.

The Times March 14, 2006

Pub has to pay a fine for murder from 1664
By Helen Nugent

A PUB must pay a fine for a murder on its premises more than 300 years ago.

Auditors discovered the long-forgotten penalty for The Swan in Ipswich, Suffolk, while balancing the books for the town’s St Mary Le Tower Church Charities.

The annual bill of 40 shillings, equivalent to £2, seems to be a punishment for a killing in 1664 when Charles II was king.

Rowell Bell is the clerk to trustees for a number of small charities, including Parker Gift 1664. He found the fine in a book called An Account of the Gifts and Legacies that have been given and bequeathed to Charitable Uses in the Town of Ipswich — with some account of the present state and management and some proposals for the future regulation of them.

It reads: “Mr J Parker to give 40 shillings a year to be paid out of The Swan Inn of this parish to buy coals for the poor (to be distributed on St Thomas’s Day).

“The gift is alleged to be for a perpetual fine imposed in 1664 consequent upon a murder committed at The Swan.”

It was a huge amount of money in 1664 — a labourer would have to work for six months to earn 40 shillings.

Mr Bell said: “The money should be given to the trustees and although they won’t still be buying coal, they will use their common sense. I expect, for example, they will pay for poor people to have bed and breakfast or give it to charities which help the homeless.

“I think some people will be confused because The Swan has 1707 on it, and this dates back to 1664. But 1707 is probably the date refurbishment work was done.”

Simon Trenter and Pam Wilson, who run The Swan, have agreed to pay the fine, which includes backdated payments to 1999, when the bill was last paid. Ms Wilson said: “We are all intrigued. We like being part of history.” Little is known about the murder although it is mentioned by guides who conduct tours of Ipswich.
Tom Green Fan
That's bizarre!!!
I just hope that when I'm dead, in around 300 years' time no-one has to pay the fines for my overdue library books.

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