Murder at the Rose and Crown

On Monday evening 28th March, 1670, an affray took place in Methley which ended with fatal consequences.   Adam Bland, the son of Sir Thomas Bland of Kippax, quarrelled with a Mr. James Strangeways in the house of ‘one Burton’ (thought to be the old Rose & Crown Inn), with the result that the latter was killed.  Bland was tried for manslaughter on April 4th following, before Sandford Nevill and Francis White.   Adam Bland stated that on Monday, March 28th, he and Messrs Conway and Gargrave were together at Methley when Mr James Strangeways and Mr. Willoughby came riding by.

Strangeways saw Bland in the yard of the aforesaid Burton, saluted him in a friendly manner, and then charged him with having spoken about him, which Bland denied.  Strangeways seemed to be quite satisfied and went into the alehouse.

At about 11.0 pm, Bland saw Conway retire to his bed and left Strangeways and Willoughby drinking.  When he returned Willoughby was gone, and Strangeways suddenly insisted on Bland fighting him; Bland drawing his sword in self-defence (having already suffered a prick on the knee), Strangeways fell upon it (Blands sword) and so received a fatal wound.

Whatever the rights of the case may have been, Bland appears to have had powerful friends working for him, for on June 29th the same year a warrant was issued to Sir Christopher Turner and Sir Timothy Littleton, Justices of Assizes for Yorkshire, to ‘forbare during pleasure the execution of the sentence of burning in the hand, if awarded, against Adam Bland, who is to be tried at your Assizes for killing James Strangeways at Methley, Yorkshire’.

Strangeways was buried on the 30th March and it was recorded by the Justices as being killed in self defence by Adam Bland son of Sir Thomas Bland of Kippax.  (Surtees Vol x1page 178).

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