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From A Source Book of London history from the Earliest Times to 1800 edited by P. Meadows, London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd, 1914; pp. 17-18.


YEAR 1177 A. D.

Disturbances in the City.

The following story is not altogether free from suspicion, but it was probably inspired by the accounts of the depredations of the young bloods of the City. Nocturnal disturbances were by no means unknown as late as the eighteenth century, and the Mohocks were following a tradition which was as old as the City itself.


Source. — Translated from Benedict of Peterborough, vol. i., p. 155.

During this council the brother of earl Ferrers was slain by night in London. When the King heard this he was greatly distressed, and swore that he would take vengeance on the citizens of London. For it was the custom then in London for a hundred or more of the sons and relations of the citizens to make nocturnal assaults on the houses of the rich, and rob them; and if they found anybody wandering about the streets they would kill him without pity; so that very few dared to walk through the city at night for fear of them. Three years before this the sons of the “nobility” of London assembled by nigh for purposes of robbery, and attacked the house of a certain rich citizen; having broken down the wall with iron bars they entered through the aperture thus made. But the occupier of the house had been forewarned of their arrival; he donned a coat of mail and collected several trusty armed servants, with whom he waited in a corner of the house. Soon he saw one of the robbers, named Andrew Bucquinte, who was eagerly leading the rest; he hurled at him a pan full of hot coals and rushed on him fiercely. When Richard Bucquinte saw this, he drew his dagger and struck the citizens, but he received no injury because of his coat of mail; he drew his sword and cut off the right hand of Richard Bucquinte. Then he raised a cry, “Thieves, thieves!” and on hearing it all the robbers fled except the one who had lost his hand, and the citizen captured him. Next day he was brought before Richard de Lucy, the King’s justiciar, and was imprisoned. This thief, being promised pardon, informed against his companions, many of whom were taken, although many escaped. Among those who were taken was a certain John, an old man, the noblest and wealthiest of the citizens of London. He offered five hundred marks of silver to the King in return for his life, but the King would not take the fine, and ordered justice to be carried out, so he was hanged.


Another account of this incident, from Hoveden, The Annals, Volume I, translated by Henry T. Riley; London: Bohn, 1853; pp. 451-2:

“. . . the brother of the earl of Ferrers was slain by night at London, and thrown out from his inn into the mud of the street, for which deed our lord the king took into custody many of the citizens of London; among whom there was arrested a certain aged man of high rank and great wealth whose name was John; he being unable to prove his innocence by means of the judgment by water, offered our lord the king fifty pounds of silver for the preservation of his life. Bt inasmuch as he had been cast in the judgment by water, the king refused to receive the money, and ordered him to be hanged on a gibbet.”


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