Feckless Fools: Part Three

Sir Humphrey Kynaston (1468-1534), Jay Cool’s 12th Great Grandad & 15th Great Uncle, of Myddle Castle and Nescliffe Cave, Shropshire

My Great-Granduncledad-Something Humphrey Kynaston did, of course, do what all of my genes do best. He fled. Fled from his wife, his children, and his tumble-down castle [1]and his …. No, he didn’t flee from his favourite horse, Beezlebub; he had his priorities right and took his next-best-thing-to-central-heating with him, to a two-roomed cave in Nesscliffe Woods. Which is where we now rejoin his snoring and flatulent self.


Granduncledad’s in deep sleep now, having deep, and what might to some us be, deep dark dreams. Dark, because he’s not done with murder yet. Deep, because rumour has it that Humphrey’s brain cells were in good order. The reclamation of his favourite pub stool, may well have been an act of sudden and impulsive rage, as may have been the unfortunate meeting of the Kynaston gang with John Hughes, but the same could not be said for all of the other murderous scenes at which our Humphrey was at the healm, because these were almost certainly premeditated.


In fact, I don’t think it would be too much of an exaggeration on my part, to state that my dear old Uncle Humphrey was a member of the Shropshire equivalent of the Italian mafia, so in this respect he was well-ahead of his time. For some years before the incident with John Hughes, Humphrey and his brothers: Thomas, Oliver and Richard Kynaston, (Yes, all of them my uncles!) were wanted for a string of murders and robberies, referred to in Special Act of Parliament, for which they were to be tried before King Henry VII at his court of Chancery (Hamilton). Due to a general lack of respect for authority, [2] none of my ancestors bothered to present themselves to his highness, Henry VII, as requested, for which insolence they were outlawed for felony, being forced to turn in their estates to the crown (Dec, 23rd, 1487, Hamilton).[3]


But, as the evidence of a sleeping Humphrey suggests, to be turfed out of Myddle Castle was no punishment; it was an incentive. It spurred him on to greater and better things. As, before his visit to The Three Pigeons, our Humphrey received, or rather took , a bit of a windfall. His cave, being up a steep slope was in a great vantage point for partaking in a little bird spotting. [4]Passing between the cave and the Three Pigeons was a highway, not just any old highway, but the main highway between Shrewsbury and Owestry.

And, early in the afternoon, just as Humphrey was beginning to feel a little peckish (His mother, Lady Elizabeth Grey, had failed in her duty to leave a bowl of food outside the entrance to her favourite pet’s cave), a most beautiful lady came riding by. She had the most stunning long tresses of golden-red hair and her fulsome figure was adorned with an extravagant green-velvet gown. Her companion was a gentleman; he wore a red velvet jacket, fine breeches and long leather boots; he was by far the lady’s elder, but was her inferior with regards to looks. What Humphrey wanted, Humphrey got. And no, he wasn’t after the lady, he was after the money, or rather, her companion’s money.[5]

Humphrey, still reeling from the non-payment of his estranged wife’s dowry, went in for the kill. Down the slope he nipped and jumped, seeming to leap out, at one with Beezlebub, from the caverns of hell.


Success. One of many. A success celebrated, as were many before it, with a night of drunken excess at the Three Pigeons.
Copyright of text & all photographs (with the exception of the Lego man) owned by Jay Cool. Who is Jay Cool?

[1] Due to his financial difficulties, Humphrey had neglected to call in the maintenance workers for many years past. Were he alive today, he would now feel better in, the knowledge that throwing money at bricks and mortar is a waste of time; because, today, a façade of bricks hides a cardboard box style of construction that, built by Bovis, will fall down in a few years’ time regardless. We live and learn!
[2] Teachers will know all about these kind of young men!
[3] If only teachers used this policy when dealing with errant students, there would be no issues of boredom for teachers (they would have a wide range of iPhones, Nintendo 3DSs and wands of mascara to utilize during lunch-breaks, and at 3 o’clock, because everyone knows that teachers work the shortest hours in the world, and there’d be no shortage of new recruits to the profession. I shall soon be writing a letter the TES (Times Educational Supplement) to put this lightbulb of an idea forward.
[4] Today, it could be compared with Donald’s apartment in Trump Tower!
[5] As everyone knows women had no control over their finances in those days, and, unless they are Theresa May, still don’t!

The following sources were referred to during Jay Cool’s research:
https://www.revolvy.com/topic/Humphrey%20Kynaston&uid=1575 – Revolvy


‘Antiquities and Memoirs of the Parish of Myddle: County of Salop (A.D. 1700)’ by Richard Gough  (Henry Sotheran & Co., London, 1875).

‘Pursing an Outlaw – The Real Wild Humphrey Kynaston’ by David Hamilton, in (The New English Review Press, June, 2011).

Credits: The lego highwayman is a creative commons image and is from:

Disclaimer: Please refer to Jay Cool’s ‘About the Author’ blog post.







Published by The Silly-Savvy Salopian

Freelance writer and descendant of the cave dweller and outlaw, Humphrey Kynaston. Banished from Shropshire for my eccentricity, I have made my home in Suffolk. I write poetry, short stories, travel journals, comedy gig reviews and non-fiction articles. My wish is to write my way back into the heart of my birth land. All writing commissions (and free holidays in Shropshire!) considered.

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