Feckless Fools: Part Two

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

For, some years earlier, my Great Granduncledad Humphrey had been extremely disloyal and wasteful, abandoning his first wife and two children, leaving them to fend for themselves, having spent all his inherited wealth on good ale and plush stagecoaches. Humphrey, you understand, was not, as might be indicated from his cave abode, of lowly origins. No, far from it. For, prior to this, he had lived like a prince in the nearby manor house, Myddle Castle [Plate 5], with his doting mother, the Lady Elizabeth Grey, a descendant of the royal Plantagenet family, and his father, Sir Roger Kynaston, Constable of Denbigh Castle, High Sheriff of Shropshire, and a Knight of the Realm. With all the advantages of high birth, Humphrey must have done something truly dreadful to have ended up in a cave. [1] It was, however, only right and correct that Humphrey made the decision to leave his wife, Mariona Williams, for if Gough is to be believed, she was the equivalent of our modern-day chav, more suited to a Nike label than a coat of arms; and, besides anything else, her father still hadn’t paid the dowry he’d promised Humphrey, which at thirty pounds was not to be scoffed at.

Still, it was pretty cold in a cave, without the company of a wife so, as Humphrey drifted off into a drunken sleep, his heart-rate at one with Beezlebub’s, he dreamt of a better future.


The problem with that being that there wasn’t just the small matter of a few big debts, there was also the rather more serious matter of the murder of an innocent. Not that John Hughes of Church Stretton was an innocent. No man who dared to look Humphrey in the eye, when he was out riding in the company of classy connections, was an innocent. It didn’t matter that Humphrey had the small matter of a couple of cheap fondles with Hughes’ wife on his conscience,[2]Hughes was a big man, and he was there, bold as brass, standing in a field and looking Humphrey, an extremely important person – in the eye. Something had to be done and Humphrey, flanked by his supporters, was the man to do the spanking.



But spanking was a speciality that Humphrey reserved for the ladies in his life, and wouldn’t really do for this particular performance. Hence, Humphrey and his pals closed in on John Hughes. Humphrey took a charge with his lance and missed. Keen for a second shot, he resisted going in for a spank and took the alternative strategy of thwacking the missed-its-spot useless appendage of a lance, into the side of his victim’s breast. Bang on! Good aim! “Come on bruv!” Humphrey appealed to Thomas Kynaston, “Finish the blighter off for me. I’m all spent!” So, little brother Thomas did as he was told, lifted his sword and thwacked Hughes on the left side of his head. The reader is now hoping that this is the end of it, because it’s all starting to get a little bit on the gruesome side, [3]but no it’s not quite the end, because cousin Robert Hopton hasn’t had his go yet. “Come on coz!” cried an elated Thomas Kynaston. “He’s not quite finished yet! Have a go yourself!” And, Robert rose to the challenge, thwacking Hughes with a bill on his left calf. Done.



In 1491, at the Assizes in Church Stretton, all three members of the Kynaston family, were charged with murder. Humphrey’s life was in ruins. What to do now?

Copyright owned by Jay CoolWho is Jay Cool?


[1] The Hobbit hadn’t even been invented at that time, so we can’t blame J R Tolkien for brainwashing Humphrey into becoming some kind of a nerdy role-play or re-enactment obsessive!

[2]I’ve no idea whether Humphrey really did fancy his chances with John Hughe’s wife, but if the producers of the TV series ‘The Tudors’ can make up nasty and turgid scenarios for my ancestor, 3rd cousin 17 times removed, cousin,Thomas Culpepper (1514-1541), solely for the purpose of pulling in the punters, then I see no reason why I can’t do the same for Uncle Humphrey!


[3] Too much, even for those of us who watched ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ in the early eighties, without turning to our neighbor screaming and begging for release, or a quick retreat over his or her knee to the cinema’s toilet!



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).

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



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