Monday, March 16, 2009

The Life and Death of Griffin Flood, 1623

Griffin Flood was a rogue, con-man and informer who scammed a bunch of people out of their money (and was a tattletale). He specialized in targeting foreigners and apprentices. He is characterized as being "churlish" and loud-mouthed quite often in the pamphlet. Eventually he stabs a constable and a vintner, is caught, and because he won't admit his guilt is sentenced to peine forte et dure, which equates to death by pressing. Apparently the guy didn't even have any property to save, so I guess his refusal to plead was just more churlishness. Luckily, Newgate Prison had it's own "Pressing Yard" for just such occasions. He even wrote his own epitath:
"Here lyeth Griffin Flood full low in his grave,
Who lived a Rascall and died a Knave."


Lea said...

I am a little concerned with myself that I recognized the title of this text as soon as it came up in my RSS feed.

(I just finished teaching Measure for Measure and the illustration shows up in most editions for some reason.)

naomi said...

Bah! I just read about Margaret Clitherow in Alice Hogge's book
and was so grossed out, and then i saw your latest blog entry!
Your blog cracks me up--i have been waiting for another post-thanks!

Doug said...

Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death,
whipping, and hanging.
Measure for Measure (5.1.596-597)

So apparently Griffin Flood found petty regulations people were violating and made money out of getting them in trouble.
I think I'm going to school for that.