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James Parnel

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James Parnel was a Quaker. He was arrested aged 18 in Coggeshall, Essex, accused of riotously entering the local church and blasphemy for preaching his sermons, as well as being idle and disorderly. He was held at Colchester Castle that served as the common goal. He refused to pay the £40 fine imposed by Chelmsford Court and was handed to gaoler Nicholas Roberts. He was forced to lie on cold damp stones and then put in a hole in the wall about 12 feet off the ground with only a 6 foot ladder and rope. In this moist hole, his limbs became numb and whilst climbing once with his victuals he fell. He was so badly wounded he was thought dead. They then put him in a hole underneath the other known as the Oven, with the door shut. There was little air; after 10 or 11 months he fell sick and died. The official inquest decided he committed suicide by not eating. Picture taken at Colchester Castle Museum June 2007.

27th Aug 2007 by Diane Earl


Key Stages:
Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

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