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18 September 2014
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The History Detective: Story of George Burdett

By John Arnold
Burdett in prison

Image of roundheads and cavaliers with dogs
A contemporary cartoon depicting the two sides in the civil war ©
The final appearance of Burdett in Winthrop's Journal begins with the arrival of a new party on the scene, a lawyer called Thomas Gorge:
Summer 1640. This summer there arrived on Mr Thomas Gorge, a young gentleman of the inns of court, a kinsman of Sir Ferdinand Gorge, and sent by him with commission for the government of his province of Somersetshire. He was sober and well-disposed; he staid a few days at Boston, and was very careful to take advice of our magistrates how to manage his affiars, etc.
When he came to Acomenticus, he found all out of order, for Mr Burdett ruled all, and had let loose the reigns of liberty to his lusts, that he grew very notorious for his pride and adultery; and the neighbours now finding Mr Gorge well inclined to reform things, they complained of him, and produced such foul matters against him, as he was laid hold on, and bound to appear at their court at Sacoe: but he dealt so with some other of the commissioners that, when the court came, Mr Vines and two more stood for him, but Mr Gorge having the greater part on his side, and the jury finding him guilty of adultery and other crimes, with much labor and difficulty he was fined (under £30).
He appealed unto England, but Mr Gorge would not admit his appeal, but seized some of his cattle, etc. Upon this Mr Burdett went into England, but when he came there he found the state so changed, as his hopes were frustrated, and he, after taking part with the cavaliers, was committed to prison.

Published: 2005-01-28

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