Assault and Battery

On 22 September 1677, Chapter heard the complaint of Matthew Green, Master of the Choristers, that he had been assaulted on Wednesday last by Mrs Kellaway as he was coming to Church. She had, he said, “struck him on the head with a stick and torn his band and plucked off his periwig and given him reviling and injurious language” [SGC VI.B.4, p. 130]. To add insult to injury, her husband Thomas Kellaway, a Minor Canon, had not long before also threatened him.

Chapter ordered that both Mr and Mrs Kellaway were to appear before them to beg pardon on their knees from God and Mr Green. Mr Kellaway duly came, but Mrs Kellaway refused, saying that if given the chance, she’d do it again. As a result, Mr Kellaway’s pay was stopped, and it was not until Chapter threatened to remove her son from the choir that Mrs Kellaway finally relented. But what reason did Mrs Kellaway have for assaulting Mr Green in the first place?

Matthew Green had been appointed Master of the Choristers in 1660, one of the first positions given out on the return to the Chapel after the Restoration of the Monarchy. His role was to be the choristers’ schoolmaster, teaching them the necessary skills of reading and writing, leaving their musical education to Dr Child, the organist. Green would hold this post for the next 43 years.

In 1668 Green had been heavily punished for giving Child “rude and uncivill language” and “after the ending of the said Divine service did trip up his heeles, and when down, did unhumanly beat him” [SGC VI.B.3, p. 72]. This perhaps indicates that he had a bit of a temper, and possibly Kellaway’s son, one of his pupils, had been on the receiving end of this. Or it may be that she disapproved of the standard of education her son was receiving as just 2 years later, Thomas Kellaway asked if he might have permission to remove his son from Green’s care and to send him to Eton “for the good of his said son” [VI.B.4, p. 196].

Whatever the reason, on 4 October 1677, she appeared before Chapter and in the manner prescribed, asked God first and then Mr Green pardon for having assaulted him.

Eleanor Cracknell (Assistant Archivist)

The King's Free Chapel. The Chapel of the Most Honourable and Noble Order of the Garter. The Chapel of the College of St George.