9th October, 1600

09/10/2018 all-day

A brutal duel took place in Norwich. Just outside the city’s Ber Street gates, Sir Robert Mansel and Sir John Heydon set to with rapiers. The result was a severed limb, and a scrap that went down in Norfolk legend.

Heydon was a member of a distinguished Norfolk family, and a supporter of the Earl of Essex. Mansel was a naval captain who had been present at the sack of Cadiz in 1596, an Elizabethan sea dog, and supporter of Queen Elizabeth I.

The cause of their dispute was linked to the waning fortunes of Essex, former favourite of the Queen, who was on his way to rebellion and ultimate execution.

The two men fought on October 9. There were no seconds present. By Mansel’s account it was a vicious battle, which ended with Heydon losing a hand. The severed limb was mummified, and is today in Norwich Castle Museum.

As for Mansel, he was elected MP for King’s Lynn, his naval career went on, and he lived until 1656.