Lincoln and its Cathedral has been the background for many strange and bloody events, but the one described here is probably one of the most tragic.
William de Bramfield was a subdean at Lincoln Cathedral, he would carry out the duties of a Dean in the Dean’s absence, and according to an unknown chronicler William was “a good and a just man”.
On 25th September 1205 he was in St Peters Chapel in the south side of the lesser Transept in the Cathedral when he was attacked and killed by another subdean who was jealous of his position as one of the Dean’s favourites.
There are two stories about the fate of the murderer: one states that William’s servants cut down and hacked at the murderer and threw his body out of the Cathedral, the other states that the murderer was tied to the tail of a horse, dragged to Canwick Hill and there hanged. There was a gibbet near the top of Canwick Hill where criminals who committed their crimes in the City were hanged. The name of the murderer is not known.
King John arrived in Lincoln on the 3rd October 1205, he visited Lincoln Castle but it is not known whether he had any interest in the murder.