I don’t know what was going on here, but it sounds like it was an interesting day. But first this prologue, from the Essex [England] Records Office:
25 April 1577
Richard Broke comes in his proper person and after a hearing of his indictment, complains that he has been greatly and unjustly troubled therby, pleads that it is insufficient in law, and declares he is not guilty, and puts himself on the country. And Gilbert Gerrard, Attorney General of the Queen, follows in this behalf etc.
And then the main event:
5 August 1577
Wistan Browne, esquire, sheriff, Henry Graye and James Morice, esquires, justices, had notice that certain malefactors were unlawfully assembled at “Burntwood” [Brentwood], and approaching the said place we found there many other malefactors assembled in our presence, and by virtue of the Act of 13 Henry IV we record that on the above day Thomasine Tyler, Ann Woodall, Margaret Baneter, Alice Greatheade, Priscilla Prior, Margaret Bayford, Mary Maye, Alcie Degon, Dorothy Woodall, Ann Scoffeild, Katherine Kele, Margaret Gibson, Joan Bawsome, Rose Scoffield, Joan Pulley alias Homes, Katherine Mathie, Elizabeth Lumney, Elizabeth Collyn, Elizabeth Dixson, Joan Browne, Joan Hatter, Elizabeth Warner, Mary Cocke, Bridget Hatter, Agnes Nickson, Agnes Parker, Ann Hunt, Alice Hunt, Dorothy Ascue, Agnes Phipps alias Baysie, all of Burntwood aforesaid, spinsters, at the same, were unlawfully assembled in a certain place called Burntwood chapel and in the Steeple of the said chapel and around the churchyard of the same, and with force and arms they pulled a certain Richard Brooke, schoolmaster, out of the said chapel, and beat him, obstructing also the doors of the said chapel and locking themselves in the same, having and riotously useng and bearing against the servants of the said Wistan Browne and other the King’s subjects then present these arms, to wit, pitchforks, bills, a piked staff, two hot spits, three bows and nine arrows, one hatchet, one great hammer, hot water in two kettles, and a great sharp stone; and that they kept themselves in the said chapel until they were arrested and removed by us the sheriff and justices on the same day, and that afterwards the said Mary Cocke, Alice Greateheade, Mary Maye, Alice Degon, Katherine Kele, Margaret Gibson, Joan Bawsome, Elizabeth Collyn, Elizabeth Dixon, Agnes Nickson, Agnes Parker, Ann Hunt, Alice Hunt, Dorothy Ascue, Agnes Phipps alias Baysey, Elizabeth Warner and Bridget Hatter after the said arrest escaped so that they could not be committed to gaol; and further we the said sheriff and justices record that a certain John Mynto of Burntwood aforesaid, yeoman, being commanded by James Morice, one of the justices, to help in suppressing the aforesaid riotous persons, refused to do so; and moreover that wheareas we committed the said Thomasine Tyler to gaol as a riotous person, a certain Henry Dalley of Burntwood aofresaid, labourer, attempted in our presence to rescue the said Thomasine from our custody.
Each woman fined 4d.
Each man fined 2s.
Signed by Wistan Browne, Sheriff, and the Justices:- Henry Graye, Ja; Morice, John Dercy, Thomas Mildmay, Thomas Lucas, John Petre, Henry Capell, G. Nycolls, James Altham, Fra. Mildmay, Henrye Mdeley, Edward Ryche, Chr. Chiborne.
Looks like the women got a lot more for their money than the men did.