March 1365 – murder at one of the earliest English pubs in Venice.

The Dragon was an English pub in Venice, much patronised by pilgrims to the Holy Land. The extract is from the casebook of the Signori di notte al Criminal, the Venetian serious crimes squad of the time.

On the 5th of March 1365 Robin the groom (Rubinus Ragacinus) of Sir Henry Stromin, who lodges in the hostel of John the Englishman, host of the Dragon, in the parish of San Giovanni Nuovo, sworn witness, and examined before the above-written lord of the night watch, because he did not know the Latin tongue, was interrogated by the said John, the host, who was put upon oath to speak the truth. Robin swore that on the day before yesterday, whilst in the stable in the said hostel with John of England, his fellow-servant, looking after his master’s horses, he saw a fellow with a black beard, and a pelisse on his back, come and urine in the stable under the horses, wherefore the said John, witness’s fellow-servant, said to him “Why dost urine here?” and he answered, “I will urine despite thee,” and John said, “Thou dost not well, for the stable is large, and thou couldst urine elsewhere;” and then the fellow took a stone in his hand and aimed it at the said John, but missed him, because he bowed his head; and in the meanwhile the aforesaid John took him by the beard, and then the same man raised his hand instantly and stabbed the said John in his left side, witness supposing that he meant to pommel him, and he saw that he had a bread knife in his hand; and the aforesaid John fell to the ground the moment he was struck, the man who struck him running away. Witness ran after him together with one Jacky (Zanechinus) his master’s companion, as far as the stone bridge of San Zachariah, and there the said man threw himself into the water; and witness saw two women, whom he does not know, take him by the hand and pull him into a house. [The assailant turned out to be a local cap-maker named Mioranza. The outcome of the trial has never come to light.]

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