Murder at Solomon’s Hollow.

I came across the following information in a book called Olde Leek and which sheds more light on the murder which took place in Solomon’s Hollow many years ago. The account is as follows: An old tradition which was very likely handed down by the Rudyard family, is given by Mr Hadfield, the antiquary, and is supported by local evidence. It runs as follows:-” It was in the time of Henry, son of William the Conqueror, that Liulf of Alderley, suspecting that his wife was not faithful to him, and being told that she had left her home, set off at once and crossed the Lime or boundary, and after searching for a long time found her, not far from home, in a lonely place now called Solomon’s Hollow, near Tittesworth, with his kinsman Gamel of Tettesworth; and in his rage killed the latter without giving him a chance to defend himself.”

There is no doubt that Liulf de Aldredeslega killed or murdered Gamel in the reign of Henry I. We find in the Staffordshire Pipe Role 1129-30, that he lay under a heavy charge for this act; but the question is whether the murderer was Liulf of Aldithelega (Audley, near Newcastle), the father of Robert de Alditheley, the father of Richard de Sned, ancestor of the Sneyds, or Liulf of Alderlee near Leek. And a further question is whether the murdered Gamel was Gamel-bearn, the Domesday owner of Audley, or Gamel Tettesworth. I think the murderer was Liulf of Alderlee near Leek, and the murdered Gamel was Gamel of Tettesworth, and that the murder was committed in Solomon’s Hollow.

My reasons for holding this opinion are as follows:-

  1. It is quite impossible to my mind that any unpredjudiced Saxon scholar can think that Aldredeslega and Aldithelega are simply different ways of spelling the same word. The first part of the one is a man’s name, the first part of the other is a woman’s. If this be so then the murderer Liulf de Aldredeslega was not Liulf de Aldithelega.

2. We know that Aldredeslega was the old way of writing Alderley of Cheshire, so that we may conclude that it was the old way of writing Alderley or Alderlee near Leek, and so I feel sure that the murderer Liulf de Aldredeslega was of Alderlee, since the account of the murder is in the Staffordshire Pipe Roll.

3. Gamel, who was the Domesday owner of Audley, near Newcastle, was Gamel-bearn, who was a leader in the revolt against Earl Tostig in 1065. This being the case, does it not feel very unlikely that he was living up to 1130? If he were, he was then very old indeed, and hardly worth murdering one would think.

4. We know that there was a Gamel de Tettesworth living about this time, and that he was not such a very old man; although the name Gamel means old, and so he has been locally called “Ould Gamel.”

5. The Hulton Abbey Charters state most distinctly that Gamel-bearn who according to Domesday held Alditheley or Audley, and several other places “in capita” was the grandfather of Liulf de Alditheley. It would seem strange that a man should murder his grandfather, and yet that there should be no mention of the fact that the murdered man was his grandfather in the account of the charge in the Pipe Roll.

6. Liulf de Alditheley was very young to have committed a murder before 1130. The assumption made to get over this difficulty was that his fathers name was Liulf, and that he committed the murder, is absolutely unsupported. There is certain evidence that the father’s name was Adam and not Liulf. How often these assumptions made by learned Antiquaries are proved, as facts come to life, to be utterly unworthy of credence!

Considering the facts, and the arguments which I think may fairly be drawn from them, and keeping in mind the situations of Alderlee, Solomon’s Hollow, and Tittesworth, and also that the Lime which the murderer is said to have crossed, probably means that he crossed the stream (hlimme), here the Churnet, I cannot resist the opinion I have come to that this old tradition is indeed worthy of belief.

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