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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 01:29 GMT
Record shows death by frying pan
Lamplugh deaths document
The document details a string of unusual deaths
A manuscript unearthed in Cumbria's archives has painted a vivid picture of murder, mayhem and misadventure in one 17th Century parish.

Deadly duels fought with frying pans, and drunken brawls waged with beer jugs claimed lives in the west county parish of Lamplugh between 1656 and 1663.

The record was uncovered by staff at the Cumbria Record Office and Local Studies Library, in Whitehaven.

It is being used to promote the national Archive Awareness Campaign.

The record also reveals how three women were drowned after being accused of being witches, and four people were scared to death by fairies.

Other peculiar deaths listed in the document include death by gluttony at a party and being attacked by the parson's bull.

But not all residents suffered such surprising ends - 57 residents died of traditional old age.

Evil witchcraft

Anne Rowe, county archivist of the Cumbria Archive Service, said: "It's great to unearth a document like this in our collection and gives people a chance to discover a more quirky side to history.

"I'm not sure whether to attribute this list to our ancestors' superstitions or just their sense of humour!

"These were insecure social times and many folk in the 17th Century would have been scared of fairies with many a natural death being put down to the 'evil witchcraft' of a harmless old widow."

Throughout autumn there are hundreds of events talking place in archives across the UK to promote the nation's collections.


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