It was a sunny morning all told in the gardens of the town house of the first Duke of Buckingham. Inside that dwelling his tailors sat sowing his newly cut silk attire . The Duke, as always prancing about as talk went on with his socialites. The house full of guests buzzed with excitement as George Villiers First Duke, chief friend of the King had no idea that this day he was destined to die by the hand of an ex solider in his own brigade.
Villiers had risen high from low on the whim of Royal Charles .King Charles the first of England and Scotland now in this year of grace 23rd August 1628.
The new Duke had all he ever wanted and more but hate was his gift from all who knew him he was trash from the gutter now the Kings favourite and George reveled in his light. He was a born show man a prize idiot who could not see who he walked over in his wake.
He had been friends with Charles from early days as Prince and now king Charles was showering gifts and land and houses and rank beyond his wildest dreams . To the nobles in the Kings court Villiers was an insult to the noble families of old England. A sort of pop singer of today in his ways with too much money and no manners.
He had served the King in France and with some luck had made a hash of things. In fact his enemies lived on both sides of the English Channel in deep and furious manners.
George Villiers Duke of Buckingham was in his Portsmouth house partying hard when a simply dressed Puritan walked in in a big wide brimmed hat and had not been notice in the merry dancing .He saw his chance and over the arm of a gentle man in deep concourse with the Duke, thrust into Georges left breast a dagger blade and retreated throwing his hat on a table. Suddenly Villiers pulled the blade out cursing his killer and took many minutes to die in agony leaning from his knees onto the table he fell backwards ,dead.
No one had seen anything but honest Puritan had left a note in his hat to explain his actions if he was killed himself. It ran on the lines that Buckingham had ruined the realm had cost the nation in pure gold more than he was worth and corrupted the King himself. He had taken it upon himself to rid England of the man himself.
The bustling about blaming all for the death moved fast to the Catholic horde. Blamed by many for Englands worries abroad. Something brought the killer back in that room. His name John Felton who had lost his rank in the army through the Duke. Felton had told him he could not exist if then his promotion did not go through as promised. The Duke had told him to hang himself if he could not afford to live. Felton had borrowed the cash from his mother and bought a blade from the butchery shop. His meaning was to kill the Duke on many grounds but his own dealings with this silly man had settled his brain on murder. Some think that in the commotion he had heard his name called and so came forth to say he was the killer.
He was taken back to London to be tortured to find who else had planned with Felton. Felton told them I did it all alone but if you press me ill name you as my accomplice. So he was not racked or whipped but jailed and hanged. By Kings demand. Honest John died a hero to the many thousands who hated the upstart Duke.
He never lived to see in 1649 King Charles executed by those same people who wore Puritan clothing like Honest John Felton.
For the record Felton is said to have purchased the cutting knife for 10 penny which as quite a lot in 1628. So Felton had a good blade to kill his enemy with. He really thought he could take the law in his own hands and rid the world of parasites but he may only have known one when millions of them exits in all generations . The mystery part is in the confusion what really got the killer to return to be named.? Several accounts from that day seem to think he thought he had been called back. Yet if a killer did it he would have vanished faster than greased lightening. Why 12 minutes after he had stabbed his victim was he still in that house? I think poor John Felton felt shame and had done such wrong he wanted to own up. He was just that sort of honest man with enough hatred in his heart to turn killer. we do know that when robbed of his army position he had applied to the Duke and had told him that he could not survive without the rise in pay. Duke told Felton he had better die then. I was on this outcome that John Felton became a killer.
However this case went on for years and was the most talked about crime in that entire era. Even today historians chew the fat in talks over this event. Something makes the case of John Felton a crime of passion and worthy of talk as an open and shut case of murder.