This New Forest inn, The Sir Walter Tyrrell, gives its name to the man thought to be responsible for the death of King William 11. The Rufus Stone, which can be seen in a clearing nearby at the side of an unclassified road north of the A31, recalls the death of King William 11 (1056 – 1100). It was erected in 1745 to replace a tree which had marked the original spot where William Rufus was killed by an arrow whilst hunting in the New Forest. But was the death an accident ? Called Rufus supposedly because of his ruddy appearance, William was a man, so it is said, who was ill tempered and small both in body and in mind. He was loathed by his people and few tears were shed when he was killed, and indeed the clergy at Winchester Cathedral refused religious rites to his remains.
Whilst his death was probably an accident, Tyrrell has by tradition been suspected of being responsible. Was it an accident or was it regicide? We will never know. The Sir Walter Tyrrell Inn can be found nearby. The former forge at nearby Avon is where, according to legend, Sir William stopped before fording the river, and made the blacksmith reverse his horse’s shoes in order to mislead his pursuers, whilst fleeing the scene.
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Photo taken in Minstead, Hampshire, UK
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