There were a lot of outlaw gangs rampaging Medieval Europe, but here we will focus on the two most notorious gangs in British Medieval history: The Coterel Gang and The Folville Gang.
The Coterel Gang
The Coterel Gang, or otherwise known as “la compagnie sauvage”. They terrorised Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, including Sherwood Forest, from 1328 to 1332. Their leader was James Coterel and when he wasn’t busy controlling the gang’s blackmail rackets and acts of robbery and murder (sometimes by hire), he was, along with his fellow members, serving Edward III in his wars against the Scots and French.
In 1335 Nicholas Coterel was made the queen’s bailiff for the High Peak District of Derbyshire. It wasn’t long, however, before he was charged with interfering with tax collections. A jury transcript reveals that James Coterel was accused of recruiting twenty members in the Peak district and Sherwood Forest. Three outlawed associates of the gang, Sir William de Chetulton, Sir John de Legh and notorious gangster James Stafford, were pardoned and commissioned to capture a couple of robbers but only months later they were in Nottingham goal over charges of attempted rape. They subsequently served King Edward III in his Scottish wars in 1336 and were instructed to recruit archers in Cheshire and lead them north into Berwickshire. A notable ally of the Coterel Gang was no less than the Sheriff of Nottingham himself, Sir Robert Ingram.
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