Toward the end of the 17th century when a yearly income for most people in England amounted to little more than a handful of coins, the fortune amassed by landowner Thomas Thynne made him the richest commoner of his day.
Tom of Ten Thousand, as he was known, freely associated with royalty and was deeply involved in politics. He served in the House of Commons from 1670 to 1682.
Although Thynne had ended up on the bad side of James II, he was befriended by the Duke of Monmouth and was regarded highly enough by Dryden that the poet characterized him as the “wise Issachar” in Absalom and Achitophel.
Left after the wedding
In 1681, Thynne married Lady Ogle, the 14-year-old daughter of Lord Northumberland and the widow of Lord Ogle. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Thynne’e new wife left England almost immediately after the wedding.
On the night of February 12, 1682, with his bride out of the country, Thynne was shot while riding in his coach in the Haymarket area of London. He died the following day. Three men, Charles George Borosky, John Stern and Christopher Vratz, were arrested for the crime.
Borosky admitted killing Thynne, but claimed that he had done so at the request of Count Charles John von Konigsmark. The Swedish-born von Konigsmark, an aristocrat with an impressive military record, had previously visited England, and it was on that earlier visit that he had met and attempted to court Lady Ogle.
Charged as an accessory
Borosky claimed that von Konigsmark had hired him to shoot Thynne to settle an earlier argument. Because of Borosky’s accusations and the suspicion of a motive of romantic jealousy, von Konigsmark was charged as an accessory before the fact.
Von Konigsmark denied the allegations and was acquitted, possibly after bribing the proper authorities. The three defendants were found guilty and were hanged in Pall Mall in March 1683. The body of Borosky, who had actually fired the gun, was suspended in chains near Mile End until it decayed. An elaborate white marble tomb depicting the assassination scene was erected in Westminster Abbey.