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I vaguely remember reading a story about an English king that died from drinking too much water after a hunt. I'm sorry to say that all parts of this story may be untrue…I'm not sure whether it was a king or other royalty, whether it was England or somewhere else, or whether it was actually after returning from a hunt or some other event. I also don't remember the source of the story.

Despite all the uncertainty: does someone recognise this story? Did it actually happen, or is it a historical urban myth?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Henry I, the 3rd norman King of England, died after eating a surfeit of lampreys after going on a hunting trip while ill. Apparently eating them was against the advice of his physician. Lampreys were pretty common fare in Early Medieval Britain but are pretty gross eel-like fish that still happily inhabit English rivers today. It is likely that they weren't properly cooked, and may have been contaminated with water from the river they were fished from. England rivers were littered with weirs and eel traps, and there were several Doomes demanding Weir clearance around the country in the 10th and 11th centuries (Law of Aethelred II) as they blocked the flow of the river, but rivers remained pretty clogged anyway and likely didn't dilute/run off the sewage and waste all that well!

John I 'Lackland' probably died of dysentery brought on by eating rotten peaches and drinking wine during a military campaign.

Edward IV died after catching a chill after a fishing trip. Some have hypothesized that he died of a stroke.

All of this information is on Wiki. Use this as a starting point to find better sources. I would wager, Henry I best matches your question.

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+1 just for introducing me to the word weir. We call the non-fishing variety a "low water dam" here in The States. I wonder why we abandoned/lost the original word... –  T.E.D. Feb 17 at 15:29
    
probably just trying to spell it :p I went through wear, weer, wehr, wier to get to my document... –  Alan Kael Ball Feb 17 at 15:32
    
Thanks. I found the Wiki earlier,and also thought the Henry I was the best match. –  Matthijs Feb 18 at 9:58

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