After musing about maypole-induced deaths in the article I linked to on Sunday, I found out through this article from the BBC that the truth was even stranger than I had imagined:
Maypole injuries were not only caused by careering into another country dancer. Thomas Alsopp of Coventry was standing in the former cemetery of the Coventry Greyfriars under a stone wall on 26 April 1558 when a maypole fell over.
It hit the city wall and knocked a stone out of the top of it, which hit him on the left part of his head and penetrated his brain, killing him instantly.
And the bears I alluded to in the title:
Bears were part of the Tudor entertainment scene. There were performing bears and there were bears kept for the bloodthirsty attraction of bear-baiting. […] But sometimes they escaped. A widow called Agnes Rapte was killed by Lord Bergavenny’s bear when it broke loose at his house at Birling, Kent in 1563. Another victim, Agnes Owen from Herefordshire, was killed in her bed by a runaway bear.
Read the full article for more stories of bizarre Tudor-era deaths.