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322 Huntingdon v Hawkes

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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322 HUNTINGDON V HAWKES

Henry Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon v Edward Hawkes the elder of Derby, skinner

March 1639 - March 1640

Figure 322:

Derby in 1610, with the county jail, where Edward Hawkes acted as jailer, marked toward the south end of town (From John Speed, Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain (1611))

Abstract

Huntingdon complained that between August and October 1638 in Derby, in Hawkes's house in the presence of several gentry, Hawkes said that 'the Earl of Huntingdon was a sott, a man of no esteeme in church or comonwealth, and hath nothing in him but his gutts, and he was good for nothing but to go up and down sayinge hum, hum, hum; and that himself was a properer gentleman than the earl of Huntingdon.' He also complained that between November and January 1639, again in his own house in the presence of gentry, Hawkes 'said that hee heard the earl of Huntingdon was married to a great lady but surely she was some Prodigall huswife that would marry him; and if she married him it was for nothinge but precedence, for the Earle had nothing for her but precedency.' Dr Duck presented the libel on Huntingdon's behalf on 19 March 1639. Huntingdon's witnesses were examined on 10 September 1639 by a commission headed by William Berridge DD, minister of Barrow on Soar, at the Angel Inn in Derby. These revealed that Hawkes was the jailer for Derby and by dint of this office had pretensions to being a gentleman, claiming a coat of arms which came to him as a freeman of the Skinners' Company. The case was clearly an unequal contest, especially as Huntingdon had regularly sat among the judges in the court in other cases. Hawkes was sentenced to pay £500 damages to the Earl and 100 marks expenses on 4 February 1640. He was also ordered to make submission before the judge of the assizes at Derby on 19 March 1640 at which he was to acknowledge that the sentence was just, apologise for his scandalous words, 'malitious sawciness and causeless presumption', and thank the Earl for remitting the £500 damages. But in the final version of the submission he was not encouraged to repeat his original libel in public.

Initial proceedings

9/3/1b, Libel

1. Huntingdon had been lord lieutenant of Leicester and Rutland for at least twenty years and since the age of his majority had been one of the king's nobles, earl of Huntingdon, Baron Hastings, Hungerford, Botreaux, Molins and Morles. Edward Hawkes was the county jailer for Derbyshire and was of plebeian descent.

2. Between August and October 1638 in the town of Derby, Edward Hawkes in a public place and in the presence of persons of dignity and gentility said that 'the earl of Huntingdon was a sott, a man of no esteeme in church or comonwealth, and hath nothing in him but his gutts, and he was good for nothing but to go up and down sayinge hum, hum, hum; and that himself was a properer gentleman than the earl of Huntingdon.'

3. Between November and January 1639 again in Derby in a public place in front of persons of dignity and gentility 'he said that hee heard the earl of Huntingdon was to be married to a greate lady but that shee was some prodigell huswife that would match with him for precedency only for that hee had nothing for her but precedency.'

Prays for relief on the basis of the scandal of such words liable to provoke a duel.

No date.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

19/7d, Personal answer

1. He believed this article was true.

2-4. He did not believe these articles were true.

No date.

Signed by Edward Hawkes, senior.

Plaintiff's case

9/3/1a, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners William Berridge D.D., rector of Barrow upon Soar, co. Leicester, Robert Palmer clerk, vicar of Shepshed, co. Leicester, Richard Martin and John Major, gents of the town of Leicester, and also Edward Will.... Professor of Theology, Mr Catesbie of Duffield, gent, Henry Gregson, gent, and Thomas Cotton, gent, to meet from 10 to 12 September 1639 at the Angel Inn in Derby.

Dated 9 June 1639.

Humphrey Terrick, registrar, nominated Edward Noel as notary public.

9/3/1c, Letters substitutional

Letter from Arthur Duck acting as counsel for Huntingdon addressed to John Major, gent, commissioner nominating John Ward and Edward ... to act on his behalf.

Dated 9 August 1639.

9/3/1c, Plaintiff's depositions

Taken before commissioners William Berridge, Robert Palmer, Richard Martin, John Major and Henry Gregson at the Angel Inn belonging to William Spicer in Derby on 10 September and the town of Brassington, co. Derby, on 11 September 1639

(Witness 1), Thomas Holme of

To Huntingdon's libel:

3 About a week before Christmas 1639 he was in Edward Hawkes's house in Derby, when Hawkes said he heard that the earl of Huntingdon was to be married to a greate ladie but surely she was some prodigell huswife that would marrie him and if she married him it was for nothinge but precedencie for the earle had nothing for her but precedencie.' Also present were John Buxton and Ralphe Murchin.

Signed by Thomas Holmes and the commissioners William Berridge, Robert Palmer, Richard Martins, John Major and Henry Gregson

(Witness 2), Robert Buckley of Weston-upon-Trent, co. Derby, husbandman, aged 51

To Huntingdon's libel:

1. 'He had heard it commonlie said that the earl of Huntingdon was and is lord lieutenant of the counties of Leicesterhsire and Rutland, and he knew that Edward Hawkes had been the county jailer for Derby for about 8 years. And Hawkes 'is no otherwise a gentleman then by his place.'

2. In October 1639 he was in Hawkes's house when he heard him say that Huntingdon was ' a sott and that hee is of noe estimacon and is neither good for the comonaltie nor the church with nothinge in him but his gutts; and is good for nothing but to go up and downe and saye hum, hum; and that he Edward Hawkes was as good man and as proper a mann as the earle of Huntingdon.' And he did 'conceive that Hawkes did speake the wordes to the scandall of the earle', with several others present whose names he did not remember.

Signed by Buckley with his mark and by the five commissioners.

(Witness 3), John Buxton of Brassington, co. Derby, gent, aged about 40

To Huntingdon's libel:

1. He had heard that for 12 years past or longer Huntingdon had been lord lieutenant of Leicester and Rutland. The earl was 'one of the peeres and nobles of this land and his auncestors have so bin before; and so it is commonlie accounted and reported.' Hawkes had been jailer for Derby for upwards of five years and Hawkes was 'not reputed to be a gentleman that he knoweth or hath heard of, saveinge that he hath seene a coate of armes in the hands of Hawkes which Hawkes said was his coate but said he ... by the companie of Skinners being free of that companie.'

2. There were 'some speeches which happened to be spoken' in Hawkes' house last October 'concerning some of the nobilitie of this land'. Hawkes then declared that Huntingdon was 'a sott, doth noe good to church or comonwealth and had nothing in him but his gutts, is good for nothing but to ride up and downe in the park in his charriott and saye hum, hum, hum.' Hawkes said 'I am a properer gentleman than the earle of Huntingdon', in the hearing of Robert Buckley and Roger Newton.

3. Again in Hawkes's house, he heard him say that 'he had been abroad and had heard one say that the earle of Huntingdon was to be married; and thereupon Hawkes said that she was some prodigell huswife that would marrie the earle. She married him for precedencie onlie and nothing for her but precedencie' which he said in the presence also of Thomas Holmes.

4. He conceived that Hawkes had said this 'to scandalise the earle and his honor.'

Signed by John Buxton and the five commissioners.

(Witness 4), Roger Newton of Bakewell, co. Derby, yeoman, aged about 40

To Huntingdon's libel:

1. He had heard that the earl had been lord lieutenant for Leicester and Rutland and 'of the nobilitie of this land'. Hawkes had been a jailer at Derby for four years, and he had 'never heard that Hawkes was accounted a gentleman.'

2 , 4. In October 1639 at Hawkes' house he had heard the first set of words uttered and Hawkes said it 'to scandalise' the earl.

Signed by Roger Newton and the five commissioners.

Certified by the notary public Edward Noel.

Submission

4/36, Submission [first draft]

Hawkes was to perform his submission 'standing bareheaded in some eminent place' and 'with an audible voice' between 2 and 5pm on [blank left] March [1639/40], the first day of the next assizes held at Derby, before the judge of the assizes.

'Whereas I, Edward Hawkes, stand convicted... to have spoken many scandalous and contumelious words tending to the dishonour of the right honourable Henry earl of Huntingdon and in particular to have said that that the earl of Huntingdon was a sott of no estimation and was not good for the church or comon wealth had nothing in him but guttes and was good for nothing but to goe upp and downe and say hum hum; and that I was as proper a gentleman as the earle of Huntingdon and that the Earl was married to a great lady, but surely she was some prodigall huswife that would marry him; and if she married him it was for nothinge but precedence, for the earle had nothing for her but precedency. I do hereby in all humility acknowledge and confess that I am hartilie sorrie for my such rash, vile, and unmannerly inconsiderate speakinge of the scandalous words; and nowe being made sensible of my presumption and sawcines in vilifying and traducing so great and noble a peer of this kingdome; I do humbly praie and beseech his lordship, to remitt and pardon the same, and to accept of this my most humble submission. And I do further hereby in all humbleness acknowledge the right honourable Henry earl of Huntingdon to be a right noble and worthy Peer of this Realme and myself most bound to his honour in all dutie and service which I promise for the future to perform unto his Lordshipp and to all the Nobilitie and gentrie of this Realme.'

'This submission being performed in manner as aforesaid Edward Hawkes is to subscribe his name thereto and to desire the clerk of the Asssizes and some others to certify his performance thereof together with these pn.tes the first Court day of Easter Term next ensueing'.

Signed by WL [William Lewin, Registrar]

4/34, Submission [second draft]

Hawkes was to perform his submission 'bareheaded in some eminent place' and 'with an audible voice' between 2 and 4pm on 19 March [1640], the first day of the next assizes held at Derby, before the judge of the assizes.

'Whereas I, Edward Hawkes, stand convicted... to have spoken diverse scandalous false and contumelious words tending to the dishonour and manifest miserie of the right honourable Henry earl of Huntingdon as in, and by the libell or complainte exhibited and proofes therein made against me by his lordship (remaining of record in the Court Militarie) playnely and particularly appeareth, I do now hereby in all humility acknowledge the sentence to be just and honourable. And I do most humbly confess that I am hartilie sorrie for my such rash, vile, malicious unmannerly and inconsiderate speakinge of the scandalous words. And being nowe made sensible of my malicious sawcines and causeless presumption in vilifying and traducing so great and noble a peer of this kingdome, I do humbly praie and beseech the right honourable Henry earle of Huntingdon, to remitt and pardon the same, and to accept of this my most humble submission. And I do further hereby in all humbleness acknowledge the right honourable Henry earl of Huntingdon to be a right noble and worthy peer of this realme, and myself most bound to his honour for his soe noble and free forgiveing and remitting to me the some of five hundred pounds most justly adjudged and given to his lordship for damages against me which I shall ever most humbly acknowledge with all dutiful thankfulness, and hould myself for ever obliged to his lordship in all duty and service, which for the future I do promise to perform most obsequiously to his lordshipp and to all the nobilitie and gentry of this kingdom'

Signed by William Lewin

'This submission being performed in manner as aforesaid, Edward Hawkes is to subscribe his name thereto and to desire some persons of quality then present to testify his performance thereof and to certify the courte of the same the first court day of Easter Term next ensueing being the 25 Aprill 1640'.

Signed by William Lewin, Registrar.

2/45, Bond of submission

Bound to perform his submission 'in such manner time and place as shalbe enjoyned him by this court and certifie his performance thereof accordingly'.

William Hawkes of St Christopher's, near the Exchange, London, skinner and Hammond Hawkes of St Gregory's, Botulph Lane, London, cooper, were sureties for defendant.

Signed by Edward Hawkes, William Hawkes and Hammond Hawkes.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Watson and John Rainshawe.

18/4l, Submission and certificate of submission [damaged]

Between 2 and 5pm on 1 March [1640] at Derby assizes, Hawkes was to stand bare headed before the judge of the assizes 'upon the gaole-deliverie', 'in some eminent place', and 'in audible voice', he was to apologise for the 'scandalous, false and contumelious words' he had spoken to the 'dishonour and manifest injury' of the earl. He was to acknowledge the sentence as just: 'and being now made sensible of my malitious sawciness and causeless presumption, in vilifying and traducing so great a noble and peere of this kingdom'.

'I do further hereby in all humbleness acknowledge the right honourable Henry earle of Huntingdon to be a right noble and worthie peere of this realme, and myselfe most bound to his honour for his so noble and free forgiving and remitting to me the some of five hundred pounds most justly adjudged and given to his lordship for damages against me, which I shall ever most humbly acknowledge with all dutifull thankfulness and hold myself ever obliged to his lordship in all dutie and service'.

He promised hereafter to behave himself respectfully to all the nobility of the kingdom.

Edward Hawkes signed that he had performed the submission as instructed, with other signatures certifying he had done so:

P. Chesterfield

Sy: Every

Will: Coke

Christopher Horton

Hawkes was ordered to certify his submission before the court by Easter term, April 1640.

Signed by William Lewin, registrar.

No date [19 March 1640]

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Huntingdon and Dr Merrick for Hawkes.

submission at the next assizes at Derby on 4 February 1640.

Notes

Henry Hastings, 5th Earl of Huntingdon (1586-1643) was the grandson of George Hastings, 4th Earl of Huntingdon. He was Lord Lieutenant of co. Leicester from 1614 to 1642. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby. His son, Henry Hastings, Baron Loughborough (d.1666) became royalist colonel-general for the Midlands during the first civil war.

J. Knowles, 'Henry Hastings, fifth earl of Huntingdon', Oxford DNB (Oxford, 2004); G. E. Cokayne, Complete Peerage (London, 1926), vol. 6, pp. 658-9.

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Libel: 9/3/1b (19 Mar 1639)
    • Personal answer: 19/7d (no date)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: 9/3/1a (9 Jun 1639)
    • Letters substitutional: 9/3/1c (9 Aug 1639)
    • Plaintiff's depositions: 9/3/1c (11 Sep 1639)
  • Submission
    • Submission: 4/36 (no date)
    • Submission: 4/34 (no date)
    • Bond on submission: 2/45 (no date)
    • Submission and certificate of submission: 18/4l (19 Mar 1640)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 12-17 (19 Mar 1639)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Berridge, William, minister
  • Buckley, Robert, husbandman
  • Buxton, John, gent
  • Catesbie, Mr, gent (also Catesby)
  • Chesterfield, P.
  • Coke, William
  • Cotton, Thomas, gent
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Every, Simon
  • Gregson, Henry, gent
  • Hastings, George, earl of Huntingdon
  • Hastings, Henry, earl of Huntingdon
  • Hastings, Henry, baron Loughborough
  • Hawkes, Edward, the elder, skinner
  • Hawkes, Hammond, cooper
  • Hawkes, William, skinner
  • Holme, Thomas, yeoman
  • Horton, Christopher
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Lewin, William, registrar
  • Major, John, gent
  • Martin, Richard, gent
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Murchin, Ralph
  • Newton, Roger, yeoman
  • Noel, Edward, notary public
  • Palmer, Robert, vicar
  • Rainshawe, John
  • Spicer, William, innkeeper
  • Stanley, Ferdinando, earl of Derby
  • Terrick, Humphrey, registrar
  • Ward, John
  • Watson, John
  • Will, Edward, Professor of Theology

Places mentioned in the case

  • Derbyshire
    • Bakewell
    • Brassington
    • Derby
    • Duffield
    • Stenson
    • Weston-upon-Trent
  • Leicestershire
    • Barrow upon Soar
    • Leicester
    • Shepshed
  • London
    • St Christopher's, near the Exchange
    • St Gregory's, Botulph Lane

Topics of the case

  • assizes
  • coat of arms
  • comparison
  • insult before gentlemen
  • other courts
  • royalist