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329 Jennings v Heygate

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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329 JENNINGS V HEYGATE

Thomas Jennings of Hayes, co. Middlesex, esq v Thomas Heygate of High Holborn, co. Middlesex, attorney

January - December 1640

Abstract

Jennings complained that Heygate called him 'knave and base knave' in the presence of several persons of quality on 26 April 1639 on the highway in the parish of Hayes, Middlesex, after Jennings had stepped out of his coach to talk to him. Jennings had been a captain of a trained band in Middlesex for five years and particularly resented Heygate saying that 'he would call me knave though I were tenn captaines'. The quarrel arose after Jennings made some remarks about Mr Page, who was also present, having 'cozened' his brother in law Mr Millett over some land. Heygate maintained in his defence that Jennings had instructed his witnesses William Finch and George Pye how to depose. Process was granted on 20 January 1640 and Jennings' witnesses deposed on 15 June. On 30 October Dr Merrick entered material for the defence and on 4 December 1640 Heygate was required to pay 40s in expenses. The case was presumably lost with the suspension of the court's proceedings.

Initial proceedings

2/50, Petition to Maltravers

'Your petitioner being called knave divers times by one Thomas Heygate, an attorney at lawe, and receiving many other provokinge speeches from him in hearinge of divers persons of quality, the petitioner was by councell advised to petition your lordship for a warrant for process out of the Court Military against Heygate. But your petitioner mistaking his dirrecons obtained a warrant to convent Heygate before your lordship in private, where your petitioner could not prosecute him, in regard your petitioner's witnesses could not be brought to a full proofe without a legall proceeding.'

Petitioned that Heygate be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process on 20 January 1640.

2/49, Plaintiff's bond

26 January 1639/40

Bound to appear 'in the Court in the painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'.

Signed by Thomas Jenninges.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of William Lewin, registrar.

5/14, Defendant's bond

The defendant is described as of St Andrew's parish, Holborn, London.

16 April 1640

Bound to 'appear in Arundel house in the Strand without Temple Bar, London'.

Signed by Thomas Heygate.

Sealed signed and delivered in the presence of John Watson.

20/1m, Libel

1. Thomas Jennings was from a family that had been gentry for up to 200 years.

2. In March or April last, Highgate called him 'knave and base knave; and often repeated the said words; and followed me when I went away with the like reproachful words; and bade me call witness & he would call me so before them'.

3. Jennings had been captain of a Middlesex trained band for up to 5 years, and Highgate 'said he would call me knave though I were tenn captaines'.

4. These words were provocative of a duel.

No date.

Signed by Thomas Ryves.

Plaintiff's case

20/1m, Defence interrogatories

1. Was he servant to 'Thomas Gennins or sollicitest causes or business for Thomas Gennins, whether he receiveth wages or any.... or some award or gift from Gennins for such his service or solicitation'?

2. Was he related to Jennings and to which side would he give the victory?

3. Exactly when were the 'pretended words' spoken?

4. Exactly where were the 'pretended words' in the libel spoken, and who were present? 'What discourse passed at the same time and what gave occasion of speaking the wordes'?

5. Had Jennings said that Heygate 'had told him that one Mr Page, then present, had cozened Mr Page's brother, and whether were not those wordes the first occasion of the falling out'? Let 'every witness expresse the whole manner of the passages betweene from the beginning to the ending thereof.'

6. Did Mr Jennings stay his coach voluntarily, 'without the request or calling' of Heygate?

7. Had the witnesses William Fynch and George Pye formerly made affidavits before a Master of Chancery to support the libel; and did not Mr Jennings 'stand by att the time of the making of the affidavits', and instruct them 'what they should depose'? Was the scrivener that 'drew the instruccons offended with Gennyngs for soe doing'? 'Did hee not thereuppon throw away the paper and said he must take his instruccons from the witnesses and not from Mr Ginnings'?

8. Had the witness been offered or given money by Mr Jennings for his testimony?

9. Had William Fynch since the making of the affidavit confessed that Heygate did 'not call Mr Jennings out of his coach, and did not call him knave, and that affidavit was mistaken in the penning thereof by the scrivenor, and that it was drawne up contrary to the truth'?

No date.

Signed by William Merrick.

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fos. 184r-188r, Plaintiff depositions

fos. 184r-186r (Witness 1), William Finch of Hayes, co. Middlesex, husbandman, lived there since birth, born there, aged about 65

15 June 1640

To Jennings's libel:

1. Mr Jennings 'liveth in the fashion and ranke of a gentleman and is captaine of a trained band of soldiers' in co. Middlesex.

2-3. About Friday 26 April 1639, Captain Jennings passed by in his coach near Finch's house in the parish of Hayes. Finch, Thomas Heygate, Mr Page and another gentleman were stood talking together. Mr Page and Mr Heygate 'bid good morrowe' to Captain Jennings and asked if he would drink with them. Jennings alighted from his coach and began talking to them. The witness heard Mr Heygate say that Jennings and Page 'were both knaves'. Jennings replied, 'What, am I a knave'? Heygate again told Jennings he was a knave, and that 'he would call him knave if there were tenn Captaine Jenninges'. These words were spoken near the witness's house on the highway, in the parish of Hayes. Jennings's coachman was a further witness, and the anonymous gentleman was a stranger to the witness.

4. Heygate's words were spoken 'out of choler and in angrie manner'.

To Heygate's interrogatories:

1. Negative.

2. Both Mr Jennings and Heygate were his friends, 'and he wisheth them both well and careth not whoe hath the better in this cause, but wisheth that right may take place'.

4. Jennings offered Heygate no provocation.

5. There was a conversation concerning a Mr Milletts's land, who was Mr Page's brother-in-law; but the witness did not know whether it caused the quarrel.

6. Either Page or Heygate called to Jennings before he stopped his coach.

7. The witness and George Pye made affidavits before a Master of the Chancery. Captain Jennings spoke to the scrivener that drew up the affidavits, but the scrivener replied that if Jennings said anything he would write nothing 'and thereupon threw up the paper'. He afterwards took instructions for drawing up the affidavit from this witness.

8. He received 12 pence from Jennings for coming to make the affidavit, and expected no other reward.

9. Negative.

Signed by William Finch

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten, lieutenant, in the presence of John Longland, 14 June 1640.

fos. 186r-188r (Witness 2), George Pye of Hayes, co. Middlesex, husbandman, born at Rickmansworth, co. Hertford, aged about 42

To Jennings's libel:

1. He had known Mr Jennings for 9 years, for all which time he had 'lived in the ranke and fashion of a gentleman and is soe reputed.'

2-3. About Friday 26 April 1639, the witness drove Captain Jennings's coach towards London because his coachman was sick. They passed by William Finch's house in the parish of Hayes and saw Mr Heygate, Mr Page and another gentleman 'drinking in horseback'. Mr Page and Mr Heygate both called to Captain Jennings and asked if he would drink with them. Jennings alighted from his coach and began talking to them. The witness heard Mr Heygate say that Jennings and Page 'were both knaves'. Jennings replied 'what, doe you call me knave'? Heygate again told Jennings he was a knave, and that 'he would call him soe if he were tenn Captaine Jenninges... and let your coachman take notice of it'. After Jennings departed in his coach, Mr Heygate rode after him 'and used many other provoking speeches'. Mr Page, William Finch and an anonymous gentleman were the only other witnesses. Jennings had been captain of a trained band in co. Middlesex for about 3 years.

4. Heygate's words were spoken 'in an angrie and violent manner'.

To Heygate's interrogatories:

1. Negative.

2. 'Captain Jennings received wronge by the premises and deserveth reparacon in [Pye's] judgement'.

4. Referred to his deposition above.

5. He did not know what had caused the quarrel.

6. Either Page or Heygate called to Jennings before he stopped his coach.

7. The witness and William Finch made affidavits before a Master of the Chancery. Captain Jennings spoke to the scrivener that drew up the affidavits, but the scrivener replied that if Jennings said anything he would write nothing. He afterwards took instructions for drawing up the affidavit from this witness and Captain Jennings went out of the room.

8. As witness 1.

9. 'He never heard Finch use any speeches to the effect' in the interrogatory.

Signed by George Pye [his mark]

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten, lieutenant, in the presence of John Longland, 14 June 1640.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Ryves acted as counsel for Jennings and Dr Merrick for Heygate. On 30 October 1640 Dr Merrick gave material for the defence but Dr Ryves alleged process was being hindered. On 4 December 1640 Sir Henry Marten gave the verdict upon admitting material for the defence and Heygate was required to pay 40s in expenses within two weeks, or sentence would be heard.

Notes

A Thomas Highgate of Hayes, co. Middlesex, was mentioned in G. J. Armytage (ed.), Middlesex Pedigrees (Publications of the Harleian Society, 65, 1914), p. 87.

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition to Maltravers: 2/50 (20 Jan 1640)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 2/49 (26 Jan 1640)
    • Defendant's bond: 5/14 (16 Apr 1640)
    • Libel: 20/1m (no date)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 10/12/17 (no date)
    • Plaintiff's depositions: Cur Mil 1631-42, fos. 184-8 (15 Jun 1640)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 19r-30v (30 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 79r-87v (4 Dec 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Finch, William, husbandman (also Fynch)
  • Heygate, Thomas, attorney (also Highgate)
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Jennings, Thomas, esq (also Gennins)
  • Lewin, William, registrar
  • Longland, John
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Millett, Mr
  • Ryves, Thomas, lawyer (also Rives)
  • Page, Mr
  • Pye, George, husbandman
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • Hertford
    • Rickmansworth
  • London
    • Arundel House
    • Strand
    • Temple Bar
    • St Andrew's Holborn
  • Middlesex
    • Hayes
    • Holborn
    • Westminster

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • Court of Chancery
  • denial of gentility
  • drunkenness
  • military officer
  • other courts
  • trained band