361 Lambart v Paine

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

This free content was Born digital and sponsored by AHRC and University of Birmingham. CC-NC-BY.


In this section


Charles Lambart, 2nd Lord Lambart, Baron of Cavan, Ireland v William Paine of the city of Bristol, merchant

April 1635 - January 1638


Lord Lambart complained that at Penryn, Cornwall, before persons of substance, Paine had called him a coward for declining to fight a duel with a Mr William Courtney of Lanivet, Cornwall. Paine allegedly said that Courtney was 'as noble and gentile a man as Lord Lambart, and the lord is nothing in comparison of Mr Courtney, either in respect of estate or bounty'. The witnesses were ordered to be examined by a commission headed by John Coke, esq, 23-25 August 1637, at one Curry's, in Bodmin, Cornwall. Another commission was sent into Ireland for the examination of witnesses there. Lambart won the case in January 1638 and was awarded 200 marks in damages and expenses, with a fine of £50.

Initial proceedings

R.19, fo. 6r, Summary of libel

'Charles Lord Lambert, for above 10 yeares past, was, and is, a baron, and descended of an ancient gentile and noble familie; and that for above 3 or 4 yeares past he was and is a governor and capt., under the king in Ireland'. Paine 'at certaine dayes and places, publiquely before several persons, said that Lord Lambert was a coward and durst not looke his enemy in the face; and that one Mr William Courtney of Lanivett in Cornwall sent a challenge to him, and the said lord durst not meete him; and Courtney is as noble and gentile a man as Lord Lambert, and the lord is nothing in comparison of Mr Courtney, either in respect of estate or bounty; and that Courtney was then but an ordinary gentleman, and none of his ancestors noble. Therefore prays satisfaction and restitution of his fame and honor.'


No signature.

7/33, Affidavit of William Collyer and Nicholas Tyacke

'William Collyer, clerke, and Nicholas Tyacke, gent, make oath that neere about Christide last past, they being at Penryn in the county of Cornewall, where there was one William Peane merchant of Bristoll cam into there companie; and Peane hearinge them to speake nobly of the Lord Lambart seemed to be much moved and offended there at. And thereupon did of his owne accord, without any occasion offered, speake as liberally in the commendacon of William Courtenay of Somersett in the said county, gent. And, in contempt, Peane did then say that the said Courtney was as noble and genteele a man as Lord Lambart; and that Lord Lambart was nothinge in comparison of Courtney either in respect of estate or bounty. And that Peane in farther dishonour, disgrace and scorne of Lord Lambart, did then accuse Lord Lambart of cowardize sayinge that he durst not looke his enemy in the face; and did then say, peremptoryly, that Courtney did send a challenge unto Lord Lambart, and that Lord Lambart durst not meete him. For which lavish and base aspertions, they did rebuke Peane; but hee still did continew such his lavish and dishonourable speeches of Lord Lambart, and said he would mentaine them.'

17 April 1635

Signed by Jo: Saunders.

Plaintiff's case

11/32/4, Letters commissory [for the plaintiff]

Addressed to commissioners John Coke, esq, Neville Bligh, esq, Nicholas Kendall, esq, and William Hooper, gent, and also, John Trefusys, esq, Francis Godolphin, esq, John Vivian, esq, and John Silly, gent, to meet in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, from 23 to 25 August 1637 at one Curry's, in Bodmin, co. Cornwall.

Gilbert Dethick assigned Obediah Reynolds as notary public.

Dated 10 June 1637.

Signed by Gilbert Dethick.

Sentence / Arbitration

13/1n, Plaintiff's sentence

Lambart was awarded 200 marks in damages and expenses. The case was taxed at £50.

Signed by Thomas Eden and by Lord Maltravers.

Lambart was Baron Cavan and a governor and captain in the kingdom of Ireland, and his father the late Oliver, Lord Lambart, was also a captain, and both were of a gentle and noble condition. Peane was sentenced for having maliciously said that William Courtney was the equal or superior to Lord Lambart.

13/1j, Plaintiff's bill of costs

Before Easter term, 1637: £4-18s-4d

Easter term, 1637: £5-7s-6d

Trinity term, 1637: £76-10s, inc. £10 for notaries fees for a commission into Ireland, £20 for expenses of witnesses etc, £15 for commission into Cornwall.

Michaelmas term, 1637: £13

Hilary term, 1637/8: £9-1s-8d

Total: £108-17s-2d

Signed by Thomas Eden.

Taxed at £50.

Signed by Maltravers.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Eden acted as counsel for Lord Lambart and Dr Duck for Paine. In January and February 1637 Paine was required to appear and respond to the charges. On 14 October 1637, Dr Eden presented a petition on behalf of Lord Lambart. The cause then appeared before Lord Maltravers and the earl of Bath on 31 October and 18 November 1637, and Dr Duck required that Lambart's witnesses ought not to be excused from answering the material for the defence. Dr Duck propounded the defence on 28 November 1637, but sentence was heard on 27 January 1638 in which a fine of £50 was awarded with 100 marks in expenses.


Charles Lambart (1600-1660) was the son and heir of Oliver Lambart, 1st Baron Cavan (d.1618), and Hester, daughter of Sir William Fleetwood of Cranford, co. Middlesex. Lambart married Jane Robartes, a sister of John Robartes, 2nd Baron Robartes of Truro. His Irish estates suffered in the 1641 uprising and he was prominent in attempts to suppress the rebels, serving as military governor of Dublin in 1642. In April 1647 he was created Viscount Kilcoursie and Earl of Cavan. See cause 563 Robartes v Samuel.

J. J. N. McGurk, 'Charles Lambart, 1st earl of Cavan', Oxford DNB (Oxford, 2004); G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage (London, 1913), vol. 3, p. 117.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Summary of libel: R.19, fo. 6r (1635)
    • Affidavit of William Collyer and Nicholas Tyacke: 7/33 (17 Apr 1635)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory [for the plaintiff]: 11/32/4 (10 Jun 1637)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiff's sentence: 13/1n (27 Jan 1638)
    • Plaintiff's bill of costs: 13/1j (Hil 1637/8)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: College of Arms MS. 'Court of Chivalry' (act book 1636-8) [pressmark R.R. 68C] (hereafter 68C), fos. 51r-59r (28 Jan 1637)
    • Proceedings: 68C, fos. 23r-36v (11 Feb 1637)
    • Proceedings: 68C, fos. 14r-20v (16 Feb 1637)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 8/26 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/27 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/28 (31 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/3 (18 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/30 (28 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/5, fos. 1-15 (27 Jan 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Bligh, Neville, esq
  • Bourchier, Henry, earl of Bath
  • Coke, John, esq
  • Collyer, William, clerk
  • Courtney, William, Mr (also Courtenay)
  • Curry
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Fleetwood, Hester
  • Fleetwood, William, knight
  • Godolphin, Francis, esq
  • Hooper, William, gent
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Kendall, Nicholas, esq
  • Lambart, Charles, baron Lambart of Cavan (also Lambert)
  • Lambart, Hester, baroness Lambart of Cavan (also Lambert)
  • Lambart, Jane, baroness Lambart of Cavan (also Lambert)
  • Lambart, Oliver, baron Lambart of Cavan (also Lambert)
  • Paine, William, merchant (also Peane)
  • Reynolds, Obadiah, notary public
  • Robartes, Jane
  • Robartes, John, baron Robartes of Truro
  • Saunders, Jo.
  • Silly, John, gent
  • Trefusis, John, esq (also Trefusys)
  • Tyacke, Nicholas, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • Cornwall
    • Bodmin
    • Lanivet
    • Penryn
  • Ireland
    • Dublin
  • Middlesex
    • Cranford

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cowardice
  • challenge to a duel
  • comparison
  • insult before gentlemen
  • Irish rebellion
  • military officer