51 Bland v Garton

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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George Bland of Aldingbourne, co. Sussex, gent v Henry Garton of Woolavington, co. Sussex, esq

July - October 1640


Bland petitioned that Garton had abused him at a public commission, calling him 'Jack and knave and villaine and rogue'. He also complained that Garton, having prosecuted him in the court over three years before, was now attempting to publish a second libel to prove that he was no gentleman. Bland, therefore, petitioned that the proofs of gentility he had entered before be produced again. Process was granted on 10 July 1640 and Maltravers ordered that Garton's cause should be decided the next term or dismissed. On 30 October 1640 a penalty was imposed on Garton for failing to appear, but no further proceedings survive. [See cause 241 for Garton's countersuit and also cause 50].

Initial proceedings

5/128, Petition

'Whereas Henry Garton of Woollavington in the countie of Sussex esq hath much abused your petitioner in divers publique disgracefull terms of great disparagement and provocation calling your petitioner Jack and knave and villaine and rogue, and by wounding your petitioner at a publique commission, and often giving out in termes that your petitioner is no gentleman. And to that end Garton hath preferred a second libel in the Court of Honor before your Lordshipp endeavouring to prove the same; and he hath sued out publication in that cause (almost) 3 years since, and now seeketh to have a new commission in the cause being against all the rules of that Court only for delaie.

Your petitioner praieth the process of this court against Henry Garton to appeare and plead to your petitioner's libel for the misdemeanours aforesaid. And that the second cause wherein all the records of your petitioner's gentilitie are made exhibits, may have a day appointed by your honor to be heard next Michaelmas Terme. And that then the records may be delivered to your petitioner which without a hearing cannot be permitted by the order of the Court.'

10 July 1640

'For the words of disgrace herein complained of let the petitioner have a process, and let Mr Garton (upon notice to be given him at his house) execute and returne his commission (so obtained after publication) by the beginning of the next terme at furthest; and gett that second cause to be signed for sentence the same tearme, or else that cause to be dismissed.'

Signed by Maltravers.

5/127, Plaintiff's bond

17 July 1640

Bound to 'appear in the court in the Painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'.

Signed by George Bland.

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

Summary of proceedings

Dr Eden and Dr Merrick acted as counsel, but for whom is unclear. There were proceedings for this cause on 10 October, further proceedings before Lord Stafford on 24 October and Lord Maltravers on 30 October, in which a penalty was imposed for Garton's failure to appear.


For another account of the case, see G. D. Squibb, Reports of Heraldic Cases in the Court of Chivalry, 1623-1732 (London, 1956), p. 22-3.

Henry Garton (c.1600-1641) appeared as the fifth son of Sir Peter Garton of Woolavington, knt, in the Sussex visitation of 1633-4. He attended Queen's College, Oxford, and the Middle Temple. He spent much of his life in London, practicing as a lawyer, especially in the Court of Wards. Henry married Mary, daughter of Sir John Luke of Flamstead, co. Hertford. He replaced Lord Maltravers as M.P. for Arundel, co. Sussex, during the Short Parliament. He remained M.P. for Arundel during the Long Parliament until his death of plague in October 1641. In 1641 two individuals petitioned the House of Lords that Garton's prosecutions of them in the Court of Wards and elsewhere had ruined them.

Despite being resident at Aldingbourne, co. Sussex, George Bland was arrested for failure to pay ship money in Castle Baynard ward, London, in 1635. In May 1639 a Bland was also imprisoned in King's Bench for insulting the kings of England, France, Denmark, Sweden and Spain and getting Captain Lumley, Captain Sinclair and Thomas Harrison, B.D., into trouble.

W. Bruce Bannerman (ed.), The Visitations of the County of Sussex in 1530 and 1633-4 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 53, 1905), p. 132; M. F. Keeler, The Long Parliament, 1640-1641: A Biographical Dictionary of its Members (Philadelphia, 1954), pp. 183-4; CSP Dom. 1635-6 , p. 8; CSP Dom. 1639 , p. 130; House of Lords MS , Historical Manuscripts Commission, 4th report (London, 1874), p. 40.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 5/128 (10 Jul 1640)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 5/127 (17 Jul 1640)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 56r-64v (10 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings before Stafford: 1/11, fos. 41r-44v (24 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 19r-30v (30 Oct 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Bland, George, gent
  • Garton, Henry, esq
  • Garton, Mary
  • Garton, Peter, knight
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Harrison, Thomas, B.D.
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, William, baron Stafford
  • Luke, John, knight
  • Luke, Mary
  • Lumley, captain
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Sinclair, captain
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • Hertfordshire
    • Flamstead
  • London
    • Castle Baynard ward
    • Middle Temple
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Oxfordshire
    • Queen's College, Oxford
  • Spain
  • Sussex
    • Aldingbourne
    • Arundel
    • Woolavington
  • Sweden

Topics of the case

  • Court of Wards
  • denial of gentility
  • King's Bench
  • Long Parliament
  • member of parliament
  • other courts
  • ship money
  • Short Parliament
  • taxation