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569 Rugely v Smith

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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569 RUGELY V SMITH

Simon Rugely of Knighthorpe, Loughborough, co. Leicester, esq v Henry Smith of Loughborough, co. Leicester, yeoman

May 1639 - November 1640

Figure 569:

The notary's mark of Peter Whitehead, a hand drawn self portrait at the end of the depositions given on behalf of Simon Rugely (By permission of the Chapter of the College of Arms)

Abstract

Chaloner was the son of Sir Thomas Chaloner, the courtier and naturalist, and Edward Heylin the brother of Peter Heylin, the Laudian cleric. The case arose out of a letter written by Heylin to Chaloner's wife Ursula on 19 June 1637. In this, he recounted past episodes in which he had exposed Chaloner as a cowardly, blustering fool, unable to meet his debts or carry out his threats, and forced to beg Heylin's forgiveness on his knees. He described Chaloner in asides as 'your knight errant' and 'this proper squire (for he hath lost his spurs)', and concluded 'judge you if this be not the part of a knave, or if you will, of a giddie headed foole (for so you will finde him).' he also threatened to send similar letters to Chaloner's friend, Sir Francis Norris, and his antagonist in a chancery suit, Mr Giles.

The quarrel between the two young men had apparently begun over six years earlier at the house of John Butler in Witney when a game which involved pulling off each other's clothes got out of hand and Chaloner struck Heylin with a glass, cutting his face. A day or two later Heylin issued a challenge and came after him with his sword, whereupon, on his account, Chaloner went into hiding, offering his servant Thomas Wright £60 to fight in his place and, on another occasion, trying to get his friend Mr Osbaldeston to shoot him. This earlier dispute was settled by arbitration, arranged by Sir Matthew Carew, Sir Thomas Hord and William Trotman, gent, at the house of Thomas Cogan in Oxford. Chaloner begged Heylin's forgiveness on his knees, drank his health and promised him a 'yorkshire nag', worth £10 by way of compensation.

Around Easter 1637 Chaloner had also taken out a 3 year lease on the parsonage house and its contents at Minster Lovell which belonged to Heylin. He agreed to pay £80 p.a., with a half year's rent in advance, and also buy the contents of the house. But by June, having made an inventory of the contents and taken possession of the grounds for his horses, he was contesting the original agreement as too expensive. For Heylin, who claimed in his defence that a longstanding illness had made him 'teasty and forward', this was apparently the last straw. He admitted to writing the ill-judged letter, but insisted that at the last moment had decided not to deliver it to Ursula, but to her husband in the hope of getting him to fulfil his part of the bargain. However, due to a misunderstanding it had ended up in her hands.

Chaloner took out his bond to initiate proceedings in July 1637 and in November commissioners - who included two of the regular counsel from the Court of Chivalry, Dr Samuel Gardiner and Dr Giles Sweit - were assigned to hear witnesses on his behalf. The hearing took place on 13 January 1638 before Sir Thomas Hord and John French M.A., at the Cross Inn in Oxford. Heylin, who was still ill, tried to answer through his counsel, Dr Gwynn. But Chaloner insisted, for 'satisfaction in point of reputation', that Heylin be made to respond in person. the court, therefore, required a signed affidavit which Heylin made on 8 January 1638 at the white hart inn in Witney. Heylin's sixteen witnesses, including seven gentlemen, two clergymen and Sir Thomas Hord, were then examined on 2 April 1638, again at the cross inn. in spite of the evidence that both parties were to blame for the quarrel, judgement was given against Heylin. He was ordered to pay â £200 damages and & £20 expenses, and also perform a submission by 28 January 1639 before Sir Francis Norris, Sir Thomas Coghill, and three other persons appointed by Chaloner. Heylin was to acknowledge that his letter abusing Chaloner had been 'most foule and scandalous', and pray for his forgiveness, promising 'hereafter to behave myselfe towards him with all due respect.' in February 1639, however, the damages and expenses were still unpaid, and Heylin was charged with contempt of court.

Rugely had served as a J.P. in Leicestershire for more than five years, although he belonged to a well-established gentry family from Hawkyard Park, near Rugeley, Staffordshire. Smith was a yeoman and alehouse keeper. The basis of Rugely's charge was that around Whitsun 1637, Smith, in his own house in front of witnesses, had called him 'a base, lyeing, bribery, justice of peace and not fit to be in that office.' This was after Rugeley had bound Smith over to appear at assizes on suspicion of a felony since he had been found to have Barnabas Jackson's key in his possession. Smith was eventually indicted for trespass in coming into Jackson's house and breaking the lock on his cupboard, for which he and Thomas Gibson had paid him £7-0s-6d in compensation. Depositions were take on Rugely's behalf on 3 January 1640 before fellow justices Thomas Brudenell, esq, and William Danvers, esq, in the inn of Thomas Walker at Loughborough.

Smith's defence against the charges was to challenge the credibility of four of Rugely's principal witnesses. The depositions for the defence were taken before James Chadwicke, esq, John Locker, esq, and Thomas Noble, esq, on the 21 April 1640, at the Red Lion Inn, Loughborough. Smith's witnesses, who included Danvers and Robert Remington, gent, described Jackson, Thomas Gaunt, gent, George Simpson and Rowland Woodhouse as perjurers, longstanding enemies of his and 'men of evill life and conversation' who stirred up 'strife, suites and contentions amongst their neighbours'. Jackson and Gaunt, Smith alleged, had plotted together to get him indicted by planting the key in his window; but Remington deposed that they were unlikely to have consorted together because Jackson once told him that Gaunt had got him into trouble with the coroner by accusing him of killing one Balladon. Jackson was a servant of the Earl of Huntingdon who, as well as persecuting Smith, had also been involved in King's Bench and Star Chamber suits against Smith's friends, Lawrence Woolley and Isaac Wingfield. According to Danvers, the Loughborough petty sessions had eventually referred all these disputes to arbitration by himself, Willam Halford, esq, another justice, and Henry Skipwith, gent. This was a case which brought to the surface deep divisions in the local community in Loughborough. No sentence, submission or bills of costs survive, but at the final court hearing on 20 November 1640 reference was made to arbiters being nominated. It appears that the court had decided that this was the best way to resolve the differences, perhaps with Huntingdon's encouragement.

Initial proceedings

6/137, Petition

'The petitioner hath been insufferably abused by many disgracefull words spoken of him in publique by one Henry Smith, a fellow of meane condicon, an alehouse keeper, saying the petitioner was a base lying justice and many other most disgracefull termes and languages.

Your petitioner being a gent of an ancient family and the heire of his house and is, and hath been a justice of peace for the county of Leicester above these 5 years last.'

Prayed that Smith be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process, no date.

6/116, Defendant's bond

22 May 1639

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

Signed by Henry Smith

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

6/139, Plaintiff's bond

29 May 1639

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

Signed by Brian Fitzwilliams of Thorpe Acre, co. Leicester, gent on behalf of Rugely.

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

11/26b, Libel [damaged]

[Document stuck together and illegible]

12/3h, Libel [on paper]

Rugely was descended of an ancient family of Rugeley, co. Stafford and was a J.P. for co. Leicester.

At Loughborough, Smith allegedly told Rugeley that he was 'a base, lying, bribery justice'.

20/3m, Libel

1. Rugely's family had been gentry for up to 300 years, and were descended of an ancient family in co. Stafford. Simon Rugely had been a J.P. in co. Leicester for three years.

2. Between January 1636/7 and March 1638, Henry Smith had said in Loughborough 'you are, or he is a base lying, bribery, justice', which words were provocative of a duel.

No date.

Signed by Thomas Eden.

R.19, fo. 22r, Summary of libel

Rugely was a J.P. and descended of the ancient family of Rugelys in co. Stafford, who for 'above 100, 200, 300 yeares past is and were gentlemen'. Smith said before many persons that Rugely 'was a base lying bribery justice, thereby to provoke and c.'

1639

No signature.

Plaintiff's case

11/26a, Letters commissory for the plaintiff [damaged]

[Document stuck together and illegible]

11/26c, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness.

2. Was the witness a household servant or retainer to Rugely? Was the witness related to Rugely and if so, in what degree? Which party did they favour and to whom would they give the victory if it were within their power?

3. How had they come to testify? Had they been asked or required? Had they received or promised expenses for their testimony?

4. Had there been any discord or controversy among the witnesses?

5. Had the witness spoken with any others concerning his testimony? Had the witness been directed or instructed how to depose? If so by whom and how?

6. Whether he or any other witness 'did in the night time in or about June 1636 put a key into the defendant Henry Smith his house through a hole in his window, or was privy or consenting thereunto, and for what cause or reason was the same done, and whether he or any (and which) of his [fellow witnesses] did write or procure to be written a letter accusing Smith of felony, when and where was the same written, by whom, upon what grounds and when was it dated.'

7. Whether any of the witnesses 'hath been or is guilty or vehemently suspected of perjury or subornacon and if so, in what court, what cause and between what parties'.

8. How did Rugely know what the witnesses could depose?

No date.

11/34a, Plaintiff depositions

Taken before the commissioners Thomas Brudenell, esq, and William Danvers, esq, with Peter Whitehead as notary public on 3 January 1640 in the inn of Thomas Walker, at Loughborough, co. Leicester.

(Witness 1), Francis Muncke of Mountsorrel, co. Leicester, yeoman, aged about 38

To Rugely's libel:

1. He had known Rugely to be a J.P. for co. Leicester for two or three years, and knew him 'to be commonly accounted and reputed to be and to have beene a gentleman, and a gentleman borne. He had often heard Leicestershire and Staffordshire gentlemen report that Simon Rugely 'was a gentleman borne and bred in Staffordshire'. He knew Rugely was a J.P. because he resided near him in Leicestershire.

Signed by Fran. Mounck and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

To Smith's interrogatories:

2. He would give the victory as justice required.

3. He was required to testify by Rugely's servant, one Fitzwilliams, who showed a warrant from the commissioners. Fitzwilliams offered a shilling towards Muncke's charges but Muncke refused it and said he 'would come to doe Mr Rugely so much service' as to testify his knowledge.

Signed by Fran. Mounck and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

(Witness 2), John Holt of Loughborough, co. Leicester, gent, aged about 65

To Rugely's libel:

1. For at least sixteen years, he had known Rugely to be 'commonly reputed and taken for a gentleman, and borne and bred of a generous family' at Rugely in co. Stafford. He had known Rugely to have been a J.P. for co. Leicester for three years. He knew this was true because he had sometimes 'beene at *Hawkshyard Parke nere* Rugely', the house where Rugely's parents lived in co. Stafford. He had seen Rugely exercise his office as J.P. in co. Leicester 'and to doe divers other actes' which declared Rugely to be a gentleman.

2. Smith told him, sometimes at Loughborough, that 'Smith had seene an answere of Mr Rugely... made in the Court of Requests to a bill proferred against Mr Rugely in the same Court of Requests on the behalfe of a brother or kinsman of Henry Smith'. Thereupon Henry Smith asked Holt whether 'Mr Rugely had returned his answers by vertue of his oath'. Holt replied that he had been a commissioner named for taking Mr Rugely's answers, but that Holt had not attended the commission, but nevertheless if Mr Rugely had given in his answers, Holt believed they were delivered upon oath. Then Henry Smith said that if Mr Rugely's answers were upon oath then Mr Rugely had spoken some things in them that were not true.

Signed by John Holt and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

To Smith's interrogatories:

2. He would give the victory 'as the truth of the cause should appeare.'

3. He came to testify 'his knowledge and the truth by vertue of a warrant from some of the commissioners' served on him by Mr Rugely's servant, 'and neither had nor expects any thing of either party for any victicalls or expenses.'

Signed by John Holt and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

(Witness 3), George Simpson of Hognasten, co. Derby, labourer, born at Ripon, co. York, aged about 43

To Rugely's libel:

1. He had heard that Rugely was a gentleman and a J.P. in co. Leicester, and heard 'Mr John Gell of Hopton and divers others give a good report and say that Mr Rugely was a gentleman.'

2. On Friday 'after Whitsunday last was two years' he was in company with Henry Smith at Smith's house in Loughborough when Smith said openly that Mr Rugely 'was a base lyeing, bribery, justice of peace, and not fit to be in that office'. He heard Smith repeat the words. Rowland Woodhouse, Thomas Smith 'and divers other men whose names he knoweth not' were present. Smith 'seemed at the time to be angry and to utter the words in anger'. He saw Smith 'rise of his chaire or seat hastily, and walke up and downe the house, and heard him say that Henry Smith thought a man should have a warrant for his money.'

Signed by George Simpson [his mark] and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers

To Smith's interrogatories:

2. He favoured neither party and would give the victory as God directed.

3. Last Wednesday a stranger gave him twelve pence towards his charges to come to testify his knowledge in this cause.

Signed by George Simpson [his mark] and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

(Witness 4), Barnabas Jackson of Loughborough, co. Leicester, yeoman, born at Hatfield Broad Oak, co. Essex, aged about 53

To Rugely's libel:

1. He had known Rugely for 5 years and had heard that Rugely was a gentleman well descended. A year ago, he heard the earl of Huntingdon affirm Rugely's gentility.He knew that Rugely had been a J.P. in co. Leicester for three years. Rugely behaved himself in the manner of a gentleman in Loughborough parish and other places nearby.

2. About 'the Friday in Whitsunweeke last was two yeares... [Jackson], together with Rowland Woodhouse and two Derbyshire men was at Loughborough in Henry Smith's house.He heard Henry Smith 'say openly and reprochfully of and against Mr Rugely that Mr Rugely is a base lyeing bribery justice and hid himselfe and would not be seen when one came for a warrant'.

Signed by Barnabas Jackson [his mark] and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

To Smith's interrogatories:

2. Since last midsummer he held an acre and a half of meadow from Rugely at £3 per annum. He favoured neither party and knew not to whom to give the victory.

3. Rugely's servant, Mr Brian Fitzwilliams served him with a warrant, and a stranger on last Wednesday gave him twelve pence towards his charges to come to testify. He was not to receive any other charges, but he had his dinner which Mr Rugely was to pay for.

4. About three years ago he prosecuted Henry Smith for trespass in coming into his house and breaking a lock from off his cupboard. He won the case so Henry Smith and Thomas Gibson paid him £7-0s-6d.

7. If Lawrence Woolley and Isaac Wingfield were to be witnesses, he declared that both 'did at the last terme stand indicted for perjury at Westminster in the King's Bench and were indicted therefore by *about a yeare agoe*' by him. Woolley and Wingfield had given in false evidence against him that he had arrested Woolley's gelding as Woolley was journeying towards London on 9 May.

8. He did not know how Mr Rugely knew what Jackson could depose.

Signed by Barnabas Jackson [his mark] and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

(Witness 5), Bowet Staples of Loughborough, co. Leicester, husbandman, aged about 36, born there

To Rugely's libel:

1. He had known Rugely to be a gentleman for at least 6 or 7 years, and a J.P. for co. Leicester for 3 years.

Signed by Bowet Staples [his mark] and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

To Smith's interrogatories:

2. He favoured both parties equally and desired that right would prevail.

3. He was 'served with a warrant this day' to testify, and Mr Rugely 'beareth his charges and saith he hath onely received parte of a jugge of beere and that he expects noe more.'

Signed by Bowet Staples [his mark] and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

(Witness 6), Nicholas Smith of Loughborough, co. Leicester, husbandman, aged about 46, born at North Stoke [Stoke Rochford], co. Lincoln

To Rugely's libel:

1. He had 'comonly heard it reported at Loughborough and throughout the countrey that Simon Rugely was and is a gentleman come of a good house and well bred and said that he hath knowne' him to have been a J.P. in co. Leicester 'and commonly soe reputed'. He knew this to be true because Rugely had licensed him to brew ale.

2. He had heard Henry Smith say in his own house and also in the witness's house in Loughborough that he was 'loth to come before Mr Rugely' because he was afraid that Mr Rugely would not *doe* justice to or for' him. There were present strangers and others whose names he now remembreth not.'

Signed by Nicholas Smith [his mark] and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

To Smith's interrogatories:

2. He desired the truth might prevail.

3. He was served with a warrant to be a witness 'and that he hath had his dinner this day.'

Signed by Nicholas Smith [his mark] and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

(Witness 7), Nathaniel Potter of Loughborough, co. Leicester, vintner, aged about 53, born at Newport Pagnell, co. Buckingham

To Rugely's libel:

1. He had known Simon Rugely esq to be reputed a gentleman for 16 or 17 years, and

had known him to be a J.P. for co. Leicester for 4 or 5 years. He knew this to be true 'by conversing with gentlemen and others that have resorted to [his] house in Loughborough', who had 'credibly reported and spoken of the ancestors' of Mr Rugely. He had often seen Mr Rugely on the bench during the assizes and quarter sessions in co. Leicester.

Signed by Nath. Potter and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

To Smith's interrogatories:

2. He held a close from Mr Rugely at £4 per annum in rent. He favoured neither party and would not give the victory otherwise than according to the truth.

3. He was summoned by a warrant this day to be a witness.

6. There was 'a common talke in Loughborough about two yeares agoe and upwards that there was a key put into Henry Smith's house through a hole in the glasse window and that he was not privy or consenting thereunto, nor doth know for what cause or by whom the same key was soe put in'.

Signed by Nath: Potter and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers

(Witness 8), John Fowler of Loughborough, co. Leicester, mercer, aged about 36, born there

To Rugely's libel:

1. He well knew Rugely' to have been and to be comonly reputed and taken for a gentleman of an ancient family'. He never knew nor heard the contrary, having dwelled near to him for over 12 years. He had known Mr Rugely to be a J.P. for co. Leicester for 4 years, and a J.P. of the town of Loughborough where Fowler had sometimes been constable 'and soe had speciall occasions to know' Mr Rugely.

2. About 4 years ago he heard Henry Smith say that Mr Rugely did not show him 'that favour which another justice would have shewed', in that Mr Rugely gave Fowler, then the constable of Loughborough, Henry Smith's 'mittimus ready made and afterwards re-examined Henry Smith'. But 'the place and the time of the speaking of words and whether they were spoken by Henry Smith within the time and places' mentioned in the libel, Fowler did not remember. While he was constable, he was with Henry Smith at Mr Rugely's house at Knight Thorpe in Loughborough parish, where he heard Mr Rugely tell Henry Smith that he had taken Smith's examination the day before and asked Smith if he wished to say anything to amend his examination. Fowler then and there heard Smith 'examined in some parte by Mr Rugely and then and there received the mittimus for Henry Smith.'

Signed by John Fowler and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

To Smith's interrogatories:

2. With Nathaniel Potter, he was tenant of a close held from Mr Rugely at £19 per annum. He favoured neither party and would give the victory to whoever deserved it.

3. He 'was served by a warrant from the commissioners to be present and testify his knowledge before the commissioners in this cause; and saith he onely hath had a glasse of beere, and expects nothing more for his victicalls or other charges or matter in this business.'

4. There 'were formerly some suits betweene Barnabas Jackson and Henry Smith concerning a key found in the window of Henry Smith, and concerning other matters, but for what cause the suits were begun or whether they be yet depending, or ended, or where they were commensed, he saith he cannot declare, nor doth now remember them, but saith that the key was the cause of his bringing Henry Smith' before Mr Rugely.

8. He did not know how Rugely knew what this witness could depose, and 'referreth himself to his former depositions... that he neither hath sollicited this cause nor requested anyone to testify therein' except that he 'sometimes was told by Henry Smith that he was to appeare before the right honorable the Earl of Huntingdon to testify his knowledge concerning the mittimus , or to that effect, and that he by chance meeting afterwards with Mr Rugely did tell Mr Rugely what Henry Smith had said in effect as in this answer to this interr[ogatory] is expressed; but saith that he was not summoned or warned to appeare before the Earle, nor did appeare before him at any time for the purpose aforesaid.'

Signed by John Fowler and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

Sworn statement by Henry Smith

'Memorandum, that whereas the right worshipfull Simon Rugely, esq., the party [presenting the libel] at the expedicon of the commission did and doth require the prorogacon of the commission for examinacon of more witnesses I, Henry Smith, for the avoiding of further proof and charges, and to declare and confess the truth, doe voluntarily willingly and freely confesse in judgment before you Thomas Brudenell, esq., and William Danvers, esquire... that all the contents of the first article of the libel[referring to Rugely's status as a gentleman and a J.P.]... were and are true. And in testimonie of this my confession I hereunto have subscribed or doe under write my name with mine owne hand this Saturday the fourth day of January in the yeare of our lord god according to the computacon of the church of England one thousand six hundred thirty nine.'

Signed by Henry Smith and by commissioners Brudenell and Danvers.

11/34b, Notary public's certificate

Certificate in Latin signed by Peter Whitehead, notary public that the above examinations had been completed and were now being returned.

Dated 7 January 1639/40

Notary's mark consisting of hand drawn self-portrait.

R.19, fo. 12r, Letters remissional

'Henry Smith, defendant, sayes that noe credit is to be given to the depositions of Geo. Sympson, Barnaby Jackson, andc. witnesses on the part of Rugely, for that they are men of an evil life, common swearers, make bates andc., and that their testimonyes have been rejected by the justices and coroners in the country, and that some of them stand indicted att the assizes andc.'

1639

No signature.

Defendant's case

Acta (5), fo. 264, Letters commissory for the defence

Addressed to commissioners John Danvers, gent, John Hough, gent, Richard Colebrand, clerk and Matthew Noble, gent, and also, James Chadwicke, esq, John Locker, esq, Ludovick Chadwick, gent, and Joseph Leigh, clerk, to meet in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, on 20-22 April 1640, at the Red Lion Inn, Loughborough, co. Leicester.

Dr William Lewin assigned John Rainshaw as notary public.

Dated 20 February 1640.

No signatures.

Acta (5), fo. 243, Defence

1. George Simpson, Barnabas Jackson, Thomas Gaunt and Rowland Woodhouse, witnesses examined on behalf of Rugely, were capital enemies to Smith and could be brought to testify untruths.

2. No credit should be given to the evidence of George Simpson, Barnaby Jackson, Thomas Gaunt and Rowland Woodhouse because they were 'men of an evill life and conversation, common swearers contentious persons make bates and quarrels, and such as doe use, make and stir up strife, suites and contentions amongst theire neighbours, men of little or noe credit at all, and for such soe commonly accounted, reputed and taken, throughout the townes and countie where they live; that their testimony hath beene by justices and corroners of the county where they live rejected; and for such they have beene commonly reputed and taken.'

3. Woodhouse and Simpson were 'poor beggarly fellows and have not house habitacon or harbour but are constrained to lodge in barnes, stables or other outhouses, and such as for a very small reward, may be easily induced to depose an untruth, and for such they are and have beene commonly accounted, reputed and taken in the parishes where they live and other places neare thereunto adjoyning.'

4. Jackson and Gaunt were 'capitall enemies to Smith, and heretofore complotted together to cause Smith to be indicted upon fellonie, and this they did on purpose to take away the testimony of Smith who was to have been a material witness against Jackson at the same assize; and thus much Gaunt hath confessed, and that he had 5li for to put a key into Smyth's window, which was then found, and Smyth was thereupon carried before Mr Rugely... and by him bound over to the next assize.'

5. Jackson 'hath in the Starr Chamber deposed falsely in a certain cause there depending between him and one Isack Wingfield and there... made false affidavits.'

6. Gaunt had often in the last 2 years 'said and affirmed that he feareth not to goe to the lawe with any man under the degree of a lord, for that he could have witnesses to sweare any thing on his behalfe for halfe a crowne a piece; and hath further sayd and affirmed that he could or can be revenged of any adversary by pulling a little wooll of his owne sheepe's backs and putting it, a napkin, a silver spoone or such like thinge into his adversarie's window, or some other parte of his house; and then bring an officer to search the house, and such things being so found to charge him with felonie; or he hath uttered words to the very same or like effect, and hereof there hath been formerly said before some of his Majestie's justices or judge of the King's Bench.'

7. Jackson and Gaunt still stood indicted before the judges of the assize at Leicester for perjury.

8. At the time of George Simpson's examination before the commissioners, Simpson deposed that the pretended words were spoken upon the Friday before Whitsunday and 'this the commissioners who took his examinacon well observed in regard his testimony agreed not with the testimony of the other witnesses who depose that the words were spoken upon the Fryday after Whitsunday; yet the word (before) was after such his examination, and still soe standeth, blotted out, and the word (after) put over the words soe blotted out.'

9. 'Upon the Fryday after Whitsunday when the pretended words are pretended to be spoken in the house of Smyth in Loughborow, Smyth... was all that day at the house of one Leonard Reynard in Loughborough where divers other credible persons were present.'

10. 'Item [damaged]...the Court of Requests and Kings Bench in two severall causes there depending between Jackson and [damaged]... Wingfield have made false affidavits and in the courts have deposed false...'

Dated 21 February 1640.

Acta (5), fo. 242, Plaintiff interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. What was the witnesses' age, occupation and condition of living? Where had the witness lived all their lives?

2-3. Was the witness related to Smith and if so in what degree? Was the witness indebted to Smith and if so, for how much?

4. Was Rugely a gentleman by birth living in the fashion of a gentleman? Was he of the Rugelies of Rugely, co. Stafford and the heir of that house, 'and for such a one commonly reputed and taken'?

5. Was Rugely a J.P. for co. Leicester, 'and so commonly accompted, and hath he not bine soe for these 7, 6, 5 or 4 yeares last past'?

6. Had Henry Smith 'within these 2, 3 or 4 yeares last past (et specificet when)' said of Simon Rugely that 'he was or is a base lieing bribery Justice: hath there beene any such fame that Smyth hath soe spoken'?

7. Had he or any of the other defendant's witnesses been indicted in the King's Bench or in any other court for perjury or felony, 'and lett such witness declare what proceedings have been upon the indictment, and whether it doth not still depend against such witness'?

8. Was Thomas Gaunt 'a man of very good estate vizt a man of 100li land a yeare of inheritance or thereabouts and soe and for such commonly reputed'?

9. Was Barnaby Jackson 'a man of very good meanes and estate and so commonly reputed, is he not a farmer to the right honorable the Earl of Huntington at a rent of betweene 80li and 100li per annum, is he not one of my Lord of Huntingtons servants and one much Imployed by him and much respected by him, and for such a one commonly reputed.'

10. Speak the truth of what you know, believe or have heard.

Michaelmas term, 1640.

Signed by Thomas Eden.

Acta (5), fos. 244r-252r, 263r-v, Defence depositions

Taken before commissioners James Chadwicke, esq, John Locker, esq, Matthew Noble, gent, with John Rainshaw as notary public, on 21 April 1640, at the Red Lion Inn, Loughborough, co. Leicester.

fos. 263r-v (Witness 1), William Danvers of Swithland, co. Leicester, gent, born there, aged about 46

To Smith's defence:

1-2. He believed that Barnaby Jackson had been an enemy to 'Henry Smyth and hath comensed severall suits at lawe against Smith, and hath plotted and conspired as much as in him to have undone Smith; and beleeveth that Jackson is noe competent witness against Smith, and hath credibly heard that Jackson hath and doth use to make and stir up divers strifes, suites and contentions amongst his neighbours.'

4. He had heard that 'Jackson and Gaunt complotted together to cause Smith to be indicted upon fellonie, and that Gaunt had five pounds to put a key into Smith's windowe, which was then found, and Smith was thereupon carried before Mr Rugely and by him bound over to the next assizes.'

5. He had heard that 'Jackson hath in the Starrchamber deposed falsely in a certaine cause there dependinge betweene him and one Isaacke Wingfield, there in the cause made false affidavits and saith that all differences betweene Smith, Jackson, Wingfield and one Wolley were referred by an order from the sessions of the peace, held then at Loughborough [too tightly bound] to [Danvers], Mr Henry Skipwith and William Halford.'

8. At the time of Simpson's examination before the commissioners, Simpson deposed, that the 'pretended words' in the libel were spoken on the Friday before Whitsunday 'and his deposicon was soe sett downe... [Danvers] deponent who was one of the company well observed the same, in regard his testimony agreed not with the testimony of the other witnesses, who deposed that the wordes were spoken upon the Friday after Whitsunday.'

(fo.244r )

9. He had heard that Jackson was tenant to the earl of Huntingdon 'and that he payeth him fowre score pounds per annum.'

Signed by W. Danvers and commissioners John Locker and Matthew Noble.

fos. 244r-v (Witness 2), Francis Mouncke of Mountsorrel, co. Leicester, yeoman, born there, aged 37

To Rugely's interrogatories:

2-3, 6-7. Negative.

Signed by Francis Mounck and the above two commissioners.

fos. 244r-v (Witness 3), William Rouse of Newtown Linford, co. Leicester, husbandman, born at King's Norton, co. Leicester, aged about 51

To Smith's defence:

1-2. 'Barnaby Jackson hath been and is accounted to be a contentious man amongst his neighbours, and for the rest of the parties he knoweth them not.'

4. 'Jackson hath been an enemy to the defendant Smyth but whether he be so nowe he knoweth not.'

Signed by William Rouse and the above two commissioners.

21 April 1640

fos. 245r-v (Witness 4), Christopher Tomlinson of Atlow, co. Derby, husbandman, born there, aged 21

To Smith's defence:

1-3. 'George Simpson is a witness produced on the behalf of [Rugely], as he hath heard and saith that Simpson is a poore man, and hath no house or habitacon that [Tomlinson] knoweth of; and that for his life and conversacon, whether it bee good or bad, he knoweth not. And [Tomlinson] saith that he never knewe or heard of any suits or contentious actions that Simpson prosecuted or stirred up, saveing that Simpson as he hath heard had charged one George Wilcockson for killing his father in lawe; and that afterwards it was ordered that as [Tomlinson] hath likewise heard that Simpson should aske Wilcockson forgiveness for the same in Attly Chappell [Atlow], which [Tomlinson] sawe in the chappell performed by Simpson within this twelvemonth; and for the rest of the particular mentioned in the articles he knoweth nott what to say of them, saveing that Thomas Gaunt is usually called in the countrie where he lyveth Mr Thomas Gaunt, and writeth himself gentleman.'

Signed by Christopher Tomlinson and the commissioners James Chadwick, John Locker and Matthew Noble.

fos. 245v-246r (Witness 5), George Wilcockson of Atlow, co. Derby, husbandman, born at Biggin, co. Derby, aged 25

To Smith's defence:

1-3. George Simpson was 'a poore beggarly fellowe, having noe habitacon or harbour that [Wilkinson] ever heard of.' He had known him for the past two years, 'and thinketh noe credit is to be given to his testimony, because he is a vagrant; and for that Simpson within these twelvemonth chardged him with killinge of his father in lawe, one Francis Millington, and afterwards asked his forgiveness in the chappell of Attly [Atlow] for the same... Gaunt is

Signed by George Wellcockson [his mark] and the above three commissioners.

fos. 246r-v (Witness 6), Francis Osbaston of Derby, innholder, born at Hognaston, co. Derby, aged about 44

To Rugely's defence:

1-3. Last Christmas, George Simpson came to his house in Derby and told him that he had been at Loughborough co. Leicester at a commission where he had testified in a cause between Mr Rugely and Smith, for which he should be well paid: 'for he had received ten shillings in parte and was to receave fortie shillings more, but from whose handes he was to receave the same he did [not] certifie [Osbaston] and saith that [next line scored through] Simpson is a vagrant, a beggarly fellow and one that hath noe constant habitacon, and for such a one he is commonly accounted, reputed and taken in the countrye'. Gaunt was 'a man of good meanes of 100li per annum, and is reputed to be a man of good life and conversation and [Osbaston] hath known him a long tyme, for that they were schoolfellows together'. Barnaby Jackson was 'a man of honest life and conversation for anything [Osbaston] ever heard; and that Rowland Woodhouse is fled out of the country for debt.'

Signed by Francis Osbaston and the above three commissioners.

fo. 247r (Witness 7), John Woodhouse of Bradley, co. Derby, labourer, born there, aged about 30

To Smith's defence:

1-3. Gaunt was 'reputed a man of honest and good life and conversation and a man of good estate of 100li per annum; and that George Simpson is a very poore man, one that hath no habitacon or house to dwell in'. Rowland Woodhouse was John's brother, 'and is of good life and conversation for any thing he knoweth.'

Signed by John Woodhouse [his mark] and the above three commissioners.

fo. 247v (Witness 8), Richard Cotton of Ashbourne, co. Derby, labourer, aged about 35

To Smith's defence:

1-3. 'Simpson is a poore beggarly fellowe and hath no house or habitacon, but hath usually lodged in stables or other outhouses; and saith that Rowland Woodhouse is a poore man, and is gone out of his countrye where he lyved; and that Gaunt and Jackson are reputed to bee honest men; and saith that Gaunt is accounted to be a man of good estate.'

Signed by Richard Cotton and the above three commissioners.

fos. 248r-249r (Witness 9), Robert Remington of Mountsorrel, co. Leicester, gent, born at Hardwick, co. Lincoln, aged about 60

To Smith's defence:

1, 2 and 3. Barnaby Jackson told him that he had no reason to be favourable to Gaunt for Gaunt 'had desired the wife of one Balladon, who was deceased, to accuse Jackson for killing of her husband; and by that meanes she might procure fortie shillings from Jackson to which she answered she could not say soe and that thereupon Gaunt should say that he would affirme it upon his oath that Jackson had killed Balladon her husband, by which occasion Jackson was called before the coroner, and the body was viewed... Thereupon the coroner did wish Balladon's wife to produce her testimony against Jackson for the same, to which she said that she could give no testimony but that there was one in a gray coate that then and there stood by whose name was Gaunt; and layeing her hand upon his coate, sayd, This man, Mr Thomas Gaunt, can give the testimony in this cause. Whereupon Gaunt did depose as Jackson then informed [Remington] that there had formerly been a quarrel between Balladon and Jackson at Christmas before and by reason of some blowe that Jackson had that tyme given Balladon, was the cause of the death of Balladon; yet the Jurie did not find Jackson guilty. Afterwhich tyme Jackson did commence a suite against Gaunt for his false accusation, as Jackson further informed [Remington] which by composition was ordered that Gaunt should give Jackson fifteen poundes, for which sume Gaunt gave securitie for payment thereof at a day afterwards, at which day Jackson expected his money, to which Gaunt answered that he had a release from him for the money under his hand and seale and produced a release to that purpose, which Jackson said was a forged deed, for that he neither subscribed, sealed or delivered the same. And to [Remington's] best remembrance Jackson then told [him] that he sued Gaunt in the Starrchamber for the same forgery, and that Gaunt for satisfaction gave Jackson the sume of 15li, and fortie shillings more; and [Remington] then replyed and sayd to Jackson that he marvayled that Jackson would produce such a testimony as Gaunt, which Jackson knew to be so ill... saving that [Remington] deposeth what he hath before deposed only by relacon of Jackson.'

Signed by Robert Remington and the above three commissioners.

To Rugely's interrogatories:

9. Jackson was a tenant to the earl of Huntingdon.

Signed by Robert Remington and commissioners the above three commissioners.

fo. 249r (Witness 10), Thomas Arland of St Margaret's parish, Leicester, currier, born at Oadby co. Leicester, aged about 40

To Smith's defence:

1-4. He has nothing to depose on the articles.

Signed by Tho. Arland [his mark] and commissioners James Chadwick and Matthew Noble.

fos. 249r-v (Witness 11), John Wigson of St Margaret's parish, Leicester, cordwainer, born at Elsdon co. Leicester, aged about 40

To Smith's defence:

1-4. Jackson was 'a contentious person for that he hath comensed two suits at lawe against [Wigson]this deponent without any cause; and saith that Gaunt did forsweare himselfe before a judge judicially sitting at Leicester assizes against one Isacke Wingfield of Loughborough as [Wigson] conceyveth.'

Signed by John Wigson and the above two commissioners.

fos. 249v-250r (Witness 12), Lawrence Woolley of Loughborough, co. Leicester, woolen draper, born at Kegworth, co. Leicester, aged about 36

To Smith's defence:

4. 'Jackson is a contentious man and an enemye to [Smith] for that he hath comensed suits against Smith and [Woolley]; and further saith that [he] was present at Leicester assizes about 3 yeares agoe and heard one John Hough (who was sometimes servant to Gaunt, as [he] heard Hough there depose) to say upon oath that Gaunt had five poundes to put the key into Smith's windowe, and saith as [Woolley] heard, Smith was bound over to the next assizes and there indyted; but the bill was not found as he beleeveth.'

5. 'Jackson hath in the Starrchamber made false affidavits against him and others.'

Signed by Lawrence Woolley.

To Rugely's interrogatories:

7. He and Isaac Wingfield were indicted in the King's Bench for perjury 'to which indictment they have put in theire traverse, which as yet is not tried.'

Signed by Lawrence Woolley and the above two commissioners.

fo. 250r (Witness 13), Henry Paulson of Loughborough, co. Leicester, tailor, born at Shepshed, co. Leicester, aged about 36

To Smith's defence:

1-3. Barnaby Jacskon was 'a contentious man among his neighbours, one hath bene indicted for a common barrettour at the sessions at Leicester and the bill was found by the jury there against him. And saith that Jackson served a privie seale upon him to appear at London without any cause att all.'

Signed by Henry Paulson and the above two commissioners.

fo. 250v (Witness 14), Leonard Reynor of Loughborough, co. Leicester, yeoman, born at Knaresborough, co. York, aged about 66

To Smith's defence:

1-4. He had heard that there had been several suits between Jackson and Smith, and others.'

To Rugely's interrogatories:

9. 'Barnaby Jackson (as [Remington] verily believeth) is a man of good estate...for that [Reynor] hath gathered monyes being an officer for the King and that he hath paid his part with men of good Ranke and quality in the Towne where he lyveth.'

Signed by Leo. Rayner and the above two commissioners.

fo. 251r (Witness 15), William Fowkes of Loughborough, co. Leicester, blacksmith, born at Long Whatton, co. Leicester, aged about 50

To Smith's defence:

1-10. He has nothing to depose on the articles.

Signed by William Fowkes [his mark] and the above two commissioners.

fo. 251r (Witness 15), Thomas Gibson of Loughborough, co. Leicester, blacksmith, born at Barkby, co. Leicester, aged about 30

To Smith's defence:

1-4. He had heard that 'Gaunt is a man of good reputation and that Barnaby Jackson is a contentious man amongst his neighbours for he hath comensed suits against [Gibson] and others and verilie beleiveth that Jackson hath beene an enemye to Smith, but whether he be soe now he knoweth not.'

5-10. He has nothing to depose on the articles.

Signed by Thomas Gibson and the commissioner James Chadwick.

fo. 251v (Witness 16), John Heyly of Loughborough, co. Leicester, baker, born at Knossington, co. Leicester, aged about 40

To Rugely's interrogatories:

1-3. Barnaby Jackson 'was a man reputed to be of good estate and meanes and [Heyly] knoweth him to be soe'. Jackson was a farmer to the Earl of Huntingdon.

Signed by John Healye and commissioners James Chadwick and Matthew Noble.

fos. 251v-252r (Witness 17), Edmund Hutchinson of Loughborough, co. Leicester, born there, aged about 33

To Smith's defence:

1-3. 'Barnaby Jackson is a contentious man and hath bene an enemye to Henry Smyth; but whether he be soe now he knoweth not and hath comensed divers suits among his neighbours, where he lyveth, amongst which suits he comensed one against Hutchinson's father, which he verily beleeveth was unnecessary; and for the rest of the parties in the articles mentioned he knoweth them not.'

Signed by Edmond Hutchinson and commissioners Chadwick and Noble.

fo. 252r (Witness 18), Richard Coxe of Loughborough, co. Leicester, cordwainer, born at Clifton [Clifton Campville], co. Stafford

aged about 30

To Smith's defence:

1-10. He has nothing to depose on the articles.

Signed by Richard Cox and commissioners Chadwick and Noble.

Acta (5), fo. 252v, Notary public's certificate

Certificate in Latin signed by John Rainshaw, notary public that the above examinations had been completed and were now being returned.

No date.

Notary's mark.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Eden acted as counsel for Rugely and Dr Exton for Smith. On 4 February 1638/9 the witnesses were warned to appear. On 4 February 1640 the depositions of Rugely's witnesses were examined at Dr Eden's petition and Dr Exton prepared Smith's defence. On 20 November 1640 mention was made of arbiters.

Notes

Simon Rugely was part of an established Staffordshire family of gentry noted in the county Visitations of 1583, 1614 and 1663-4.

G. J. Armytage and W. H. Rylands (eds.), Staffordshire Pedigrees based on the Visitation of that County made by William Dugdale, 1663-4 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 63, 1912), pp. 196-7.

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 6/137 (no date)
    • Defendant's bond: 6/116 (22 May 1639)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 6/139 (29 May 1639)
    • Libel: 11/26b (no date)
    • Libel: 12/3h (no date)
    • Libel: 20/3m (no date)
    • Summary of libel: R.19, fo. 22r (1639)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: 11/26a (no date)
    • Defence interrogatories: 11/26c (no date)
    • Plaintiff depositions: 11/34a (3 Jan 1640)
    • Notary public's certificate: 11/34b (7 Jan 1640)
    • Letters remissional: R.19, fo. 12r (1640)
  • Defendant's case
    • Letters commissory for the defence: Acta (5), fo. 264 (20 Feb 1640)
    • Defence: Acta (5), fo. 243 (21 Feb 1640)
    • Plaintiff interrogatories: Acta (5), fo. 242 (Mic 1640)
    • Defence depositions: Acta (5), fos. 244r-252r, 263r-v (21 Apr 1640)
    • Notary public's certificate: Acta (5), fo. 252v (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 5r-9r (20 Nov 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Arland, Thomas, currier
  • Balladon
  • Brudenell, Thomas, esq
  • Chadwicke, James, esq
  • Chadwicke, Ludovick, gent
  • Colebrand, Richard, clerk
  • Cotton, Richard, labourer
  • Coxe, Richard, cordwainer (also Cox)
  • Danvers, John, gent
  • Danvers, William, esq / gent
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Exton, Thomas, lawyer
  • Fitzwilliams, Brian, gent
  • Fowkes, William, blacksmith
  • Fowler, John, mercer
  • Gaunt, Thomas, gent
  • Gibson, Thomas, blacksmith
  • Halford, William, esq
  • Hastings, Henry, earl of Huntingdon
  • Heyly, John, baker
  • Holt, John, gent
  • Hough, John, gent
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Hutchinson, Edmund
  • Jackson, Barnabas, servant
  • Leigh, Joseph, clerk
  • Lewin, William, lawyer
  • Locker, John, esq
  • Millington, Francis
  • Muncke, Francis, yeoman (also Mounck)
  • Noble, Matthew, gent
  • Noble, Thomas, esq
  • Osbaston, Francis, innkeeper
  • Paulson, Henry, tailor
  • Potter, Nathaniel, vintner
  • Rainshaw, John, notary public (also Rainshawe)
  • Remington, Robert, gent
  • Reynard, Leonard
  • Reynor, Leonard, yeoman
  • Rouse, William, husbandman
  • Rugely, Simon, esq (also Rugeley)
  • Simpson, George, labourer
  • Skipwith, Henry, gent
  • Smith, Henry, yeoman
  • Smith, Nicholas, husbandman
  • Staples, Bowet, husbandman
  • Tomlinson, Christopher, husbandman
  • Walker, Thomas, innkeeper
  • Watson, John
  • Whitehead, Peter, notary public
  • Wigson, John, cordwainer
  • Wilcockson, George, husbandman (also Wellcockson)
  • Wingfield, Isaac
  • Woodhouse, John, labourer
  • Woodhouse, Rowland
  • Woolley, Lawrence, woollen draper

Places mentioned in the case

  • Buckinghamshire
    • Newport Pagnell
  • Derbyshire
    • Ashbourne
    • Atlow
    • Biggin
    • Bradley
    • Hognaston
  • Essex
    • Hatfield Broad Oak
  • Leicestershire
    • Barkby
    • Elsdon
    • Kegworth
    • Knighthorpe
    • Knossington
    • Long Whatton
    • Loughborough
    • Mountsorrel
    • Newtown Linford
    • King's Norton
    • Oadby
    • St Margaret's, Leicester
    • Shepshed
    • Swithland
    • Thorpe Acre
  • Lincolnshire
    • Hardwick
    • Stoke Rochford
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Staffordshire
    • Clifton Campville
    • Hawkyard Park
    • Rugeley
  • Yorkshire, West Riding
    • Knaresborough
    • Ripon

Topics of the case

  • allegation of murder
  • allegation of perjury
  • arbitration
  • assizes
  • Court of Requests
  • denial of gentility
  • giving the lie
  • justice of the peace
  • King's Bench
  • office-holding
  • other courts
  • Star Chamber
  • taxation
  • trespass