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697 West v Green

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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697 WEST V GREEN

Richard West of Pontefract, co. York, gent v Thomas Green of the same, maltster

October 1637 - September 1639

Abstract

West complained that in September 1636, Green had said to him in Pontefract market place, Yorkshire, 'Thou lyest, thou art a sharke, and livest by sharkeinge, and I am a better man, or as good a man as thou'. Green admitted that he had been provoked into saying, 'Goe your way like a sharke' after West struck him on the face with his fist and called him 'a rogue and a villaine'. The quarrel had arisen when Green tried to purchase a house in Pontefract belonging to West without consulting him and West had said that Green was 'no better than a malt worme, in going about to do him that injury'. Around Michaelmas 1637 the quarrel was arbitrated by Sir Thomas Dalison and Thomas Stringer of Sharlston, esq, who ordered Green to pay West £21 and to provide a written submission apologising for the words in the libel. Green apparently did this, but, notwithstanding, West proceeded with the case in the Court of Chivalry and Green was bound over to appear on 18 November 1637. West's witnesses, including Stringer, were examined by a commission headed by Francis West, gent, on 12 March 1638 at Edward Dickenson's Falcon Inn at Hemsworth, Yorkshire. The arbitration was again referred to on 9 February 1639, but Dr Duck, West's counsel reported that there had been problems over payment of the bond to abide by it. West had won a favourable verdict in the court by 5 July 1639 and Green was sentenced to pay £40 in damages and 40s in costs. He was also ordered to perform a submission on 13 September 1639 in the town hall of Pontefract, before the mayor, recorder and aldermen, where he was to apologise for his 'rash and unadvised speeches' and also to acknowledge that West 'was descended of an honourable family of the Lord De La Warr.' This was something West had been seeking to establish throughout this case, and also in his case against George Crutchman in 1635.

Initial proceedings

Cur Mil I, fo. 160, Libel

1. West was descended from a family that head been gentry for up to 300 years, and were kin to Charles, Lord de la Ware, whereas Thomas Green was a plebeian and a maltman. In August to October 1636, Green had said to West in Pontefract town, 'Thou lyest, thou art a sharke, and livest by sharkeinge, and I am a better man, or as good a man as thou', which words were provocative of a duel.

18 November 1637

Signed by Arthur Duck.

17/3e, Personal answer

'West is an inhabitant within the towne of Pontefract and so hath been for the space of these two years last past, during which time West was reputed a gentleman, but not knowne by [Green] within the time in the libel, nor commonly conceived by others to be descended of my Lord De la Ware's house, as [green] believeth. And that at the time libelled, there was some difference and words of discontent between West and [Green], whereupon West said [Green] was a rogue and a villaine, and laid violent hands upon [Green], striking him upon the face with his fist, whereupon being much provoked thereunto [Green] doth confess he said to West goe your way like a sharke.'

Dated 6 December 1637

Signed by George Parry.

Plaintiff's case

Cur Mil I, fo. 161, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners Francis West, gent, Nicholas Broadley, clerk, Richard Batteson, clerk, Jervase Hanson, gent, and also, Nathaniel Birkhead, esq, Emanuel Gilby, gent, Francis Ogolthorpe, gent, and John Tatton, gent, to meet in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel from 12 to 14 March 1638 at Edward Dickenson's Falcon Inn at Hemsworth, co. York.

Dethick assigned Francis West as notary public.

6 December 1637

Signed by Gilbert Dethick.

17/3c, Defendant's bill of costs

Michaelmas term, 1637

Sum total: £4-0s-2d

Signed by George Parry

Taxed at 40s on 6 December 1637.

Cur Mil I, fos. 156-9, Plaintiff depositions

Taken before commissioners Francis West of Underbank, co. York, gent, Nicholas Bradley of Cawthorne, co. York, clerk, Richard Batteson of Hemsworth, co. York, clerk, Jervase Hanson of Worsborough Dale, co. York, gent, on 12 March 1638 at Edward Dickenson's Falcon Inn at Hemsworth, co. York.

fo. 157 (Witness 1), Anthony Nelson of Pontefract, co. York, tailor, aged about 23

To West's libel:

West was reputed and taken to be a gentleman of good birth, and Green was a maltster by trade and not taken to be a gentleman. In September 1636 he heard Green say to West, 'Thou lyest, and thou art a shark and lyvest by sharking, and I am a better man than thee, or as good a man as thou art'. The words were sufficient to have provoked Mr West to have struck, but Mr West 'thereupon laid his hand gently upon Green's shoulder', and said, 'Well Greene thou shalt answer these words in a further place'. He saw their parting at that time without any blows given. 'This he speaketh without any hatred or any hope of reward.'

fo. 157 (Witness 2), Richard Banks of Sharlston, co. York, gent, aged about 43

To West's libel:

'About Michaelmas now last past there was a reference made by the parties now at variance to the order of Sir Thomas Dalyson, baronet, and Thomas Stringer, esq., touching words of disgrace given out by Greene against Richard West (Richard West alleging that he had spent money therein, but how much [Banks] remembereth not) who ordered that Green should pay to Richard West one and twenty pounds, whereof tenn pounds upon the Saturday next following the order and the rest that day month or thereabouts. And withal that Green should make his submission under his hand, which he did make accordingly under his hand. And thereby confessed certain words he had spoken against Mr West, to the effect of the words in the libel menconed, but the very words he remembereth not, but refereth himself to the submission, being of [Banks's] owne hand writing'. Thomas Green consented to the order.

Signed by the four commissioners, and by another Francis Weste, notary public.

fo. 158 (Witness 3), Thomas Stringer of Sharlston, co. York, esq, aged about 50

To West's libel:

West was reputed to be a gentleman descended from the family of Lord de la Ware, and Green 'was an honest man for anything [Stringer] knoweth'. Last Michaelmas a reference was made by West and Green to Sir Thomas Dalyson and [himself], concerning West's desire for satisfaction against Green for his scandalous words. It was agreed, with Green's consent, that Green pay West £21, of which £10 should be paid on the next Saturday and the rest a month later. It was also agreed that Green should sign a submission acknowledging he was sorry for saying the words, but the witness could not remember exactly what those words were, 'saving that he confessed he bid him goe like a shark, and that he was as good a man as Richard West but he denied that he gave him the lye, and for further satisfaction he referreth himself to the confession under Green's hand'. 'The cause of ordering that he should have so much money, was because Mr West affirmed that he had spent so much, but that it was not all in charges in the suit, but on riding and attending that business.'

Signed by the four commissioners, and by another Francis Weste, notary public.

fo. 159 (Witness 4), William Wilkinson of Pontefract, co. York, tailor, aged about 37

To West's libel:

West was a gentleman of the ancient and noble family of Lord de la Ware, and Green was a maltster and not taken by his neighbours to be a gentleman. In September 1636, he was in Pontefract, in the 'Nawte market place,' and there did hear 'Richard West and Thomas Greene at some high words about an unkindness conveyed by Mr West against Greene for buying, or going about to buy, his house over his head, meaning the now dwelling house of Richard West in Pontefract, and which Richard West had formerly bought. Whereupon, Mr West said he (meaning Thomas Greene), was no better than a malt worme, in going about to do him that injury. Upon which words Thomas Greene replied that West was a lying sharking fellow; and that he was a better man then he was, or as good for anything he knew. The words were sufficient for Mr West to have stricken him or quarrelled with him. Nevertheless, Mr West being close by him did onely lay his hand gently upon Greene's shoulder, using these words, Well Greene, thou shalt answer these words in a further place'. He 'did see both their meeting and parting at that tyme. But did never see Mr West strike him, neyther then nor before nor after. Notwithstanding he heard Greene say, beare me witness that he strikes me.'

fo. 159 (Witness 5), Thomas Rothwell of Pontefract, co. York, 'searjeant of the mace to the mayor of the town', aged about 42

To West's libel:

West was a gentleman of the ancient and noble family of Lord de la Ware, and Green was a maltster by trade and burgess of Pontefract, 'but is not holden to be a gentleman'.

He was with West and Green in September 1636 near West's house in Pontefract, when he heard West 'charging Greene that he had done him wrong to offer to buy his house over his head, whereunto Greene answered and said to him, *Tis a lye and* you are a sharke, and I am a better man then you are, or as good a man for ought I know.'

Signed by the four commissioners, and by another Francis Weste, notary public.

Submission

13/3z, Submission

On Monday 13 September 1639, between 9 and 11 a.m. 'in the town hall of Pontefract at the sessions then and there holden for the town and borough of Pontefract, before the maior, recorder and aldermen then and there sittinge, standing bareheaded in some convenient place to be appointed by the Mayor, Recorder and Aldermen, shall with an audible voyce read or after the town clarke readinge unto him say as followeth.'

'Whereas I Robert Greene stand convicted by sentence diffinitive given against me in the Court militarie by the right Honorable Henry Lord Maltravers, Lieutenant to Thomas Earl of Arundel and Surrey Earl Marshal of England, to have much abusedin wordes Mr Richard West of this towne of Pontefract, gent., and amongest other opporobrious speeches to have sayd that Mr West was a sharke and that Thomas Greene was a better man than Mr West. I doe hereby humbly confesse that I am hartily sorry for my such rash and unadvised speeches against Mr West whom I doe hereby acknowledge to bee an honest gent descended of an honourable family of the Lord De La Warr, and a better man than myselfe; and I doe humbly pray Mr West to forgive and forgett my such rash and inconsiderate speeches and I doe promise for ever hereafter to carry and behave myselfe with all due respect towardes Mr West and all the gentrie of this kingdome.'

6/93, Defendant's bond of submission

5 July 1639

Green was to pay £40 in damages to West. The first £20 of which was to paid by the first session of Michaelmas term and the second £20 by the last session in Michaelmas term.

Green was to perform his submission as directed by the Court and produce a certificate to prove he had done so.

Henry Roe of Shafton, co. York, gent and Henry Ellis of Ackworth, co. York, yeoman acted as Green's sureties.

Signed and sealed by Thomas Greene, Henry Roe and Henry Ellis.

Sealed subscribed and delivered in the presence of Robert Downes and John Watson.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for West and Dr Parry for Green. The cause came before the earl of Arundel, Lord Maltravers and Sir Henry Marten on 14 October 1637 and Green was bound over for £100 on 18 November. On 28 November Dr Duck was required to nominate commissioners and days of hearing. On 6 December Francis West, gent, Nicholas Broadley, clerk, Richard Batteson, clerk, and Jervase Hanson, gent, and also, Nathaniel Birkhead, esq, Emanuel Gilby, Francis Ogolthorpe and John Tatton, gent, were nominated as commissioners to meet from 12 to 14 March 1638 in Hemsworth, co. York. On 20 October 1638 Dr Parry was required to send the material for the defence to the commissioners. On 6 November 1638 the court noted that 'Mr Balden counsell at Grays Inne sent.' On 9 February 1639 Dr Duck claimed that the case had been referred to arbitrators and that there were problems over the payment of the bond submitted to abide by the settlement.

Notes

Richard West did not appear in Dugdale's Visitation of York, nor Clay's pedigrees of minor gentry.

R. Davies (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Yorke begun in 1665 and finished in 1666, by William Dugdale (Surtees Society, 36, 1859); J. W. Clay (ed.), Dugdale's Visitation of Yorkshire with additions (3 vols, Exeter, 1899-1917); J. W. Clay (ed.), Familiae Minorum Gentium (Publications of the Harleian Society, 37-40, 1894-6).

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Libel: Cur Mil I, fo. 160 (18 Nov 1637)
    • Personal answer: 17/3e (6 Dec 1637)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Cur Mil I, fo. 161 (6 Dec 1637)
    • Defendant's bill of costs: 17/3c (6 Dec 1637)
    • Plaintiff depositions: Cur Mil I, fos. 156-9 (12 Mar 1638)
  • Submission
    • Submission: 13/3z (no date)
    • Bond on submission: 6/93 (5 Jul 1639)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 8/26 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/27 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/29 (18 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/30 (28 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings: 8/30 (2 Dec 1637)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: R.19, fos. 434r-449v (20 Oct 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 454r-468v (6 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings: 1/7, fos. 36-47 (9 Feb 1639)

People mentioned in the case

  • Banks, Richard, gent
  • Batteson, Richard, clerk
  • Birkhead, Nathaniel, esq
  • Broadley, Nicholas, clerk (also Bradley)
  • Dalison, Thomas, baronet (also Dallison, Dalyson)
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Dickenson, Edward, innkeeper
  • Downes, Robert
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Ellis, Henry, yeoman
  • Gilby, Emanuel, gent
  • Green, Thomas, maltster (also Greene)
  • Hanson, Jervase, gent
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Ogolthorpe, Francis, gent (also Oglethorpe)
  • Nelson, Anthony, tailor
  • Parry, George, lawyer
  • Roe, Henry, gent
  • Rothwell, Thomas
  • Stringer, Thomas, esq
  • Tatton, John, gent
  • Watson, John
  • West, Francis, gent
  • West, Francis, notary public (also Weste)
  • West, Richard, gent
  • West, Thomas, baron De La Ware (also baron Delawar)
  • Wilkinson, William, tailor

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • Gray's Inn
  • Yorkshire, West Riding
    • Ackworth
    • Cawthorne
    • Hemsworth
    • Pontefract
    • Shafton
    • Sharlston
    • Underbank
    • Worsborough Dale

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • assault
  • comparison
  • giving the lie
  • market place