Survey of London Monograph 13, Swakeleys, Ickenham. Originally published by Guild & School of Handicraft, London, 1933.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
ABSTRACT OF EXCHEQUER PROCEEDINGS OF JOHN BINGLEY v. WILLIAM CRAGG, 1616.
Robert Bromley late of London, draper, deceased, was seised in fee simple of a capital messuage or manor place or house called the manor of SWACKLIFFE alias SWACKLEYS in Ickenham and divers other lands there and, with Martha his then wife, by lease dated 4 December 3 James I demised to WILLIAM CRAGG (then and now one of the attorneys of the Court of Common Pleas) the same, late in the tenure of Barnard Sharpe, yeoman, and of Horselease (24 acres) adjoining to the orchard of the said capital messuage then in the tenure of the said William Cragg and Style of Uxbridge and pasture enclosed (9 acres) part of Middleton's and a parcel of meadow or pasture containing 3 acres part of the Little Meadow before the gate in the tenure of William Hobb, butcher (excepted unto Robert Bromley his heirs and assigns all that Great Chamber and Room part of the capital messuage, called the King's Chamber, with an inner chamber thereunto in the same house next or west unto the same for the lodging of them their heirs and assigns and their children servants or friends with use of the kitchen, buttery, hall and great parlour or such other necessary rooms as shall be meet and convenient for the dressing of their meat and setting of necessary provisions of housekeeping and also for his heirs and assigns there dining supping and housekeeping and use of stables for their horses and geldings—he giving reasonable price for hay and provin—together also with free liberty and licence for the said Robert and Martha and the heirs and assigns of the said Robert and his and their steward and tenants to call keep and hold Court or Courts for the said manor of Swackliffe alias Swackley in the said messuage and reserving also the wood and liberty to fell trees etc.) to hold from Michaelmas then last for 21 years (also excepted liberty to hawk hunt fish or otherwise to solace and recreate themselves there and to enter and effect repairs within six months after due warning). On 22 July 4 James, ROBERT BROMLEY for very valuable considerations sold to your Orator for ever in fee simple the premises so leased. William Cragg about two years past gave licence to your Orator to build a brick wall about the said capital house orchard and garden for the better defence thereof and to fill and dam up the moat of water compassing the said house which water was corrupt and unhealthful and to repair or new build all the ruins and decayes of the house and buildings and to dig up an old orchard and replant the same and to alter and enlarge the ways and passages to the house. Your Orator intending to give execution to which licence, to his great costs and charges provided lime brick and other materials and most of the work has been done and the orchard new planted with at least 300 new fruit trees and the moat is for the most part dammed and stopped up and the ways and passages to the said house much enlarged and amended.
Now William Cragg being a man of turbulent condition and quality and
maliciously purposing to disturb and interrupt your Orator in the enjoying
of his rights hath gotten possession of the counterpart of the lease and doth
deny and refuse to permit your Orator to have and enjoy the same Great
Chamber and room called the King's Chamber, etc. etc. And your Orator
for want of having the counterpart of the said lease is without remedy in
strict course of the common law.
Fiat breve de subpœna.
The matter doth already depend in Chancery and Plaintiff is not such a person as by reason of his place only ought to have privilege to sue in this Court; and the Complainant hath there examined divers witnesses in the matter at issue. Robert Bromley alone was seised of the estate in fee simple (for Martha never sealed the lease) for £95 for a fine.
Rent payable at Robert Bromley's house at St. Mary Aldermarye, City, £56, and also on or before 1 November yearly 20s. towards the buying of a clean and well brawned boar and two good young fat crammed capons at Christmas. Bromley to have and take competent and sufficient hedge boote, hayboote, ploughboote, cart boote, gate boote and fire boote to be spent on the said demised premises only and not elsewhere without let trouble or expulsion of Francis Cotton of Roche Court, Hants, esquire, or the heirs of Margerie Beckett late the wife of the said Francis and a daughter and co:heir of Sir Richard Pexall, knight, deceased.
Defendant was only told in general terms of the Plaintiff's intentions as to building the wall etc. before he suddenly without the Defendant's privity, consent or knowledge set very many workmen to the number of fifty persons or more about the beginning of November 12 James and then in Michaelmas term the Defendant being in London, on the sudden the workmen did dig and root up all or most of the fruit trees then growing in the said premises being fruit full well bearing and good fruit trees in an ancient orchard, and he forbade them to continue. Defendant did ride down in person to the said house and grounds and forbid them but Complainant and his workmen continued their courses and dug up 100 fruit trees of wardens pears apples of divers sorts plums cherries etc., many of them long before planted by Defendant and dug up his hop plot, filled up a moat about the house it being good and sweet water being not only a defence for the said house but also did serve for dressing of food drink washing and other necessary offices, which Defendant is now deprived of, and hath removed most of the fences round the orchard and felled timber trees the lops whereof ought to have been Defendant's fire boote, who by reason whereof is forced to buy his firewood, and digged and spoiled with horses and carts all the grass and pasture grounds to the quantity of ten acres of his best grounds and trenched his garden and yards and stopped up the watercourses about his house and grounds so that his barn all or most part of the two last winters was overflowne with water under his corn lying therein, also his kitchen so wet that during wet weather he could not keep any fire therein, besides the drowning up of one end of his stable and spoiling of his dovehouse being an ancient house and well stored with very many pigeons to the number of 120 pair near all driven away except three pair or very few more by the workmen and evil dealing, which was before worth five marks a year to Defendant, and hath laid open his grounds to the Common and some quite to the highway, and stopping up and altering the ancient passages and ways to the house.
Since the now Bill exhibited the Plaintiff hath placed a glover who has three apprentices in the room and intends to keep shop there and have use of the kitchen as this Defendant shall show, with very many other threatening and unfit speeches unmeet to be herein inserted on record.
Denies that he said the house was not defensive without a brick wall, in fact it was a great deal better defended and safer and the fences better and more defensible before than now with the brick wall. Denies that he agreed the moat might be filled up or that the water was foul. Denies that Plaintiff has repaired the house and denies that he consented thereto or intends to consent. Plaintiff has not brought any quantity of materials saving certain free stones parcel of an old house which was fallen down at Ruislip not far from the said capital messuage, which are of no great value. There is now timber and flints laid on his ground to his further wrong and some lime and sand left from making the brick wall. The trees were very good bearing trees young and still fruitful. The ground about five or six acres of best land compassed with a brick wall and adjoining his house where he pastured horses kine and other cattle and the trees yielded fruit. Besides the ground is converted to walks and devices for pleasure and Complainant keepeth a gardener there and Defendant is not allowed to take any profit thereof.
Plaintiff has dug up and spoiled most of another close of four acres and made 800,000 bricks as the complainant's workmen have themselves told Defendant and trenched and stopped up the way to another close of seven acres so that Defendant has no convenient passage to the same close, and he hath of late placed a glover and his family in the said two rooms so excepted and the said gardener and others have used the rooms oftentimes when they have been in drink they were oftentimes ready to fall together by the ears.
Defendant did give him licence to carry out the works and helped in the carriage of loads of stones and timber trees. Defendant's servants by direction of his wife did stop up the passage of the watercourse with full intent to have the kitchen belonging to the said house overflown and the floor of the kitchen is higher than any other ground about the house.