139 Crane v Mercy

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


Sir Francis Crane of Grafton Regis, co. Northampton, bart v Christopher Mercy of the same

April 1636 - January 1637


Crane was Chancellor of the Order of the Garter, but this case appears to relate to a local quarrel because on 7 May 1636, after Dr Duck had presented the libel against Mercy on his behalf, the court appointed a commission headed by Sir Robert Banister and Sir Christopher Hatton to examine his witnesses at the house of William Ward in Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire. On 28 January 1637, however, Duck was required to inform the commissioners that Crane had died.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Crane. Around April 1636 there were proceedings mentioning a bond of £100, Hatton Farmer, Richard Owseley, Thomas Pilkington and John Marriot, gents. On 7 May 1636 Dr Duck presented the libel, which was denied by Mercy. Dr Duck was therefore required to prove it in the first session of the next term. A commission to examine Crane's witnesses was appointed, including Sir Robert Banister, Sir Christopher Hatton, Knight of the Bath, Samuel Clerk, Professor of Theology, Thomas Terrell, esq, and also, Sir Hatton Farmer, Richard Owseley, esq, Thomas Pilkington and John Marriot, gents. They were to meet at the house of William Ward in Grafton Regis, but no date was given. On 28 January 1637 Dr Duck was required to inform the commissioners that Sir Francis Crane had deceased.


Sir Francis Crane of Woodrising, co. Norfolk, knt, was Chancellor of the Order of the Garter and Director of the Tapestry Works at Mortlake, co. Surrey. He purchased land in Northamptonshire and Denbighshire, and aided by Lord Maltravers, he bought the Norfolk estates of Sir Thomas Southwell. He wrote to Buckingham in 1623 'I... do holde reputacon to be a better parte of a mans fortune than wealth.' He died in Paris in 1636, succumbing to gangrene following an operation for the stone. A memorial tablet in Woodrising church commemorates him. His brother, Richard Crane, became a royalist army officer. Neither Crane nor Mercy appeared in the Visitation of 1681.

H. I. Longden (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Northampton in the year 1681 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 87, 1935); G. E. Cokayne (ed.), The Complete Baronetage, 1625-1649 (Exeter, 1902), vol. 2, p. 209; W. Hefford, 'Sir Francis Crane (c.1579-1636)', Oxford DNB (Oxford, 2004).


  • Proceedings
    • Undated proceedings: College of Arms MS. 'Court of Chivalry' (act book, 1636-8) [pressmark R.R. 68C] (hereafter 68C), fos. 64r-67r (c. Apr 1636)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 68C, fos. 74r-83v (7 May 1636)
    • Proceedings before Sir Henry Marten: 68C, fos. 84r-88v (9 May 1636)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 68C, fos. 51r-59r (28 Jan 1637)

People mentioned in the case

  • Banister, Robert, knight
  • Clerk, Samuel, Professor of Theology
  • Crane, Francis, knight and baronet
  • Crane, Richard, knight and baronet
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Farmer, Hatton, gent
  • Farmer, Hatton, knight
  • Hatton, Christopher, Knight of the Bath
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Marriot, John, gent
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Mercy, Christopher
  • Owseley, Richard, esq
  • Pilkington, Thomas, gent
  • Southwell, Thomas, knight
  • Terrell, Thomas, esq
  • Ward, William

Places mentioned in the case

  • France
    • Paris
  • Norfolk
    • Woodrising
  • Northamptonshire
    • Grafton Regis
  • Surrey
    • Mortlake
  • Wales

Topics of the case

  • chivalric order
  • civil war
  • military officer
  • royalist