14 Atkinson v Powell

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Robert Atkinson of St Giles-without-Cripplegate, London, gent v William Powell of the same, vintner

January - April 1637


According to the defence interrogatories, Powell challenged Atkinson's gentility, implying that he was a brewer or merchant, and contended that if he had challenged him to fight it was to be at a fencing school 'where no hurt was intended'. Atkinson presented his petition in January 1637, and there were summonses to witnesses in February and April; but no further proceedings survive.

Plaintiff's case

14/1o, Defence interrogatories

1. Was the witness a subsidy man? What was he worth with his debts paid? Where did he dwell and with whom? Of 'what trade or condition' was the witness?

2. Was he a kinsman or ally of Atkinson? Was he indebted to Atkinson or his friends and kindred? If so, by how much?

3. In what parish, house and room, at what hour, day, month and year, and upon what provocation were the 'pretended words' said by Powell? Who was present?

4. By what words or actions did Atkinson provoke Powell? 'If any shall depose' that Powell challenged Atkinson to fight 'whether at some fencing school or not, where no hurt was intended, but victorie, & upon what provocations'?

5. Was Atkinson 'a beerebrewer or of some merchant call, trade or profession, and accounted so?'

No date.

Signed by Clere Talbot.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Atkinson and Dr Talbot for Powell. On 28 January 1637 Dr Duck was to present Atkinson's petition concerning Powell's scandalous words. On 11 February he was to produce Atkinson's witnesses upon the libel, and on 29 April, further witnesses in this cause were warned to submit to examination.


Neither party appeared in the Visitations of London: J. Jackson Howard and J. L. Chester (eds.), The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634 and, 1635, vol. I (Publications of the Harleian Society, 15, 1880); J. Jackson Howard (ed.), The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634 and, 1635, vol. II (Publications of the Harleian Society, 17, 1883); J. B. Whitmore and A. W. Hughes Clarke (eds.), London Visitation Pedigrees, 1664 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 92, 1940).


  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/1o (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: College of Arms MS 'Court of Chivalry' (act book, 1636-8) [pressmark R.R. 68C], (hereafter 68C), fos. 51r-59r (28 Jan 1637)
    • Proceedings: 68C, fos. 23r-36v (11 Feb 1637)
    • Proceedings: 68C, fos. 1r-11r(16 Feb 1637)
    • Proceedings: 68C, fos. 14r-20v (16 Feb 1637)
    • Proceedings: 68C, fos. 37r-41v (29 Apr 1637)

People mentioned in the case

  • Atkinson, Robert, gent
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Powell, William, vintner
  • Talbot, Clere, lawyer

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • St Giles-without-Cripplegate

Topics of the case

  • allegation of tradesman status
  • challenge to a duel
  • denial of gentility