208 Fisher v Perkes

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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208 FISHER V PERKES

Sir Edward Fisher of Mickleton, co. Gloucester, knt v Edmund Perkes of the same, yeoman

June 1637 - February 1638

Figure 208:

Mickleton Manor, home of Sir Edward Fisher (Photograph : Brian Hopper)

Abstract

Fisher complained that Perkes had called him 'a vagrant knight' at the Spread Eagle, and later at the Swan Inn, in Gloucester, at the time of the midsummer quarter sessions in 1636. In the presence of a gentleman and several yeomen 'of creditt', Perkes had said that Fisher was 'noe gentleman, and that he was as good a gentleman as Sir Edward Fisher, and that he cared not a fart nor a turd for him, and that Sir Edward Fisher was a madd man, and that neither his word nor his oath would be taken for threepence'. Process was granted on 16 June 1637 and Fisher's witnesses were examined by a commission headed by John Wood and John Stephens, gents, at the Swan on 11 January 1638. Dr Eden related material for the defence on 3 February 1638 and sentence was appointed to be heard on 12 February; but nothing further survives.

Initial proceedings

3/190, Petition to Arundel and Maltravers

Edmund Parkes in May, June and July 1636 in Gloucester, 'did in a very contumelious and disgracefull manner, in the presence of divers persons of creditt, speake and utter these opprobrious words followinge, to and against Sir Edward Fisher, vizt. that Sir Edward Fisher was a vagrant knight, and that he was a knight and noe gentleman, and that he was as good a gentleman as Sir Edward Fisher, and that he cared not a fart nor a turd for him, and that Sir Edward Fisher was a madd man, and that neither his word nor his oath would be taken for threepence. And these and the like words he hath often used and repeated in divers places and at severall tymes of purpose to disgrace Edward Fisher and to provoke him to fight.'

Petitioned that Parkes be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process, 16 June 1637.

3/191, Plaintiff's bond [damaged]

17 June 1637

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

Signed by Edw. Fisher.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of Gilbert Dethick.

Acta (4), fo. 83, Libel

Fisher was of an ancient gentry family of up to 200 years standing, and Perkes was of plebeian stock.

Perkes had said 'that I was a vagrant knight, and that I was a knight and noe gentleman, and that he was as good a gentleman as I, and that he cared not a fart nor a turd for me, and farther that I was a madman, and that neither my word nor oath would be taken for three pence'.

Dated 14 October 1637.

Plaintiff's case

Acta (4), fo. 84, Letters commissory for the plaintiff [damaged]

Addressed to commissioners John Wood, gent, John Stephens, gent, Thomas Wo[rley, gent and Edward Watkins, gent, and], Rowland Harris of Charingworth, co. Gloucester, gent, Nicholas Fletcher of Paxford, co. Worcester, gent, Thomas Spragg of Badsey, co. Worcester, gent, and William Millington, gent, to meet to take depositions in a case of scandalous words provocative of a duel, [at the Swann Inn, Gloucester, between 9 and 11 January 1638]

Humphrey Terrick assigned James Clent as notary public.

Date [28 November] 1637

Acta (4), fos. 69r-76v, Plaintiff's depositions

Taken before commissioners John Wood and John Stephens gents, in a case of scandalous words provocative of a duel between 9 and 11am on 11 January 1638 at the Swan Inn, in the city of Gloucester.

fos. 70r-v (Witness 1), William Bird of Pebworth, co. Gloucester, yeoman, born at Bretforton, co. Worcester, aged 40

To Fisher's libel:

1. He had known Fisher to be a knight for 20 years, and that Fisher was 'descended of an ancient and worshipful familie and soe reputed'. For most of this time, Bird had dwelt in Micketon, where Sir Edward Fisher also dwelt. He knew Edmund Perkes to be a yeoman, whose means was not above £30 per annum, 'living lately within the parish'.

2. At midsummer 1636 he was with Anthony Stringer and Adam Powle at the Spread Eagle in Gloucester when Perkes came in and 'did with much coller and anger' say that Sir Edward Fisher 'was a vagrant knight, a knight and noe gent'. Perkes 'used many other passionate words tendinge to Sir Edward Fisher's disreputation and disgrace sayinge withal that he would justifie what he said'.

Signed by William Bird and the above two commissioners.

fos. 70v-71v (Witness 2), Adam Powle of Mickleton, co. Gloucester, yeoman, born there, aged 30

To Fisher's libel:

1. As witness 1.

2. At midsummer 1636, 'beinge about the quarter sessions tyme', where he had some business, he was at the Spread Eagle in Gloucester, where he heard William Bird and Edmund Perkes 'speakinge together in coller and heate touchinge Sir Edward Fisher', but he did not remember their specific words. Later that day towards evening, he was at the Swan in Gloucester where Perkes 'hapned to be in their company'. There Perkes publicly said that 'Sir Edward Fisher was a vagrant knight, and noe gentleman, and for ought that he knew he was as good a gent as Sir Edward Fisher was'.

Signed by Adam Powle and the above two commissioners.

fos. 71v-72r (Witness 3), William Jones of the city of Gloucester, gent, aged 18

To Fisher's libel:

2. He met Perkes in the Swan 'who did then and there of his owne accord take occasion in very malicious manner to enveigh and speake against Sir Edward Fisher knight, and said Sir Edward Fisher was a vagrant knight, a knight and noe gent, and for ought he knew, he was as good a gent as Sir Edward Fisher. And further said, that he cared not a turde nor a farte for Sir Edward Fisher, nor what he could doe to him. And moreover said that neither Sir Edward Fisher's worde, nor oath would be taken for three pence, which words, or the like in effect, Perkes at the tyme and place aforesaid did oftentimes publiquly repeate, although he were diswaded by some'. He heard all these words, as did Adam Powle, Henry Knight and Alice his wife, and Robert Knight, Anthony Stringer and Joseph Petifer and some others.

Signed by Will Jones and the above two commissioners.

fos. 72r-73r (Witness 4), Joseph Petifer of the city of Gloucester, chandler, born at Cherington, co. Gloucester, aged 39

To Fisher's libel:

2. Was in the Swan with Adam Powle and others.He saw Edmond Perkes say of Sir Edward Fisher in a 'collericke manner', without provocation, that Sir Edward Fisher was a vagrant knight, a knight and noe gent, and that he kept a companie of base fellows about him, and that settinge his knighthood aside he Perkes was as good a man as he Sir Edward Fisher. And that this Perkes his word would goe as farr as his Sir Edward Fisher's. All which words were then and there publiquely spoken in the presence and hearinge of [Petifer] and in the presence of Adam Powle and William Jones and divers others.'

Signed by Joseph Petipher and the above two commissioners.

fos. 73r-73v (Witness 5), Robert, son of Henry Knight of the city of Gloucester, innholder, aged 26

To Fisher's libel:

2. He was at the Swan, his father's inn and heard Perkes without provocation 'voluntarily and maliciously' say that Sir Edward Fisher was 'a vagrant knight and a runagate knight and noe gent, and kept a companie of rogues and base fellows to attend on him. And that Perkes was as good a gent as Sir Edward Fisher. And he farther said that Sir Edward Fisher his words would not be taken for three pence, which words he publiquely repeated divers times although he was diswaded to the contrarie in the presence and hearing of [Knight] and in the presence of Adam Powle and Anthony Stringer and Joseph Petifer, William Jones and Henry Knight and Alice Knight his wife, [his] father and mother, and of divers others'.

Signed by Robert Knight and the above two commissioners.

fos. 74r-74v (Witness 6), Henry Knight of the city of Gloucester, innholder, aged 60

To Fisher's libel:

2. In his inn, Perkes 'publiquely said that Sir Edward Fisher was a vagrant knight, a knight and noe gent, and that Sir Edward Fisher kept a companie of base and rogish fellows to attend him, and that Perkes was as good a gent as Sir Edward Fisher, and that Sir Edward Fisher's oath or his word would be taken for three pence, which words were soe publiquly spoken the tyme and place aforesaid in the presence and hearinge of [Knight] and in the presence of Adam Powle, William Jones, Joseph Petifer, Robert Knight, and of Allice Knight and Anthony Stringer.

Signed by Henrie Knight [his mark] and the above two commissioners.

fos. 74v-75r (Witness 7), Alice Knight of the city of Gloucester, innholder, aged 50

To Fisher's libel:

2. Perkes said that 'Sir Edward Fisher was a vagrant knight and noe gent, and that he was as good a gent as Sir Edward Fisher, and that he cared not a turd nor a fart for him and that Sir Edward Fisher's word would not bee taken for three pence... that Edmond Perkes did speake the words and divers tymes publiquely, although he was advised to the contrary.'

Signed by Alice Knight [her mark] and the above two commissioners.

fos. 75v-76v (Witness 8), Anthony Stringer of Mickleton, co. Gloucester, yeoman, born at Littleton, co. Worcester, aged 28

To Fisher's libel:

1. He had known Fisher for 11 years and knew him to be of an ancient family. He had seen his pedigree and coat of arms. He had known Perkes for 7 or 8 years who 'for all that tyme hath binn reputed and esteemed to be a countrie yeoman'.

2. He was at supper at the Spread Eagle during time of the quarter sessions in Gloucester, with William Bird and Adam Powle when Perkes came in 'and then and there without any provocation given him, [did] peremptorily and proudly speake and utter that Sir Edward Fisher was a vagrant knight a knight and no gent, and that he was as good a gent as Sir Edward Fisher for ought he knew. And that Sir Edward Fisher kept none about him but a companie of base rascally fellows that would sweare any thinge. And that Perkes did not care a fart nor a turde for him. And he farther saith that the same evening he beinge at the Swan in Gloucester aforesaid, in the companie of divers others, in the hall of the inne called the Swan, Perkes came into the roome and did there, without any cause then given him by any there, utter and repeat of and againste Sir Edward Fisher the aforesaid disgracefull words'.

Signed by Anthony Stringer and the above two commissioners.

Acta (4), fo. 77, Notary public's certificate

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

Notary's mark.

No date.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Tooker acted as counsel for Fisher and Dr Eden for Perkes. Proceedings before Lord Maltravers began in October 1637 and on 28 November Dr Tooker nominated John Wood, John Steevens, Thomas Worley and Edward Watkins gent., and Dr Eden, Rowland Harris of Charingworth, co. Gloucester, Nicholas .... of Paxford, co. Worcester gent, Thomas Spragg of Badsey, gent, and William Millington, gent, to meet at the Swan in Gloucester from 9 to 11 [January] 1638. Dr Eden related material for the defence on 3 February 1638 and sentence was appointed to be heard on 12 February 1638.

Notes

Fisher did not appear in the 1623 Visitation of Gloucester: J. Maclean and W. C. Heane (eds.), The Visitation of the County of Gloucester, 1623 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 21, 1885).

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition to Arundel and Maltravers: 3/190 (16 Jun 1637)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 3/191 (17 Jun 1637)
    • Libel: Acta (4), fo. 83 (14 Oct 1637)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Acta (4), fo. 84 (28 Nov 1637)
    • Plaintiff depositions: Acta (4), fos. 69-77 (11 Jan 1638)
    • Notary public's certificate: Acta (4), fo. 77 (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 8/26 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/27 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/28 (31 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Marten: 7/20 (7 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/29 (18 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/30 (28 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/5, fos. 1-15 (27 Jan 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 23-35 (3 Feb 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 38-56 (12 Feb 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Bird, William, yeoman
  • Clent, James, notary public
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Fisher, Edward, knight
  • Fletcher, Nicholas, gent
  • Harris, Rowland, gent
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Knight, Alice, innkeeper
  • Knight, Henry, innkeeper
  • Knight, Robert, innkeeper
  • Jones, William, gent
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Millington, William, gent
  • Perkes, Edmund, yeoman (also Parkes)
  • Petifer, Joseph, chandler (also Petipher)
  • Powle, Adam, yeoman
  • Spragg, Thomas, gent
  • Stephens, John, gent (also Steevens)
  • Stringer, Anthony, yeoman
  • Terrick, Humphrey
  • Tooker, Charles, lawyer
  • Watkins, Edward, gent
  • Wood, John, gent
  • Worley, Thomas

Places mentioned in the case

  • Gloucestershire
    • Cherington
    • Gloucester
    • Mickleton
    • Paxford
    • Pebworth
  • Worcestershire
    • Badsey
    • Bretforton
    • Charingworth
    • Littleton
    • Paxford
    • Pebworth

Topics of the case

  • allegation of insanity
  • allegation of perjury
  • comparison
  • denial of gentility
  • scatological insult