216 Forster v Fenwick

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Thomas Forster of Etherston, co. Northumberland, esq v Sir William Fenwick of Meldon and Wallington, co. Northumberland, knt

No date


Forster, a Northumberland J.P., complained that Fenwick, also a senior county gentleman, had given him the lie some five or six years earlier at the court at Whitehall. Fenwick acknowledged this, but explained that he had been provoked when Forster insulted Fenwick's sister, Elizabeth, Lady Forster, wife of Sir Claudius Forster, baronet, at the court at Whitehall. The Earl Marshal had then presided over a reconciliation where Forster and Fenwick joined hands and promised that 'there never should be further question moved betwixt them touching the words'. Fenwick complained that about three years since Forster had exhibited a bill against him for the same offence in Star Chamber, and he petitioned the Earl Marshal to provide him with a certificate of the reconciliation.

Initial proceedings

EM288, Defendant's petition

About 5 or 6 years ago Forster was in company with Fenwick at the Court of Whitehall and endeavoured 'to lay some fowle aspersions upon the Lady Elizabeth Forster, Fenwick's naturall sister, then wife to Sir Claudius Forster, Baronett.' The petitioner, in unadvised speeches gave Thomas Forster 'the lye'; Forster complained before the Earl Marshal. 'The matter was fully heard and examined before you according to his Majestie's Edict'. Fenwick acknowledged the fault, and the matter ended and 'by your lordships' acquitted; and a friendly end in your lordship's presence was then made between Thomas Forster and your petitioner by theire joyning of hands and engaging their credits to your lordshipps that there never should be further question moved betwixt them touching the words. And soe your petitioner was discharged.'

About 3 years ago Forster exhibited his bill of complaint in the Court of Star Chamber touching the same matter 'to the greate molestation, chardge and trouble of your petitioner' who sought a certificate from the Earl Marshal's Court that the proceedings were ended as described above.

No date.

No signatures.

EM289, Defendant's petition

Copy of EM288.

No date.


Thomas Forster of Etherston, co. Northumberland (d.1673) was the son of Thomas Forster of the same, esq (d.1637) and Isabel, daughter of John Brewster of Lucker, co. Northumberland. He was prosecuted for assaulting a clergyman during a wedding in 1635. He became a royalist colonel during the civil wars.

J. Foster (ed.), Pedigrees Recorded at the Heralds' Visitations of Northumberland, 1615 and 1666 (Newcastle, c.1890); p. 57; P. R. Newman, Royalist Officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660 (London, 1981), p. 141.

Sir William Fenwick of Meldon, knt (d. c.1653) was a younger son of Sir William Fenwick of Fenwick and Wallington, co. Northumberland. His father had married Grace, daughter of Sir John Forster of Edderstone and Hexham, co. Northumberland.

He married Elizabeth Radcliffe, sister of Francis Radcliffe, earl of Derwentwater and participated in organizing the defences of Northumberland during the Bishops' Wars. His sister Elizabeth married Sir Claudius Forster of Bamburgh Castle, co. Northumberland. His elder brother was Sir John Fenwick of Fenwick, co. Northumberland, bart (1578-1658).

J. Foster (ed.), Pedigrees Recorded at the Heralds' Visitations of Northumberland, 1615 and 1666 (Newcastle, c.1890); pp. 56, 59; G. E. Cokayne (ed.), Complete Baronetage, vo. 2, 1625-1649 (Exeter, 1902), pp. 39-40; CSP Dom 1638-9 , p. 353; CSP Dom. 1640 , p. 480, 515.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Defendant's petition: EM288(no date)
    • Defendant's petition: EM289 (no date)

People mentioned in the case

  • Brewster, Isabel
  • Brewster, John
  • Fenwick, Elizabeth
  • Fenwick, Grace
  • Fenwick, John, baronet (also Fenwicke)
  • Fenwick, William, knight (also Fenwicke)
  • Forster, Claudius, baronet
  • Forster, Elizabeth, lady
  • Forster, Grace
  • Forster, Isabel
  • Forster, Thomas, esq
  • Forster, Thomas, esq
  • Radcliffe, Elizabeth
  • Radcliffe, Francis, earl of Derwentwater

Places mentioned in the case

  • Middlesex
    • Whitehall
  • Northumberland
    • Bamburgh
    • Etherston
    • Fenwick
    • Hexham
    • Lucker
    • Meldon
    • Wallington

Topics of the case

  • arbitration
  • assault
  • Bishops' Wars
  • giving the lie
  • justice of the peace
  • military officer
  • other courts
  • reconciliation
  • royalist
  • Star Chamber