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'221 Fowke v Barnefield', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/221-fowke-barnefield [accessed 4 March 2024]
221 FOWKE V BARNEFIELD
Walter Fowke of Gunstone in Brewood, co. Stafford, gent v Richard Barnefield of Wolverhampton, co. Stafford, ironmaster
November 1637 - November 1638
Fowke claimed to be 'a gentleman of ancient discent' and a captain at the Isle de Rhé, Cadiz and in Ireland. Barnefield was a Staffordshire ironmaster, but Fowke called him a 'sometime haberdasher of small wares in London'. The two men were embroiled in a confrontation at Boosomes Inne, in St Lawrence Lane, London, in early November 1637. According to Fowke, Barnfield said that he 'was a poore conditioned capteine and that he would blowe me out of the countrye, and make me runne as I did at the Isle of Rey.' When Fowke answered, 'my Lord Marshall would make him knowe the difference between us, he replyed he was a gentleman as myself, he knew the house of Gunston; and that he was as good a soldier as myself for I had never been in any imployment but in the runne away voyage of the Isle of Rea and for that I was not made a captayne.' Barnfield also 'bidd me do my worst' at the Earl Marshal's court and challenged him 'to go to a fencing schoole and fight it out with him at cudgels'. On Barnfield's account, he had simply responded to Fowke's summons to his chambers at the inn, where Fowke required him to pay one Doughtie's debt to him of £20. When Barnfield refused, Fowke threatened to go down to his iron works and 'cut the bellows and put out the fire' which Barnefield estimated would have cost him £300.Fowke also threatened to 'fight with him at fistiecuffes', whereupon Barnfield told him that he was an old man and did not want to fight in this manner, but offered to meet him 'at any fencing schoole with two cudgells.' Finally Barnfield claimed that the quarrel had been reconciled over a quart of wine.
Process was granted on 8 November 1637 and in February 1638 Fowke provided a certificate of his gentility from Sir Henry St George, Norroy. Barnfield submitted his defence interrogatories on 20 April 1638 and his wife petitioned the Countess of Arundel for a speedy hearing, complaining of the inconvenience of her husband's attendance in London for his employees. On 20 October 1638 Barnfield was found guilty and fined £20 damages, £10 expenses and 20 marks taxes. He was also ordered to perform a submission in which he apologised for having wronged Fowke and acknowledged that his claim to being a captain at Rhé was legitimate and that he was 'a gentleman of an ancient house.'
'Your petitioner, being a gentleman of ancient discent, hath bene captaine of a company at the Isle of Reay, and hath served in Cales voyage; and alsoe in Ireland served as a gentleman with his horse and man; and before that in the Lowe Countries. Notwithstanding, Richard Barnefield of Wolverhampton in the countie of Stafford (whoe was sometimes a haberdasher of small wares in London) did on Satturday last, before diverse witnesses, say that your petitioner was a poore conditioned capteine and that he would blowe me out of the countrye, and make me runne as I did at the Isle of Rey. Whereunto, I answeared my Lord Marshall would make him understand there was some difference between him and myselfe. Whereto, he replied he was as good a gentleman as myselfe, and that he knew the house of Gunston, and that he had been a trained souldier, and as good a soldier as my selfe, for that I had never bene in any imployment, but in the runne away voyage of the Isle of Rey, and that I was made a capteine and ranne away; and he dared me to go to a fencing schoole and fight it out with him at cudgels and try who should be the better man if I durst; and bidd me doe my worst at my Lo. Marshall's Court and that he cared not what I could doe there.'
Petitioned that Barnefield be brought to answer.
Duck desired Dethick to send out process, 8 November 1637.
Signed Arthur Duck.
3/104, Plaintiff's bond
8 November 1637
To appear 'in the court from court day to Court day'.
Signed by Walter Fowke.
Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of Humphrey Terrick.
Barnfield to appear at the suit of Fowke for scandalous words provocative of a duel.
Dated: 8 November 1637
Executed 14 November 1637 by John Harsnet.
Presented on 18 November 1637 at the direction of Gilbert Dethick, registrar.
Barnefield had said 'that I was a poore conditoned captaine, that he would blowe me out of the countrey and make me runne as I did at the Isle of Rea; and when I answered my Lord Marshall would make him knowe the difference between us he replyed he was a gentleman as myself, he knew the house of Gunston and that he was as good a soldier as myself for I had never been in any imployment but in the runne away voyage of the Isle of Rea and for that I was not made a captayne; and dared mee to go to a fencing school and fight it out with cudgells, and try who would be the better man; and bade me do my worst att my Lord Marshall's court he cared not what I could do there'.
Dated 18 November 1637.
14/2f, Defence interrogatories
1. Whether the witness was present with Fowke and Barnfield in the Bosoms Inn, St Lawrence Lane, London, and whether Barnefield had been summoned there by Fowke?
2. Whether Fowke first gave Barnefield provoking words and whether Barnefield 'put off his hat' and acknowledged that Fowke was a gentleman?
3. Did Fowke say 'he would cut the bellowes and put out the fire of [Barnefield's] iron works; and did [Barnefield] thereupon saie if he did soe he would blowe him out of the countrey'?
4. 'Whether did [Fowke] hold up his fist and say he would goe to fisticuffs with [Barnefield], or what word did he use such or the like purpose. Whether did [Barnefield]thereupon say he was old and could not play at fisticuffs, or what words to such or the like purpose then passed, and by whose meanes or provocacon was such difference as then was betweene the parties as you conceive'?
5. 'Whether such differences as then were betweene them [were] reconciled as you conceive? Did [Fowke and Barnefield] then, after the said difference and reconcilements, drink a cupp or two of wyne in friendly manner the one to the other? Did you then conceive that all former differences were then reconciled'?
Introduced 20 April 1638.
R.19, fo. 19r, Summary of libel
Barnefield had said 'that he would blowe or drive the said Fowke out of the country; and that Fowke was never a soldier or captaine before the Isle of Rhea voyage where he was made a capt; and that there he the said Walter Fowke runn away; and dared the said Walter Fowke to go to a fencing school and to fight it out with him, or words to the like effect.'
First session, Michaelmas term, 1638
1. He 'conceaveth that he is scandalised by this pretensed article and, under protestation, that he will desire satisfaction in this court for the said slander, he answereth that he beleeveth Mr Fowke is a gentleman and soe reputed and otherwise he doth not beleeve the pretensed article to be true in any parte.'
2. He 'beleeveth that on Satturday was fortnight last past at Boosomes Inne scituate in St Lawrence Lane, London he being sent for by the said Mr Fowke to come to the chambers there, did go to Mr Fowke; and when [he] was come to him at the time and place aforesaid Mr Fowke told [him] that one Doughtie was indebted to him xx li and therefore Fowke said that he did demand and require [Barnefield] to pay him xx li; and that Doughtie had iron tooles in [Barnefield's] keeping which were worth xx li, and therefore Fowke said that he did demand and require [him] to pay him xx li for the debte of Doughtie. Whereupon, [Barnefield] answering and saying that there were no tooles of Doughtie's in [his] possession, but that one Nashe had interest in some iron tooles that were in [his] hands thereupon Mr Fowke, in angry manner and with deep protestations and oaths, replied and used these or the like words to this respondent: I will go down to your iron works and I will cut the bellows and put out the fire. Barnfield being moved, for that if Fowke should have done as he then said he would have thereby dampnified Barnfield to the value of £300, Barnfield said that if he should doe soe he would blowe Fowke out of the countrie for that [he] conceaveth that Fowke was not able to answer for such a summ. And he further answereth that he did not belieeve that Mr Fowke was a captaine of the Isle de Rhea where some fought and some runne away. And, Fowke holding up his hands against Barnfield to fight with him at fistiecuffes Barnfield told him that he was an old man and therefore desired him not to beat [him]; and [he] then further said to Mr Fowke if you please I will do this to give you content, vizt. I will meete you at any fencing schoole with two cudgells, and when we have done I will give a quart of wine that you may knowe that I could have plaid when I was in my youth. and otherwise he doth not beleeve any of the premissed article to be true in any parte, saveing and referring himselfe to the censure of this honorable court.'
3. That 'saving his former answers he doth not believe the same to be true in any parte.'
Ult. He 'beleeveth that before he hath beleeved, and otherwise he doth not beleeve the same to be true in any parte.'
Signed by Richard Barnfield.
EM77, Petition of Elizabeth, wife of Richard Barnfield to the Countess of Arundel and Surrey
The petition described Barnefield as a gentleman and recited that a cause between Richard Barnfield and Fowke was pending in the Court Military, 'for pretended words'. He he had come from his dwelling in Staffordshire to attend the court, and, 'for that he hath a great charge and many servants in the countrey imployed about the iron works, and his abode here tendeth to his extreme hinderance'.
Petitioned for the Countess to move her husband to a speedy hearing in private.
Sentence / Arbitration
R.19, fo. 19r, Decree
Declaration from the Earl Marshal and his council:
'That Rich. Barnefield shall make submission and satisfaction as well to us and this court, as to Walter Fowke, in manner and forme by us or other competent judge in that part by us appointed for the putting in of such security for the good behaviour of Barnefield as shall be approved of by us and this court during the pleasure of us and this court. And also to pay the sum of 10 li in the name of a mulct, or paine, to the use of our Soveraigne lord the King, and likewise 10 li damages, and 20 marks costs to Fowke, and to stand committed until the performance of this our sentence and c.'
'Bill of costs signed by the Earl himself'.
First session, Michaelmas term, 1638
11/7, Plaintiff's sentence
The same description of Barnfield's offence was given as in the petition. Then the defendant was fined £20 damages, £10 expenses and 20 marks taxes, and had to perform a submission to the satisfaction of the court and Walter Fowke.
No date [20 October 1638]
Signed by Arthur Duck and Arundel.
[Note in margin] 'A time and place is not designed by his hand'
'Whereas I, Richard Barnefield, stand convicted by sentence diffinitive given against me in the Court Military... to have much abused in words Captayne Walter Foulke of Gunston in the county of Staff, gent, and amongst other disgracefull speeches to have said to the captayne that I would blowe or drive him out of the cuntry; and that the said Walter Foulke was never a souldier nor a captayne before the Isle of Rea voyage, where he was made a captayne and that there he rann away, or to that effect, I do hereby acknowledge that I am sorry for my rash and unadvised speaking of the said words and the wronge and abuse offered to the said captayne thereby. And I do farther acknowledge that Captayne Foulke is a gentleman of an ancient house and that as I think he was a captayne lawfully made and authorised in the voyage aforesaid. And that I doe promise ever hereafter to behave myself towards him and all other the gentry of the kingdom with all due respect.'
Another copy of 4/16
Summary of proceedings
Dr Duck acted as counsel for Fowke and Dr Talbot for Barnfield. On 20 November 1637 Barnfield was to respond to the libel, and on 28 November, Dr Talbot acting for him did likewise. On 27 January 1638 Fowke was ordered to attend the Kings of Arms, and on 3 February a certificate from Sir Henry St George, Norroy King of Arms, was produced that vouched for Fowke's gentility. On 12 February, Mr Bray of Covent Garden testified that Barnfield had asked him to intercede for him at the Court of Chivalry. On 20 October 1638 Barnfield was sentenced to pay £20 in damages, £10 in expenses and 20 marks in tax. £6-13s-4d of the damages and expenses was due in the first session of the next term. Barnfield was warned to pay the respective sums and make submission. On 6 November the time and place of submission were determined.
J. Dalloway, Inquiries into the Origin and Progress of the Science of Heraldry in England with explanatory observations on armourial ensigns (London, 1793), p. 301.
The Fowkes of Gunstone are mentioned and Richard Barnfield's son, Thomas Barnfield of Wolverhampton, aged 39 in 1663, was also mentioned in Dugdale's visitation of Staffordshire in 1663-4. Charles and Gerard Fowke served as royalist lieutenant-colonels during the civil wars, suggesting that Walter came from a military family. A John Fowke of Gunstone was informed against in 1651 for being in the king's service at Bristol.
G. J. Armytage and W. H. Rylands (eds.), Staffordshire Pedigrees based on the Visitation of that County made by William Dugdale, 1663-4 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 63, 1912), pp. 19, 92-5; P.R. Newman, Royalist officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660: A biographical dictionary (London, 1981), pp. 142-3, M.A.E. Green (ed.), Calendar of the Committee for Compounding (Domestic) 1643-60 (London, 1889), p. 2772.
- Initial proceedings
- Petition: 3/103 (8 Nov 1637)
- Plaintiff bond: 3/104 (8 Nov 1637)
- Citation: 12/1s (8 Nov 1637)
- Libel: 12/1e (18 Nov 1637)
- Plaintiff's case
- Defence interrogatories: 14/2f (20 Apr 1638)
- Summary of libel: R.19, fo. 19r (Oct 1638)
- Defendant's case
- Defence: 12/1w (no date)
- Petition to Countess of Arundel by Elizabeth Barnefield: EM77 (no date)
- Sentence / Arbitration
- Plaintiff sentence: 11/7 (20 Oct 1638)
- Decree: R.19, fo. 19r (Oct 1638)
- Submission: 4/16 (no date)
- Submission: 4/17 (no date)
- Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/29 (18 Nov 1637)
- Proceedings before Marten: 8/29 (20 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)
- Proceedings before Arundel: R.19, fos. 434r-449v (20 Oct 1638)
- Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 454r-468v (6 Nov 1638)
People mentioned in the case
- Barnefield, Elizabeth (also Barnfield)
- Barnefield, Richard, ironmaster (also Barnfield)
- Barnefield, Thomas (also Barnfield)
- Bray, Mr
- Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
- Doughtie (also Doughty)
- Duck, Arthur, lawyer
- Dugdale, William, knight
- Fowke, Charles
- Fowke, Gerard
- Fowke, John
- Fowke, Walter, gent (also Foulke)
- Harsnet, John
- Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
- Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
- Howard, countess of Arundel and Surrey
- Marten, Henry, knight
- St George, Henry, knight
- Talbot, Clere, lawyer
- Terrick, Humphrey
Places mentioned in the case
- Isle de Rhé
- Covent Garden
- St Lawrence Lane
- Gunstone in Brewood
Topics of the case
- allegation of cowardice
- King of Arms
- military officer
- threatened violence