224 Francis v Cole

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'224 Francis v Cole', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/224-francis-cole [accessed 1 March 2024]

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Matthew Francis of Westminster, co. Middlesex, esq v William Cole

No date


Francis, the king's Sergeant at Arms and a J.P. for Westminster, complained that Cole abused him in Mr David Ewer's house near St Albans, Hertfordshire and on another occasion 'tore his ruff band from his neck' in the presence of several gentlemen. He also insulted Francis in his parish church during divine service, 'to the admiration both of the churchwardens and the whole audience'. Francis had reminded Cole that he was the king's servant and rode with his sword, desiring Cole to do likewise until he had given Francis 'a better satisfaction'; but Cole had replied that the next time he met Francis 'he would be provided for him with a pistol in his pocket', saying 'if I ware tenn sargants, he was the better man; therefore held me worthy of no better satisfaction.' Francis petitioned the Earl Marshal that Cole be summoned to answer, but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

EM292, Petition

In the house of David Ewer, near St Albans, he was abused by William Cole, but 'notwithstanding, for neighbourhood sake, forbore and bore with him and his ill language so being, till at last in a tenant's house of Mr Ewer, Cole, unawares and unexpected of the petitioner, and without cause given, tore his ruff band from his neck and used many uncivil speeches in the presence of 6 or 7 gentlemen, who att that instant would not admit me satisfacon. The saboth following the petitioner repaired to his parish church, where most unsivily, and in time of divine service, Cole affronted him, to the admiration both of the churchwardens and the whole audience, which would be tedious to trouble your honor with by petition but leave that to the proof before your lordship at the petitioner's peril. The petitioner, for those several and public abuses requiring such satisfaction to acknowledgement as was necessary, found from Cole, instead of he was sorry, a justification of himself. Cole then having only a staff in his hand, the petitioner advised him (as before he well knew) that he was his Majestie's servant, and by his place ought not to go or ride without his sword; therefore wished Cole to do the like, until he had made the petitioner a better satisfaction. Cole, after this, sent word to your petitioner that the next time he met him he would be provided for him with a pistol in his pocket, saieing if I ware tenn sargants, he was the better man, therefore held me worthy of no better satisfaction.'

Petitioned that Cole be brought to answer.

No date.

No signatures.


Matthew Francis, esq., referred to as the King's Sergeant at Arms in November 1637 and made a J.P. for Westminster in August 1638.On 13 December 1635, he was ordered to bring before the lords in council Sir John Stanhope of co. Derby for refusing to pay ship money.On 10 January 1640, in his capacity as Sergeant at Arms, Francis was ordered to make several arrests at Wilby in Northamptonshire. During the civil war he took refuge in Bristol while the royalists garrisoned it and he was dead by 29 March 1647. Francis did not appear in the London visitations or Middlesex pedigrees.

J. Broadway, R. P. Cust and S. K. Roberts (eds.), A Calendar of the Docquets of Lord Keeper Coventry 1625-1640 (List and Index soc., new ser., 34-37), pp. 75, 203; CSP Dom, 1638-9 , p. 91; CSP Dom 1635 , p. 558; CSP Dom. 1639-40 , p. 318; CCCD , vol. 3, p. 1715.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: EM292 (no date)

People mentioned in the case

  • Cole, William
  • Ewer, David, Mr
  • Francis, Matthew, esq
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Stanhope, John, knight
  • Stuart, Charles I, king

Places mentioned in the case

  • Hertfordshire
    • St Albans
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Northamptonshire
    • Wilby

Topics of the case

  • apparel
  • assault
  • churchwarden
  • civil war
  • comparison
  • justice of the peace
  • office-holding
  • royal servant
  • weapon