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245 GIFFORD V BROWNE
John Gifford of Darlington, co. Durham, gent v Marmaduke Browne of Dunham, co. Norfolk
June - December 1640
Gifford complained that Browne called him 'a base, rascally, alehouse captayne' at Mr Thomas Barnes's house in Darlington, Durham, in November 1639. Browne had also said 'sure he is some trooper', and that if Gifford had a purse of money in a tavern 'amongst his comrades sure he would thinke himself a brave fellow'. Gifford claimed his family had been ancient gentry for up to 100 years, and that he was sergeant major of Colonel Francis Hammond's regiment. Process was granted on 15 June 1640 and his three witnesses, including Barnes, were examined by a commission headed by Ralph Pudsey, gent, on 1 August 1640 in the house of Bulmer Priscott, in Darlington. Simon Gifford acted for John who was serving in the royal army to the north. The depositions were publishedon 20 November and material for Browne's defence was examined in December 1640; but no further proceedings survive.
'Your petitioner hath been a captayne, and is now serjant major of Collonell Hamond's regiment, and is alsoe a gent descended of an ancient family bearing armes. In October last Marmaduke Browne of Dunham in the countie of Norfolk did very much villifie and provoke your petitioner to duell in manner following, viz. Browne told your petitioner that he was a base, rascally, alehouse captayne; and in a scornfull manner said sure he (meaning your petitioner) is some trooper; and, continewing his provoking language, holding a purse of money in his hand, further said if he (meaning your petitioner) had but these ten pounds and weare in an alehouse or tavern amongst his comrades sure he would thinke himself a brave fellow.
Your petitioner humbly prayeth your Honor to grante him processe to call Browne before your Honor to answer the premisses and c.'
Maltravers granted process on 15 June 1640.
5/82, Plaintiff's bond
13 June 1640
That he was to 'appear in the Court in the Painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'. Bond for £100
Signed by John Gifford.
Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Watson.
5/99, Defendant's bond
1 July 1640
He was to 'appear in the Court in the Painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'. Bond for £100
Signed by Marmaduke Browne.
Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Longland.
Cur Mil I, fo. 1, Libel
1. Gifford's family had been ancient gentry for up to 100 years, and Gifford was sergeant major of Colonel Francis Hammond's regiment.
2. From September to November 1639 in the parish of Darlington, Browne said that Gifford was 'some base, rascally, alehouse captain, or taverne captaine, and that I was sure some trooper, and that if I had but the 10 li. which he had in a leather purse in his hand, and were in a alehouse or taverne among my comrages [sic], how lusty I would be.'
3. These contumelious words were provocative of a duel.
Cur Mil I, fo. 2, Letters commissory for the plaintiff
Addressed to commissioners Robert Place, esq, Ralph Pudsey, gent, Richard Foster, gent and John Turner, gent, to meet in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, from 31 July to 2 August 1640, in the inn of Bulmer Priscott in Darlington, co. Durham.
William Lewin assigned John Rainshaw as notary public.
Dated 3 July 1640.
Signed by William Lewin.
Cur Mil I, fo.65-68, Plaintiff depositions
Taken before commissioners Ralph Pudsey, gent, Richard Foster, gent on 1 August 1640 in the house of Bulmer Priscott, in Darlington, co. Durham, with Simon Gifford acting for John (who was presumably away fighting the Scots).
fos. 66r-v (Witness 1), John Addy of Sedbergh, co. Durham, yeoman, born at Bishopton, co. Durham, aged about 70
To Gifford's libel:
1. 'Mr John Gifford is a gent descended of gentry and is soe commonly accounted, reputed and taken to bee. And at this present * Mr Gifford* is Sergeant Major of Colonel Francis Hamond's Regiment as he is credibly informed.'
2. He was with Mr Gifford and Browne in October or November 1639 in the dwelling house of Mr Thomas Barnes in the parish of Darlington, where he heard Browne say to Mr Gifford: 'Thou art some base rascally alehouse captayne, or taverne captayne'. He could not remember if it was alehouse captain or tavern captain. Browne also said Mr Gifford 'was sure some trooper and that if he had but that £10 which Browne 'had in a leather purse in his hand *or lying by him upon a table* and were in an alehouse or taverne amongst his Comrages [sic] how lusty Gifford would be'. Mr Thomas Barnes and Richard Addy were also present.
3. 'Marmaduke Browne did utter the words against Mr Gifford in a very angry, reviling and provoking manner, without any provocation at all given by Mr Gifford.'
Signed by John Addie, and by the two commissioners.
fos. 66v-67r (Witness 2), Richard Addy of Sedbergh, co. Durham, yeoman, born there, aged about 28
To Gifford's libel:
1. As witness 1.
2. He was with Mr Gifford and Browne in November 1639, in Mr Thomas Barnes's house in Darlington where he heard Browne say to Mr Gifford: 'Thou art some base rascally captayne, or taverne captayne, and thou art sure some trooper and if thou had but that 10 li which I have in this leather purse and were in an alehouse or taverne amongst thy Comrages [sic] how lusty thou would be'. John Addy and Mr Thomas Barnes were also present.
3. As witness 1.
Signed by Richard Addy, and by the two commissioners.
fos. 67r-v (Witness 3), Thomas Barnes of Darlington, co. Durham, gent, born at Hamsterley, co. Durham, aged about 49
To Gifford's libel:
1. As witness 1.
2. In one of the months in the libel he was with Mr Gifford and Browne in his house in Darlington, where he heard Browne say to Mr Gifford 'Thou art some base rascally alehouse captayne, or taverne captayne, and art sure some trooper'. Browne, holdinga leather purse with money in it in his hand, said to Mr Gifford, 'if thou had this 10 li which is in this leather purse and were in an alehouse or taverne amongst thy Comrages [sic] how lusty thou would be'. John and Richard Addy were also present.
3. As witness 1.
Signed by Thomas Barnes, and commissioners Ralph Pudsey and Richard Foster.
Cur Mil I, fo. 68r, Notary public's certificate
Certificate in Latin signed by John Rainshaw, notary public that the examinations had been completed and were now being returned.
Summary of proceedings
Dr Merrick acted as counsel for Gifford and Dr Talbot for Browne. On 10 October 1640 the depositions of Mr Gifford's witnesses, recently examined by the commission in Darlington, were sent for, and on 30 October Dr Merrick petitioned to publish them. They were published on 20 November and Dr Talbot was instructed to begin relating the material for Browne's defence, which he continued to do in December 1640.
John Gifford was the son of Simon Gifford of Darlington, co. Durham, gent, and his wife Meriall. During this case, John Gifford was playing a prominent part in the Bishops' Wars, commanding five hundred Northumberland and Durham foot sent to reinforce Berwick in December 1639. In 1642 he joined the parliamentarian garrison in Hull where he challenged a royalist officer to single combat during July 1642. He became major-general of the parliamentarian infantry in the north in 1643, distinguishing himself at Tadcaster and Wakefield. In August 1643 he was wrongfully arrested for treachery and waited for three years for his exoneration. In 1646 he went to Ireland and was commissioned colonel under viscount Inchiquin, and fought at Rathmines in August 1649. After a brief imprisonment in Cork in October 1649, he transferred his loyalty to Cromwell, and became captain of his lifeguard. By 1654 he was resident in Ardmore, co. Cork.
Durham University Library, Mickleton Spearman MS 2/469; M. C. Fissel, The Bishops' Wars (Cambridge, 1994), p. 43; PRO, SP 28/138/4; British Library, Thomason Tract, E107(12), An extract of all the passages from Hull, York, and Lincolnshire , 19 July (London, 1642), p. 8; British Library, E121/4/8, no.13; Bodleian Library, Oxford, Tanner MS 62A, fos. 103-4; J. Rushworth, Historical Collections (London, 1691), part 3, vol. 2, p. 126; C.H. Firth and G. Davies, The Regimental History of Cromwell's Army (Oxford, 1940),vol. 2, pp. 639-41; M. A. E. Green (ed.), Calendar of state papers domestic 1653-4 (London, 1879), p. 66; J. A. Atkinson et al (eds.), Darlington Wills and Inventories (Surtees Society, 201, 1993), pp. 13, 85.
John Gifford (b c.1604) was the son of Simon Gifford of Darlington and Muriel, daughter of John Midleton of Blackwell, who were all mentioned in the 1615 Visitation of Durham, which also gave their arms as three lions passant in pale argent .
J. Foster (ed.), Pedigrees Recorded at the Visitations of the County Palatine of Durham, 1575, 1615, 1666 (London, 1887), pp. 136-7.
- Initial proceedings
- Petition: 5/83 (15 Jun 1640)
- Plaintiff's bond: 5/82 (13 Jun 1640)
- Defendant's bond: 5/99 (1 Jul 1640)
- Libel: Cur Mil I, fo. 1 (no date)
- Plaintiff's case
- Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Cur Mil I, fo. 2 (3 Jul 1640)
- Plaintiff's depositions: Cur Mil I, fos. 65-8 (1 Aug 1640)
- Notary public's certificate: Cur Mil I, fo. 68r (no date)
- Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 56r-64v (10 Oct 1640)
- Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 49r-52r (24 Oct 1640)
- Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 19r-30v (30 Oct 1640)
- Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 5r-9r (20 Nov 1640)
- Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 79r-87v (4 Dec 1640)
People mentioned in the case
- Addy, John, yeoman
- Addy, Richard, yeoman
- Barnes, Thomas, gent
- Browne, Marmaduke
- Cromwell, Oliver, Lord Protector
- Foster, Richard, gent
- Gifford, John, gent
- Gifford, Simon, gent
- Hammond, Francis
- Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
- Lewin, William, lawyer
- Longland, John
- Merrick, William, lawyer
- Midleton, Muriel
- Midleton, John
- O'Brien, Murrough, viscount Inchiquin
- Place, Robert, esq
- Priscott, Bulmer, innkeeper
- Pudsey, Ralph, gent
- Rainshaw, John, notary public
- Talbot, Clere, lawyer
- Turner, John, gent
- Watson, John
Places mentioned in the case
- Yorkshire, West Riding
Topics of the case
- allegation of cowardice
- Bishops' Wars
- denial of gentility
- military officer