275 Hanslopp v Stanton

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'275 Hanslopp v Stanton', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/275-hanslopp-stanton [accessed 1 March 2024]

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Thomas Hanslopp of Aynho, co. Northampton, gent v William Staunton of the same

November 1638 - Trinity term, 1639


Hanslopp complained that Staunton gave him the lie, called him 'base fellow jackanapes, hoggard or hoggrubber' and coward and 'bid him alight from his horse'. This happened on St James's Day, 25 July 1637, on the highway at Bucknell, Oxfordshire, when the two men were returning from Bicester fair to Aynho. It was the day after the funeral of Staunton's deceased master, Richard Cartwright, esq, and he maintained Hanslopp had spoken ill of him for telling off John Southam for taking hay from Aynho common. Moreover, Hanslopp had taunted him by riding alongside him on his horse saying that 'William Staunton was a base fellow and not worth a horse' and calling him 'Sirrah', 'hedgecreeper, a hedgecropper and a rogue'. He also bombarded him with denials of supposed shortcomings, declaring 'that he was never called knight of the post' [for a parallel case in the court in which Hanslopp was cited for falsely claiming to be a gentleman, see cause 174], 'that his mother was never cited unto the ecclesiastical court' and that 'I know, or love, nobodie's wife but myne owne.' Hanslopp delivered his libel in November 1638 and Staunton's witnesses were examined by a commission headed by John Watson, esq, at the Red Lion Inn, Aynho, on 19 April 1639. One of them maintained that Hanslopp had lent money to Margaret, wife of John Knott to indict Staunton at the Wellingborough sessions in May 1638 for attempting her chastity. The case came to a conclusion in June-July 1639. The sentences survive, but were not completed with sums or verdicts.

Defendant's case

EM131, Defence

2. 'I, William Staunton, by the space of a yeare or more before the pretended falling out between the parties was servant unto and much entrusted by Richard Cartwright, esq, late of Aynoe, who was while he lived lord of the manor of Aynoe and owner of many farmes, besides the demesnes there, and had thereby right of common in Aynoe, a worthy worshipful man, one of the justices of peace in quorum for the counties of Oxford and Northampton, and one of the deputy lieutenants of Northamptonshire for many years before his death, and a man of good worth and esteem and so commonly reputed and taken. And that he died about the end of June or beginning of July anno domini 1637, and that his funerals were solemnized at Aynoe according to his degree, rank and quality upon or about 24 July, being the very next day before the pretended falling out between Hanslopp and Stanton... in or near to the parish of ?Swate-lyne? [faded - it happened at Bucknell] in the county of Oxford, in or near to the highway leading from Bissiter to Aynoe... [He] did, in answeare to some speeches uttered by Thomas Hanslap, make answer that that which Hanslap affirmed was a lye, or did say that Thomas Hanslap was a base fellow, or used base condicons or I would you would alight off from your horse or used words to that effect... vizt. Thomas Hanslap and John Southam, about or after 9 of the clock at night upon St James Day anno 1637, being Bissiter fair day, being discoursing concerning the inhabitants of Croton their laying thence hay which did grow in Aynoe meadow, upon Aynoe common, John Southam saying to Thomas Hanslap that Cartwright did swear at John Southam, and said that he, John Southam, should lay no hay upon the common, whereto Thomas Hanslap replied and said that Mr Richard Cartwright would say and swear or would have said or sworne anything; and that Mr Cartwright while he lived had no more to do upon the common of Aynoe then John Southam of Croton had. And also then and there Thomas Hanslap said that William Staunton (walking along the footpath along the inside of the hedge next to Buckwell lane in the libel) was a hedgecreeper, and a hedgecropper, and a rogue. Whereupon, I, William Staunton, said to Thomas Hanslap that he might be ashamed to abuse a dead man. Notwithstanding, Thomas Hanslap also provoked me, riding against me 2 or 3 miles a slow pace and no faster than I, William Staunton went on foot, along the highway towards Aynoe urging and provoking me, intimidating me that he was never called Kt. of the post 4 time together, that his mother was never cited unto the ecclesiastical court, and said to me [several] times together, Sirrah, I know or love nobodie's wife but myne owne; and said that William Staunton was a base fellow and not worth a horse, and sometimes drove me out of the pathway by riding upon or against me'.

No date.

Signed by William Roane.

EM130, Letters commissory for the defendant

Addressed to commissioners [Robert] Sibthorpe, Professor of Theology, John Watson, esq, William Myn, gent, John Stibbens, Professor of Theology,- Turner, Dr of Law, and John Dugcombe, to meet from 17 to 19 April 1639 at the Red Lion Inn, at Aynho.

Dated 2 March 1639.

John Watson assigned as notary public.

Signed by Gilbert Dethick.

EM130, Plaintiff interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. They were to asked their age, occupation, place and condition of living. For how long did they know the parties and to whom would they give the victory if it were in their power?

2. Was the witness related to Stanton and if so, by what degree? Were they a household servant or retainer of Stanton's?

3. Had they been asked to testify and had they received or been promised expenses?

4. Had the witness at any time heard William Stanton call Mr Thomas Hanslap, 'Base fellow, jackanapes, hoggard or hoggrubber, and gave him the lye, or said unto him thou lyest, or he lyed and did challenge Thomas Hanslapp to fight with him'? Did Stanton call Mr Hanslopp 'a coward, base fellow and noe gentleman'? Where and when were the words spoken? Who else was present?

5. If the witness claimed to be present when Stanton used the words against Mr Hanslap, where did they stand, where was Mr Hanslap and where was Stanton? At what point did 'William Stanton come betwixt and follow Mr Hanslapp'?

6. Did the witness know John and Thomas Southam, witnesses for Mr Hanslapp? For how long had they known them? Did the witness believe that John and Thomas Southam 'are men of honest life and conversacon and persons of such integritie of conscience that neither for reward hope of gain, ill will favour or affeccon or any other cause whatsoever will depose or be drawne to depose an untruth upon their or his oath'?

7. Did the witness know 'Gyles Swetnam of Aynoe'? If so was he 'a man of an idle life and conversation', and 'commonly druncke or overtaken with drinke soe that he hath been lead home divers times by divers persons, and by whom by name, and how often as you know or have credibly heard'?

8. Was Swetnam 'at any time indicted of late by the grand jurie at an assizes held for the county of Northampton for a common drunkard'?


Signed by G. Sweit.

EM130, Defence depositions

Taken before commissioners John Watson, esq, and William Myn, gent, on 19 April 1639 at the Red Lion Inn, Aynho, co. Northampton.

(Witness 1), Giles Swetnham of Aynho, co. Northampton, blacksmith, born there, aged 41

To Stanton's defence:

1. John and Thomas Southam were 'very good friends' with Hanslapp, and that 'there hath been some strangeness and unkindness' between them and Staunton, 'but he conceiveth that they will not swear an untruth upon their oaths.'

2. That Staunton and Hanslapp fell out on St James's Day, 1637, and that Staunton had been servant to Mr Richard Cartwright of Aynho, esq, 'and was much trusted by him in receiving of his rents', for a year before the falling out. Cartwright was then a JP and for Oxford and Northampton, a DL for Northampton 'and a man of good note and reputation'. Cartwright died about the beginning of July 1637 and his funeral was on 24 July. St James Day was 25 July and Staunton was in mourning for him, but went to the fair at Bicester with Swetnam. They were returning to Aynho on foot when they saw Mr Hanslopp and John Southam on horseback overtake them at Bucknell at about 8 or 9pm. Hanslopp and Southam were talking 'about Crowlton men laying their hay upon Aynho common, and Southam said that Mr Cartwright did swear at him, saying that he should lay no hay upon that common. And Thomas Hanslapp then replied that Mr Richard Cartwright, deceased would saie and sweare anything, and that Mr Cartwright had no more to do with the common of Aynhoe then John Southam. And, afterwards, Hanslapp and William Staunton going along on the one side of the hedge and the other on the other, upon some speeches, Staunton said that it was a shame for him to abuse a worthy gent that was dead, meaning Mr Cartwright'. Swetnam heard Mr Hanslapp reply 'in a violent manner, that one as [he] conceived might have heard it half a mile, What wee did not expect anie hedge creeper or hedge creeping rogue; saying further also to Staunton in a provoking way as this deponent conceived it, Sirrah, Sirrah, I was never called knight of the poast 4 times together; and followed William Staunton 2 or three miles together on horsebacke, saying also unto him, Sirra, my mother was never cited unto the ecclesiasticall court, and, Sirrah, I know not, nor have any wife but my owne, saying that they were base fellows that went on foot, iterating the same words divers times over with other provoking speeches, purposely to cause him to strike him as [Swetnham] conceived.

Giles Swetnam

To Hanslopp's interrogatories:

2-3. He came to testify in answer to a warrant from the commissioners. He expected the litigants to pay his charges.

4. John and Thomas Southam were present at the speaking of the words.

6. He had known the Southams for 30 years and 'that they are reputed and taken to be honest men and he believeth that they will not forsweare themselves but he conceiveth that their memory may faile them.'

Signed by Giles Swetnam and by commissioners John Watson, John Stubbing and William Mynne.

(Witness 2), Elizabeth wife of William Stanton of Aynho, co. Northampton, born there, aged 40

To Stanton's defence:

2. As witness 1.

Signed by Elizabeth Stanton

To Hanslopp's interrogatories:

1-3. She came to testify in answer to a warrant, and hopes her husband will win the cause and expected him to bear her charges.

5. She was present at the speaking of the words along with John Southam and Giles Swetnam.

7. Giles Swetnam was 'a good honest poore man for anything she knoweth or heard to the contrarie; and she never heard him taxed for being commonly drunk and she believeth that he will swear nothing but the truth.'

Signed by Elizabeth Stanton and by the above three commissioners.

(Witness 3), Thomas Gardiner of Aynho, co. Northampton, husbandman, born there, aged 35

To Stanton's defence:

1. There had been former differences between the Southams and Staunton, for he had heard them quarrelling coming from Banbury. The Southams had 'love and friendship' with Thomas Hanslopp.

2. Mr Richard Cartwright had been a Justice of the Peace 'and a gent of good worth', and Staunton was held by him in 'great trust'. Last Michaelmas he heard Hanslap in the town house at Aynoe call Stanton 'base fellow and perjured fellow, and that he would hold with Mr Cartwright, and wrong and abuse his neighbours and do them what mischief he could.'

Signed by Thomas Gardiner [his mark] and by the three commissioners.

(Witness 4), Humphrey Goddard of Aynho, co. Northampton, mercer, born at Sem, in the parish of West Horsley, co. Surrey, aged 23

To Stanton's defence:

1. He had known the Southams for seven years. They were witnesses for Hanslapp and they would do him 'what courtesie they could'.

2. Mr Richard Cartwright had been a Justice of the Peace 'and of worth and credit in his Country', and Staunton was 'much trusted' by him to receive money. Last May he went with Mr Hanslapp to Ardley, co. Oxford, where they sent for Margaret, the wife of John Knott 'who as [Goddard] was informed had complained to Mr Hanslapp that William Stanton did attempt her chastity; and thereupon Mr Hanslapp willed her to complain to the sessions, and that was the way to bring him to composicon for some moneys betwixt her husband and him; but he saith he never heard Mr Hanslapp give Stanton anie disgracefull terms as in this article is expressed.' He was at the sessions at Wellingborough where Margaret Knott 'upon her earnest complaint and intreatie' borrowed 4 shillings from Hanslapp, 'whereof she lent [Goddard] 12d. And he saith that she did there indite William Stanton for the crime, and as he beleeveth, by the persuasion or dyreccon of Mr Hanslapp.'

Signed Humfry Godard and by the three commissioners.

(Witness 5), John Loe of Aynho, co. Northampton, husbandman, born there, aged 32

To Stanton's defence:

1. He had known the Southams for twenty years and he believed John Southam had not been friends with Staunton for seven years 'and that there had been unkindnesses and discord between them during that time'. The Southams had been 'very friendly and intimate' with Mr Hanslapp.

2. Mr Richard Cartwright had been lord of the manor of Aynho, justice of the peace and deputy lieutenant for Northamptonshire, a man of 'good credit and account'. Staunton was often at his house, 'but upon what occasion [Loe] knoweth not.'

To Hanslopp's interrogatories:

6. The Southams were 'men of good credit' who 'would not forswear themselves for any'.

Signed by John Loe and by the three commissioners.

(Witness 6), John Bricknell of Aynho, co. Northampton, husbandman, born there, aged 46

To Stanton's defence:

2. That Mr Richard Cartwright had been a Justice of the Peace in Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, and a deputy lieutenant in Northamptonshire, and that Stanton was 'much trusted and employed by him in receiving moneys and divers other services for him'.

Signed by John Bricknell and by the three commissioners.

EM130, Notary public's certificate

Signed by Michael Kipling, notary public of the diocese of York.

No date.

Sentence / Arbitration

13/3i, Plaintiff's sentence

Left blank where sums should have been filled in.

'William Stanton answeringe to some words or speeches uttered by Thomas Hanslopp said it was a lye and called him base fellow, or said he used base condicons, and bid him to alight of his horse'.

13/3k, Defendant's sentence

No sum entered and section on expenses against Hanslopp crossed out but section on case being dismissed left in.

13/3ee, Plaintiff's bill of costs

Michaelmas term, 1638: £12-16s-8d

Hillary term, 1638: £4-1s-4d

Vacation following: £5-13s-4d, inc. £5 for the commissioners.

Easter term, 1639: £4 19s 0d

Trinity term, 1639: £10-0s-0d

Total: £47-12s-2d

Signed by G. Sweit.

13/3dd, Defendant's bill of costs

Michaelmas term, 1638 to Trinity term, 1639: £64-12s-2d

Summary of proceedings

Dr Sweit acted as counsel for Hanslopp and Dr Roane for Staunton. On 20 November 1638 Staunton was warned to appear and Dr Sweit was required to deliver the libel for Hanslopp. Acting on behalf of Staunton, Dr Roane refuted the libel on 5 December 1638. Dr Roane presented material for the defence on 23 February 1639, upon which verdict was to be heard on 2 March.


A Thomas Hanslop of Aynho was mentioned in the 1618-19 Visitation of Northamptonshire as married to Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Chaplin.

W. C. Metcalfe (ed.), The Visitations of Northamptonshire made in 1564 and 1618-19 (London, 1887), p. 80.

For parish politics in Aynho, see: S. Ransom, 'Controversy in Aynho - Squire Cartwright and Parson Drope', in Cake and Cockhorse (Banbury Historical Society, 4, 5, 1969); H. I. Longden (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Northampton in the year 1681 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 87, 1935).


  • Defendant's case
    • Defence: EM131 (no date)
    • Letters commissory for the defendant: EM130 (2 Mar 1639)
    • Plaintiff interrogatories: EM130 (1639)
    • Defence depositions: EM130 (19 Apr 1639)
    • Notary public's certificate: EM130 (no date)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiff sentence: 13/3i (no date)
    • Defendant sentence: 13/3k (no date)
    • Plaintiff's bill of costs: 13/3ee (Tri 1639)
    • Defendant's bill of costs: 13/3dd (Tri 1639)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 400v-412v (20 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 422r-428r (28 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 474r-484v (5 Dec 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/9 (28 Jan 1639)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 1-9 (23 Feb 1639)
    • Proceedings before Marten: 1/6, fos. 9-12 (2 Mar 1639)

People mentioned in the case

  • Bricknell, John, husbandman
  • Cartwright, Richard, esq
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Drope, minister
  • Dugcombe, John
  • Gardiner, Thomas, husbandman
  • Goddard, Humphrey, mercer
  • Hanslopp, Thomas, gent (also Hanslop, Hanslap)
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Kipling, Michael, notary public
  • Knott, John
  • Knott, Margaret
  • Loe, John, husbandman
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Myn, William, gent
  • Roane, William, lawyer
  • Sibthorpe, Robert, Professor of Theology
  • Southam, John
  • Southam, Thomas
  • Staunton, William (also Stanton)
  • Stubbing, John, Professor of Theology (also Stibbens)
  • Sweit, Giles, lawyer
  • Swetnam, Giles, blacksmith
  • Turner, Dr of Law
  • Watson, John, esq
  • Watson, John, notary public

Places mentioned in the case

  • Northamptonshire
    • Aynho
    • Croughton, (also Croton, Crowlton)
    • Wellingborough
  • Oxfordshire
    • Bicester
    • Bucknell
  • Surrey
    • Sem
    • West Horsley

Topics of the case

  • assizes
  • calling sirrah
  • church court
  • denial of gentility
  • deputy lieutenant
  • drunkenness
  • fornication
  • giving the lie
  • justice of the peace
  • nicknaming
  • other courts