291 Heber v Michell

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'291 Heber v Michell', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/291-heber-michell [accessed 5 March 2024]

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291 HEBER V MICHELL

Thomas Heber of Marton, co. York, esq v William and Henry Michell of the same, yeomen

July - October 1640

Abstract

Heber complained that his tenant William Michell had said that he was as good a man as him, and challenged him to fight in the street outside Heber's house in Marton, saying 'Tom Heber come forth if thou darest, and I will beat thee back and side that all others may take notice by thee'. When Heber came forth unarmed, Michell struck him on the head with his pikestaff. Heber also complained that Henry Michell said that 'he was a Bedlam, and had the turne in his head everie day', and that 'hee did not weigh mee at a turd'. Heber was married to a gentlewoman descended from the noble Cliffords, and maintained that 'her mind agreeth with her birth' so that he would not dare to 'look her nor her friends in the face' until he had received satisfaction for these affronts. Lord Maltravers had previously referred the case to arbitration by local gentry, but this had failed. He therefore granted process on 25 July 1640 and Heber's libel was entered on 10 October; however, proceedings did not get much further before the court's activities were suspended.

Initial proceedings

5/130, Petition

'Your petitioner formerly besought your lordship in May last by petition for a redress of scandalous words and blows against William Michell and Henry Michell, brothers, your petitioner's tenants'. 'William Michell told your petitioner divers times that he was as good a man as he, your petitioner, and badd him strike him if he durst, being in your petitioner's own house. And at another time Michell came into the street near to your petitioner's house and dared him to come out to him saying, Tom Heber come forth if thou darest, and I will beat thee back and side that all others may take notice by thee; and your petitioner stepping forth (without any weapon) wishing him to depart and leave his railing, he struck your petitioner with a pike staff upon his head and wounded him sore, swearing he would have his life ere he stirred from the ground; and after bragged he had brooke his staff upon Heber's head. And Henry Michell said against your petitioner that he was a Bedlam, and had the turne in his head, and that he was as good a man as your petitioner who was but a Bedlam; and this was spoke in your petitioner's hearing who went away and said nothing; and many other scandalous speeches used to your petitioner's own servants, in persuading them not to serve him their master (being a Bedlam and bad them tell him so much).

Whereupon, your honor made a reference to some gentleman in the country to examine the business; and your petitioner's adversaries did not agree to the same but have since got a new reference to some others, whereof one is and hath bin your petitioner's only enemy in this business, of which proceedings your petitioner never had notice until now. And this way is but to procrastinate time, and your petitioner may be kept thus without satisfaction many years.

Now considering these insufferable injuries, and your petitioner's wife a gentlewoman descended of so noble a family as the Clifford earles of Cumberland, whose mind agreeth with her birth; so that your petitioner never dares look her nor her friends in the face, until he hath gained so much your lordship's favour, as to heare it publiquely in the Court Military.

Wherefore your petitioner doth humbly crave process out of that honorable Court against William Michell and Henry Michell to answeare the same.

And your petitioner (as in duty bound) shall ever pray'.

'25 July 1640

In regard the plaintiff and defendants cannot agree upon indifferent references (to whome I have by two severall references heretofore referred this cause) let the petition have a process, to the end it may be heard judiciallie in courte.'

Signed by Mowbray and Maltravers.

5/131, Plaintiff's bond

25 July 1640

Bound to 'appear in the court in the Painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'.

Signed by Thomas Heber.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Watson

5/133, Defendant's bond

14 August 1640

Bond for Henry Michell to 'appear in the court in the Painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'.

Signed by Henry Michell.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Longland and John Dynham.

5/134, Defendant's bond

14 August 1640

Bond for William Michell to 'appear in the court in the Painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'.

Signed by Henry Michell (on behalf of his brother)

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Longland and John Dynham.

12/4b, Libel

1. Heber's family were lords of the manor of Marton and had been ancient gentry for up to 200 years, whereas William and Henry Michell were plebeians, merely yeomen.

2. Between August and October 1638 in the parish of Marton and the parishes roundabout, William Michell said in the presence of several gentry 'that he was as good a man as I and badd me touch or strike him if I durst'.

3. Between March and May 1639 in the parish of Marton, in the presence of several people in the house of Thomas Heber, William Michell 'dared mee to come out of my house and said hee would beate mee back and side, that all other should take example by mee and hee struck mee in the head and other parts of my bodie divers times and drewe much blood of mee'.

4. William Michell had glorified in these words.

5. Henry Michell said 'that I was a bedlam and had the turne in my head verie day and I was a madd man, and hee did not weigh mee at a turd, and hee was as good a man as I and badd some present goe tell mee soe'.

6. William and Henry Michell's contemptuous words were provocative of a duel.

7. All this was true, public and notorious.

No date [10 October 1640]

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel to Heber and Dr Merrick to the Michells. Dr Duck gave the libel on behalf of Heber on 10 October 1640 and Dr Merrick was required to respond to the libel on behalf of the Michells on 24 and 30 October and 20 November 1640.

Notes

Thomas Heber of Marton, esq, was mentioned in Dugdale's Visitation of 1665 as having died in c.1659. Heber had married Anne, daughter of William Lowther of Ingleton, co. York, esq.

R. Davies (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Yorke begun in 1665 and finished in 1666, by William Dugdale (Surtees Society, 36, 1859), p. 34.

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 5/130 (25 Jul 1640)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 5/131 (25 Jul 1640)
    • Defendant's bond: 5/133 (14 Aug 1640)
    • Defendant's bond: 5/134 (14 Aug 1640)
    • Libel: 12/4b (10 Oct 1640)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 56r-64v (10 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings before Stafford: 1/11, fos. 41r-44v (24 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 19r-30v (30 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 5r-9r (20 Nov 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Clifford, earls of Cumberland
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Dynham, John
  • Heber, Anne
  • Heber, Thomas
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, William, baron Stafford
  • Longland, John
  • Lowther, Anne
  • Lowther, William
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Michell, Henry, yeoman
  • Michell, William, yeoman
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Yorkshire, West Riding
    • Ingleton
    • Marton

Topics of the case

  • allegation of insanity
  • arbitration
  • assault
  • comparison
  • insult before subordinates
  • provocative of a duel
  • scatological insult
  • threatened violence
  • weapon