293 Henn v Chamberlaine

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'293 Henn v Chamberlaine', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/293-henn-chamberlaine [accessed 4 March 2024]

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Henry Henn of Holdenby, co. Northampton, and St Martin-in-the-Fields, co. Middlesex, esq v Abraham Chamberlaine of St Helen, London, merchant

February 1638 - February 1639


Henn, serjeant of the king's carriage horse, complained that Chamberlaine had called him 'a base fellow, a lyinge fellowe,' and said that 'he was forsworne, and that he could not beleave a word that hee said'. Chamberlaine maintained that Henn had encouraged his tenant William Higbie to obstruct him over taking possession of an estate in Holdenby, Northamptonshire, which was Chamberlaine's by right of judgement in the queen's court. He also claimed that Henn had spoken 'ill language' of the former lord treasurer, the earl of Portland whom Chamberlaine had defended.Process was granted on 7 February 1638 and Henn's witnesses had been examined by October. In February 1639 Dr Ryves, on Chamberlaine's behalf, attempted to arrange an arbitration; but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

7/50, Petition and advice of the King's Advocate

'The humble petition of Henry Henne, esq, serjeant of the carriage horse to his Majestie of the parish of St Martins in the Fields. Your petitioner was gentleman of the cariage horse to Prince Henry, and after to Prince Charles, and afterwards was sworne sejeant of the cariage horse to his Majestie, and soe hath bene ever since 1 Carolis an esqr by his place; and that Abraham Chamberlaine of the parish of St Ellins London, merchant, hath abused your petitioner by manie opprobrious and disgracefull speeches sayeing of or to him that he was a base fellow, a lyinge fellowe, and that he was forsworne, and that he could not beleave a word that hee said, or words to the like effect, thereby provoking your petitioner to a duell.

Wherefore your petitoner humblie desireth your lo[rdshi]pp's process against Chamberlaine to appeare in your Court Militarie to answeare etc

'Mr Dethick I take the Petitioner to bee sufficiently qualified to seeke his remedey in my L. Marshals Court, and that the words yield good cause of action and fitt for my L. Marshalls Court.'

7 February 1638.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Plaintiff's case

14/2ll, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. Of what age, occupation and condition was the witness? Where did they dwell? How did they know the parties?

2. How much was the witness worth in goods with his debts paid? How much had they been taxed at the last subsidy?

3. Was the witness a relative, retainer, indebted or obligated to either party? If they were related, in what degree? If they were indebted, by how much money?

4. Had the witness been instructed how to depose?

5. Which party did the witness favour and which party was the witness more acquainted with? To whom would the witness grant victory if it were within their power? How did the witness come to give testimony?

6. Had the witness been required to depose in any other cause and who obtained the victory in that cause?

7. Had there been any discord or controversy between the witness and defendant over anything other than this cause?

8. Did Henn have a lease of some lands in Holdenby that expired 2 or 3 years ago?

9. Was Chamberlaine to have these lands once Henn's lease expired?

10. Had Henn confessed that he had moved Chamberlaine to have a lease from him for these lands, but that Chamberlaine refused him?

11. Whether 'William Higbie did some years since, and how longe since, occupy the said lands as lessee unto Henry Henn for soe longe time as the lease soe made to Henry Henn endured. And whether after the lease soe made to Henry Henn was expired did Henry Henn move or perswade William Higbie to keep the possession of the lands from Abraham Chamberlaine'? Did 'Higbie for sometime keep the possession of the lands from Abraham Chamberlain after the lease so made to Henry Henn was expired'?

12. 'Did Abraham Chamberlaine in a suite of late brought by him in her [sic] Majesties courte against Henry Henn for the lands obtaine a decree in that court for the possession of the lands'?

13. 'Whether after the said lease so made to Henry Henn was expired, and after that William Higbie had for some time kept the possession of the lands from Chamberlaine, did William Higbie desire Chamberlaine that he might hold lands for halfe a year longer for fourscore pounds, and how much of that was paid and how much rent besides hath Mr Chamberlaine lost by William Higbie'?

14. 'Whether he or she did not come to Abraham Chamberlaine's house, and speaking to him, who then tolde you that William Higbie had not performed his promise and that Mr Chamberlaine then said that he would question William Higbie for his promise, whereupon you, Alice Higbie, used these or some other speeches tending to this effect, that you would rayle and exclayme upon this defendant and be revenged of him'?

15. 'Whether you have not heard Henry Henn exclaime and give ill language against the late Lord High Treasurer of England, and what were the words, and did not Chamberlaine upon the speaking of the words, in defence of the Lord High Treasurer then tell you that Mr Henn had spoken untruly against him and was not all the speeches then upon that occasion'?

16. 'Do you not know that Mr Henn was not very earnest with Mr Chamberlaine and his servants to strayne the cattle of Higbie to pay himself for his halfe year's rent, which for not doing suffered all this trouble'?

17. What losses had Chamberlaine had, 'both by the rent of his lands and by the troubles of this suite with Henn, and how long the possession of Chamberlaine's land was detained from him'?

18. 'What provocatory speeches of action passed from Henn to Chamberlaine at such time as Chamberlaine spoke such words and let every such witness sett downe particularly all the words that then and there passed between Henn and Chamberlaine and in such order as they were then spoken'?

No date

Signed by Thomas Eden.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Henn and Dr Ryves for Chamberlaine. Chamberlaine was summoned to appear on 12 February 1638, and his counsel Dr Ryves appeared on his behalf. On 20 October 1638 the witness Henry Hardcastle was warned to submit to examination and Dr Duck was required to publish the testimony of Henn's witnesses. On 9 February 1639 Dr Ryves claimed to have been seeking a settlement between the parties.


Henry Henn did not appear in the 1681 Visitation, but he had served as a royalist major of horse under Colonel Marmaduke Rawdon in the civil wars.

H. I. Longden (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Northampton in the year 1681 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 87, 1935); P. R. Newman, Royalist Officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660: A biographical dictionary (London, 1981), p. 186.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition and advice of the King's Advocate: 7/50 (7 Feb 1638)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/2ll (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • 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: 1/9 (28 Jan 1639)
    • Proceedings: 1/7, fos. 36-47 (9 Feb 1639)

People mentioned in the case

  • Chamberlaine, Abraham, merchant (also Chamberlain)
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Hardcastle, Henry
  • Henn, Henry, esq (also Henne)
  • Henrietta Maria, queen
  • Higbie, Alice (also Higby)
  • Higbie, William (also Higby)
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Rawdon, Marmaduke
  • Ryves, Thomas, lawyer
  • Stuart, Charles I, king
  • Stuart, Henry, Prince of Wales
  • Weston, Jerome, earl of Portland

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • St Helen
  • Middlesex
    • St Martin-in-the-Fields
  • Northamptonshire
    • Holdenby

Topics of the case

  • allegation of perjury
  • arbitration
  • civil war
  • denial of gentility
  • giving the lie
  • military officer
  • royalist
  • royal servant