301 Hobyln v George

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'301 Hobyln v George', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/301-hobyln-george [accessed 4 March 2024]

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301 HOBYLN V GEORGE

Thomas Hoblyn of St Enoder, co. Cornwall, esq v Thomas George of the same, yeoman

December 1639 - October 1640

Figure 301:

Trerice in Cornwall, the Elizabethan home of John Arundell, one of the arbiters called on to settle this case in December 1639 (Photograph: Richard Cust)

Abstract

Hoblyn complained that at a meeting in the schoolhouse at St Enoder, Cornwall, to take the accounts of the parish constable on Candlemas Day, 2 February 1639, George had called him a knave and given him the lie. George, the constable, maintained that he had been provoked by Hoblyn questioning the accounts, which were nothing to do with him, but were the responsibility of the 'twelve men of the parish'. Hoblyn had called him a knave then struck him on the face with his hand, then held up his cane to hit him again before the rest of the company interceded.

The normal order of proceeding in this case was thrown out by Maltravers referring it to local gentry for settlement. It appears that process was initially granted in December 1639 when order was given for arbitration by Sir William Courtenay and John Arundell, Edward Cosworth and Barnard Tanner, esq. In May 1640 according to Hoblyn, the referees certified that his complaint was justified and that George would not submit himself to their mediation. Before their certificate was returned, however, George produced another order to refer the whole matter to the mediation of Sir Richard Buller. When informed of this Maltravers gave order for the original case to proceed and witnesses for Hoblyn were examined by a commission headed by Peter Courtney, esq, on 10 September 1640 in George King's inn, St Columb, Cornwall. The court ordered that their depositions be presented in October, but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fos. 246r-247v, Thomas George's constable's account

Expenditure included posting letters around the county, the maintenance of the parish arms, custody of felons, hiring of horses, purchase of gunpowder, poor relief, pay for the drummers at the musters, as well as the constable's own expenses in meeting the press master and attending the quarter sessions.

In addition, sixpence was paid 'to a man that was redeemed from Turkey travelling home with a passe'.

The rate came to £4-4s-4d.

The rate was finally allowed on 24 April 1639, and signed by Thomas Hoblyn and Thomas Rickard.

2/90, Plaintiff's bond

5 December 1639

Bound to appear 'in the Court in the painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'.

Signed by Jonathan Tretheroy of Clements Inn, London, gent, on behalf of Hoblyn.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Watson.

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fo. 253, Libel

Referred to Hoblyn as an esquire and George as a yeoman.

1. Hoblyn was descended from a family that had been gentry for up to 300 years.

2. Hoblyn had been a councellor at law for several years.

3. From January to March 1638/9 in the parish of St Enoder, Thomas George 'said I was a knave and gave me the lie often or at least once <or uttered certain crafty and cunning words by which he did intimate I was a knave and in that sense and understanding and in no other they were taken and esteemed by all or some persons worthy of credit in whose presence they were uttered.>'

4. These contemptuous words were provocative of a duel.

Introduced Michaelmas term, 1640.

2/91, Petition to Arundel

'That whereas, uppon a former petition, setting forth that your petitioner being a gentleman and descended of ancient and generous family was verie much abused by one Thomas George of St Enoder in Cornwall, calling him knave, and saying that he lyed, thereby provoaking him to a duell, your lordship was pleased to refer the hearing and mediacon thereof unto Sir William Courteny knt, John Arundell, Edward Cosowarth and Barnard Tanner esqs. Whereupon, three of the said referees, after the hearing of both parties and examinacon of witnesses in the cause, in May last certified unto your lordship the said examinations, wherby the trueth of your petitioner's complaint may appeare, and that George did not submit himself to their arbitrament. But before such time as the certificate was returned, George had secretly obtained an order of refference wherein Sir Richard Buller knt was likewise nominated a refferree, which George hath kept in his hands by the space of 6 months and never endeavoured to have any thinge done thereupon, supposinge under colour thereof to delaye your petitioner's proceedings against him.'

Petitioned for process against Thomas George to summon him to answer.

Maltravers wrote overleaf:

'In regard of the certificate of the referees of the stubboness and obstinacie of Thomas George (in whose favour the reference was so long since granted), let the petitioner have a process as is desired.'

Signed by Maltravers.

No date [c. June 1640?]

Plaintiff's case

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fo. 254, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners Sir William Courtenay, Peter Courtenay, esq, John Trefusis, esq, John Carew, gent, and also Sir Richard Buller, William Cannock, esq, Christopher Cloiberry, gent, and John Munday, gent, to meet in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, from 10 to 12 September 1640 in George King's inn, in the town of St Columb, co. Cornwall.

William Lewin assigned John Watson as notary public.

Dated 20 May 1640.

Signed by William Lewin.

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fo. 248, First set of defence interrogatories [damaged]

1. Was he present at the speaking of the words in the libel, was he a servant or dependent of Mr Hoblyn, at whose charges did he appear, and had he been given anything for his testimony?

2. Where did he live, of what trade or condition was he, and how much was he worth?

3. Was Thomas George chosen the constable of St Enoder for 1638, and did he make accounts for his disbursements and receipts in the parish?

4. When, where, and in whose hearing were the words spoken? What words and actions preceded and followed them?

5. Were the pretended words spoken in the schoolhouse or nearby? Were Thomas Riccard, Philip Riccard, William Trevethicke and William Thomas 'four of the twelve men of the parish of Enoder' all present?

6. Did Thomas George 'desire a rate to be made for dispatch of his Majestie's service, and did Mr Hoblyn say that 'Thomas George was a knave and that his accompts were false' before the words in the libel were said?

7. Did Thomas George summon the twelve men of the parish to require a new rate for the king's service and did Mr Hoblyn 'disturb the business then to be treated on soe that there was nothing then done therein'?

8. 'Whether the receiving of the constable's accompt for Enoder doe solely belong to the twelve men of that place and to none other? Whether Mr Hoblyn was then none of those twelve men and had nothing to doe with the receaving of Thomas George's accompte?'

9. As George's account was not taken, did he give notice to the parish that he would pass his account at Bodmin sessions before the J.P.s? 'Whether Thomas George did then and there pass his accompte, and whether the parish was not then founde to be in his debte to the some of xx s, or some other some, and whether the same be yet paid unto him or not'?

10. Did some of the J.P.s at the sessions order that George's account should be allowed? Was the schedule annexed signed by the proper hands of Mr Hoblyn and Thomas Riccard, one of the 12 men of the parish. Did the words underneath the account begin with 'Suma totalis' and end with the words 'Thomas Hoblyn'?

11. Too damaged.

No date.

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fo. 249, Second set of defence interrogatories

1. 'Did Mr Hoblyn heare the wordes which you have deposed that Thomas George spake unto him, or did you informe him of it, and for what cause did you soe?'

No date.

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fo. 251, Third set of defence interrogatories

1. 'Did Mr Hoblyn heare the wordes which you have deposed that Thomas George spake unto him, as you know or believe. If yea, did Mr Hoblyn make any reply unto them. If no who did informe him of it and what ensewed thereupon?'

No date.

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fos. 230r-239r, Plaintiff depositions

Taken before commissioners, Peter Courtenay of Trethurffe, esq, John Carew, gent, and Christopher Clowberry, gent, between 1 and 2pm, on Thursday, 10 September 1640, in George King's inn, in the town of St Columb, co. Cornwall, in the presence of John Watson, notary public.

fos. 231r-234r (Witness 1), Nicholas Coffyn of Colan, co. Cornwall, gent, lived there for 6 months, born at Curyan, co. Cornwall, aged about 24

To Hoblyn's libel:

1. He had known Hoblyn for about 12 years, during which time he had 'lived in the fashion of a gentleman and is so reputed'. He had seen some deeds that were 100 years old that showed Hoblyn's ancestors were styled as gentlemen.

2. Hoblyn had been a counsellor of law for 9 years.

3. About 2 February 1638/9 in the schoolhouse at St Enoder, co. Cornwall, there was a meeting of parishioners at which Thomas George gave an account of his disbursements for the parish. 'Mr Hoblyn was one thinking his accompt and disbursements to be very large', and argued with him. George responded, 'If you can disprove me in anythinge then speake of me as you find me or speake of me as you thinke, and then you shall speak of me as you are yourself. And then Mr Hoblyn charging George for not setting down the dayes of his disbursements which, if he had done Mr Hoblyn said that he would have endeavoured to have proved George unjust or a knave or both.' George replied, 'Then you shall prove me to be as you yourself are. And afterwards Thomas George craving allowance for expence in riding to Foy [Fowey] to attend the presse master there, Mr Hoblyn told George that he might have saved the parish that charge for having a kinsman neere the towne, vizt. Mr Rashleigh of Coombe he might have layen at his house'. George replied, 'If I had said soe I had lyed'. There were present Thomas Richard, gent, William Trevethicke, William Thomas, Samuel Gulley, William Gulley and others.

4. George spoke the words 'in as disgracefull and provoking manner as he could.'

To George's first set of interrogatories:

1. At the time of the words, he was Hoblyn's servant, but was not now his servant or dependant, and expected no reward for his testimony.

2. He was now serving as clarke to Samuel Cosowarth of Cosowarth, esq, and J.P. [see cause 107]. He did not know what he was worth.

3. Thomas George was constable of St Enoder in 1638, and his quarrel grew with Hoblyn after he presented the account of his disbursements to parishioners.

4. As predeposed.

5. The words were spoken in the presence of Thomas Riccard, Philip Riccard, William Trevethicke, and William Thomas 'who are four of the twelve men of the parish of St Enoder.

6. As predeposed.

10. He believed the schedule attached to the interrogatories was subscribed with the proper hands of Mr Hoblyn and Thomas Riccard, 'and that the words underneath the account beginning with these words, suma totalis, and ending with these words, Thomas Hoblyn, written with the proper handwriting of Mr Hoblyn'. He believed George's account was ordered to be allowed by some of the J.P.s, but was opposed by most of the J.P.s.

11. After the speaking of the words, Mr Hoblyn with his hand struck George either upon his face or his hat. George's face did not swell and there was no blood from the blow. 'Mr Hoblyn did afterwards hold up his staffe and offer to strike Thomas George therewith.'

To George's second set of interrogatories:

1. He believed that Mr Hoblyn heard the words, and the witness told him of them also, 'for that George did tax Mr Hoblyn his reputation'.

Signed by Nicholas Coffyn and the three commissioners.

fos. 234v-236v (Witness 2), Thomas Rickard of St Enoder, co. Cornwall, yeoman, born there, aged about 60

To Hoblyn's libel:

1-2. He had known Hoblyn for about 8 or 9 years, during which time he had 'lived in the fashion of a gentleman' and was a counsellor at law.

3. On a day in one of the months in the libel, in the schoolhouse at St Enoder, co. Cornwall, there was a meeting of parishioners at which the constable Thomas George gave an account of his disbursements for the parish. Upon looking at the accounts, Mr Hoblyn said 'I think I can find out some of your knaverie'. George replied: 'If you do you shall find me but as you are'. Mr Hoblyn said that if George had recorded the days of his disbursements, Hoblyn would have endeavoured to have proved him a knave.' George replied 'If you should, you should have proved me as you are yourself'. There were also present Nicholas Coffyn, William Trevethicke, William Thomas, Philip Richard, Samuel Gulley, William Gulley, John Byce, and others whom he did not remember.

4. 'He did not perceive Mr Hoblyn *or Thomas George* to be angrie at the *utterage of* the speeches'.

To George's first set of interrogatories:

3. Thomas George was constable of St Enoder in 1638, and he presented the account of his disbursements to the parishioners who did not accept it.

4. As predeposed.

5. The words were spoken in the place and presence of persons mentioned in the interrogatory.

6. As predeposed, and Thomas George had desired 'a rate to be made for dispatch of his Majestie's service and the parishioners would not grant it him for that he had not given a just account for the rate he formerly had.'

7. George summoned 12 men of the parish and gave them his account, but they refused to receive it, saying it was unjust. They refused it a second time. He then offered it to the J.P.s who would not allow it and offered it to this witness 'to strike out what he should think fitt and thereupon [Rickard] did strike out neere about twelve shillings in the accompt, *and then afterwards it was allowed of*'.

8. 'The receiving of the constable's accompt of the parish of St Enoder doth belong to the whole parish and Mr Hoblyn had to do with Thomas George his accompt as he was a parishioner of the parish.'

9. As predeposed, and at the time of passing, George's account, the parish was found to be 20s in his debt.

10. The schedule attached to the interrogatories was subscribed with the proper hands of Mr Hoblyn and this witness and that the words 'underneath the account, beginning with these words, suma totalis, and ending with these words, Thomas Hoblyn, is the proper handwriting of Mr Hoblyn'.

11. After the speaking of the words, Mr Hoblyn with his fist struck George's face 'and did hold up a rodd he had in his hand at Thomas George, but did not strike him therewith, and [Rickard] and others did intercede between them.'

To George's third set of interrogatories:

1. He believed that 'Mr Hoblyn did not hear the words before deposed, for that he is something deafe and did not make any reply to <Mr> Thomas George when he spake the words until afterwards when he rose from the table'.

Signed by Thomas Rickard and the three commissioners.

fos. 237r-238r (Witness 3), William Gulley of St Enoder, co. Cornwall, yeoman, born there, aged about 22

To Hoblyn's libel:

1-2. He had known Hoblyn for about 6 years, during which time he had been reputed a gentleman and a counsellor at law.

3. On Candlemas day in 1638/9 in the schoolhouse at St Enoder, co. Cornwall, there was a meeting of parishioners at which Thomas George gave an account of his disbursements for the parish. Upon looking at the accounts, Mr Hoblyn said, 'I believe I shall make this appear to be knaverie'. George replied, 'Speake of me as you find or speak of me as you thinke, and then you shall speak of me as you are yourself.' Mr Hoblyn said that if George had recorded the days of his disbursements, Hoblyn would have endeavoured to have proved him a knave. George replied: 'Then you will prove me to be as you are yourself'. There were also present Thomas Rickard, Nicholas Coffyn, William Trevethicke, Samuel Gulley others.

4. George spoke the words 'smilingly.'

To George's first set of interrogatories:

4. As predeposed.

6. As predeposed.

11. As predeposed and he did not see Mr Hoblyn strike Thomas George.

Signed by William Gulley and the three commissioners.

fos. 238v-239r (Witness 4), Samuel Gulley of Newlyn, co. Cornwall, yeoman, lived there for 8 years, born at St Enoder, aged about 24

To Hoblyn's libel:

1-2. He had known Hoblyn for about 3 or 4 years, during which time he had been a counsellor at law and lived in the fashion of a gentleman.

3. On a day during one of the months in the libel in 1638/9, in the schoolhouse at St Enoder, co. Cornwall, there was a meeting of parishioners at which Thomas George gave an account of his disbursements for the parish. Mr Hoblyn challenged George, saying he brought in too large an account and that if George had recorded the days of his disbursements, Hoblyn 'would have bestowed some time to have proved the said George a knave'. George replied, 'Then you will prove me to be as yourself'. There were also present Thomas Rickard, Nicholas Coffyn, William Gulley and others.

To George's first set of interrogatories:

4, 6, 11. As witness 3.

Signed by Samuel Gulley and the three commissioners.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Parry acted as counsel for Hoblyn and Dr Talbot for George. On 10 October 1640 the court sent for the testimony of the prosecution witnesses.

Notes

A Thomas Hoblyn, gent, married Alice Cosworth at Little Colan on 7 October 1634. A Thomas Hoblyn inherited lands in Hallworthy in 1636. There was also a Thomas Hoblyn of Bodrane living in 1620, married to Elizabeth, daughter of William Bonvile of St Columb, and a Thomas Hoblyn of Nanpean, married to Dorothy, daughter of John Dynham. A Thomas Hoblin of St Pinnock was disclaimed at Bodmin on 30 September 1620.

J. L. Vivian and H. H. Drake (eds.), The Visitation of the County of Cornwall in the Year 1620 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 9, 1874), pp. 50n, 101, 102, 181n, 295.

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Tho. George's constable's account: Cur Mil I, 1631-42, fos. 246r-247v (24 Apr 1639)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 2/90 (5 Dec 1639)
    • Libel: Cur Mil 1631-42, fo. 253 (Mic 1640)
    • Petition to Arundel: 2/91 (no date)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Cur Mil 1631-42, fo. 254 (20 May 1640)
    • First set of defence interrogatories: Cur Mil 1631-42, fo. 248 (no date)
    • Second set of defence interrogatories: Cur Mil 1631-42, fo. 249 (no date)
    • Third set of defence interrogatories: Cur Mil 1631-42, fo. 251 (no date)
    • Plaintiff's depositions: Cur Mil 1631-42, fos. 230-239 (10 Sep 1640)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 56r-64v (10 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 49r-52r (24 Oct 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Arundel, John, esq
  • Bonvile, Elizabeth
  • Bonvile, William
  • Buller, Richard, knight
  • Byce, John
  • Cannock, William, esq
  • Carew, John, gent
  • Cloiberry, Christopher, gent (also Clowberry, Cloberrie)
  • Coffyn, Nicholas, gent
  • Cosworth, Alice
  • Cosworth, Edward, esq (also Cosowarth, Coswarth)
  • Cosworth, Samuel, esq (also Cosowarth, Coswarth)
  • Courtenay, Peter, esq (also Courtney)
  • Courtenay, William, knight (also Courtney)
  • Dynham, Dorothy
  • Dynham, John
  • George, Thomas, yeoman
  • Gulley, Samuel, yeoman
  • Gulley, William, yeoman
  • Hoblyn, Dorothy
  • Hoblyn, Elizabeth
  • Hoblyn, Thomas, esq (also Hoblin)
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • King, George, innkeeper
  • Lewin, William, lawyer
  • Munday, John, gent
  • Parry, George, lawyer
  • Rashleigh, Mr
  • Riccard, Philip (also Rickard, Richard)
  • Riccard, Thomas, yeoman (also Rickard, Richard)
  • Talbot, Clere, lawyer
  • Tanner, Barnard, esq
  • Thomas, William
  • Trefusis, John, esq
  • Tretheroy, Jonathan, gent
  • Trevethicke, William
  • Watson, John, notary public

Places mentioned in the case

  • Cornwall
    • Bodmin
    • Bodrane
    • Colan
    • Coombe
    • Curyan
    • Fowey
    • Hallworthy
    • Little Colan
    • Nanpean
    • Newlyn
    • St Columb
    • St Enoder
    • St Pinnock
    • Trethurgy
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster

Topics of the case

  • arbitration
  • assault
  • giving the lie
  • justice of the peace
  • provocative of a duel
  • quarter sessions
  • taxation
  • weapon