307 Hopton v Dawes

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'307 Hopton v Dawes', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/307-hopton-dawes [accessed 5 March 2024]

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George Hopton of Hopton, co. Salop, esq v William Dawes of Ludlow, co. Salop, mercer

December 1638 - September 1639


Hopton complained that Dawes had called him a base knave in his absence. However, when his petition was considered on 18 December 1638, Maltravers decided that it had been instigated by Dr Clayton, Hopton's sole witness who had several suits in progress against Dawes and was seeking to inconvenience him by causing him to be summoned from Ludlow to London. Dawes was discharged from the custody of the messenger with his £10 costs. But Maltravers left the door open for the process to continue if other witnesses could be produced. On 13 September 1639 Hopton entered bond to prosecute the case; but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

6/38, Order

'This day upon reading the petition of Mr George Hopton of Hopton in the county of Sallop, by which he complained that in his absence one Wm Dawes, a mercer in Ludlowe, reported that the petitioner is a base knave with other scandalous speeches of him; and upon reading an affidavit of Doctor Clayton that he heard Wm Dawes speake the scandalous and disgracefull words; and upon hearing all the parties being personally present, because it appeareth that Mr Hopton, giving credit to the information and affidavit of Doctor Clayton, caused Wm Dawes to be sent for by warrant from Ludlow (being 120 myles from London), which single affidavit is conceived to be no sufficient testimony to convince [sic] Dawes of speaking the words, the rather because it is confessed that there have been heretofore and still are depending severall suites between Doctor Clayton and Wm Dawes which have been prosecuted with much asperity and violence, for as it may seem probable that this complaint is stirred rather for vexacon by Doctor Clayton (being both the first informed and onely witness herein) then for any just cause, it is therefore now ordered by the right honorable Henry Lo. Maltravers that William Dawes shall be forthwith discharged from the custody of the messenger, and that Mr Hopton shall pay unto Mr Dawes the sum of tenn pounds for his costs and charges herein sustained. Neverthelesse, because Doctor Clayton now affirmeth that he can make good his informacon and fortifie his single affidavit with the testimony of divers other witnesses of credit and reputacon, it is therefore further ordered by his Lordship that Mr Hopton may if he please take the process of this Court and exhibit his libell against Wm Dawes and examine all such witnesses as he hath to prove the same accordinge to the rules of the court; and the payment of the said ten pounds for costs is suspended until the heareing in court.'

Dated 18 December 1638

Signed by Maltravers.

'Ex per Nich Herman?'

6/37, Plaintiff's bond

13 September 1639

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

Signed by George Hopton.

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


George Hopton of Hopton was the son of Richard Hopton of Hopton and Anne, daughter and heiress of Thomas Walker alias Leigh of Stretton, co. Salop. He married Bridget, daughter of Sir Edward Pitt, knt.

G. Grazebrook and J. P. Rylands (eds.), The Visitation of Shropshire taken in the year 1623, vol. I (Publications of the Harleian Society, 28, 1889), pp. 257-8.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Order: 6/38 (18 Dec 1638)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 6/37 (13 Sep 1639)

People mentioned in the case

  • Clayton, Dr
  • Dawes, William, mercer
  • Herman, Nicholas
  • Hopton, Anne
  • Hopton, George, esq
  • Hopton, Richard
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Pitt, Bridget
  • Pitt, Edward, knight
  • Walker alias Leigh, Anne
  • Walker alias Leigh, Thomas
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Salop / Shropshire
    • Hopton
    • Ludlow
    • Stretton

Topics of the case

  • defendant victory
  • denial of gentility