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317 Hungate v Reynolds

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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317 HUNGATE V REYNOLDS

Sir Henry Hungate of East Bradenham, co. Norfolk, knt v Robert Reynolds, haberdasher, and William Merriall of the same, yeoman

September 1639 - Easter term 1640

Figure 317:

Magdalen Gate, Norwich, and inside it, Magdalen Street, where the commissioners met in January 1640 to take evidence from Hungate's witnesses (NH Norwich)

Abstract

Hungate, a gentleman of the privy chamber and deputy lieutenant to Arundel in Norfolk, complained that in August-September 1639 Reynolds had said that he deceived and oppressed his tenants, tricking them into renewing their leases at higher rents, which 'did cause great clamours among them'. He added that Reynolds's wife had said at Swaffham market that 'her husband's father gave as good armes as anie man in Norfolk, and that her husband was an honester man then ever would goe upon Sir Henry Hungate's leggs.' He also alleged that around the same time, Merriall, Reynolds' son-in-law, insulted him at his own house, Bradenham Hall : 'having his hatt upon his head and looking out of the chamber window, [he] said to Sir Henrie that he cared not a rushe or a strawe for him; and ... being cracking of nuts he spitted out shells... in a very scornefull and disgracefull manner.'Earlier there had been an attempt to reconcile some of the differences between Hungate and Reynolds which broke down when Reynolds declared himself to be 'as good a gentleman as Sir Henrie Hungate...and as honest a man to be suer.' This was news to Reynolds' neighbours who said that they had always known him as Goodman Reynolds, haberdasher', although one of them 'had heard him say of late that he was a gentleman.' Reynolds then sought to bolster this claim by declaring that 'he had brought downe his armes which Sir William Le Neve had given him freelie and unasked, and said that his father was a Reynolds and his mother a Gouldingham, and that Sir William Le Neve would justifie them to be as ancient gentrie as anie were in Norfolke.' Reynolds and Merriall were also charged with another action of contempt for assaulting George Perkins, the deputy of the Earl Marshal's messenger, outside Bradenham church when he was sent to execute Hungate's warrant on 29 September 1639. In addition, there were allegations of an assault by Merriall on Richard Stoddard, tenant of one of his properties, at the Vintage Tavern, Thames Street, London on 5 December 1639.

Proceedings against Reynolds and Merriall were under way by September 1639 and Hungate's witnesses were examined by a commission headed by Dr Clement Corbet, formerly Chancellor to Bishop Wren, on 16 January 1640 at the Black Bull in Magdalen Street, Norwich. During February 1640 Reynolds and Merriall petitioned that they were 'neither able nor willing to contend with Sir Henry Hungate', and requested that the case be referred to a group of Norfolk knights and gentry for arbitration. But this was denied and in April-May they lost the case and were sentenced to pay fines of £100 and £200 damages.

Initial proceedings

R.19, fo. 15r, Articles

Articles against Reynolds and Merriall 'for the beating and wounding one Geo. Perkins deputy to John Cox, a messenger of his Majestie's Chamber in Perkins's service of a warrant directed out of the Court Military by the right Honorable the Earle Marshall or by his lawfull Lieutenant, to attach the bodyes of Robert Reynolds and William Merriall and c.'

No date, 1639

No signature.

19/7b, Personal answer of William Merriall

1-2. On 5 October 1639, his father-in-law, Robert Reynolds came to him in London and told him there was a warrant from the Earl Marshal granted against him and Reynolds's wife and daughter. They inquired for Mr Coxe, messenger of the court, who came to them and told them he had the warrant, and made them prisoners. Merriall denied that he ever heard of a warrant against him or Robert Reynolds before that 5 October. He never heard that Mr Coxe or George Perkins or any other deputy came to East Bradenham to execute the warrant. 'Otherwise he doth not believe these articles either of them to be true in any parte.'

3. On 29 September he was at East Bradenham parish church with his wife and Robert Reynolds and his wife. Both wives were unwell and left the church, and he followed them. As they headed home along the highway, Merriall's wife saw 'George Parkins come a great pace' after him and told him that Perkins had threatened to do him mischief, and wished him 'to runne and make haste from him'. So Merriall ran homewards, but Perkins overtook him, pulled him down, and set his knee in Merriall's breast, telling him he would make him return to church. Merriall said he would not return, and Perkins still held him to the ground when Merriall and Reynolds's wives arrived and asked Perkins if he meant to murder Merriall. They took hold of Perkins and pulled him off, Merriall believing that his wife gave Perkins 'a blowe upon the head', while Reynolds's wife also struck Perkins once or twice on the head with her hand. While they were struggling, Robert Reynolds, constable of the parish, arrived and commanded Perkins in the king's name to keep the peace. Perkins refused, so Reynolds 'did thereupon draw a little dagger that he had by his side and did strike Perkins over the head but did not cutt his head' as Merriall believed, nor draw blood. Merriall himself gave Perkins some blows with his fist and Perkins reciprocated. 'Otherwise he doth not believe this article to be true in any parte'. Merriall denied that Perkins had told him that he had a warrant from the Marshal's court to apprehend him or that Perkins had said he was deputy to Mr Coxe the Marshal's messenger. He denied that Perkins showed him any warrant, or charged him in the king's name to stay.

4. After the above incident he found a pistol in the highway which he believed belonged to Reynolds, and he 'did take the same by the small end and offered to have struck Parkins with the same; but Robert Reynolds commanded him to be quiet and took the pistol' from him. Merriall then went home, but remembered that Reynolds, dagger in hand, told Perkins 'if he would not keep the king's peace he would suffer for it'. Otherwise he did not believe the article to be true. He denied that he ever presented the pistol at Perkins, and he denied that Reynolds ever thrusted with his dagger at Perkins. He denied that he or Reynolds ever used such words as expressed in the article.

Signed by William Merrell.

Repeated in court before Henry Marten, 7 November 1639.

19/7b, Personal answer of Robert Reynolds

1-2. Upon or after 1 October last, Richard Burly came to Buckenham, co. Norfolk, to tell him there was a warrant from the Earl Marshall to apprehend William Merriall and others. So, the next day, Reynolds journeyed towards London to find out why. He denied he was given any notice of this before 1 October, and denied that he ever heard that Mr Coxe or George Perkins or anyone else came to East Bradenham to execute the warrant.

3. On 29 September he was in East Bradenham churchyard, when a woman called to him and told him that Perkins, Merriall, Merriall's wife and Reynolds's wife 'were fallen together by the eares in the highway'. Reynolds went to them and found Merriall held to the ground by Perkins kneeling on his chest. Reynolds told Perkins to keep the king's peace, otherwise, Reynolds being a constable, would have to strike him. Perkins refused to unhand Merriall, so Reynolds pushed him off. Perkins then 'fell upon' Reynolds, so Reynolds 'in his owne defence drew a little dagger that he always used to wear in his pocket and with the same gave Parkins one blowe *and noe more* over the head but did not cutt Parkins his head as he believeth, neither did he see any blood at all spilt or issue from Parkins and otherwise he doth not believe this article to be true in any parte denying that Merriall or his wife or [Reynolds'] wife' in his sight gave Perkins any blow at all. He denied that anyone pulled Perkins by the hair of the head or threw him down on the ground. He denied hearing Perkins say to Merriall, him, or anyone, that he had any warrant, that he was deputy to the Earl Marshal's messenger, or that he had any authority from any court to apprehend Merriall, Reynolds, or their wives. He did not hear Perkins charge Merriall in the king's name to stay.

4. 'After the premises', he 'having a pistol about him' which he carried because he rode abroad 'to receyve moneyes that day', and with the struggle, it fell down into the highway. William Merriall took it up and held the small end 'being the mouth of the pistol in his hand'. Reynolds 'charged him in the king's name to be quiet and took the pistol' from Merriall.Reynolds then 'holding his naked dagger in his hand' told Perkins 'that if he came upon him it should be to his peril'. Otherwise 'he doth not believe this article to be true in any parte'. He denied that Merriall presented the pistol at Perkins and denied that he himself made 'thrusts with his dagger'. He denied that he and Merriall used any of their alleged words against Perkins.

Signed by Robert Reynolds

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten, 7 November 1639.

Acta (5), fo. 391, Articles

Articles against Reynolds and Merriall for assaulting George Perkins, deputy messenger

1. In August or September 1639 there was a warrant granted by Arundel or Maltravers and directed to John Cox, messenger of his Majesty's chamber, or to his deputies, for the attaching of Reynolds and Merriall to personally appear in the Court Military, 'on a certaine day and place therein expressed.'

2. Upon or before 29 September 1639, Reynolds and Merriall 'had some private intimation or knowledge' of this warrant and that John Cox's deputy, Mr George Perkins of Westminster, was come down from London and at East Bradenham to execute the warrant.

3. On 29 September William Merriall, his wife, and Reynolds's wife were all upon the king's highway, going home when George Perkins came towards them and told them that he had to speak to Merriall 'in his Majesties behalfe', requiring them in the king's name to stay, which they heard and understood, but thereupon turned their backs and refused to stay, crossing the highway 'above an ordinary pace' in order to escape from Perkins. But Perkins 'laid hold gently upon' Merriall's coat, again commanding him in the king's name to stay. Merriall replied that he would not and suddenly along with his wife and Mrs Reynolds 'did violently runne upon George Perkins, pulled him by the hair of the head, threwe him on the ground and gave him many soare blowes and strokes on the body head and face'. Robert Reynolds then 'came sodainly to the action and well knowing and seeing the premises' drew his dagger and with it gave Perkins 'two great cutts in the head and drewe much blood'.

4. Soon after Perkins had been so hurt, Merriall drew a pistol, pointing it at Perkins, while Reynolds thrusted at Perkins's body with his dagger. Reynolds or Merriall thenthreatened Perkins that if he spoke one word about the warrant or came near them they would kill him, and so they escaped from being served with the warrant at that time and place and they returned to their houses.

Introduced 27 January 1640.

Signed by William Lewin.

Acta (5), fo. 67, Libel

1. Hungate's family had been gentry for up to 300 years and their ancestors had been knights, while the families of Robert Reynolds and William Merriall were plebeians.

2. Robert Reynolds had said, 'That I caused all my tennants to bring in their leases, pretending only to see them, and thereupon tooke away their leases, and compelled them to take new leases of mee att greater and improved rents; and that by my wrong and oppression of my tennants I did cause great clamours among them, and I oppressed him contrary to all lawe and justice.'

3. Mrs Reynolds had said 'that her husband and his father did give as good almes as any men in England or Norfolke, and that her husband was as good a man, and as good a gentleman as Sir Henry Hungate, and an honester man then ever went on Sir Henry Hungate's leggs.'

4. William Merriall had said 'that he cared not what Sir Henry Hungate could doe, and he cared noe more for Sir Henry Hungate then for a rush or a strawe, and takeing a rush of strawe into his hands flung itt away disdaynefully.'

Introduced 27 January 1640.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

R.19, fo. 13v, Summary of libel

Sir Henry Hungate was 'a knight and for 2 yeares has bin deputy lieutenant to the Earl Marshall, and for 14 years gentleman of the privy Chamber to the King and 2 years to King James, *and descended of an ancient family*. And that Reynolds and Merriall are plebeians andc. And that Reynolds (at such time and place) before many gentlemen said that Sir Henry caused all his tenants to bring in their leases, pretending only to see them and thereupon took away their leases, and compelled them to take new leases at greater and improved rents. And that Elizabeth his wife said that her husband and his father did give as good armes as any man, and that her husband was as good a man as Sir Henry Hungate, and an honester man then he. And that Merriall said that he cared no more for Sir Hen. Hungate then for a rush or a straw, and having a straw in his hand flung it away disdainfully, thereby to provoke andc.'

No date, 1639

No signature.

Plaintiff's case

Acta (5), fo. 68, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners Sir Edward Walgrave, knight, Clement Corbett, Doctor of Law and Professor of Theology, George Buckworth, esq, and also, Sir Edmund Maundford, knight, Thomas Sheringham, gent, and Thomas Parmenter, gent, to meet from 16 to 18 January 1640, at the Black Bull in Magdalen St, Norwich.

Dated 11 November 1639.

Humphrey Terrick assigned Giles Agas as notary public.

Acta (5), fo. 392, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

As above Acta (5), fo. 68,but also signed by Humphrey Terrick.

Acta (5), fo. 66, Defence interrogatories

1. What was the witnesses' age, occupation and condition of living? To whom would they give the victory if it were in their power?

2. Was the witness a relative, household servant or retainer to either party and how much were they worth with their debts paid?

3. Who were present at the pretended speaking of the words mentioned in articles 2-5 of the libel? Exactly where and when was the 'pretended speakinge, the precedents thereunto and subsequent thereupon'?

No date.

Signed by William Merrick.

Acta (5), fo. 390, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. What was their age, occupation and condition of living? To whom would they give the victory if it was within their power?

2. Was the witness a relative, household servant or retainer of Hungate and how much were they worth in goods with their debts paid?

3. Did George Perkins show any warrant under the seal of the court?

4. Did Perkins beat or strike the defendants or their wives and what words did he say to them?

5. Was Reynolds told that Perkins and Merriall were 'together by the eares'?Did he not then go to them and find Merriall 'downe on the ground', with Perkins 'kneeling on Merriall's Brest'? Did not Reynolds then and there command Perkins to keep the king's peace?

No date.

Signed by William Merrick.

Acta (5), fos. 57-64, Plaintiff's depositions

Taken before commissioners Clement Corbet, Doctor at Law and Thomas Parmenter, gent, at the Black Bull in Magdalen St, Norwich on 16 January 1639/40.

fos. 58r-v (Witness 1) William Crowne of St Clement Danes, co. Middlesex, gent, born at Weybread, co. Suffolk, had known Sir Henry Hungate 10 years and the defendants 3 months, aged 53

To Hungate's libel:

1. He knew Hungate 'to be a knight and a gentleman of his Majestie's privie chamber and one of the deputie lieutenants within the com of Norfolk'.

2. 'About the feast of St Michael's last' he heard Robert Reynolds say 'that the cuntrie men did much clamor and complayne of Sir Henrie Hungate knight for pressing his tenants and taking away there leases and raysing their rents, and that he did seeke to oppress him most of all and sayd that Sir Henrie did indevor to raise his rent five and thirty pounds per annum and to take away his lease from him he having six years therein yet to come'. Therefore crowne inquired amongst many of Hungate's tenants and 'especiallie Staples, Herrine and Trundell, nowe his tenants, and Pettit and Barber, latlie his tenants, tochinge the report aforesaid, and they affirmed and said that Sir Henrie Hungate knight had used them verie kindlie and well and desired to be his tenants still, and others to be his tenants again.'

4. Last Michaelmas he heard Reynolds say that 'he had brought downe his armes which Sir William Neave had given him freelie and unasked and said that his father was a Reynoulds and his mother a Gouldingham and that Sir William Neave would justifie them to be as antient gent as anie were in Norfolk; and therefore sayes Sir Henrie Hungate had no reason to be angrie with his wife, she sayinge her husband was as good a gent as Sir Henrie, and that he should well see now for he would shewe him his armes if he pleased.'

To Reynolds and Merriall's interrogatories:

1. He wished the victory to him that was due it by law.

2. Negative, and 'that he is worth 200li everie man payed.'

3. 'The cause whie Robert Reynolds did use the words touching his armes was by cause Michaell Bullock of Shipdham did aske him whether Reynoulds had brought down his armes as it was reported, whereto Reynoulds answered as is before by him deposed.'

Signed by William Crowne and by the above two commissioners.

fos. 58v-59v (Witness 2) Joanna Pettit of Ashill, co. Norfolk, lived there for three months, before that of Bradenham, co. Norfolk, had known Hungate 4 years, Reynolds 3 years and Merriall three months, aged 23

To Hungate's libel:

1. She believed this article to be true.

2. Her husband and husband's father were tenants to Hungate and to his mother and 'they had noe cause to finde anie fault with Sir Henrie Hungate for he delt verie kindlie and well with her husband.'

3. Around the beginning of harvest time 1639, she was at Swaffham one Saturday with Elizabeth, wife of Robert Reynolds, when Elizabeth asked her if she went out of her farm, but she replied that 'Sir Henrie Hungate had delt verie lovinge and kindlie with her husband'. Elizabeth Reynolds replied 'she had no cause to report, for her husband went to speake with Sir Henrie and he turned him self away and would not speake to him; and she said that he had no cause soe to have done for her husband was as good a man as Sir Henrie Hungate for ought she knewe, and that her husband's father gave as good armes as anie man in Norfolk, and that her husband was an honester man then ever would goe upon Sir Henrie Hungates leggs.'

To Reynolds and Merriall's interrogatories:

2. Negative, 'she is worth soe much as her husband will bestow of her'.

3. 'The words fomerlie by her deposed were spoken at Swaffham in the market there upon the occation that Elizabeth, wife of Robert Reynoulds, moved by asking her whether her husband went out of his farme or not; and that about the forenoon of the day as she remembreth there being divers persons and market folks rounde about us but whoe they were or whether they heard her speeches between then she knoweth not.'

Signed by Joanna Pettitt [her mark] and by commissioner Corbett.

fos. 59v-60r (Witness 3) William Barber of Carbrooke, co. Norfolk, husbandman, born at Tibbery [possibly Tibby Head, near Blakeney], co. Norfolk, had known Hungate and Reynolds for 8 years, aged 59

To Hungate's libel:

1. 'He knoweth and believeth that article to be trewe.'

2. Robert Reynolds said to him that Hungate would have taken away his lease from him 'and that he had nothinge to doe with the lands that he did possesse and that he would have him put his hand to a wrightinge against Sir Henrie Hungate for that he was gone out of his farme'. Barber refused 'for that Sir Henrie Hungate delt well with him'. These words were spoken by Reynolds in Bradenham at the beginning of Michaelmas term 1639, with Barber, Merriall 'and some small children' present. That day Reynolds was arrested at Watton, co. Norfolk.

Signed by William Barber [his mark] and by commissioner Corbett.

fos. 60r-v (Witness 4) John Fresor of East Bradenham, co. Norfolk, tailor, lived there 4 years, born at Drinkstone, co. Suffolk, had known Hungate for 2 years, Reynolds for 4 years and Merriall for 6 months, aged 59

To Hungate's libel:

1. He believed this article was true, and that he had known Robert Reynolds be called 'Goodman Reynoulds or Robert Reynoulds haberdasher'. William Merriall was 'as yet but a stranger in East Bradenham and sometimes called William Muriell sonne in lawe to Robert Reynoulds, and sometimes Mr Merriell.'

To Reynolds and Merriall's interrogatories:

2. Negative and 'that he is worth 20li his debts paid'.

Signed by John Fresor [his mark] and by commissioner Corbett.

fo. 61r (Witness 5) Thomas Miles of Shipdham, co. Norfolk, gardener, born there, had known Hungate for 20 years, Reynolds for 10 years, aged 59

To Hungate's libel:

1. Hungate was a knight, but Reynolds was 'commonly called and knowne by the name of Goodman Reynoulds'.

5. 'About the feast of St Michaell the archangel 1639 William Merriall looking out at a windowe and speaking to Sir Henrie Hungate knight said to him, It is noe matter what you say; I care noe more for you then for a rushe or a strawe.' [He heard this himself, and Merriall 'being cracking of nutts, spitted out a nuttshill out of his mouth out at the windowe.'

Signed Thomas Miles [his mark] and by commissioner Corbett.

To Reynolds and Merriall's interrogatories:

1. 'He is a gardiner and desireth that they may have victorie that have best right.'

2. He was worth £10 and more 'everie man payed.'

3. There were present at the speaking of the words deposed Hungate, Richard Anger and Edward Palfriman, 'but sayth that the words spoken by William Merrill were soe by him spoken upon noe provocation offered by Sir Henry Hungate knight for he said nothing to him'.

Signed by Thomas Miles [his mark] by the above two commissioners

fos. 61v-62r (Witness 6) Edward Palfriman of Shipdham, co. Norfolk, carpenter, had lived before at Bradenham and was born at Sall, co. Norfolk, had known Reynolds 10 years, aged 22

To Hungate's libel:

1. He knew that Hungate was a knight, a deputy lieutenant, and a gentleman of His Majesty's Privy Chamber, and that Reynolds was 'called goodman Reynoulds haberdasher' and Merriall was his son-in-law.

5. 'About the feast of St Michaell the archangel 1639 in Bradenham, 'Merriall looking out at a window in Bradenham Hall and speaking to Sir Henrie Hungate he being in the yard under the window said to him it is noe matter what you say for he cared not for him a rushe or a strawe; and beinge cracking of nutts he spitted out some of the nuttshills out at the window in a scornefull manner, having his hatt on his head, towards Sir Henrie Hungate. For he knoweth the same to be trewe for he was then in the yard with Sir Henrie Hungate, there being then and there present Thomas Miles and Richard Anger'

Signed by Edward Palfriman [his mark] and by commissioner Corbett.

To Reynolds and Merriall's interrogatories:

1. He did not 'care which party shall have victorie in the business but desireth that the right might take place.'

2. He worked for Hungate 'in his trade as a carpenter.'

3. The words he deposed 'were so spoken in the fore noone of the day and the occation was upon some difference between Sir Henrie Hungate and Robert Reynoulds, father in lawe to William Merriell, upon a lease of lands made by Sir William Russell knight to Reynoulds'.

Signed by Palfriman [his mark] and by commissioner Corbett.

fos. 62r-v (Witness 7) Robert Seppens of East Bradenham, co. Norfolk, rector, had lived before at London, born at East Rudham, had known Reynolds for 2 years, aged 30

To Hungate's libel:

1. As witness 6.

5. About the feast of St Michaell the archangel 1639, in the forenoon in East Bradenham he heard William Merriell say that 'he cared not what Sir Henry Hungate could doe to him; and stooping downe to the ground he tooke up a spier of grasse or a rushe or some such thing and said that he cared not for him; or he said he cared not for what Sir Henry Hungate could doe to him as he remembreth; but which of them he nowe doe not certainly remember, which words were uttered by him in a peremtorie sawcie manner, there being present only his father in lawe, Robert Reynoulds.The same day, William Merriall was in the church porch of East Bradenham before morning prayer when he said 'that Sir Henrie Hungate neede not [binding too tight] arrest him for he would appear to him in anie courte of England and that he would spend a thousand pounds with Sir Henrie; and if he found lawe, Merriall would find monie, which words were spoken in slighting, boasting and ranting manner there being divers persons then there present, and amongst [them] Robert Rudd, goodwife Smithe, goodwife Corplin and others.'

Signed Robert Seppens and by commissioner Corbett.

To Reynolds and Merriall's interrogatories:

2. Negative

3. The occasion of the words he deposed to the libel's first article 'was by reason William [sic] Reynoulds father in lawe to William Merrill, did complayne that Sir Henrie Hungate did go about to deale some what hard by him, or words to that effect'.Seppens advised them both to forbear ill speeches against Hungate, but Merriall used the words and speeches formerlie by him deposed.'

Signed by Robert Seppens and by commissioner Corbett.

fos. 63r-v (Witness 8) Michael Bullock of Shipdham, co. Norfolk, yeoman, born there, had known Hungate for 12 years and Reynolds for 8 years, aged over 40

To Hungate's libel:

1. He knew that Hungate was a knight, a deputy lieutenant, and a gentleman of his Majesty's privy chamber 'and a gent descended of an antient family and his predecessors gents and knights', but that Reynolds 'is called by the name of goodman Reynoulds but as he sayth that he hath heard him say of late that he was a gentleman.'

2. Within the last year he heard Reynolds say that Hungate 'did oppresse his tenants in taking away their leases, and that Sir Henrie Hungate had wronged him as much as a man could be wronged, and indevored to take his lease from him, which words were spoken in Bradenham in the presence of [Bullock].'

2-3. About August 1639 he was in East Bradenham 'indevoring to made an end of the differences between Sir Henrie Hungate and Reynoulds. Reynoulds said that he was as good a gentleman as Sir Henrie Hungate knight, and as honest a man to be suer, which words were spoken by Reynoulds in an angrie manner, there being no body then present but them two.'

6. He believed that the words that he deposed that Reynolds spoke of Hungate 'were and are of such nature as might have justlie provoke him to have done as is conteyned in that article.'

Signed by Michaell Bullocke and by commissioner Corbett.

To Reynolds and Merriall's interrogatories:

2. Negative

3. 'The words by him formerlie deposed were spoken upon the edge of evening.'

Signed by Michaell Bullocke and by commissioner Corbett.

fos. 63v-64v (Witness 9) Richard Anger of East Bradenham, co. Norfolk, yeoman, born at Scarning, had known Hungate for 30 years, Reynolds for 6 years and Merriall for 4 months, aged about 45

To Hungate's libel:

1. He knew that Hungate was a knight, a deputy lieutenant, and a gentleman of His Majesty's privy chamber to James I and Charles I; 'and his ancestors for many years are esteemed gentlemen of rank and some of them have been of the order of knighthood'. Reynolds was 'always known by the name of goodman Reynoulds the haberdasher and William Merriall his sonne in lawe termed and called Mr Merriell.'

2. He heard William Barber 'say that Raynoulds did send such in; and would have had him put his hand to a wrightinge that Sir Henry Hungate had taken away, a lease of lands from him, and that Barbar should be a looser thereby 280 li. But Barber said that he would not doe soe nor sett his hand to that wrightinge, but Barbar said that Sir Henry Hungate had ever delt like a worthie gent by him and that he had done him noe wronge.'

5. About Michaelmas 1639 at Bradenham Hall, Sir Henrie Hungate 'being in the court yard and Merriell in the gatehouse chamber, he having his hatt on his head, and looking out of the chamber windowe said to Sir Henrie that he cared not a rushe or a strawe for him; and that Merriall beinge cracking of nutts he spitted out shells out at the window which did not fall upon Sir Henrie, but nere unto him which he did in a verie scornefull and disgracefull manner'. Edward Palfriman and Thomas Miles were also present.

6. He believed that Merriall 'did utter the words formerlie by him deposed with a mind and intent to provoke Sir Henrie to anger and to have stroke him whereupon this deponent desired Sir Henrie not take the occation offered of provocation.'

Signed by Richard Anger and by commissioner Corbett.

To Reynolds and Merriall's interrogatories:

2. Negative

Signed by Richard Anger and by commissioner Corbett.

Acta (5), fo. 65, Notary public's certificate

Certificate in Latin signed by Giles Agas, notary public that the below examinations had been completed and were now being returned.

Dated 22 January 1640.

Notary's mark.

Acta (5), fos. 382-6, Plaintiff's depositions

Taken before Dr Clement Corbett and Thomas Parmenter, gent, at the Black Bull, Magdalen Street, Norwich, on 16 January 1640.

fos. 383r-v (Witness 1), William Crowne of St Clements Danes, co. Middlesex, gent, born at Waybred, co. Suffolk, had known Hungate for 10 years and defendants for 3 months, aged 53

To Hungate's libel:

1. He heard that there was a warrant sent out of this honorable court against Robert Reynould and William Merriall and that they were attached by vertue of a warrant and brought into the court; and by the order of the court were committed to the messinger.'

2. He heard Robert Reynoulds say that 'he had heard that Sir Henrie Hungate's man had a warrant against him or his sonne in lawe William Merrill and sayd that it was a warrant from my Lord Marshal's or some warrant to doe him arrest which he heard him say in Michaelmas terme last'.

3. About 1 November 1639 in Shipdham and Bradenham, Robert Reynolds said to him 'that it was towld him that Parkins did followe William <Reynoulds>*Merriell* out of the church of Braddenham which caused <Merriall>*Reynoulds* to follow him out of the church before morning prayer was ended; and it was tould him that Parkins and Merriell were together by the ears. Whereupon, he went to them, beinge constable, as he sayd to see the king's peace kept, and because Parkins did not let goe his sonne in lawer Merriell he stroke him one blowe with his dagger upon the bare head; and Parkins turning towards Reynoulds, Reynoulds stroke him again upon the bare head. And Reynoulds spying that his sonne in lawe Merriell having a pistol in his hand *Reynoulds did* take it from him least it should have done Perkins some further hurt.'

To Reynolds and Merriall's interrogatories:

1. He was 'an attornie in his Majesties Court of Comonpleas and wisheth victorie to them that hath right.'

2. He was worth about £20.

Signed by William Crowne and commissioner Clement Corbett.

fo. 383v (Witness 2), Joanna Petit, wife of Edmund Petit of Ashill, co. Suffolk

Nothing to depose on these articles.

Signed by Joana Pettit [her mark] and commissioner Clement Corbett.

fos. 384r-v (Witness 3) John Fresor of East Bradenham, co. Norfolk, tailor, lived there 4 years, born at Drinkstone, co. Suffolk, aged 50

To Hungate's libel:

3. He was at morning prayer in Bradenham church when William Merriall went out of the church and George Perkins followed him; and after him went the wives of Reynolds and Merriall. He looked 'out of the chantrell windowe and sawe Merrill and Perkins together both downe upon the ground together and then he did also see both the women stricke, pull and teare one of the parties that were soe downe upon the ground together but which of them they did so pull strick and teare he could not well deserne'. 'Robert Reynoulds lykwise following them, and Perkinges and Merrill being then gott up upon there leggs they tearinge and pumlinge one another, Perkins hatt being of[f] his head, he saweth Reynoulds going hastily toward him stroke him upon the head some cudgel or other weapon upon which blowe Perkins looking over his shoulder left Merriell and went towards Raynoulds; and then Reynoulds struck Perkins upon the heade agayne upon which blowe he layd his hand upon the side of head where he had received the blowe and soe turned himself and went his way. And [Fresor] further sayth that he could perceive that the bloode did run downe for that Perkins had layd his handkerchaffe thereto, the which was then bloodie'.

Signed by John Fresor [his mark] and by commissioner Corbett.

To Reynolds and Merriall's interrogatories:

1. He 'wisheth the victorie to them that hath right'.

2. He was worth £20 with his debts paid.

4. 'He heard noe words; neyther did Perkins stricke anie blowe, but they did strive and pull one an other as he hath formerlie deposed.'

5. Reynolds 'was at that time constable of East Bradenham and, as touching that ,it should be towld Reynolds that Perkins and Merriall should be together by the ears...'

Signed by John Fresor [his mark] and by commissioner Corbett.

fo. 385r (Witness 4) Robert Seppens of East Bradenham, co. Norfolk, rector, had lived before in London, born at East Rudham, aged 30

To Hungate's libel:

He heard Reynolds's wife say, 'after such time as the contestacion was betweene her sonne in lawe Merriell and Perkins, as she then said, that there was a writt or a warrant against her husband; and thereupon she persuaded her husband not to goe to church, but yet notwithstanding her husband and Merriell would needs goe to church that day to hear prayers.'

To Reynolds and Merriall's interrogatories:

5. Reynolds was then constable of East Bradenham.

Signed by Robert Seppens and by commissioner Corbett.

fo. 385v (Witness 5), Michael Bullock of Shipdham, co. Norfolk born there, aged 40 years and more, had known Hungate for 12 years and Reynolds for 8 years

To Hungate's libel:

3. Since last Michaelmas, he heard Reynolds say that he gave Perkins two blows on the head. Afterwards, Bullock saw that 'one of them had pierced the scull of Perkins and he had them twice dressed; and he that dressed them said that Perkins was thereby in great danger of his life'.

Signed by Michael Bullocke and by commissioner Corbett.

Acta (5), fo. 386, Notary public's certificate

Certificate in Latin signed by Giles Agas, notary public that the above examinations had been completed and were now being returned.

22 January 1640.

Notary's mark.

Sentence / Arbitration

15/4r, Plaintiff's sentence [damaged]

Damages of £100 awarded and taxed at £30.

No date.

Signed by Arthur Duck and Mowbray and Maltravers.

15/4a, Defendant's sentence

Damages of £200 awarded and taxed at £20.

No date.

Signed by Arthur Duck and Mowbray and Maltravers.

15/4f, Plaintiff's bill of costs [damaged]

Michaelmas term 1639: £7-1s-6d

Rest of bill torn off.

20/2j, Plaintiff's bill of costs [damaged]

Previous term: £21-6s-0d

Hilary term, 1639: £10-3s-4d

Vacation: £8-10s-4d

Easter term 1640: unknown sum

Total at least: £39-19s-8d.

15/4x, Defendants' petition [badly damaged]

'Sir Henry Hungate kt hath commensed a suite into the honourable Court Military for pretended words against him, your petitioners have sought all the meanes of submission if he conceived that they had done him wrong. And the petitioner Reynolds hath surrendered his lease which he had foure years yet to come which was the cause of this suite. And in... [damaged] that your petitioners have given Sir Henry up the lease... [damaged] that there should... [damaged] more proceedings in this honourable Court. That your petitioners did forbeare the following of their commissions at large. Neither did they take out any of their bookes, whereby their Doctors might lead in their defence this day, beeinge... [damaged] sayd would have come to a sentence.

May it therefore please your good lordship to grant to your petitioners that the cause may be referred until the next terme whereby they may have time to take out their bookes, and they shall pray and c.'

No date.

No signatures.

11/17, Defendants' petition

'Sir Henry Hungate knight did heretofore exhibit a certaine libell against the petitioners in your lordship's court at Westminster concerning some words supposed to have been spoken by the petitioners in derygacon of the honour of Sir Henry Hungate.

The petitioners being countrymen lay most of the last terme in a messenger's hands and the petitioner Merrell stands bound to his good behaviour.

Henry Hungate supposing that the petitioner Merrell misbehaved himself in a certaine assault supposed to have been committed by the petitioner Merrell upon one Richard Stoddard, one of the tenants of the petitioner Merrell, of certain houses in London. And for that one of the petitioner Merrell's sureties is lately cast into prison for other men's debts, hath obteyned an order for the estreating of the petitioner Merrell's bond of 200li and to have him put in new securitie for his good behaviour, unless the petitioner doe by Fryday next shew good cause to the contrary.

The petitioner for cause, that the same bond man maie not be estreated humbly offers unto your lordship the affidavit of Richard Stoddard and one William Stockwell annexed, whereby it doth appeare that the petitioner Merrell (being provoked by the opprobrious words of Stoddard), did snatch up a candle, as if he would have putt it to the beard of Stoddard but did not touch him with the same. And as the estreating of the bond will be no benefit to Sir Henry, so it will tend both to the utter undoing of the petitioners, their wives and children.

The petitioner being neither able nor willing to contend with Sir Henry Hungate are humble suitors to your lordship that your lordship will be pleased to refer all matters in difference betweene them to some knights or gentlemen in the county of Norfolk to the end they may compose the same. The petitioners being willing to submit themselves to any reasonable order that shalbe made in that behalfe.

And the petitioners shall ever praie for your lordship andc.'

No date [February 1640]

No signatures.

11/19, Affidavit

Deposition by Robert Riche.

'William Blockwell of the parish of Great All Hallowes in Thames Streete London, haberdasher, aged about 42 yeares, makeeth oath and saith that he upon a Thursday happening the fift day of December last past, was in the companie of William Crowne, gent, William Merrell, gent, and Richard Stodderd of London, skinner at the Vintage Tavern in Thames Street; and further he saith that William Merrell and Richard Stoddard, falling out about rent due to Merrell from Stoddard, he herd Stoddard call Merrell base knave, and said he did hope to see Merrell die in the gaole, with other ill opprobrious and provoking speeches of Stoddard against Merrell. Whereupon, Merriall (as [Riche] conceiveth) being much moved at the ill words of Stoddard, did take the candle (then standing lited upon the table) and put it towards the beard of Stoddard, whereupon the light thereof went out, but [Riche] verily believeth that the candle did not touch the beard of Stoddard, or burne or singe any of his haire at all.

He further saith that he certainly knoweth that at that time there was noe blow stroke or any other violence at all used or offered by William Merrell (but as is before deposed) against Stoddard or any other in the companie there, for that he came into the taverne with the parties; and during the time that they remained there, he observed what was done and stirred not out of theire companie all the while. and if there had beene any blowes given he, being all the time present and very attentive, he must needs have seene it.'

13 February 1639/40.

Signed by Robert Riche.

2/1, Defendant's bond

30 March 1640

Bound to appear 'in the Court in Arundell house in the Strand within the parish of St Clements Danes without Temple Barr, London'.

Signed by Robert Reynolds and William Merriall

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of Edward Crane and John Cubitt.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Hungate and Dr Merrick for Reynolds and Merriall. On 4 February 1640 Dr Duck produced the prosecution witnesses William Crowne and George Parkyns, and reference was made to one of the defendants' sureties, Ralph Whitfield who was now described as a pauper who had lost his faculties, imprisoned for debt in the Gatehouse.

Notes

None of the parties appear in the Visitations of Norfolk of 1613 and 1664: W. Rye (ed.), The Visitation of Norfolk of 1563, 1589 and 1613 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 33, 1891); A. W. Hughes Clarke and A. Campling (eds.), The Visitation of Norfolk, anno domini 1664, part I (Publications of the Harleian Society, 85, 1933); A. W. Hughes Clarke and A. Campling (eds.), The Visitation of Norfolk, anno domini 1664, part II (Publications of the Harleian Society, 86, 1934).

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Articles: R.19, fo. 15 (1639)
    • Personal answers: 19/7b (7 Nov 1639)
    • Articles: Acta (5), fo. 391 (27 Jan 1640)
    • Libel: Acta (5), fo. 67 (27 Jan 1640)
    • Summary of libel: R.19, fo. 13v (1639)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Acta (5), fo. 68 (11 Nov 1639)
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Acta (5), fo. 392 (11 Nov 1639)
    • Defence interrogatories: Acta (5), fo. 66 (no date)
    • Defence interrogatories: Acta (5), fo. 390 (no date)
    • Plaintiff depositions: Acta (5), fos. 57-64 (16 Jan 1640)
    • Notary public's certificate: Acta (5), fo. 65 (22 Jan 1640)
    • Plaintiff depositions: Acta (5), fos. 382-6 (16 Jan 1640)
    • Notary public's certificate: Acta (5), fo. 386 (22 Jan 1640)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiff's sentence: 15/4r (no date)
    • Plaintiff's bill of costs: 15/4f (Mic 1639)
    • Plaintiff's bill of costs: 20/2j (Eas 1640)
    • Defendant's sentence: 15/4a (no date)
  • Submission
    • Defendant's petition: 15/4x (no date)
    • Defendant's petition: 11/17 (Feb 1640)
    • Affidavit: 11/19 (13 Feb 1640)
    • Defendant's bond: 2/1(30 Mar 1640)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Agas, Giles, notary public
  • Anger, Richard, yeoman
  • Barber, William, husbandman
  • Blockwell, William
  • Buckworth, George, esq
  • Bullock, Michael, yeoman
  • Bury, Richard
  • Corbett, Clement, chancellor (also Corbet)
  • Corplin, Goodwife
  • Cox, John
  • Crane, Edward
  • Crowne, William, gent
  • Cubitt, John
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Fresor, John, tailor
  • Goldingham, (also Gouldingham)
  • Herrine
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Hungate, Henry, knight
  • Le Neve, William, knight (also Le Neave)
  • Lewin, William, lawyer
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Maundford, Edmund, knight
  • Merriall, Mrs (also Merrell, Merrill)
  • Merriall, William, yeoman (also Merrell, Merrill)
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Miles, Thomas, gardener
  • Palfriman, Edward, carpenter
  • Parmenter, Thomas, gent
  • Perkins, George (also Parkyns)
  • Pettit, Edmund (also Petit)
  • Pettit, Joanna (also Petit)
  • Reynolds, Elizabeth (also Reynoulds)
  • Reynolds, Robert, haberdasher (also Reynoulds)
  • Riche, Robert
  • Rudd, Robert
  • Seppens, Robert, rector
  • Sheringham, Thomas, gent
  • Smithe, Goodwife
  • Staples
  • Stockwell, William
  • Stoddard, Richard
  • Terrick, Humphrey
  • Trundell
  • Walgrave, Edward, knight
  • Whitfield, Ralph
  • Wren, Matthew, bishop of Ely

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • Arundel House
    • Great All Hallows, Thames Street
    • St Clement Danes
    • Strand
    • Temple Bar
    • Thames Street
    • The Gatehouse
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
    • St Clement Danes
  • Norfolk
    • Ashill
    • Buckenham
    • Carbrooke
    • East Bradenham
    • East Rudham
    • Sall
    • Scarning
    • Shipdham
    • Swaffham
    • Tibbery
  • Norwich
    • Magdalen Street
  • Suffolk
    • Drinkstone
    • Weybread

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • apparel
  • arbitration
  • assault
  • coat of arms
  • comparison
  • contempt of court
  • denial of hat dignity
  • deputy lieutenant
  • festival
  • market place
  • royal servant
  • weapon