326 Ivat v Harding

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'326 Ivat v Harding', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/326-ivat-harding [accessed 2 March 2024]

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326 IVAT V HARDING

Thomas Ivat of Combe Martin, co. Devon, gent v Amyas Harding of the same, husbandman

February 1637 - April 1638

Abstract

Ivat complained that Harding had said of him in December 1636, in several alehouses in Combe Martin, Devon, 'that I am noe gentleman, but a base and ignoble person; and that my brother is but a crowd [i.e.fiddle] string maker; and that I was christened Tom unto which if I pleased I might add AS'. The altercation began when Harding sought to execute a process against Ivat from the Court of Admiralty. Ivat's witnesses, including several gentlemen, were examined by a commission headed by Sir Ralph Sydenham on 12 September 1637 in the house of Margaret Dawe, in Barnstaple, Devon. They testified that Ivat, who had a reputation for 'good and civil behaviour', had shown remarkable forbearance by refusing to respond to Harding's attempts to provoke him into striking out and had told him that if he came to see him in the next six days to acknowledge his wrong 'he would forgive him.' They also claimed that Harding had abused him further in Shirwell, Devon at Whitsun 1637, saying that he was no gentleman: 'for the office of the hearalls was sought and nothing therein found of his gentilitie'. Harding maintained that Ivat had harassed him in other courts, and that he had provoked Harding by saying 'that he would make him fly or run out of the countrey', 'beate out his braines', and 'out him of his inheritance'. Harding's witnesses were ordered to be examined by a commission that also included Sydenham and Edward Pyne, esq, from 16 to 18 January 1638. Ivat won the case on 28 April 1638 and was awarded £40 damages.

Initial proceedings

Cur Mil II, fo. 64, Libel

Ivat's family had been ancient gentry for up to 300 years. Ivat complained that between October and December in Combe Martin parish, co. Devon, Harding had said of him: 'that I am noe gentleman, but a base and ignoble person; and that my brother is but a crowd [i.e. fiddle] string maker; and that I was christened Tom, unto which if I pleased I might add AS.'

Dated 24 May 1637.

Signed by George Parry.

Plaintiff's case

Cur Mil II, fo. 65, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to the commissioners Sir Ralph Syddenham, knight... [damaged] Edward Pyne, gent, William Squire, gent, Francis Isaac, gent, and also, Edward... [damaged], Ralph Berry, William Squire, and Philip Thorne, gent, in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, to meet from 12 to 14 September 1637 in the house of Margaret Dawe in Barnstable, co. Devon.

Dethick assigned Henry Rawcliffe as notary public.

Dated 28 June 1637.

Signed by Gilbert Dethick, registrar.

Cur Mil II, fos. 68-69, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness? Was the witness a relative, tenant, servant, retainer or obliged to Ivat?

2. With which of the parties was the witness most well acquainted and conversant? Was Mr Ivat 'a cruel adversary' of Harding who had prosecuted him in several courts of law? Had Mr Ivat 'used reproachful and scandalous language and hath threatened him to undo him or to make him run or fly out of the country, or out him of the tenement or living which he had after his mother's death'?

3. Was he present at the speaking of the words, and upon what occasion and at whose instance was he present? Did Mr Ivat, and with whom, come into the house where Harding was? Did Mr Ivat 'come not thither with a purpose and resolution (as it did after appear by his behaviour there) to assault and abuse Harding and to provoke him... with divers fierce, reproachful, threatening and taunting words and what the said words were'?

4. At the speaking of the pretended words, did Mr Ivat 'provoke and abuse Harding and challenge him, and said that... Harding was a base rogue, a rascall, a villaine, and said that he would make him fly or run out of the countrey, to beate out his braines, and to out him of his inheritance'?

No date.

Signed by Joseph Martin.

Cur Mil II, fos. 71-84, Plaintiff's depositions

Taken before commissioners Sir Ralph Syddenham, knight, Francis Isaac, Philip Thorne and William Squire, gents, at the house of Margaret Dawe, in Barnstable, co. Devon, on 12 September 1637 in the presence of Henry Rawcliffe, notary public.

fos. 73r-74v (Witness 1), Anthony Norman of Combe Martin, co. Devon, born there, aged 34

To Ivat's libel:

He had known Ivat for about 5 years, during which time Ivat had always behaved like, and been held to be, a gentleman, 'of civil behaviour and well esteemed amongst gentlemen and the better sort of people'. A month before last Christmas in William Rooke's house in Combe Martin, Harding spoke 'divers disgraceful words' of Ivat, and said to the witness: 'Mr Ivat... is but Tom Ivatt for he is no gentleman... his brother was a crowd string maker in London'. William Kivill and John Bussacot of East Downe were present. Later that evening when Ivat came home, the witness told him what Harding had said. Following Ivat's instructions, the witness went to Harding and requested he go to speak with Ivat. Harding refused saying, 'If Mr Harding had ought to say he should come to him'. So Ivat did go to Harding, who was at Robert Stadler, alias Hance's, alehouse in Combe Martin. Ivat there demanded of Harding why he abused him in his absence. Harding replied, 'in a braving manner,... that what he had said he would abyde by, and swore a great oath, that he was christened Tom and if he pleased he should put AS to it. And said to him also that he had spun out his threed against him so far as he could, and he did not care for him, nor what he could do to him, by which words Harding did much provoke Mr Ivat, insomuch as [Norman] marvelled that he could forbeare his hands from him, but Mr Ivatt was so patient that he then told Harding that if he would come to him any time within six dayes and acknowledge that he had done him wrong, he would forgive him'. Samuel King and Robert Parish were also present.

Signed by Anthony Norman [his mark] and by commissioners Ralph Syddenham, Francis Isaac, Philip Thorne and William Squire.

fos. 74v-76r (Witness 2), William Knill of Berrynarbor, co. Devon, gent, born there, aged 39

To Ivat's libel:

He had known Ivat for about 5 or 6 years, 'since he came into these parts to dwell', during which time Ivat had always behaved like and been held to be a gentleman, 'of good and civil behaviour and had of good repute among the best sort of people'. A fortnight before last Christmas he came into William Rooke's alehouse in Combe Martin, where Harding and others were already drinking. Harding spoke 'divers disgraceful words' of Ivat. The witness entreated Harding to forbear as Ivat was absent and a gentleman 'of good repute'. Harding replied 'A gentleman, he is but Tom Ivatt and I am Ames Harding'. As Harding would not cease his abuse, the witness and his company went into another room, but Harding followed him and continued his abuse. Again the witness entreated him to be quiet, telling Harding 'he did forget himself to speak such words of him'. But repeatedly Harding, intending to disgrace Mr Ivat, said 'his name is Tom Ivatt'. Anthony Norman, Jonas Gyll and John Bussacott and several others were present.

Signed by William Knill and by the four commissioners.

fos. 76r-77r (Witness 3), Samuel King of Horwood, co. Devon, gent, lived there for about 3 years, before that at Fremington, co. Devon, aged 42

To Ivat's libel:

He had known the plaintiff's father, Mr Thomas Ivatt as 'a gentleman of good repute', and had known the plaintiff 'but a little while but saith he is a gentleman well esteemed of among the better sort of men.' About a fortnight before last Christmas, he went with Ivat on foot and in frosty weather from Horwood to Ivat's house at Combe Martin. On arrival Ivat was told that Harding had 'arrested or exequeted some process out of the Admiral Court'. So Ivat sent his servant to summon Harding to him. But Harding refused and said Ivat could come to him. So Ivat, with this witness, Anthony Norman and Robert Parrish went to Stadler's alehouse in Combe Martin to meet him. On arrival, Harding spoke 'divers angry and disgraceful words unto Mr Ivatt and called him Tom divers times, and swore a great oath that Mr Ivatt was christened Tom, and if he listed he might add A.S. and used many other disgraceful words unto him and provoked him very much in words, in such that [King] much doubted least Mr Ivatt would not forbeare to strike him, which as [King] did then conceive Harding did to provoke Mr Ivatt to strike him. But Mr Ivatt did forbeare him and said unto him at last that if he would come to him the Sunday following (or shortly after) and acknowledge that he had done him wrong, he would forgive him.'

Signed by Samuel King and by the four commissioners.

fos. 77r-v (Witness 4), John Ley of East Downe, co. Devon, gent, born there, aged 55

To Ivat's libel:

About last Whitsuntide, Harding was riding on the way in Sherwill parish, co. Devon, and was talking with Thomas Spry, when he, in a 'very unseemly and disgraceful manner, spoke diffamatory and scandalous words of Mr Thomas Ivatt, and in a rayling manner amongest others said that Mr Ivatt was no gentleman, and that a broome man in Kent could give a better account of his gentility then Mr Ivatt could, for they would say that their fathers and grandfathers were broome men, but Mr Ivatt could not say that his predecessors were gentlemen'. These words were intended to disgrace Mr Ivat 'who is a gentleman of good repute and credit'. The witness was present along with William East and Thomas Spry.

Signed by John Ley and by the four commissioners.

fos. 78r-v (Witness 5), William Est of Bideford, co. Devon, gent, born there, aged 44

To Ivat's libel:

He had known Ivat for several years who was 'generally esteemed to be a gentleman and of good repute and credit'. About last Whitsuntide, he was travelling on the way in Sherwill parish when he heard Harding say that Ivat 'was no gentleman and that he should be called Tom Ivatt from henceforth and not Mr Ivat... that the broome men of Kent or Kentstreete, had more to say for themselves then Mr Ivatt had, for they could say that their fathers were broome men, and grandfathers were broome men, but Mr Ivatt could not say so of his gentility, for the office of the hearalls was sought and nothing therein found of his gentilitie'. These words were intended to disgrace Mr Ivat 'who is a gentleman of good repute and esteeme'. The witness was present along with John Ley and Thomas Spry.

Signed by William Est and by the four commissioners.

fos. 78v-79v (Witness 6), Nicholas Moone alias Collings of Combe Martin, co. Devon, born there, aged 40

To Ivat's libel:

Between Allhallowtide and Christmas last, Harding said to Ivat 'that he was christened Tom... that his brother was a crowde string maker', with an intent to disgrace Ivat, speaking 'in angry and urging manner'. The witness was present at Stadler's house in Combe Martin with Robert Stadler, Anthony Norman, Samuel King, Peter Ridge, Edward Stadler alias Haunce and Robert Parrish.'

Signed by Nicholas Moone [his mark] and by the commissioners Ralph Syddenham, Francis Isaac and Phillip Thorne.

To Harding's interrogatories:

1, 2. Negative.

3. He was at Stadler's house when Ivat came there with three men. Ivat asked Harding why he had not come to him 'and told him that it had been better for him to be at home at his mother's house, then in an alehouse. And after Harding had called Mr Ivatt Tom divers times', Ivat called Harding a rogue.

Signed by Nicholas Moone [his mark] and by the four commissioners.

fo. 80r (Witness 7), Richard Brooke of Combe Martin, co. Devon, born there, aged 28

To Ivat's libel:

Between Allhallowtide and Christmas last, he was at the widow Dorothy Harding's house, the mother of the defendant. She 'did blame Ames for some words which he had (as it seemed) that day spoken to Mr Ivatt... Ames did at first deny it to his mother, but at last told her that he did say to Mr Ivatt, that he was but Tom Ivatt, and that if he pleased he might add A.S. to it.'

Signed by Richard Brooke and by the commissioners Syddenham, Isaac, and Thorne.

fo. 80v (Witness 8), Edward Bussacott of Combe Martin, co. Devon, born there, aged 30

To Ivat's libel:

He had known the plaintiff for 4 or 5 years who was 'generally esteemed to be a gentleman'. In the last year he had heard Harding several times call Mr Ivat 'Thomas Ivatt and sometimes Tom Ivatt'.

Signed by Edward Bussacott and by the commissioners Syddenham, Isaac and Thorne.

fos. 80v-81r (Witness 9), John Bussacott of Combe Martin, co. Devon, born there, aged 29

To Ivat's libel:

Mr Ivat was 'generally esteemed to be a gentleman of good repute and credit'. About last Whitsuntide, after Harding returned from London, Harding was at Richard Gill's alehouse in Combmerton where he was asked 'how the business went between him and Mr Ivatt'. Harding replied 'that he did hope it would go well enough and said that Mr Ivatt was noe gentleman, and that he had searched some office in London for it, and there it was not found that he was a gentleman; and did divers times then call Mr Ivatt in his talke Thomas or Tom Ivatt.'

Signed by John Bussacott and by the four commissioners.

fo. 81v (Witness 10), Edward Haunce alias Stadler of Combe Martin, co. Devon, born there, aged 29

To Ivat's libel:

About a month before last Christmas, Harding was at the witness's father, Robert Stadler's house in Combe Martin. In the evening Anthony Norman arrived and asked Harding to go to speak to Mr Ivat. Harding replied 'that if Mr Ivatt had ought to say to him, he should come to him if he would'. Later, Robert Parrish came with the same request and received the same answer. Later Mr Ivat came in and asked Harding 'why he came not to him when he sent for him and did also challenge him for his words spoken of Mr Ivatt behind his back and for calling him Tom Ivatt, and told him that he was not christened Tom Ivatt'. Harding replied 'then he should put the other two letters to it'. Norman, Parrish and King had come with Ivat, and Nicholas Moone was also there. Ivat 'was generally esteemed to be a gentleman of good repute'.

Signed by Edward Stadler and by the four commissioners.

To Harding's interrogatories:

1. Negative.

2. He knew Harding better than Mr Ivat and did not know of any other lawsuit between them.

3-4. When Harding came to his father's house, Norman, Parrish and King came with him.

Signed by Edward Stadler and by commissioners Syddenham and Isaac.

fos. 81v-83v (Witness 11), Robert Parrish of Combe Martin, co. Devon, lived there for 2 years, born at Landkey, aged 37

To Ivat's libel:

Ivat was 'generally esteemed to be a gentleman'. A little while before last Christmas, Ivat came home to Combe Martin and was told that Harding had 'served some process or warrants on some poore men of the towne of Combmerton out of the Admirall Court'. Norman also told Ivat that Harding had just spoken disgraceful words of him in an alehouse, that he 'was no gentleman, and that he was christened Tom, and that his brother was a crowd string maker'. So Ivat sent Norman to ask Harding to come to him, but Harding refused to go. Ivat then sent Parrish to do the same. Parrish found Harding at Stadler's alehouse, and Harding refused to come saying Ivat could come to him. So Ivat, Norman, King and Parrish went together to Stadler's house, where Ivat asked Harding why he had abused him in his absence. 'To which Harding answering, stood up and put on his hat and in a braving manner, said and swore a great oath, that Mr Ivatt was no gentleman, and that he was christened Tom, and that if he pleased he might put A.S. to it. And then Mr Ivatt said that notwithstanding these words for his mother sake, if he would come unto him before the Sunday sevenight following and acknowledge the wrong he had done him, he would be contented to forgive him.' Harding replied 'he would never do it whiles he did live... that he had spun out his threed against him so far as it would run and done his worst against him alreadie.' Harding tried to provoke Ivat to strike him 'offering forth his head towards him at that time'.

Signed by Robert Pares and by the commissioners Syddenham and Isaac.

To Harding's interrogatories:

1. He had been one of Ivat's servants for 2 years.

2. He knew Ivat better than Harding, and had heard Ivat offer Harding fair terms to make peace with him. He had heard that 'Mr Ivatt did sue or cause a bond to be sued against Harding which he gave for one Hood.'

3-4. At Stadler's house, Ivat told Harding 'he would have satisfaction from him for the words which he had spoken'.

Signed by Robert Pares and by commissioner Francis Isaac.

Cur Mil II, fo. 84r, Notary public's certificate

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

20 September 1637.

Notary's mark.

Sentence / Arbitration

17/4d, Plaintiff's sentence

Harding was sentenced for having said 'Thomas Ivat was no gentleman; and that his brother was a crowd string maker; and that he was christened Tom unto which he might add AS if he pleased'.

Ivat was awarded £40 damages and the cause was taxed at £20.

Signed by George Parry and by Arundel and Surrey

Dated 28 April 1638.

17/4e, Plaintiff's bill of costs

Easter term, 1637: £7-10s-06d

Trinity term, 1637: £10-0s-22d

Vacation: £13-0d-0d

Michaelmas term, 1637: £3-10s-0d

Hilary term, 1637/8: £10-5s-0d

Easter term, 1638: £13-15s-0d

Sum total: £58-2s-4d

Signed by George Parry.

Taxed £20 on 28 April 1638.

Signed by Arundel and Surrey.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Parry acted as counsel for Ivat and Dr Martin for Harding. Proceedings had begun by February 1637, and Dr Martin was required to begin the defence from 31 October 1637. The commissioners for examining Harding's witnesses were named on 22 November 1637, and they included William Longe, vicar of Bradworthy, Humphrey Venner of Chittlehampton, gent, John Halse the elder, gent, and William Squire, and also Sir Ralph Sydenham, Edward Pyne, esq., Mr Canham, rector of Arlington, and Francis Isaac, gent, who were to meet from 16 to 18 January 1638, probably in Barnstaple.

Notes

Neither party appears in the 1620 Visitation of Devon: F. T. Colby (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Devon in the year 1620 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 6, 1872).

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Libel: Cur Mil II, fo. 64 (24 May 1637)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Cur Mil II, fo. 65 (28 Jun 1637)
    • Defence interrogatories: Cur Mil II, fos. 68-69 (no date)
    • Plaintiff depositions: Cur Mil II, fos. 71-83 (12 Sep 1637)
    • Notary public's certificate: Cur Mil II, fo. 84 (20 Sep 1637)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiff's sentence: 17/4d (28 Apr 1638)
    • Plaintiff''s bill of costs: 17/4e (Eas 1638)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: College of Arms MS. 'Court of Chivalry' (act book, 1636-8) [pressmark R.R. 68C] (hereafter 68C), fos. 1r-11r (16 Feb 1636/7)
    • Proceedings 68C, fos. 37r-41v (29 Apr 1637)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 8/26 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/27 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/28 (31 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/29 (18 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Marten: 8/29 (22 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 23-35 (3 Feb 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 38-56 (12 Feb 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Berry, Ralph, gent
  • Brooke, Richard
  • Bussacott, Edward
  • Bussacott, John
  • Canham, Mr, rector
  • Dawe, Margaret
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • East, William (also Est)
  • Gyll, Jonas
  • Halse, John the elder, gent
  • Harding, Amyas, husbandman
  • Haunce alias Stadler, Edward
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Isaac, Francis, gent
  • Ivat, Thomas, gent
  • King, Samuel, gent
  • Kivill, William (also Knill)
  • Ley, John, gent
  • Longe, William, vicar (also Long)
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Martin, Joseph, lawyer (also Martyn)
  • Moone alias Collings, Nicholas
  • Norman, Anthony
  • Parrish, Robert (also Parish, Pares)
  • Parry, George, lawyer
  • Pyne, Edward, esq
  • Rawcliffe, Henry, notary public
  • Rooke, William, alehouse keeper
  • Spry, Thomas, gent
  • Squire, William, gent
  • Stadler alias Hance, Robert, alehouse keeper
  • Sydenham, Ralph, knight (also Siddenham)
  • Thorne, Philip, gent
  • Venner, Humphrey, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • Devon
    • Arlington
    • Barnstaple
    • Bideford
    • Bradworthy
    • Berrynarbor
    • Chittlehampton
    • Combe Martin
    • East Downe
    • Fremington
    • Horwood
    • Landkey
    • Shirwell

Topics of the case

  • allegation of tradesman status
  • Court of Admiralty
  • denial of gentility
  • Herald
  • other courts
  • threatened violence