33 Barrow v Bullard

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Thomas Barrow of St Michael le Querne, London, gent v John Bullard of the same

November 1637- October 1638


This is one of a pair of suits between the two men arising out of a quarrel in the parish of St Michael le Querne, London, in September - November 1637. Bullard had apparently caused Henry Webster, a London linen draper, to arrest Barrow for a £20 debt which Barrow claimed had already been paid. Bullard had also, allegedly, been going around telling people that it was Barrow's practice 'to catch men in his dealings by fraudulent and deceitful courses and wayes, and then afterwards to sue them, or to begin suits at lawe with them to take advantage against them'. Finally he had given him the lie and called him 'a proude jackanapes'. Barrow, the son of Cambridgeshire justice Isaac Barrow [see cause 34], maintained that his family had been gentry for 200 years and questioned Bullard's claim to gentility, suggesting that he was a linen draper who kept a shop. He also maintained that since the suit began Bullard had boasted that he would make him spend £200. The suit commenced in November 1637, with Barrow producing three witnesses in support of his libel in December. He won his case and on 20 October 1638 Bullard was fined 20 marks in damages and £10 costs. [For Bullard's counter suit, with Barrow's defence, see cause 82].

Initial proceedings

3/122, Plaintiff's bond

1 November 1637

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

Signed by Thomas Barrow.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of Humphrey Terrick.

3/122, Advice of the King's Advocate

'The words giving the lye and calling knave. This cause I hold fitt for the Court and moved my L. Maltravers for it and his lordship gave me order for it.'

1 November 1637

Signed by Arthur Duck.

12/1n, Citation

Bullard to appear at the suit of Farrow for scandalous words provocative of a duel.

1 November 1637.

Introduced 18 November 1637, by special direction of Gilbert Dethick.

17/3k, Libel

1. Thomas Barrow was the natural and lawful son of Isaac Barrow, a Justice of the Peace for co. Cambridge, and was descended from a family that had been ancient gentry for up to 200 years. Between September and November last, John Bullard, in the parish of St Michael had spoken against him: 'he called me knave, and gave me the lye and said that he would give it out under his hand'. These contemptuous words were provocative of a duel.

28 November 1637.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Plaintiff's case

14/1z (ii), Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. Was the witness instructed how to depose and if so by whom?

2. Was the witness a household servant or waged employee to either of the parties? Which party was the witness better acquainted with and how?

3. Exactly when and where were the pretended words spoken by Bullard?

4. Who was present at the speaking of the pretended words in the libel?

5. Barrow said to, or of, Bullard that he 'had caused one Henry Webster of the Citie of London draper to arrest him for £20, which £20 Bullard knew well enough was formerly paid and not due; and that Bullard was to receive the £20 for money which Webster owed him.'

6. How had Barrow responded to the alleged injurious words?

No date.

Signed by William Clerk.

Sentence / Arbitration

13/2m, Plaintiff's sentence

Sentence on Bullard who 'had given him the lye and said Barrow was a proude jackanapes, and hee would call Thomas Barrow lying knave if hee were present, and would give it under his hand hee did lye'.

Damages of 20 marks and expenses of £10 were awarded.

No date.

Signed by Arthur Duck, Arundel and Surrey.

13/2n, Plaintiff's bill of costs

Michaelmas term, 1637: £11-18s-8d

Hilary term, 1637: £5-8s-8d

Easter term, 1638: £11-3s-4d

Trinity term, 1638: £3-11s-8d

Total: £32-2s-4d

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Taxed at £10.

Signed by Arundel and Surrey.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Barrow and Dr Clarke for Bullard. On 18 November 1637 Bullard was summoned to appear. Ten days later Dr Duck presented Barrow's libel. On 6 December Dr Duck produced the witnesses Samuel Venner and William Massam. On 3 February 1638 he published the testimony of Barrow's witnesses and on 12 February, Dr Clarke related material for Bullard's defence. On 20 October 1638 Bullard was ordered to pay 20 marks for damages and £10 for expenses.


Thomas Barrow appeared as the son of Isaac Barrow in the Visitation of Cambridgeshire in 1619. He married Catherine, daughter of Richard Oxinden of Herne, co. Kent. Much of Thomas Barrow's correspondence with Henry Oxinden is published.

J. W. Clay (ed.), The Visitations of Cambridge, 1575 and 1619 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 41, 1897), p. 46; D. Gardiner (ed.), The Oxinden Letters, 1607-1642 (London, 1933).

John Aubrey claimed the Barrows were a royalist family: 'His father, Thomas Barrow, was the second son of Isaac Barrow of Spinney Abbey in the county of Cambridge, esquire, who was a Justice of the Peace there above forty years. The father of Thomas never designed him for a tradesman, but he was so severe to him he could not endure to live with him, and so came to London and was apprentice to a linen-draper. He kept shop at the sign of the White Horse in Forster Lane near St Forster's Church in St Leonard's parish; and his son, Isaac Barrow was christened at St John Zachery's in Forster Lane, for at that time St Leonard's church was pulled down to be re-edified. He was born anno Domini 1630 in October after King Charles II.

Dr Isaac Barrow had the exact day and hour from his father, which may be found among his papers. His father set it down in his English bible, a fair one, which they used at the king's chapel when he was in France and could not get it again. His father travelled with the King, Charles II, wherever he went; he was sealer to the lord chancellor beyond sea [during the king's exile], and also when he came into England.'

John Aubrey, Brief Lives , ed. Richard Barber (Woodbridge, 2004),pp. 33-4.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Plaintiff's bond: 3/122 (1 Nov 1637)
    • Advice of the King's Advocate: 3/122 (1 Nov 1637)
    • Citation: 12/1n (1 Nov 1637)
    • Libel: 17/3k (28 Nov 1637)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/1z (ii) (no date)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiff's sentence: 13/2m (no date)
    • Plaintiff's bill of costs: 13/2n (Tri 1638)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/29 (18 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/30 (28 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings: 8/30 (6 Dec 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/5, fos.1-15 (27 Jan 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 23-35 (3 Feb 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 38-56 (12 Feb 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: R.19, fos. 434r-449v (20 Oct 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Aubrey, John
  • Barrow, Catherine
  • Barrow, Isaac, esq
  • Barrow, Thomas, gent
  • Bullard, John (also Bullar, Bulwar, Bulward, Bullward)
  • Clarke, William, lawyer (also Clerk)
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Oxinden, Henry
  • Oxinden, Richard
  • Massam, William
  • Stuart, Charles II, king
  • Terrick, Humphrey, lawyer
  • Venner, Samuel (also Vennor)
  • Webster, Henry, draper

Places mentioned in the case

  • Cambridgeshire
    • Burwell
    • Spinney Abbey
  • Kent
    • Herne
  • London
    • St John Zachary, Forster Lane
    • St Leonard, Forster Lane
    • St Michael le Querne
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster

Topics of the case

  • denial of gentility
  • fraud
  • giving the lie
  • justice of the peace
  • nicknaming
  • office-holding
  • royalist