338 Keirwan v Brian

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'338 Keirwan v Brian', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/338-keirwan-brian [accessed 3 March 2024]

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338 KEIRWAN V BRIAN

Nicholas Keirwan of Middle Temple, London, gent v Terence Brian of the same, gent

August - October 1640

Figure 338:

The Elizabethan hall of the Middle Temple where Nicholas Keirwan was charged with cowardice before 'a great multitude of honourable persons' in August 1640

Abstract

Keirwan complained that on 12 August 1640 Brian had charged him with cowardice before 'a great multitude of honorable persons' in Middle Temple Hall, London, for refusing Brian's challenge to fight him. Brian also, allegedly, said that 'I was not a gentleman and had noe spiritt in me'. Process was granted on 18 August 1640 and on 10 October it was decided to nominate several gentlemen to arbitrate in the case.

Initial proceedings

5/138, Petition

About 12 August 1640 'one Terence Brian in the Middle Temple Hall, London, there being then present a great multitude of honorable persons and other gentlemen, did, after many disgracefull speeches and accons to your petitioner... and did afterwards on the same day challenge him into the field, and for not agreeing thereto, at that present, did affront him by charging him with cowardice and otherwise. He therefore humblie praieth reparacons of such wrongs from Terence, and to that end praieth process to be awarded against him to answer the matter in the Court of Honour before your lordship according to law.'

Maltravers granted process, 18 August 1640.

5/137, Plaintiff's bond

22 August 1640

Bond to 'appear in the court in the Painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'.

Signed by Nicholas Kerwan.

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

5/144, Defendant's bond

9 October 1640

Bond to 'appear in the Court Militarie in the Painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'.

Signed by T. Brian

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

12/4f, Libel [badly damaged]

Keirwan alleged that Brian had said that 'if he caught me or saw me out of the hall he would cudgel [me]', and 'that he the time aforesaid had cudgelled or bastinadoed me', and that 'I was not a gentleman and had noe spiritt in me'.

No date.

No signatures.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Ryves acted as counsel for Keirwan and Dr Merrick for Brian. Dr Ryves gave the libel on 10 October 1640 but it was decided to nominate several gentlemen to arbitrate in the case.

Notes

Neither Nicholas Keirwan nor Terence Brian appear in the admissions to the Middle Temple: H. A. C. Sturgess (ed.), Register of Admissions to the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, vol. 1, 1501-1781 (London, 1949).

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 5/138 (18 Aug 1640)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 5/137 (22 Aug 1640)
    • Defendant's bond: 5/144 (9 Oct 1640)
    • Libel: 12/4f (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 56r-64v (10 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 19r-30v (30 Oct 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Brian, Terence, gent (also Bryan)
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Keirwan, Nicholas, gent (also Kierwan, Kerwan)
  • Longland, John
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Ryves, Thomas, lawyer
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • Middle Temple
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cowardice
  • arbitration
  • challenge to a duel
  • denial of gentility
  • inns of court
  • insult before gentlemen
  • threatened violence