341 Keresforth v Eyre

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'341 Keresforth v Eyre', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/341-keresforth-eyre [accessed 2 March 2024]

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Thomas Keresforth of Dodworth, co. York v Gervase Eyre of Chesterfield, co. Derby

Easter term, 1638 - Trinity term, 1639


Keresforth complained that when he charged Eyre with having procured the suit in Star Chamber against him in 1637, Eyre answered 'they were fooles and knaves that said soe and that I cannot spell knave without u for you'. No sums are entered under either the plaintiff or defendant's sentence because the verdict was awarded to Eyre in the counter suit [see cause 199], in which he received 20 marks damages and 20 marks costs. In his later suit against Robert Scamaden, Keresforth referred to an action against Eyre in which, in March 1637, Scamaden gave evidence that he was no gentleman, which may be this case or cause 342.

Sentence / Arbitration

13/3j, Plaintiff sentence

Left blank where sums should have been filled in.

'Thomas Keresforth said to Eyre that hee had procured or moved the suite in the Star Chamber against him to which Eyre aunsweared they were fooles and knaves that said soe and that I cannot spell knave without u for you'.

13/3n, Defendant's sentence

Case dismissed section left in and section on award of damages crossed out.

Signed by Thomas Ryves and Lord Maltravers.

13/3ii, Plaintiff's bill of costs

Trinity term, 1638: £7-12s-10d

Vacacon following: £15, inc. £6 expenses for provisions for the commissioners

Michaelmas term, 1638: £18-2s-8d

Total: £40-15s-10d

Signed by Arthur Duck.

13/3ff, Defendant's bill of costs

Easter term, 1638 - Trinity term, 1639

Total: £41-18s-4d

Signed by Thomas Ryves

Taxed at 20 marks.

Signed by Maltravers

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Keresforth and Dr Ryves for Eyre. On 20 October 1638 Dr Duck had to prove the libel on behalf of Keresforth. The court moved to hear the sentence in November and December 1638.


Gervase Eyre was the son of William Eyre of Blyth, co. Nottingham, and Dorothy, daughter of one Copwood. Gervase married Ann, daughter and heir of Henry Stanley of Sutton Bonnington, co. Nottingham.

G. W. Marshall (ed.), The Visitations of the County of Nottingham in the years 1569 and 1614 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 4, 1876), p. 93.

Thomas Keresforth of Puell-Hill, co. York (c.1598-1665), son of Gabriel Keresforth of Keresforth Hill (d.1641), was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Humphrey Clyncard of Abingdon, co. Berkshire. Thomas Keresforth was sequestered for royalism during the civil wars despite pleading that the Earl of Newcastle's royalist army had imprisoned him, plundered his house and cattle, and forced him to become a tax collector for them. He allegedly founded the Grammar School at Barnsley.

R. Davies (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Yorke begun in 1665 and finished in 1666, by William Dugdale (Surtees Society, 36, 1859), p. 2; TNA, SP 23/223/284; R. Jackson, History of the Town and Township of Barnsley (London, 1858), pp. 150-1.

At the Heralds' Visitation of Yorkshire in 1665 (College of Arms Ms: C.40/4b) a family of Keresforth recorded arms of Quarterly (1 and 4) Azure two Millrinds Fessewise in pale Argent (2 and 3) Argent a Fess embattled Sable between three Butterflies Gules .

The editors are grateful to Mr. Thomas Woodcock, Norroy and Ulster King of Arms for the above passage.

For a brief report of this case see J. T. Cliffe, The Yorkshire Gentry from the Reformation to the Civil War (London, 1969), p. 10.


  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiff sentence: 13/3j (no date)
    • Defence sentence: 13/3n (no date)
    • Plaintiff's bill of costs: 13/3ii (Mic 1638)
    • Defendant's bill of costs: 13/3ff (Tri 1639)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: R.19, fos. 434r-449v (20 Oct 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 454r-468v (6 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 400v-412v (20 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 422r-428r (28 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers:R.19, fos. 474r-484v (5 Dec 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Cavendish, William, earl of Newcastle
  • Clyncard, Elizabeth
  • Clyncard, Humphrey
  • Copwood, Dorothy
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eyre, Ann
  • Eyre, Dorothy
  • Eyre, Gervase, gent
  • Eyre, William
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Keresforth, Elizabeth (also Keresford)
  • Keresforth, Gabriel (also Keresford)
  • Keresforth, Thomas, gent (also Keresford)
  • Ryves, Thomas, lawyer (also Rives)
  • Stanley, Ann
  • Stanley, Henry

Places mentioned in the case

  • Berkshire
    • Abingdon
  • Derbyshire
    • Chesterfield
  • Nottinghamshire
    • Blyth
    • Sutton Bonington
  • Yorkshire, West Riding
    • Barnsley
    • Dodworth
    • Keresforth Hill
    • Pule Hill

Topics of the case

  • denial of gentility
  • other courts
  • Star Chamber