362 Lavingston v Hutchins

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'362 Lavingston v Hutchins', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/362-lavingston-hutchins [accessed 1 March 2024]

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Alexander Lavingston of St Martin in the Fields, co. Middlesex, esq v Robert Hutchins of the same, gent

February - Michaelmas term 1639


Lavingston complained that Hutchins had said he was an 'unworthy man, or an untrustworthy fellow'. Hutchins maintained that he had been provoked by Lavingston calling him 'a rascal, a rogue and a base fellow', and taking away the ladder used by the tradesmen who were working on Hutchins' house. Dr Hart entered the libel for Lavingston on 23 February 1639. Lavingston won the case and was awarded £20 damages and 20 marks expenses in Michaelmas 1639. [For Hutchins' counter suit, see cause 323].

Plaintiff's case

14/3d, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness.

2. Where did the witness live? How long had he lived there? Of what trade, occupation or course of life was he? What was he worth, with his debts paid? Was he a subsidy man and for how long had he been so?

3. Did the witness know Alexander Lavingston? For how long had they known him? In what place and in whose company had they been with him and upon what occasion?

4. Was the witness 'any way allied or of kin' to Lavingston? If so, 'in what degree of kindred'? Were they a household servant or dependent upon Lavingston? What familiarity had there been between them and Lavingston, and for how long? Were they 'abettors, solicitors, or followers of this cause whether they favour the parties indifferently & to whom they wish the victory in this cause'?

5. At whose request did they depose? Did they come voluntarily or were they called by process of the court to testify? What benefit or reward did they expect for testifying and from whom?

6. Had they been instructed what to depose? By whom? Had the witness communicated with Lavingston or any other on his behalf concerning this cause? If so, what was said and who was present? Had a copy of the libel been shown them before their deposition? If so by whom?

7. If the witness deposed that Lavingston provoked Hutchins with ill words or that he drew his sword upon Hutchins, or challenged him to the field, they were to be asked exactly when and where in London, Westminster or Middlesex this was done, and who was present, where they lived and if they were all together there before the quarrel arose.

8. How did the quarrel arise? Did Hutchins 'by any evill language or other misbehaviour provoke Mr Alexander Levingston thereunto if soe, let them declare the particulars by virtue of their oath.'

No date.

Signed by Richard Hart.

Defendant's case

13/3p, Defence

1. That he uttered the words against Lavingston 'upon great provocations by wordes of disgrace first uttered by Lavingston against Huchins, namely Mr Lavingston said that Huchins was a rascall, a roughe, a base fellow.'

2. That at the time and place referred to, and just before Huchins uttered the words alleged, 'Mr Lavingston tooke awaie a ladder that was sett upp and erected against the house or newe buildinge of Huchins, and at the tyme and place in the libel, Mr Lavingston would not suffer the workmen, labourers or brickl[a]iers that at the tyme aforesaid wrought upon the house, either to goe upp or downe the ladder, wherby the worke could not proceed to the great hindrance and damage of Huchins.'

3. If 'Huchins did say at the tyme in the libel that Mr Lavingston was an unworthy man, or an untrustworthy fellow... yet the wordes were spoken in regarde and upon occasion of the premises contained in the preceding article and for that Mr Lavingston in takeinge awaye the ladder did beate downe or batter part of the wall of Huchins that was then in the buildinge.'

No date.

Signed by George Parry.

Sentence / Arbitration

EM3162, Plaintiff sentence

£20 damages awarded to Lavingston and 20 marks expenses.

No date [Michaelmas 1639].

EM3163, Plaintiff's bill of costs

Hilary term, 1638/9 to Michaelmas term, 1639: £28-17s-6d

Summary of proceedings

Dr Hart acted as counsel for Lavingston and Dr Parry for Hutchins. On 23 February 1639, Dr Parry denied the fifth article of the libel and Dr Hart produced the witness Richard Foster. On 10 October 1640 it was ordered that Hutchins be attached for non payment at the next sitting.


Neither party appeared in the London Visitations or Middlesex pedigrees: J. J. Howard and J. L. Chester (eds.), The Visitation of London in 1633, 1634, and 1635 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 15, 1880); J. J. Howard (ed.), The Visitation of London in 1633, 1634, and 1635 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 17, 1883); G. J. Armytage (ed.), Middlesex Pedigrees (Publications of the Harleian Society, 65, 1914).


  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/3d (no date)
  • Defendant's case
    • Defence: 13/3p (no date)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiff sentence: EM3162 (no date)
    • Plaintiff bill of costs: EM3163 (Mic 1639)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 20-33 (21 Feb 1639)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 1-9 (23 Feb 1639)
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 56r-64v (10 Oct 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Lavingston, Alexander, esq (also Levington, Levingston)
  • Hart, Richard, lawyer
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Hutchins, Robert, gent (also Hutchinson)
  • Parry, George, lawyer

Places mentioned in the case

  • Middlesex
    • St Martin in the Fields
    • Westminster

Topics of the case

  • challenge to a duel
  • denial of gentility
  • weapon