371 Leonard v Engham

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Thomas Leonard of Canterbury, M.D. v Thomas Engham of the same, esq

February - March 1640

Figure 371:

Early Stuart Canterbury. Thomas Leonard was insulted by Thomas Engham in December 1639 and commissioners were appointed to hear his witnesses at the Chequer Inn in March 1640 (From John Speed, Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain (1611))


Leonard, a doctor of physic, complained that Engham had called him 'Base rascally fellowe', and 'base stinking pispott doctor', and had tried to strike his head with his cane and punched him in the belly, in the presence of several 'persons of qualitie', in Canterbury, Kent on 7 December 1639. Process was granted on 12 February 1640 and Leonard's witnesses were appointed to be examined by a commission headed by Sir Christopher Harefleete and Francis Lovelace, esq, recorder of Canterbury, 10-12 March at the Chequer Inn, in Canterbury; but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

2/42, Petition to Arundel

'Thomas Engham of Canterbury hath in December last most insufferably wronged and abused the petitioner by calling him (before divers persons of qualitie) Base rascally fellowe, base stinking pispott doctor, by offering likewise divers attempts and menaces with his cane at and about your petitioner's head, and giving him one punch upon the belly, professinge alsoe that he came that day of purpose to abuse the petitioner.'

Petitioned that Engham be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process on 12 February 1640.

2/43, Plaintiff's bond

12 February 1640

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

Signed by Thomas Leonard.

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

2/31, Defendant's bond

5 February 1640

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

Signed by Thomas Engham.

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

Cur Mil II, fo. 46, Libel

1. Leonard was a doctor of medicine.

2. In Canterbury on 7 December 1639, Thomas Engham said that Leonard 'was a base stinking and a pispott doctor, and then and there offered divers attempts and menaces with a cane which he then had in his hand at and about my head and gave me one punch on the belly with his cane, and one blow on the shoulder with his hand, and said and professed that he came that day on purpose to abuse me'.

No date.

Signed by Thomas Eden.

Plaintiff's case

Cur Mil II, fo. 47, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners Sir Christopher Harefleete, John Nutt, esq, Thomas Courtroppe, gent and James Masters, alderman of Canterbury, and also, Francis Lovelace, esq, recorder of Canterbury, Robert Ladd, esq, Richard Juxon, gent and John Crane, gent, to meet from 10 to 12 March 1640 in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, at the inn of Walter Baker called the Chequer, in Canterbury.

William Lewin assigned John Watson as notary public.

Dated 20 February 1640.

Signed by William Lewin.


Thomas Engham was the son of Edward Engham and Elizabeth, daughter of John Evelin of Godstone, co. Surrey, esq. He was aged 21 during the Visitation of 1619-21.

Thomas Leonard does not appear in either of the Kent Visitations.

R. Hovenden (ed.), The Visitation of Kent taken inthe years 1619-21 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 42, 1898), p. 50; G. J. Armytage (ed.), A Visitation of the County of Kent, 1663-8 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 54, 1906).


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition to Arundel: 2/42 (12 Feb 1640)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 2/43 (12 Feb 1640)
    • Defendant's bond: 2/31 (5 Feb 1640)
    • Libel: Cur Mil II, fo. 46 (no date)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Cur Mil II, fo. 47 (20 Feb 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Baker, Walter, innkeeper
  • Courtroppe, Thomas, gent
  • Crane, John, gent
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Engham, Edward (also Engeham)
  • Engham, Elizabeth (also Engeham)
  • Engham, Thomas, esq (also Engeham)
  • Evelin, Elizabeth (also Evelyn)
  • Evelin, John, esq (also Evelyn)
  • Harefleet, Christopher, knight (also Harfleete)
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Juxon, Richard, gent
  • Ladd, Robert, esq
  • Leonard, Thomas, physician
  • Lewin, William, lawyer
  • Lovelace, Francis, esq
  • Masters, James, alderman
  • Nutt, John, esq
  • Watson, John, notary public

Places mentioned in the case

  • Kent
    • Canterbury
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Surrey
    • Godstone

Topics of the case

  • alderman
  • assault
  • denial of gentility
  • nicknaming
  • office-holding