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372 Le Strange v Creamer and Stileman

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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372 LE STRANGE V CREAMER AND STILEMAN

Sir Hamon Le Strange of Hunstanton, co. Norfolk, knt v Robert Creamer of Little Massingham and Robert Stileman of Snettisham, co. Norfolk, gents

Michaelmas term, 1638 - June 1640

Figure 372a:

The plaintiff, Sir Hamon Le Strange (From the Prints Collection, Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service)

Figure 372b:

The plaintiff's son, Sir Nicholas Le Strange (From the Prints Collection, Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service)

Abstract

Stileman and his nephew Creamer were charged with penning a scandalous petition and uttering scandalous speeches against Le Strange, thereby to provoke a duel. The petition was delivered at the summer assizes in Norwich in 1638 before the judges, Sir John Bramston and Sir George Croke. It alleged that Sir Hamon had recently obtained from Creamer his copy of manor court roll and 'had caused the same to be razed, altered, interlined and the rents augmented in severall places', and that he was also a 'riotour and peacebreaker.' Their quarrel arose over lands held of the manor court of Hitcham over which Le Strange, as lord of the manor, claimed right of copyhold, which allowed him to increase the rent and plough them at will. The manor court roll had been altered by Mr Warner, the steward of the manor, something which Stileman believed had been done at the behest of either Sir Hamon or Lady Le Strange. At a meeting ten days before the assizes he confronted Le Strange with this, but Sir Hamon denied it and elicited a confession from Warner that it had been done without his knowledge. Creamer had already brought a suit in Star Chamber and the hundred court against Warner and Le Strange's son, Sir Nicholas, for making the alterations and on this occasion Stileman refused to accept Sir Hamon's assurances, telling him that he would proceed with his petition to the assizes and that 'rasing and interlining was a verie fowle business and that there were those that had lost a peece of their eares for as little as that.' When the petition was read by the judges, Croke told Stileman that 'it was a foule business' and 'he should take heed that he proved it', to which Stileman replied that if he could not do so, let him 'be whipped out of the towne.' Stileman's defence was that he had no intention to defame Le Strange, and that it was not in his characater to 'scandalize' gentlemen, but that he was simply pursuing his nephew's rights in a matter of land tenure. Some months later he was boasting to his friends, in James Newark's inn in Burnham Westgate, Norfolk, of how he had confronted Le Strange at the assizes and was determined to bring him to book.

The case was an uneven contest as Sir Hamon was a J.P. and deputy lieutenant for Norfolk under the Earl Marshal and was said by witnesses to be 'a riche man, of great commande and power in the countrie where he liveth.' Stileman even told Le Strange that his nephew was 'not able to wage law with him'. But this did not prevent the two men pursuing their campaign of litigation, with Creamer remarking at one point to a fellow gentleman that he had a bill prepared against Le Strange in Star Chamber which 'should quiet him well inough.' Dr Duck presented the libel for Le Strange on 9 February 1639 and his twenty one witnesses, including Sir John Tracy of Stiffkey, Sir Nicholas Le Strange and numerous other gentry, were examined by a commission headed by Edward Gournay, esq, on 17 September 1639, in Newark's inn. Eleven witnesses on behalf of Creamer and Stileman were examined by a commission headed by Thomas Dawney, clerk, 14-16 January 1640, at the Maid's Head Inn, Norwich. Sir Hamon won the case in February 1640 and the two recorded sentences awarded him £200 damages and £80 costs, and £200 damages and £30 costs, with a £200 fine to the king, respectively. Stileman was ordered to perform his submission on 10 March in the shirehouse at Thetford before the judge of the assizes. He was ordered to beg Le Strange's forgiveness for his scandalous petition and scandalous speeches, and to promise to thereafter behave himself 'with all due observance and respect towards Sir Hamon Le Strange and all other the gentry of this kingdome.' Le Strange, however, was at some pains to demonstrate, as Croke had said of him, that he was 'a worthy man and a stud [i.e.pillar] of the cuntrie, and a good commonwealth's man', and also 'a good landlord to his tenants' - something not entirely borne out by their testimony. Perhaps in this spirit, Stileman certified that Sir Hamon gave him permission to make the submission on 6 June 1640 at Newark's inn rather than at the assizes.

Initial proceedings

10/14a, Libel

1. The family of Sir Hamond Le Strange had been gentry for up to 300 years.

2. Robert Creamer was a tenant on Le Strange's manor of Heacham by a copy of the manor court rolls.

3. At the assizes at Norwich Castle, before the judges Sir John Branston and Sir George Crooke, Creamer alleged that Le Strange had recently obtained from Creamer his copy of manor court roll and 'had caused the same to be razed, altered, interlined and the rents augmented in severall places, and had sued him for new rent'. Creamer also alleged that Le Strange was a 'riotour and peacebreaker.'

Signed by Arthur Duck and William Lewin.

No date [9 February 1638/9]

R.19, fo. 23r, Summary of libel

'Sir Hamond for 40 or 30 yeares was and is a knight, and for 30 or 20 yeares past a justice, and was high sheriffe of the county, and for some yeares past was and is deputy lieutenant of the county under the Earl Marshall and c. And that Creamer did drawe or cause to be drawne a certaine peticon and Stileman did write or prefer the same to the judges of assize at the castle at Norwich, wherein Cremor did scandalously incert and complaine that Sir Hamond (being his landlord) had lately obtained from him his copy of court roll, and had caused the same to be razed, altered, interlined and the rents augmented in severall places, and had sued him for new rent, and that he was a rioter and peace breaker, or to that effect, in contempt, and thereby to provoke and c.'

1639

No signature.

Plaintiff's case

10/14d, Letters commissory for the plaintiff [damaged]

Commissioners [names faded], to meet on 19 September 1639 at the inn of James Newark in Burnam Westgate, co. Norfolk.

Humphrey Terrick assigned Matthew Trott as notary public.

Dated 9 August 1639.

Signed by Humphrey Terrick.

Introduced 19 October 1639.

14/3r, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. Were they related to either of the parties, and if so, by what degree?

2. Was the witness a councellor at law who had advised Creamer or Stileman? Had the witness offered his opinion or direction to Creamer and Stileman concerning their case against Le Strange in this court or Star Chamber? Was the witness 'of opinion that he might not repeale upon oath what was asked him in that kinde and what councell or direction he gave, but ought rather to answere that he is not bound by lawe to answer upon oath thereunto'?

3. Was the witness 'of councell with Sir Hamon Le Strange in his suites and lawe business' for up to six years past?Had he been of 'councell with Sir Hamon and Sir Nicholas Le Strange, sonne to Sir Hamon, and Roger Warner and other parties defendant or some or one of them in a suite now depending in the Court of Star Chamber'?

4. Whether 'he be not, or hath not, or hath not been heretofore, of councell with Sir Hamon Le Strange concerning the petition menconed in the third article of the libel? Was not his advise asked about it? Was he not desired and retained by Sir Hamon Le Strange or by some other for him to oppose the petition and to speake against it'?

5. 'If any of the witnesses shall go about to depose anything concerning the contents of the 5th or 6th articles of the libel, let him give a particular reason of his knowledge of that which he shall depose, and in whose presence that was done or spoken which he shall depose, and when and where.'

6. 'When and where such words were spoken and in whose presence and upon what occasion and in what manner'? 'Was it not by way of askinge councell or direction or by way of answere to some question? And lett every such witness as near as he can sett downe the very formall words rather then like words in effect.'

7. Speak the truth of what you know, believe or have heard.

No date.

Signed by Thomas Eden.

10/14 oversize, First set of defence interrogatories

1. Was the witness a relative, tenant, household servant or retainer to Le Strange? Was the witness indebted to Le Strange and if so for what sum?

2. If any witness deposed of the libel's third article, they were to be asked if they believed the petition was made to the justice of assizes 'onely for redresse, not with any intent to scandalize and impeach the credit and reputation' of Le Strange.

3. If any witness deposed of the libel's sixth article, they were to be asked when, where and in whose presence? Was Robert Creamer there present? Upon what occasion and to whom were the words in the libel spoken? If any of the words were spoken, was it only 'by way of questioning with the witness what was best to be done in such aasking councell and advice of him; and not by way of impeaching the reputation of Sir Hamon Le Strange'?

4. 'In what degree of kindred' were Stileman and Creamer? Was Creamer the son of Stileman's sister, 'and one that heth neither father nor mother nor living [damaged]?'

5. 'Item, is not Robert Creamer a young man about the age of thirty yeares or thereabouts, and a man of a meane estate, and is not Sir Hamon Le Strange a very rich and potent man and of a great command, power and authority in the country'?

6. 'Whether he be not very intimately acquainted with Robert Stileman and Robert Stileman with him, and often tymes desire the councell and assistance of each other concerning their severall proceedings'?

7. Did the witness know that there was 'a suit depending at this present in the high court of Starr chamber against Sir Hamond Le Strange and others for and concerning the matters objected against him in the peticon annexed to the libel upon which you have been examined'?

8. How long had they known Stileman and Creamer? Was Robert Stileman 'a man of good repute and fashion in his country'? Did the witness ever observe Stileman and Creamer as 'men given to abuse and scandalize gentlemen, and men of words or with any uncivil termes or words, but very fayer respectors and reverensers of them according to their qualities and deserts'?

9. 'Doe you not believe in your conscience that if Sir Hamond Le Strange would have bene pleased to have permitted Robert Creamer to have enjoyed his lands as he, and the predecessors of Creamer had done, that no peticon had been proferred to the judges of the assizes; and that it was so proferred onely with an intent to possesse and hold the same, and not with any intent to scandalize or defame Sir Hamon'?

10. Why was the witness thought to be a necessary witness on behalf of Sir Hamond Le Strange? Did the witness ever tell Hamond or any other, that they could depose anything against the defendants? Was the witness called 'in regard it is supposed by Sir Hamond that you are familiarly acquainted with Robert Styleman and very oft in his company, and soe labor to fynd out what private discourse hath happened between you and Robert Styleman concerning this business'?

11. 'Item, doe you hold any lands or tenements belonging unto any of the manors of Sir Hamond? If so, what lands or tenements, are they free to copy, to what yearly value are your copyholds, and of what yearly value are your free, and what yearly rents doe you pay for either'?

12. Whether [John Blackhead, witness] drew the petition annexed to the libel or only ingrossed the same? Did 'Robert Creamer the petitioner bring the draught thereof unto him, and did not he pay Blackhead for ingrossing the same'?

13. Were Robert Stileman or Robert Creamer with Blackhead, 'or spake with him about the petition after such tyme as he ingrossed the same, if soe when and where'?

No date.

No signatures.

10/14c, Second set of defence interrogatories

1. 'Whether such words were not spoken by way of private discourse amongest other matters upon private and friendly meetings, taking reason of speaking of the controversies depending between their partie in this suit and the nature of them not otherwise'?

10/14b, Third set of defence interrogatories

1. Was Mr Edward Spratt steward of the manor court of Heacham, co. Norfolk, under Sir Hamond Le Strange, knight, lord of the manor? Was the witness Mr Spratt's servant, Dr Clarke, 'and how long since departed he this life'?

2. Did the witness 'whilest you lived with him, or dependant of him, ingrosse... a copy of a court roll of certaine copihold lands of Robert Creamer holden of the manor; and was not the same signed with the hand writing of Mr Spratt'?

3. 'Did you not see the copy of court roll since you ingrossed the same/ Is not the same razed and interlined in severall places with another hand writing since the time it was so ingrossed and subscribed'?

4. Did 'you not know or have you not heard that about two or three yeares since one Roger Warner did obtaine the copy of court roll from Robert Creamer; and did not Creamer oftentimes by himself or others redemand the copy of court roll of Warner, and could not obtain it of him but Warner answered and replied that it was at Hunstanton Hall, (meaning at Sir Hamond Le Strange his house)... or otherwise excused the non delivery thereof'?

5. Did 'Warner acknowledge and confess that he did raze, alter or interline the copy of court roll, and did give or subscribe a note of the particular rasures or alterations therein under his owne hand, before whom and when did he make his such confession and acknowledgement'?

6. Was 'Warner demanded what was his reason he so altered or razed the copy of court Roll, and whether he did it of himself, or who moved him thereunto? and being blamed by Creamer for the same Warner replied as followeth or to the like effect. Viz. You may well thinke I did it not on my owne head, but I did it by the procurement of my Lady Le Strange and soe was privy to her doeing thereof (meaning the lady and wife of Sir Hamond Le Strange).'

7. Had Warner within the last six years been employed in Sir Hamon Le Strange's affairs?

8. Was there a suit depending in Star Chamber between Creamer as plaintiff, and Sir Hamond Le Strange, Sir Nicholas Le Strange, Roger Warner, and others as defendants 'for and concerning the matters specified in the schedule annexed to the libel in this cause'?

9. Was Sir Nicholas Le Strange the eldest son and heir of Sir Hamon Le Strange?

10/14/e, Plaintiff depositions

Taken before commissioners Edward Gournay, esq, Hamon Claxton, clerk, Henry Thirlbie, gent, Thomas Thorowgood, Ralph Lownde and Geo Cobbe at the inn of James Newark in Burnham Westgate, co. Norfolk on the 17 September 1639.

(Witness 1), John Blackhead of St Paul's parish, in the city of Norwich, scrivener, aged 37

To Le Strange's libel:

3-5. The witness was a scrivenor by profession and kept shop in Norwich. In the week of the Norfolk summer assizes, 1638, Stileman and Creamer came into his shop. They brought to him a petition and asked him to write 'the same over faire to be delivered to Sir John Bramston knight and Sir George Crook, knt, the judges of the assize'. He ingrossed the petition and then he and Stileman examined the original draught of it. The witness declared that the schedule annexed to the commission and showed to him at his examination was the same petition ingrossed by him. He told Stileman and Creamer that the petition 'was verie tedious and that he did not use to drawe anie soe longe', to which Stileman answered, 'that it coulde not be shortened, and that he should be paid for the writing of it.'

12. 'He refereth himself to his former deposicon saying further that he did not drawe the petition but onlie ingrossed it and that Robert Creamer did paie him for it as he nowe remembrethe.'

13. 'After the ingrossing of the petition and the delivery of it unto Stileman and Creamer, they departed from him and returned not againe unto him.'

Signed by John Blackhead and by commissioners Thomas Thorowgood, Hamon Claxton, Henry Thirlby, Ra. Lownde, Edward Gournay, Ge: Cobbe.

(Witness 2), Sir John Tracy of Stiffkey, co. Norfolk, knt, born at Burnham, co. Norfolk, aged 44

To Le Strange's libel:

6. Before the Norfolk summer assizes of 1638, he met Robert Stileman in Burnham at the house of James Newark. There Stileman complained that Sir Hamon Le Strange had taken away from his kinsman Robert Creamer a piece of ground. Stileman said that 'he had gone to Sir Hamon in an humble waie to seeke peace, and that he did take the boldness to tell him that if he would not make restitution thereof he would peticon the judges of assizes, and he doubted not but his kinsman would have righte'. Stileman said that Sir Hamon 'had caused his sonne Sir Nicholas L'Estrange to be upon the ground aforesaid and to bring a multitude of men to set a bank upon his ground whether Creamer would or not'. After the assizes he heard that Stileman and Creamer had delivered a petition against Sir Hamon to the judges of the assizes and that the Lord Chief Justice turned to Stileman and Creamer and told them 'that it was a verie scandalous petition to proferr against such a man as Sir Hamon L'Estrange was unless they were sure to make proofe of it'. Stileman answered 'My Lord if wee prove not every tittle of it, lett me be whipped out of towne'. Upon Tracy's next meeting with Stileman at Newark's house in Burnham soon after the assizes, Stileman affirmed all this to be true. Stileman also said that Sir Hamon L'Estrange had caused a Roger Warner to rase a copy of court roll, and that his nephew Creamer had obtained a note from Warner testifying the same; all which speeches were uttered by Stileman in Newark's house 'publiqlie in the presence of Tracy and of divers other persons.'

To the second set of defence interrogatories:

The words he deposed 'were spoken in the mannor and upon the occasion by him expressed and described, saving that the meeting at which the words by him deposed were spoken were friendly meetings upon other occasions.'

Signed by John Tracy and by the six above commissioners.

(Witness 3), Thomas Clowdeslie of Cley next the Sea, co. Norfolk, gent, formerly of Walsingham, aged 67

To Le Strange's libel:

6-8. Last year at the Norfolk assizes he and Mr Gooding travelled 'to Woolferton in Norfolk', and came to Stileman's house where they talked with him concerning Sir Hamon Le Strange. Stileman told them that Sir Hamon was about 'to take in a peece of marsh and to place a bank upon his kinsman Robert Creamer's land, and that notwithstanding his kinsman laie downe upon the ground before his workmen to hinder it, he could not'. Stileman added that Sir Hamon had taken away another piece of Creamer's land, and that Stileman had gone to Sir Hamon on Creamer's behalf 'to have redress but could not have it; and that thereupon he had told Sir Hamon L'Strange his aime plainlie, that his kinsman had noe other waie but to prefer a peticon to the judges of assize *by reason he was not able to wage law with him*'. Stileman told him that Creamer had preferred the petition, and Stileman showed the witness a copy of it and read it to him. The petition expressed that Sir Hamon or his officers had obtained Creamer's copies of court roll and altered them. Clowdeslie did not know Robert Creamer. Stileman also told him that upon the delivery of the petition 'Sir George Crooke kt one of the judges of assize said that Sir Hamon L'Estrange was a worthy man and a studd[i.e. pillar] of the cuntrie and a good commonwealth's man, and that he wondered that such a peticon was preferred against him; and that when the complaint should have been heard the peticon was taken awaie and soe his kinsman had noe profit by it but was left to the law for which he was sorrie.'

To the first set of defence interrogatories:

4. 'Robert Creamer is the sister's sonne of Robert Stileman.'

5. 'Sir Hamon Le Strange is a verie rich man and a man of worth and power in his countrie.'

6. Formerly he and Stileman 'have been of familiarity and conversant with one another's affairs; but for the space of 4 yeares past until the time of being at his house he hath had litle familiarity with him.'

8. He had known Robert Stileman for 40 years, 'that he is an honest man and of good respect and fashion in the cuntrie where he liveth, neither did he ever observe him to have been guiltie of abusing and scandalizing of gentlemen in words or otherwise, but a respector of them.'

9. He believed that if Sir Hamon L'Estrange had satisfied Stileman concerning Creamer's lands, the peticon would not have been proferred. The petition was only proferred 'with a purpose to enjoie his lands and for noe other end and not in anie wise to scandalize Sir Hamon L'Estrange.'

10. He did not know why he came to be called 'or thought to be a witness necessarie in this cause, nor did ever to his remembrance tell anie person that he could depose anie thing in this cause'. He believed he waas called because of his 'intimate familiaritie which he hath had with Robert Stileman formerlie though not of late.'

To the second set of defence interrogatories:

The words he deposed 'were delivered in private discourse and noe otherwise.'

Signed by Tho: Clowdisley and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 4), Robert Bacon of Tattersett, co. Norfolk, mercer, formerly of Isleham, co. Cambridge, aged about 37

To Le Strange's libel:

6-8. Bacon 'cannot depose of any words menconed in the libel to have been spoken by Robert Stileman and Robert Creamer, saving that [he] having formerlie been named a commissioner in this cause on the parte and behalfe of Stileman and Cremer, they Stileman and Cremer have spoken some words in private to him concerning the business in question, which words [Bacon] conceiveth that he is not bound nor ought to reveale or discover.'

Signed by Robert Bacon.

To the first set of defence interrogatories:

8. He had known Stileman and Creamer for about 10 years, during 'which time they have been men of faire carriage and not scandalized anie persons to his knowledge.'

9. He believed the petition 'was proferred with desire that Robte Creamer might gaine his land which he pretended was taken from him by Sir Hamon Le Strange kt, and not to scandalize him'.

10. He never told Sir Hamon Le Strange that he could depose anything in this cause.

Signed by Robert Bacon and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 5), Vincent Goodwin of Cley next the Sea, co. Norfolk, clerk, formerly of Great Yarmouth, aged about 65

To Le Strange's libel:

6-8. He was at Robert Stileman's house in Snettisham after the Norfolk summer assizes of 1638, where Stileman said that Robert Creamer had affirmed that he was wronged by Sir Hamon Le Strange and that Creamer had proferred a petition against him. Stileman showed Goodwin 'a note which he said was a copie of the peticon, but *what* was contained in it he knoweth not saving that he saithe that Robert Stileman said that his kinsman did complaine of the altering of a coppie of court roll'.

8. He had known Stileman for 40 years but did not know Creamer. He never heard otherwise 'but that Stileman was a man of good repute nor ever did he observe that Stileman hath been an abuser or scandaliser of gentlemen.'

Signed by Vin: Goodwin and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 6), John Tubbin of Burnham Thorpe, co. Norfolk, gent, formerly of Studdie, co. Norfolk, aged about 46 years

To Le Strange's libel:

6-8 and last. He was with Robert Stileman at James Newark's house in Burnham Westgate, co. Norfolk, 'near about the feast of purification of our Ladie last'. There he heard Stileman say that a petition was proferred to the judges of assize against Sir Hamon Le Strange, 'but whether by himself or by his kinsman Robert Cremer or both of them', Tubbin could not depose. Upon its delivery, the judge said that it was a foul business, and Robert Stileman declared 'if I or if we prove them not, I wilbe whipped or let me be whipped out of towne, all which words were uttered by Robert Stileman in the presence of Tubbin and Sir John Tracie, Robert Bacon esq, and of one Mr Thornton' and others.

To the first set of defence interrogatories:

8. He had known Robert Creamer for 9 or 10 years, and Robert Stileman for 20 years. He 'never heard the contrarie, but that Robert Stileman is a man of good repute and fashion in his countrie; nor did he ever observe either Stileman or Creamer given to abuse or scandalize gentlemen or men of worth with uncivill termes or words.'

To the second set of defence interrogatories:

The words he deposed were spoken at a meeting of friends and as he conceived in a friendlie way but upon what occacon they were so uttered or spoken he cannot answeare.'

Signed by John Tubbin and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 7), William Thurloe of Burnham Thorpe, co. Norfolk, gent, formerly of Brancaster, co. Norfolk, aged about 41

To Le Strange's libel:

6, 8 and last. During the time in the libel and in the winter time he was several times with Robert Stileman and heard him say 'that Sir Hamond L'Estrange knight had rased, or caused to be rased, a court roll or a coppie of a court roll for which, and for other matters, either he or his kinsman Creamer would *or had* given a bill in Starr Chamber against him'. He 'further heard him saie *in boasting manner* that himselfe, or his kinsman Creamer, or both of them, had proferred a petition to the judges of assize for fowle matters against Sir Hamon L'Estrange, which consisted of three heads, whereof one was for rasing, or causing to be rased, a court roll or a copie of a court roll, and he believeth that the peticon or schedule annexed to this commission is the same petition soe as aforesaid proferred... He hath heard by the reporte of divers persons that Robert Stileman hath boasted of the delivery of the petition; and that upon the delivery thereof to the judge; he was tould by the judge that it was dangerous matter in the peticon and that he should take heed that he proved it and that Robert Stileman should thereupon tell the judges that if he did not prove it lett him be whipped out of towne'. He heard this from John Tubbin and 'doth verelie allsoe believe that he hath heard Robert Stileman utter the same or the like speeches. The words from Stileman were spoken in James Newark's house in Burnham Westgate, co. Norfolk, in the presence of others 'whose names he now remembreth not.'

To the second set of defence interrogatories:

'The words by him deposed were spoken in publiq manner and at the meetings of friendly company, but he did not conceive that they were spoken with anie purpose to have them concealed, for that Robert Stileman took occacon of himself to utter the words.'

Signed by William Thurloe and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 8), William Neve of Burnham Norton, co. Norfolk, gent, formerly of Wymondham, co. Norfolk, aged about 47

To Le Strange's libel:

7-8 and last. He was at Robert Stileman's house in Snettisham within, soon after the summer assizes of 1638, where Stileman told him that a peticon had been proferred at the assizes to the judges of assize against Sir Hamon Le Strange. Stileman showed and read him a copy 'wherein was contained *(as [Neve] beleeveth)* the same matter and contents which is expressed in the schedule or peticon annexed to this commission and perused by [him] at the time of his examinacon; and Robert Stileman said, if wee do not prove it meaning the contents of the peticon, lett us suffer by it.'

To the first set of defence interrogatories:

7. He had heard that there was a suit depending in Star Chamber against Sir Hamon Le Strange and others concerning the matters contained in the schedule or petition annexed to this commission.

To the second set of defence interrogatories:

The words he deposed were said by Robert Stileman in the presence of Neve, and Mr Thornton, clerk, 'and were spoken in a private discourse, upon occacon of the speaking of the controversies betweene the parties'.

Signed by William Neve and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 9), Thomas Dixe of Burnham Overy, co. Norfolk, gent, aged about 45

To Le Strange's libel:

6-8 and last. After the Norfolk summer assizes of 1638 he was at James Newark's house in Burnham Westgate, where Robert Stileman said there was a petition proffered to the judges of assize against Sir Hamon Le Strange, and that the judge had told him that he and Creamer had better prove the petition's contents. Stileman said that he told the judge that 'he would prove every tittle of it, and if he did not prove it lett my Lord whipp him out of Towne'. Stileman further said that after the delivery of the petition to the judge, 'he did send a messenger to Mr *Roger* Warner and to Sir Hamon L'Estrange *his clarke* to be certified by whom the *interlining* or alteracons *in two places* in a copie of court roll of his kinsman Robert Creamer were done, and that they had put under their hands, that the interlinings and alteracons *was their hand writing* by the direction of Sir Hamon le Strange'. These speeches were said before 'Sir John Tracie and others whome he doth not now remember'. Another time when Stileman, Dixe and Mr John Armiger were together, Stileman again uttered these words'.

To the second set of defence interrogatories:

The words he deposed Stileman spoke in his and Mr Armiger's presence 'were spoken by him upon the demand of some questions by Mr Armiger concerning the controversies depending betweene the parties'.

Signed by Thomas Dix and by the above six commissioners.

18 September 1639

(Witness 10), John Armiger of North Creake, co. Norfolk, gent, born there, aged about 27

To Le Strange's libel:

3-7 and last. After the assizes at Norwich in summer 1638, in James Newark's house in Burnham Westgate, co. Norfolk, he was with Robert Stileman when he Stileman said, 'we have proferred a petition to the judges against Sir Hamon L'Estrange, and at the delivery of it the judge toulde me that Sir Hamon L'Estrange was a man of worth and that I must take heede what I did; and I desired the favour of the judge according to the *validitie of the* petition and *said that* if I did not make it good let me suffer as much as every man can suffer, and I desired the judge's good opinion of me til I had made proof of my petition...'. At the speaking of these words several 'persons of good qualitie' were present 'whome he cannot nowe name.'

To the first set of defence interrogatories:

5. He did not know Robert Creamer nor his age or estate, but he knew that Sir Hamon Le Strange was 'a riche man and of great commande and power in the countrie where he liveth.'

8. He had known Robert Stileman for about 3 years, 'but hath noe speciall familiaritie with him, and for his reputacon he hath heard some speake well, and some ill of him; neither hath he made observacon of Stileman's behaviour in scandalizing of gentlemen, otherwise then by the peticon and words by him deposed of.'

10. He did 'not conceive the reason why he was called to be a witness in this cause, nor did he ever discover to Sir Hamon L'Estrange either directlie of indirectlie what he could depose in this cause, neither doth he conceive that he is called to testifie in this cause out of the reason of his familiar acquaintance with Robert Stileman, for that he hath not anie such aquaintance with him.'

To the second set of defence interrogatories:

The words he deposed were 'spoken publiqlie upon a demande of one of the companies wherein they were spoken, howe the business between Sir Hamon L'Estrange and Robert Stileman stood, but with what purchase or intention they were spoken he knoweth not, nor doth he know where they were spoken with a purpose to have them concealed or divulged.'

Signed by John Armiger and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 11), Nathaniel Thornton of Burnham Westgate, co. Norfolk, clerk, born at Soham, co. Cambridge, aged about 33

To Le Strange's libel:

3-8. About a year ago, and after the Norfolk summer assizes for 1638 he was at Robert Stileman's house with two or three friends, when he demanded of Stileman whether there was such a peticon delivered by Robert Creamer to the judges of assize, and Stileman affirmed that there was a difference between Creamer and Sir Hamon Le Strange, 'and that he had proffered a petition, and Robert Stileman did reade unto him a paper which he thinketh was a coppie of the petition wherein were some words purporting the rasure of a coppie of court roll.'

To the first set of defence interrogatories:

5. He conceived that Robert Creamer was about 30 years old, 'but his estate he knoweth not, neither hath he hearde of anie great estate he hath; and that Sir Hamon L'Estrange is a great man and potente of commande in this cuntrie, and is too greate in respect of his estate for Creamer to contend by suite in lawe withal as he beleeveth.'

8. He had known Robert Creamer for about a year and Robert Stileman for about two or three years, 'and that he never heard to the contrarie but that Robert Stileman is a man of good repute in his cuntrie; neither did he ever observe either of the defendants to have been given to abuse or scandalize gentlemen with uncivill termes or words, but to be faire respectors of them in their quallities.'

9. 'He beleeveth the whole contents of the interrogatorie to be true.'

10. 'He knoweth not the reason howe he came to be thought a necessarie witness in this cause, nor did he ever tell Sir Hamon L'Estrange that he could depose anie thing in this cause. And [Thornton] believeth that the cause why he was called to testifie on the parte of Sir Hamon L'Estrange is in regard that he knew him to have been at *Robert Stileman's* house in familiaritie with him; and soe might have had private discourse with him, and that in such discourse Robert Stileman had spoken somewhat concerning this business.'

To the second set of defence interrogatories:

'The words were spoken in private discourse' and upon his demand.

Signed by Nath. Thornton and by the six commissioners.

(Witness 12), Charles Turner of Weasenham, co. Norfolk, gent, born at Wilton, co. York, aged about 38

To Le Strange's libel:

3-6 and 8. 'He hath heard by the report of Robert Creamer that a petition was delivered unto the judges of assize by Robert Creamer against Sir Hamon L'Estrange knight, but the contents thereof' Creamer did not then report to him. After the Norfolk summer assizes for 1638, Robert Creamer told him privately 'that he held copie houlds of Sir Hamon L'Estrange, and that after his copie was made, it was rased and interlined by Mr Warner by the direction of the Ladie Strange; and the words were soe uttered unto him upon an occacon of suite depending in the hundred court of Smithdon wherein he was the atturnie *for Cremer in* the suite, which suite did *as [Turner] conceiveth* concern a distress taken for rent challenged out of those copiholds holden of Sir Hamon L'Estrange.'

Signed by Charles Turner and by commissioners Claxton, Thirlby, Lowde and Gournay.

(Witness 13), Henry Mordant of Congham, co. Norfolk, esq, aged about 43

To Le Strange's libel:

6, 8 and ult. He met Creamer in late August or early September 1638 in the highway near Heacham, co. Norfolk, where Cremer told him that his uncle Stileman had proferred a peticon at the last assizes on his behalf against Sir Hamon Le Strange 'for a riott, *interlyning* a copie of court roll, and taking awaie of his soyle, and that upon the hearing of the business for them to determine by way of petition, and that since the assizes he had founde out, that neither Sir Hamon L'Estrange nor his Ladie had interlined the copie but one Warner who had free access to Sir Hamond's evidences. And thereupon he advised Cremer to submit him to Sir Hamon L'Estrange and to end all business in a friendlie manner, and Cremer replied that there was a bill prepared against him in Starr Chamber, and that courte should quiet him well inough.'

To the second set of defence interrogatories:

The words he deposed 'were spoken privatlie between him and Creamer'. The occasion of speaking the words arose from conversation about the differences between Sir Hamon and Creamer.

Signed by H. Mordant and by the above four commissioners.

(Witness 14), Hugh Hovell of Gaywood, co. Norfolk, gent, born at Holkham, aged about 23

To Le Strange's libel:

6-8. He had seen a copy of court roll whereby Robert Creamer held certain copyhold land from Sir Hamon 'which copie was interlined and rased'; and he did 'at the request of Robert Creamer signifie soe much to Sir Hamon L'Estrange.'

To the first set of defence interrogatories:

4-5. Robert Creamer was the son of Robert Stileman's sister. Creamer's father and mother were dead. Creamer was aged about 30 'and his estate is but meane, and that Sir Hamon L'Estrange is a verie riche and a potent man in his cuntrie.'

7. He knew there was a suit depending in Star Chamber betweene Creamer and Sir Hamon and Lady Le Strange.

8. He had known Robert Creamer for 10 years and Robert Stileman for 4 yeares, 'who for all the time that he hath knowne him hath been a man of good repute, and that he did never observe that either he or Cremer have been given to abuse or scandalize gentlemen of worth and qualitie with uncivill words.'

9. He believed the contents of this interrogatory were true and he had heard Creamer affirm so much.

10. He believed he was called to be a witness 'by reason of his affinitie and familiaritie with Cremer; and that he did never tell to anie what he could depose in this cause.'

Signed by Hugh Hovell and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 15), John Parvis, born at Southwark, co. Surrey, aged about 31

To Le Strange's libel:

6, 8 and 9. Soon after the Norfolk summer assizes of 1638 he met with Robert Stileman at Burnham market, and he had formerly heard that Robert Creamer had delivered a petition to the judges of assize against Sir Hamon Le Strange, so he asked Stileman if this was true; and Stileman answered there was a petition delivered.

Afterwards in April or May 1639 he was traveling with Stileman and asked him about the petition again. Stileman answered 'that it was aboute the banking in of a certaine marshe wherein Robert Creamer was as he conceived interested, and about rasinge or interlyninge of a copie of court roll, but by whom it should be done Stileman *did not* relate unto him... saving that he told him that upon the delay of the petition the judge would not believe that the contents thereof could be proved; and thereupon it was replied that if they could not prove it, it were fitt they should be punished.'

To the first set of defence interrogatories:

5. Robert Cremer was aged about 30, 'but what his estate is he knoweth it not; and that Sir Hamon L'Estrange is a very riche man and a potent and powerfull man in the cuntrie.'

8. He had known Robert Creamer for about a year and Robert Stileman for three years, 'who hath been for all the time reputed a good able understanding man; but never heard or observed that the persons or either of them have been given to abuse and scandalize gentlemen of worth and quallitie'. But he had heard Stileman before these suits began, and since the petition proferred, condemn Sir Hamon, 'affirming that he was a noble worthie honest gentleman and if he would be pleased to carrie things friendlie and neighbourlie, he would lie downe at his foote and be his servante.'

9. Before the delivery of the petition Robert Stileman told him that if Sir Hamon and his son Sir Nicholas would allow Creamer to enjoy his lands as formerly his ancestors had done, then they would not trouble either Sir Hamon or themselves; 'but if they would not, they woulde take some course and in the meane time they would stopp it by a peticon, to continue their possession till they might have a faire triall in lawe.'

10. He believed 'that he was thought to be a necessarie witness by reason Sir Hamon L'Estrange hath heard that he hath been in the companie of Stileman and that he never told either Sir Hamon L'Estrange or anie other what he could depose.'

To the second set of defence interrogatories:

The words he deposed 'were private discourse' and occasioned by him.

Signed by John Parvish and by the above four commissioners.

(Witness 16), John Rogerson of Heacham, co. Norfolk, husbandman, formerly of Ingoldisthorpe, aged about 40

To Le Strange's libel:

3-6, 8-9. At the Norfolk assizes of 1638 held at Norwich Castle, he was at Norwich in the chamber of Robert Stileman and Robert Cremer at the St John's Head in the Platter in Norwich where they were lodged. There he saw 'a <peticon>*writing* which Stileman and Cremer or one of them said *was a peticon which* they *either had or* would proferr to the judges of assize, or one of them, against Sir Hamon Le Strange which writing [Rogerson] did read, and it did agree *in substance* (as he beleeveth) with the peticon annexed to this commission which he heard *readd* at the time of this his examinacon'. He was present at a conference had at Heacham upon the Wednesday of the assizes week, between Robert Creamer and Roger Warner, 'who *interlined as he said* Robert Cremer's copie of court roll, at which time and place Warner did justify unto Cremer that Sir Hamon L'Estrange had noe hand in the alteringe or interlining of his copie of court roll, nor knewe thereof, but that Warner did it without his knowledge. And that neverthelesse Cremer did subpena him to travel immediatlie to the assize at Norwich to testifie concerning the peticon, the contents thereof, and that at his coming to the assize Robert Stileman and Robert Creamer were with the judge of assize in his chamber and Sir Hamon L'Estrange also was there; but what was done he cannot depose, for that he was not admitted into the chamber, but stood at the dore thereof.'

To the first set of defence interrogatories:

4-5. Robert Creamer was the son of Robert Stileman's sister, and Creamer had no father nor mother living, and 'that he doth call Robert Stileman godfather'. Creamer was aged about 30, 'and that he hath 100li per annum in lande, and that Sir Hamon L'Estrange is a verie rich man and powerfull in the cuntrie.'

8. He had known Robert Stileman was 'a man of good repute and fashion in this cuntrie; neither hath he ever observed or knowne Robert Stileman or Creamer to have been given to abuse or scandalize gentlemen and men of worth with uncivill words or termes but to be respecters of them.'

Signed by John Rogerson and commissioners Ra. Lownde, Edward Gournay, who testified that the examination was also in the presence of Hamon Claxton, clerk and Henry Thirlby, gent.

(Witness 17), Robert Rose of Denver, co. Norfolk, gent, formerly of Sedgeford, co. Norfolk, aged about 64

To the first set of defence interrogatories:

4-5. As witness 16.

8. He had known Stileman and Creamer for 12 years and Stileman is 'a man of good repute in his cuntrie; and that he never observed that either Stileman or Cremer did ever abuse or scandalize gentlemen and men of worthe and qualitie but have respected them according to their qualitie.'

10. He never told Sir Hamon nor anyone that he could depose anything in this cause.

Signed by Robert Rose and commissioners as in witness 16.

(Witness 18), Roger Warner of Heacham, co. Norfolk, gent, formerly of Docking, co. Norfolk, aged about 60

To Le Strange's libel:

6, 8 and ult. About the end of June 1638, about 10 days before the Norfolk Assizes he was in Heacham Marsh, when he saw Sir Hamon and Sir Nicholas Le Strange, and Robert Stileman and Robert Creamer with others. He observed them to be earnestly in discourse and coming nearer. He heard Stileman debating with Sir Hamon about the joining of Heacham bank to Snettisham bank, and about other wrongs which he pretended that Sir Hamon had done to Robert Creamer. Stileman then charged Sir Hamon with causing 'to be interlined or rased a copie of a court roll of Robert Creamer's', which Sir Hamon denied knowledge of. Sir Hamon then called Warner and asked him what he knew of it, and Warner in the presence of Stileman and Creamer declared that he had made the interlineations in the court roll, which 'he did at the request of Robert Creamer who desired him to doe it for certifying and amending of such errors as were in the same copie; and that he did it without the knowledge of Sir Hamon L'Estrange which Robert Creamer did not gainsaie. And Robert Stileman still persisted in violent pressing him *Sir Hamon L'Estrange* aboute the wrongs, and said to him, we will put up a peticon to the judges against you at the next assizes and we will laie it as hard against you as we can. All which passages were performed with much earnestness and in a slighting waie without respect to the quallitie of Sir Hamon L'Estrange his degree and quallitie.'

Signed by Roger Warner and commissioners as in witness 16.

(Witness 19), Sir Nicholas L'Estrange of Hunstanton, co. Norfolk, bart, born there, aged about 34

To Le Strange's libel:

6, 8 and ult. About 10 days before the Norfolk summer Assizes, held in July 1638, he was in Heacham marsh with his father Sir Hamon Le Strange, Robert Stileman, Robert Creamer and Roger Warner where Stileman did charge Sir Hamon 'that he had rased and interlined a copie of a court roll of his nephew Creamer's, which Sir Hamon did utterlie denie, or that he was privie to it; and called Roger Warner and willed him to declare freelie what he knew concerning the business, who then and there said that whatsoever alteracons were in the copie were done by him with the consent of Robert Creamer, which speeches Creamer did not contradict. Warner further affirming that neither Sir Hamon L'Estrange nor his ladie had anie hand in the doing of it, whereunto neither Robert Cremer nor Robert Stileman *did replie*. And after the premises Robert Stileman still continued charging Sir Hamon L'Estrange in manner before deposed and following him a little distance said in a more submiss[iv]e voice and shaking of his head, that rasing and interlining was a verie fowle business and that there were those that had loste a peece of their eares for as little as that, which words were uttered in the hearing of [Le Strange]. And after other speeches concerning some differences about the imbanking of the marshes and *contribucon by* arreredge for the maintaining of this *old sea* banks Stileman in [his] hearing toulde Sir Hamon L'Estrange *if you will not give us ease* wee meane to peticon the judges against you and to laie it on hard too.'

Signed by Nicholas L'Estrange and by commissioners as in witness 16.

(Witness 20), Edmund Cobbe of Snettisham, co. Norfolk, gent, born there, aged about 28

To Le Strange's libel:

6, 8-9. At the time of the Norfolk summer assizes at Norwich castle, he met Robert Creamer who told him that 'he was much hindered in his estate by Sir Hamon L'Estrange, and that he had a copie of court roll rased, but whether by Sir Hamon L'Estrange his meanes or by one Mr Warner or by whome elce he doth not nowe remember'. Since the assizes 'he hath been in the companie of divers and sondrie persons and hath often heard reported that a peticon was proferred by Robert Creamer against Sir Hamon L'Estrange, but what the contents thereof were he knoweth not, but hath heard that it was aboute the rasing of a copie of court roll and taking awaie some lande from Robert Creamer'.

To the first set of defence interrogatories:

5, 7. Creamer was 'a middle aged man', 'of meane estate in respecte of Sir Hamon L'Estrange who is a riche man, and powerfull of command in the cuntrie as he is a justice of peace and a deputie leeftenaunte if the countie of Norfolk'. He was 'intimatelie acquainted' with Robert Stileman, and they 'doe use the help of each other by advice in their affaires, in respect they have great dealings together.'

8. He had known Creamer and Stileman for all the time of his remembrance and that Robert Stileman is a man of good repute in the cuntrie, and that he did never heare either of them abuse or scandalize men of qualitie and worth with uncivil termes.'

9. As witness 14.

10. As witness 17.

To the second set of defence interrogatories:

The communication between him and Robert Creamer was private.

Signed by Edmund Cobbe and by commissioners Lowde and Gournay.

(Witness 21), Martin Cobbe of Snettisham, co. Norfolk, gent, born there, aged about 24

To Le Strange's libel:

6, 8 and ult. About last Candlemas Robert Creamer told him that he had proferred a peticon to the judges of assizes for Norfolk against Sir Hamon Le Strange, 'the copie whereof he shewed unto him, and upon the sight and reading of the peticon annexed to this commission he beleeveth it to be of the same contents which the copie shewed unto him by Robert Cremer, was of... saving that Robert Cremer affirmed to him that the contents of the peticon was true.'

Signed by Martin Cobbe and by commissioners Lowde and Gournay.

10/14f, Notary public's certificate

Certificate in Latin signed by Matthew Trott, notary public that the above examinations had been completed and were now being returned.

19 September 1639

Notary's mark.

Defendant's case

Acta (4), fo. 357, Defence

1. Roger Warner had been for 5 or 6 years a dependant of Sir Hamon Le Strange, employed by him on his affairs 'especially about setting out and gathering up of his quit rents and in diverse other matters concerning his courts baron and hath for all the said time; and doth usually sit in court with his steward; and did and doth use to give directions and informacon of many things to the steward concerning the copyhold tenants of Sir Hamond and informe what copie hold they hold, and their rents due, and the like.'

2. Roger Warner had been imployed by Sir Hamon 'in and about writing and perusing court rolls, court bookes, and field books, and pretends himself to be very expert and skilful in setting out the tenures and lands belonging to the manor of Heacham cum Cales, and is, and so hath been, from time to time, much imployed in assisting the baylifffs and stewards of the courts of Sir Hamond'.

3. About 12, 10, 8 or 6 years ago Edward Spratt, since deceased, was whilst he lived, and especially in 1631, steward of the courts of Sir Hamon Le Strange, and especially for the manor courts of Heacham cum Cales.

4. On 16 May 1631 Robert Creamer did at a court held by Sir Hamon at Heacham take up copyhold lands held of that manor, and a copy of the lands was delivered unto him fairly engrossed in parchment under the hand of Mr Spratt then steward of the court, or under another hand by Mr Spratt's appointment, 'without any interlineations or rasures, and the copy when Cremer received it was [in all things] of the tenor of the first schedule annexed to this defence'.

[5] Since the copy was delivered to Robert Creamer 'fairly engrossed and subscribed', Roger Warner 'using some pretence for that purpose did prevaile soe farre with Robert Cremer as that he did deliver' into Warner's hands the copy of court roll 'being then fair engrossed'. The copy at such time as it was delivered unto Roger Warner's hands 'was not interlined rased or altered from that which it was when first Robert Cremer received it from Mr Spratt, or some other by Mr Spratt's appointment'.

6. Not long after the delivery of the copy to Warner, Creamer was advised by some of his friends that Warner would do him some wrong, or that Creamer had wronged himself, by trusting Warner with the copy. Thereupon about an hour after he delivered it to Warner, Creamer sent a messenger to Warner to have the copy returned to him. Warner did not return the copy to Creamer, but told the messenger that the copy was at Hunston Hall or at Sir Hamon's dwelling house. Afterwards Creamer sent severall times to Warner to have the copy returned; but Creamer could not get it again from Warner until about six weeks after. Warner's answer to all Creamer's messages was that the copy was at Hunston Hall.

7. Six weeks later, when Creamer received back the court roll from Warner, the copy 'was in many parts and places thereof altered razed and interlined, and more lands are putt in and interlined, and greater rents therein expressed then were before and the copy by such alteration and razure addition and interlineacon was made to be of the tenor of the second schedule hereunto annexed.'

8. Upon receipt of the copy of court roll from Warner, Creamer 'perceiving the same to be so razed altered and enterlined', on 11 July 1638 he met Warner and did expostulate the matter with him and much blame Warner for that the same was so 'razed, altered and interlined with addicon of more land and more rent'. Warner confessed that the copy 'was altered, razed and interlined by him in such manner as in the second schedule is contained, and did then and there deliver a note of the such alterations under his own hand to Cremer of the tenor of the 3rd schedule hereunto annexed.'

9. At the time above it was demanded of Warner why he had done this. He replied 'you may well think I did it not upon my owne head, but I did it by the privitie and procurement of another partie', Sir Hamon Le Strange.

10. Since the altering of the court roll, Sir Hamon 'hath refused by himselfe or his collectors to receive the rents which before the racing thereof were formerly paid to him and received by him, notwithstanding the rents have been often or at least once tendered to him or to his officers at his courts for the manor and otherwise, and notwithstanding the rents have been tendered since this suite began, viz. att or since Michaelmas last, but required or expected more rents according to the alterations.'

11. Since the razing of the copy 'about Mayday 1638, Sir Hamond by himself or others' had entered and ploughed some of Creamer's freehold lands, 'pretending the same to be copy, and hath caused the same to be sowen, which said pound so ploughed and sowen was not in the court roll at the first engrossing and subscription thereof by Mr Spratt'.

12. Sir Hamon Le Strange according to the alterations 'hath caused seizures and entries to be made, and put divers other lands of Cremer into proclamation in his court for the manor, for that Cremer refused to take them up as copyhold and belonging to Sir Hamond's manors since the rasing of the copy'.

13. Since the premises and before the delivery of the petition in the libel, one friend of Creamer perceiving how Sir Hamon had dealt with Creamer went with Creamer to Sir Hamon, 'in a most submissive and humble manner being then upon Hecham Marshe, and made complaint to Sir Hamond for entering and ploughing Cremer's lands; and desired Sir Hamond that Cremer might enjoy the same as he and his father had done quietly and peaceably for many years before'. Sir Hamon answered, 'it is copyhold land of my manor and it is lawful for me being lord to enter and seize my tenants' copyhold lands, for it is not between a lord and copyhold tenant as it is between man and man'.

14. Roger Warner was then and there present and was much blamed by Creamer for rasing the copy of court roll. Sir Hamon maintained what Warner had done, and affirmed that he would and could out of court amend the faults and errors of his steward. Sir Hamon said then, and also at other times, 'that Mr Spratt his steward was erroneous in making and delivering the copy of court roll as he did, and that Sir Hamond being lord of the manor might and could amend his errors therein and some others then and there present, affirming that it could not be done but in open court by the jury or homage'. But Sir Hamond still affirmed as before, and said that he had suffered much wrong by his steward's errors. At other times Sir Hamon affirmed the same to others.

15. The manor court book for Sir Hamon Le Strange of the entries of Creamer's lands is since the death of Mr Spratt 'razed and enterlined in such manner and form as the copy of court roll is altered, which book was, and is, in the custody of Sir Hamond and by him acknowledged and confessed to be so altered by Warner'.

16. Sir Nicholas Le Strange was the natural and lawful son of Sir Hamon and heir apparent.

17. Sir Nicholas Le Strange and Roger Warner were defendants in a suit depending in the Star Chamber promoted by Robert Creamer amongst other things, and against Warner for rasing the copy of the court roll of Creamer.

18. Robert Stileman and Robert Creamer 'are men of civil life and conversation not given any ways to abuse men of worth and fashion in any unseemly manner and very well respected amongst men of the best quality'.

19. Stileman was the mother's brother of Robert Creamer and that Creamer had neither father nor mother living and was a man of mean quality and estate.

20. Sir Hamon was a 'very rich and potent man in the Countrey'.

21. Sir Nicholas Le Strange and Roger Warner witnesses for Sir Hamon have deposed that about June or about ten days before the Norfolk summer assizes of 1638, Sir Hamon and Sir Nicholas Le Strange, Roger Warner, Robert Creamer and Robert Stileman were together in Heacham Marsh. There Creamer and Stileman, debated the wrongs which Creamer had suffered by Sir Hamon's joining Heacham bank to Snettisham bank. When they complained to Sir Hamon of his altering the copy of court roll, Warner did there justify that he made the alterations at Creamer's request for certifying the errors in the roll, and that Creamer did not dispute it. But Robert Creamer did upon Warner's speeches then and there deny that he ever gave Warner any such direction to correct the copy of court roll, 'but contrariwise Cremer blamed Warner for doing the same in the presence of Sir Hamon who then and there did justify the act of Warner in altering the copy'. Other witnesses then present heard Creamer deny this and blame Warner.

No date.

Signed Thomas Eden and Clere Talbot.

R.19, fo. 24r, Summary of defence

'They say that one of the witnesses on the parte of Sir Hamond is his sonne and heire, and that another is his servant and has his dependence upon him'. As to the words in Sir Hamon's libel, 'touching *the defendant charging* the razure of the court rolls by Sir Hamond, the defendants say that before the delivery of the petition in the pretended libel in this cause by Sir Hamond, Cremer with a friend went to Sir Hamond in a most submissive manner, desiring he might enjoy his lands quietly as his father had done, and complaining of the razure of the court rolls. Sir Hamond answered that he being lord of the manor might and could *out of court* mend the faults and errors of his steward and c. And that Sir Hamond is a very rich and potent man in the country and that Cremer is a man of meane quality and estate, prayes to be dismist and c.'

1639

No signature.

Acta (4), fo. 354, Letters commissory for the defendant

Taken before commissioners Thomas Dawney, clerk, William Smyth, clerk, Vincent Goodwin, clerk, and also Robert Houghton, esq, Edward Mileham, esq, Edward Symond, gent, from 14 to 16 January 1639/40 at the Maid's Head Inn, Norwich.

Dated 9 December 1639.

Humphrey Terrick registrar assigned Nathaniel Garey, notary public.

Acta (4), fo. 353, Second set of plaintiff interrogatories

'Did not Robert Creamer upon the Wednesday in the assise week at Norwich 1638 come unto you and will you to go to Roger Warner, gent, of Hitcham, and to intreate for Warner, from and in the name of Robert Creamer forthwith, to meet Robert Creamer at the house of Thomas Hendry in Hecham and did not you forthwith signifie accordinglie unto Warner. And did not Warner forthwith goe to Creamer to the house of Hendry as you knowe have credibly heard of do verily believe?'

Dated 15 January 1639/40

No signatures.

Acta (4), fos. 314r-344r, Defence depositons

Taken before commissioners Vincent Goodwin, clerk, Thomas Dawney, clerk, William Smyth, clerk, Robert Houghton, esq, Edward Mileham, esq, and Edward Symond, gent, from 14 to 16 January 1639/40.

fos. 314r-314v (Witness 1), Hugh Hovell of Little Massingham, co. Norfolk, gent, born at Holkham, aged 24

To Creamer and Stileman's defence:

About a year after the exhibiting of the petition against Sir Hamon Le Strange, he was in the hall of Sir Hamon's house at Hunstanton, where he informed Sir Hamon 'of the raseinge alteringe and interlyneing of the coppye of court roll account', to which Sir Hamon 'did give no directe answere to him', but 'enjoyed against Mr Spratt, his steward then deceased, account saying then and there that Mr Spratt had done him five hundred pownes worth of wrong by his negligence in his office of stewardship <but Sir Hamond found no fault with Roger Warner>'.

He then requested Sir Hamon give him a note of certain lands which were then put in proclamation in the manor court of Heacham, 'being the lands of Mr Robert Creamer, but Sir Hamond did then deny to give him any such noate'. His reason for demanding the note from Sir Hamon was this: 'that Robert Creamer whose lands these were, Mr Creamer would compare them by his copy of court roll and if they did appear by his evidence to be copyhold he would take them upp'. About two months after his conference with Sir Hamon, Sir Hamon sent a letter to Robert Creamer to his house at Little Massingham, which letter he saw and believed was in Sir Hamon's hand, which he 'is the rather induced to believe because he hath divers times seen Sir Hamond's hand wrighteinge'. With this letter 'was sent a noate comprehending or conteyninge the lands put in proclamation, and that noate he doeth verily believe to be likewise the hand of Sir Hamond Le Strange knt.'

Signed by Hugh Hovell and by the above four commissioners.

fos. 315r-315v (Witness 2), Robert Goldsmith of Newton prop Castleacre, co. Norfolk, miller, born at Carbrooke, aged 29

To Creamer and Stileman's defence:

About Mayday 1638, John Eldgar of Sleigford entered into a piece of Robert Creamer's ground of five roods by Goldsmith's estimation, in Goldsmith's presence and that of Thomas Chosell, Eldgar's servant, 'in the right and to the use of the lord, Sir Hamond Strange being lord of the manor'. Then Chosell ploughed the ground and sowed it with barley for his master Eldgar, which piece of ground was since reaped by Robert Creamer. Afterwards upon the mowing of this corn, Eldgar came by the mill, and Goldsmith called to him that the corn which he had formerly sown, was now being mowed by Creamer, who would carry it away as soon as he had cut it down, 'though he made spoyle of it for he would not suffer another man for to reape the corne growing upon his land'. Eldgar answered that if Creamer had more right to it, 'then we have to lett him take it.'

Signed by Robert Goldsmith [his mark] and by the above four commissioners.

fo. 316r (Witness 3), Thomas Chosell of Chosely, co. Norfolk, husbandman, born at Sedgeford, aged 22

To Creamer and Stileman's defence:

About a year ago, by the appointment of his master John Eldgar the younger, he ploughed a piece of ground of 2 ½ acres 'lyeing in minkt furlong betwixt Seidgeford and Snettisham'. He estimated the eastern part was five roods in value. He ploughed when he first entered into it, and then ploughed a second time after the seed was sown. He could not tell if the ground was free or copyhold land.

He entered into the piece of ground with his master for 'the use of the lord of the manor.'

Signed by Thomas Chosell [his mark] and by the above four commissioners.

fos. 316v-317r, (Witness 1) Hugo Hovell

To Le Strange's interrogatories:

21. He went to Sir Hamon Le Strange about a year ago 'and conferred with him concerning the lands of Mr Robert Creamer in [proclamation], and did desire Sir Hamond to give him a noate of them. And Sir Hamon then shewed him a noate of them and then read it to him. He replyed that he could not remember the severall particulars of land in the noate, and desired a copy thereof, which he would not give him but soone after sent it to Creamer.'

24. Stileman 'is reputed a rich man.'

26. He had heard that Creamer's lands in Heacham, Snettisham and Sedgeford were worth over £120 per annum.

27 'He hath formerly been examined as a witness, and that his former deposition is true.'

28. 'About a yeare since, Robert Creamer told him that his coppy was razed, but he named nobody for the doing of it.'

29. 'He knoweth Henry Mordant of Cougham esq, John Rogerson and Roger Warner gent, and he believeth that Henry Mordant is a very honest gentleman and a person worthy of belief. But for the other two in the interrogatory named, he answereth that he knoweth them by sight, but never had familiar acquaintance with them.'

Signed by Hugh Hovell and by the above four commissioners.

fos. 317r-317v (Witness 2), Robert Goldsmith

To Le Strange's interrogatories:

19. Elgar the younger called him out of his mill, and requested him to go with him. Goldsmith accompanied him to the peece of land in the interrogatory, but he knew of nothing till he came thither, when Elgar prayed him to be a witness that 'he entered into the peece of ground to the use of the lord, which entry was made in a fayre peaceable way.'

Signed by Robert Goldsmith [his mark] and by the above four commissioners.

fo. 317v (Witness 3), Thomas Chosell

To Le Strange's interrogatories:

20. About May 1638 he 'did plowe a peece of ground before and after it was sowne with barly, to and for the use of John Eldgar, the piece of ground being upon Mincke furlonge in Seidgeford neere the border of Snettesham, and that it was peaceably ploughed and they had noe other weapons but such as ploughmen must necessarily have.'

Signed by Thomas Chosell [his mark] and commissioners Dawney and Houghton.

15 January 1639/40

fos. 318r-319v (Witness 4), John Salter of Heacham, co. Norfolk, husbandman, born there, aged 37

To Creamer and Stileman's defence:

1-2. 'Roger Warner lives in Hitcham and is often goeing and comeing to the house of Sir Hamond'. He knew that Warner had been employed by Sir Hamon 'for the laying out of tithes by the field bookes by the space of three or fower years, but otherwise to the heads conteyned in these 2 articles he cannot depose.'

3. 'Mr Spratt dyed some sixe or seaven yeares agoe, before which time he knoweth that he kept courts for Sir Hamond, and more especially the court for the manor of Hitcham.'

12. He met Thomas Burnham, bailiff to Sir Hamon, about a year ago and about December 1638, and went with him 'to seise a piece of ground laying toward Snettisham bottom, toward the sea, to the use of Sir Hamond'. He did so and Roger Warner was also present.

Signed by John Salter [his mark] and by the above four commissioners and William Smyth.

To Le Strange's interrogatories:

1. Roger Warner had inhabited Heacham for 15 years, 'and was and is for ought he doeth know, or have heard, a very honest man'. Warner was 'sometimes employed by the dwellers there for the making now and then of bills and bonds.'

4. 'He never heard but Roger Warner was a very honest man esteemed, as also dealt justly and uprightly between the tenants and Sir Hamond Le Strange.'

22. 'He knoweth that Sir Hamond Le Strange is a good landlord to his tenants in letting of his land at an easy and cheape rate, and did never knowe him wronge any of his tenants in his life; and also hath beene ever ready to heare and releeve any of his tenants upon any question arising between him and them, if cause did so require'. 'Sir Hamond hath been ever ready to show his bookes, rentalls and rolls to him and others, to satisfy him and them in any question touching the quantity of theire lands and rents, and particularly to him upon a complaint made unto him upon a surcharge of rent upon some lands which he held of Sir Hamond, Sir Hamond tooke paines in the search of the rolls and did certifie and abate the rent reserved.'

23. 'Sir Nicholas Strange is a very quiet and loveing gentleman, and reputed to be of very honest sober and civill carriage, and never behaved himselfe untemperately (to his knowledge) at any time in words or actions.'

24. 'Mr Stileman by report is a rich man, but he knoweth not the value of his land... that he hath had some suites at law. But is not terrible to the gentry or yeomanry thereabouts inhabiting, soe far as he ever heard, but will give every man good counsel as he hath beene informed and is a wise and discreete man.'

25. 'He knoweth not or hath heard that Mr Stileman hath been the chief means to instigate Mr Creamer to accuse and question Sir Hamond or Warner about the rasinge and interlyninge the coppy.'

Signed by John Salter [his mark] and by the above five commissioners.

fos. 320r-321r (Witness 5), William Pynnocke of Heacham, co. Norfolk, carpenter, born there, aged 50

To Creamer and Stileman's defence:

1. Roger Warner 'doeth sett out the tithes of the land, and doeth sett in the courts kept for Sir Hamond by the space of three or fower years, and draweth out books and peruseth them, but what books they are he soe peruses he cannot depose.'

2. 'Roger Warner hath been much employed by Sir Hamond in settinge out of the lands for the space of 3 or 4 yeares last past.'

3. 'Mr Spratt deceased was steward of the courts of Sir Hamond and especially of the court for the mannor of Hitcham.'

6. He 'knoweth not whether or noe the coppy was enterlyned or razed, but he sayth that he went for the coppy soe delivered to Mr Warner. And for what time Mr Warner kept the coppy he cannot tell, but beleeveth it was a week or a fortnight'. At the request of Mr Creamer he went for the copy 'twice or thrice before he could get it, but at last he received it from Mr Warner and brought it to Mr Creamer's man named William Playford'. Mr Creamer told him 'upon the first sendinge of him for the coppy said unto him that he had given Warner the Coppy the same day'. He added 'that every day time, vizt. his twice goinge for the coppy, Mr Warner told him that the coppy was at Sir Hamond Le Strange his dwelling house called Hunston Hall.'

10. He went with Roger Hoverson, 'being one of the fearmors of Mr Creamer and living in house with Mr Creamer, unto Hunston Hall to Sir Hamond Le Strange; and in the hall of the house Hoverson told Sir Hamond that he had brought his rent, or Creamer's rent. But he sayth that Sir Hamond turned his backe from Hoverson and the rent so brought was not received by Sir Hamond or any of his officers, all which was about a yeare since'.

19. Creamer's mother was Stileman's sister. Creamer's mother and father were both dead. 'He believeth that Mr Creamer hath not above 100 li per annum of estate at the most.'

Signed by William Pynnocke [his mark] and by the above five commissioners.

fos. 321v-324v (Witness 6), Thomas Crampe of Heacham, co. Norfolk, yeoman, aged 53

To Creamer and Stileman's defence:

1. Roger Warner had been employed on Sir Hamon's affairs for two or three years and had sat once or twice in court alongside Sir Hamon's steward.He added that 'to some tennants that would come to him, Mr Warner could satisfy them better then the steward could, vizt. he could find out a piece to be taken up or a piece of coppy hold land better then others could, by reason he was better acquainted with the field book then the steward or bayliffes were.'

2. He 'knoweth that for three or four years last, Roger Warner hath been employed by Sir Hamond about writing and setting out the field books; and he sayth that he knoweth this to be true by reason of his employment for the setting out of lands for him for the payment of his tithes.'

3. 'Edward Spratt was steward for the manner of Cales before he was steward for the mannor of Hitcham. But afterwards Spratt was steward for them both, some 7 or 8 yeares since; and he beleeveth that Spratt was steward to them both' in 1631.

11. About Lammas 1638, he, Mr Creamer and John Elgar the elder met in the castle yard in Norwich. Then and there Creamer challenged Elgar for ploughing his land. Elgar replied that he ploughed it 'by the appointment of Sir Hamond Le Strange.'

12. 'Certain of the lands of Robert Creamer holden of the mannor of Hitcham were in proclamacon, but the particular lands that soe were in [proclamation] he cannot tell.'

16. Sir Nicholas Le Strange was the son and heir to Sir Hamon Le Strange, 'but whether or no he was a witness examined in this cause he cannot tell.'

18. Stileman and Creamer were 'men of civill life and conversacon, and very well reputed of as he beleeveth, and never heard any thinge to the contrary.'

19. Creamer's mother was sister to Mr Stileman. Creamer's parents were dead, and Creamer's land was worth £100 per annum, but he believed that Creamer was in debt, 'and that a great parte of his land is mortgaged.'

Signed by Thomas Crampe and by the above five commissioners and Edward Symond.

To Le Strange's interrogatories:

1. Roger Warner lived in Heacham, was a 'very honest man', and had been employed in writing deeds for 'divers men', but particularly for Crampe.

3. He believed Warner was 'very skilfull in the field book of the town of Hitcham.'

4. Warner had sat in court once or twice with the steward of Heacham, and he had communicated his sight of the evidence to any who asked him. He never heard that Warner 'did any wrong ever to any man, but he hath heard Mr Creamer say that he hath done him wronge.'

5. Mr Spratt was steward while he lived; but Crampe had heard Lady Le Strange say that Spratt was 'careless in his stewardship.'

22. 'Sir Hamond is a good landlord to some, and letts his farmes to some at reasonable rents, but to others he rents his lands deare enough.'

23. He 'hath heard Creamer say that the son of the workmen in the marsh ranne a wheele barrowe over his foote.'

28. He 'had heard Creamer say that his coppy was razed and enterlyned by Sir Hamond Le Strange his Lady or Warner, which words were soe uttered about Lammas 1638'. He 'hath heard Creamer say he would prefer a peticon to the judges of assize against Sir Hamond Le Strange which he hoped he should prove.'

29. 'He knoweth Sir John Tracy, John Tubbin, William Thurlowe, William Neane, Thomas Dix, John Rogerson, Roger Warner, Sir Nicholas Le Strange and he believeth that all and every of them are persons that would not upon their oaths deliver an untruth.'

Signed by Thomas Crampe and by the above six commissioners.

fos. 324v-328v (Witness 7), John Rogerson of Heacham, co. Norfolk, yeoman, born at Ingoldisthorpe, co. Norfolk, aged 40

To Creamer and Stileman's defence:

1. He did not know if Roger Warner had been examined as a witness for or had any dependency upon Sir Hamond, but knew that Warner sat with Sir Hamon's steward in the court.

2. Warner had been employed by Sir Hamon to write and peruse court rolls, court books and field books, and he was skilful in setting out the tenures and lands of Heacham manor, and assisting the steward.

3. About 7 or 8 years ago Edward Spratt was the steward to Sir Hamon for Heacham manor.

4. Last May, Robert Creamer at a court held in Heacham by Sir Hamon, took up 'certain lands by copy of court roll'. A copy of all these lands was delivered to Creamer 'fairely engrossed in parchment under the hand of him, this witness, being then clark to Mr Spratt the steward... fairley engrossed without any razure or interlineation.' He added 'that the copy delivered to Mr Creamer and subscribed with Mr Spratt agreeth [in all things] with the first schedule, excepting between the 27th and 28th lyne of the first schedule, being examined and redd upon this witness's examination 'Ex parte ' is left out of the first schedule, and in the 39th lyne of the first schedule there is left out 'Heredum suorum '. And further the last lyne of the first schedule beginninge 'necnon ' as 'pnas acras ' and 'p' is putt into the schedule and was not in the coppy when it was first delivered by this witness to Robert Creamer.'

5. Creamer told him that he had delivered his copy of court roll to Warner and told him then 'that it was not razed nor interlined but [in all things] as it was delivered unto him at first from the originall draught from Mr Spratt.'

6. Creamer had told him 'that somebody had told him that he had wronged himself in delivering his copy of court roll unto Mr Warner'. Soon after 'upon the day of the delivery of the copy to Mr Warner Creamer lent one Pynnocke his horse to go unto Mr Warner's house for the copy. And Pynnocke accordingly went and upon his return, he then being in the house of Mr Creamer and in his presence, Mr Creamer asked Pynnocke if he had brought the copy. But he replied that he Warner had left the same copy at Sir Hamond Le Strange his house in Hunstanton.' Creamer told him that he had sent several times for the copy, but Warner still replied that it was at Hunstanton Hall. Afterwards Creamer told him 'that it was near six weeks after his delivery of the copy before he could get it sent him again.'

7. He 'knoweth not the certain time when Creamer received the copy of Court Roll back from Warner'. About seven weeks after it was first delivered to Warner, he was at Hendry's house in Heacham, where Creamer showed him the copy of returned court roll, which he then read, and found it 'altered and enterlyned in many places, vizt the schedule so eraced and enterlyned endorsed was 'Hitcham Caleis et aliis membris ' and beginning 'ad curiam ibm tent ' and and ending 'et fecit proinde ' so 'fidelitatem ' and subscribed 'Ex per me Edw Spratt sen ' all which interlyneinges raseinges and additions were done in the copy since the delivery thereof by Mr Spratt unto Mr Creamer which he knoweth to be true because the copy was his own hand writing.'

8. At about 5pm on Wednesday 11 July 1638 he was with Mr Creamer when meeting with Warner, Creamer blamed Warner for altering the copy of court roll. Warner replied that he had altered the copy for the 'trueth thereof and to confirme what he had done'. Warner then delivered to Creamer in Hendry's house in Heacham 'a noate of all the enterlyneings, which noate agreeth not with the tenure of the third schedule annexed to the commission'. Wherefore, he hath thought good to particularize the confession made unto him and others under the hand of Warner, which is as followeth...'

[List of line alterations in the court roll]

9. On 11 July 1638 in Thomas Hendry's house, Mr Creamer demanded of Warner why he altered the copy. Warner replied 'that you might thinke I did it not on my owne head, but I did it by the knowledge and privity of Sir Hamond's Lady my Lady Strange.'

15. He knew that Creamer's entry in the court book of Heacham was altered 'since the first sentence by Spratt because he did see the booke in Sir Hamond's parlor, being showen unto him by Sir Hamond; and then saw some alteracons written by another hand'.

17. He knew there was 'a suit depending in Star Chamber between Sir Nicholas Le Strange and Roger Warner', which he knew was promoted by Robert Creamer.

18. He believed that 'Mr Stileman and Mr Creamer are men of civill life and conversacon, and very well beloved and respected amongst men of the best quality.'

Signed by John Rogerson and by the above six commissioners.

fos. 328r-329r (Witness 5), William Pynnocke

To Le Strange's second set of interrogatories:

'...that upon a day in the assize weeke holden at Norwich 1638 Robert Creamer came unto him at Hitcham, and willed him to go to Roger Warner, gent, of Hitcham and to desire Warner that he would meet Robert Creamer presently at the house of Thomas Hendry in Hitcham; and he did forthwith go unto Mr Warner and desired him to come unto the house of Mr Hendry to meet Creamer which Warner promised to do'.

Signed by William Pynnock [his mark] and by the above six commissioners.

fos. 329r-331 (Witness 7), John Rogerson

To Le Strange's first set of interrogatories:

18. 'The name John Rogerson subscribed to the noate now showen unto him is his own hand writing and that the matter and substance conteyned and sett downe in the paper, except as these words (Roger answered thus, you sent me your copy to perfect and I could do it without my Lady's helpe, and what was done I did it as I told you before, and except a lyne and a helpe that is rased in the bottom of the first page now shewen unto him, and fower lynes and a halfe on the otherside beinge raced ought), are and is right and true.'

6. The entry of Robert Creamer's admission in the manor court book of Heacham, dated 16 May 7 Chas I, was written by Spratt's hand 'differing only in two places with additions vid ob and vid , moreover he answereth that there is further written and putt in 'Necnon ad Dnas acras di vizt.'... all which was written with the handwriting of Mr Spratt'. The 'surrender is there entered to the use of Edmund Creamer which should have been to the use of Robert Creamer'.

Signed by John Rogerson and by the above six commissioners.

Further answers to Le Strange's first set of interrogatories:

1. He had known Warner to have lived in Heacham for 5 years 'and accounted an honest man', who had been employed by several people 'about draweing evidences and wrighteings.'

3. 'Warner is very skilfull in the field book of the town of Hitcham.'

14. He was not at the Norwich assizes, but was present at the time and place in the interrogatory with Robert Creamer and Warner at Creamer's request. But whether Creamer did send for Warner to come to him he did not know.

15. Warner welcomed home Creamer 'and asked him what news'?

16. Creamer pulled out his copy and asked both Rogerson and Warner if he knew his own hand. Creamer pulled out a paper from his pocket wherein Warner wrote down at Creamer's request 'the particular of the lands which are alledged therein enterlyned'. Creamer desired him to write over the top of the copy: 'These are the lands that are enterlyned in the copy', which Warner did accordingly 'and subscribed per Mr Roger Warner.'

17. Creamer asked Warner if he knew of the interlining of the copy to which Warner answered 'that he was not acquainted therewith'. Then Creamer asked Warner whether Lady Alice, wife to Sir Hamon 'were acquainted therewith, and then Warner replyed that my lady knew of the doing of it, and that you might well think he did it not on his own head.'

23. Sir Nicholas is a sober and civil gentleman 'and never heard that he behaved himself untemperately.'

25. 'He knoweth not that Mr Stileman is the instigator to putt Creamer forward to sue Sir Hamond.'

Signed by John Rogerson and by the above six commissioners.

fos. 331v-334v (Witness 8), William Overman of Heacham, co.Norfolk, husbandman, born in Great Bircham, co. Norfolk, aged 55

To Creamer and Stileman's defence:

1. Sir Hamond had employed Warner for 6 or 7 years to assist the steward in the manor court, 'and doeth give directions to the steward concerning the copyhold tenants and informe the tenants what copyhold they hold.'

11. He leased 2 ½ acres from Mr Creamer, 'whereof 5 roods was entered upon under the right and claim of Sir Hamond by one John Eldar the younger, which piece of ground, 5 roods, was ploughed and sowen by Elgar; therefore in respect this land is so taken from Overman's tenant (Overman having it by lease lett it with other lands unto Anthony Purvise) in recompence whereof Overman was faynt to allow his fearmer another five roods in liewe of the five roods soe taken away, as is predeposed of, and which land was so entered, ploughed, in and about the time articulated, which furlong so deposed of called Mixt furlong lyeth betwixte Seidgford and Snettisham.'

13. Mr Stileman and Mr Creamer met with Sir Hamon on Hecham marsh, and spoke 'in a submissive manner'. Stileman 'desired of Sir Hamond that his kinsman might enjoy his lands in a quiet manner as his father had done; to which Sir Hamond replied that it was copyhold land and that he thought good that Eldgar should enter the land in the name of Sir Hamond rather then in his owne. All which discourse between Sir Hamond and Styleman and Creamer was about Lammas 1638 and before the petition was exhibited to the judges by Creamer.'

14. At that time and place, Mr Warner was also present; and Mr Stileman blamed Warner on Creamer's behalf 'for the raceing the copy of court roll. Sir Hamond then replyed that it was lawfull out of court for the lord of a manor to mend the faults and errors of a steward when they are amisse; and Mr Styleman then replyed that Sir Hamond could not do it without an homage or jury in the court.' Sir Hamon 'further said that he suffered much by the errors of Mr Spratt.'

17. There was a bill in Star Chamber launched by Creamer against Sir Nicholas Le Strange and Roger Warner. Overman had deposed there. Creamer commenced the suit against Warner because Warner had altered his copy of court roll.

18. He believed that Creamer and Stilemen were 'men of civill life and conversacon, not given to abuse any men, and that they are beloved by men of the best quality.'

Last. 'Sir Hamond Le Strange kt is a very rich and powerfull man in the country where he dwelleth.'

Signed by William Overman [his mark] and by the above six commissioners.

To Le Strange's first set of interrogatories:

8. About Lammas 1638 when he first heard Robert Creamer complain of 'his razeing or interlyneing his copy.'

10. Sir Hamon acknowledged that he had appointed Elgar to enter Creamer's land, 'but he heard him not confess the appointment for the ploughing and soweing thereof.'

12. Stileman charged Warner with altering the copy of Creamer's court roll, and Overman did not hear Warner deny it.

13. Stileman 'did move Sir Hamond to pay per acreage to Creamer's and Styleman's bancke, to which motion Sir Hamond replyed that he had saved them so many rodd of banckeing. Whereupon Styleman answered we will putt up a peticon against you at the next assizes.'

22. 'Sir Hamond hath some tenants to whom he believeth he is a good landlord, but in this witness's particular he finds him hard enough. He also saith that Sir Hamond is very ready to hear the complaints of any of his tenants and to releeve them if cause so require... that he thinketh and hath heard so that both Sir Hamond and his Lady are very ready and willing to show their books, rentalls and rolls to such as require them for setting forth of the lands and rents belonging to the manor of Hitcham.'

24. Mr Stileman is a stranger to him 'and he doeth thincke that he hath not seene him often before the meeting upon the marsh, and knoweth not that he is practiced in suites in lawe and he hath dwelt neere him this 5 yeare and he hath not found him terrible to any.'

26. Mr Creamer 'doeth lett his house and lands for the yearly revenue of eight or nine score pounds per annum lyeing in the townes of Hecham and Snettisham'. But 'it is rented at soe deare a rate as the fearmors cannot live by them; and in particular this witness beinge fearmer to fowerscore and odd powndes a yeare and better, he is very willing and hath offered Creamer xx li to take his fearme againe, to which he replyed that now Creamer was unprovided, but at Michaelmas it may be he would.'

Signed by William Overman [his mark] and by the above six commissioners.

16 January 1639/40

fos. 334v-336v (Witness 9), Edmund Banyard of Heacham, co. Norfolk, husbandman, born there, aged 39

To Creamer and Stileman's defence:

1. Warner had been employed by Sir Hamon in his manor courts, and for the last 5 or 6 years 'usually sat in court with his steward', giving directions to the steward and tenants, and 'about perusing the court rolls, court books and field books... and is skilful in setting out the tenures and lands belonging to the manor of Hitcham cum Cales.'

3. Edward Spratt was steward until his death.

10. At Michaelmas 2 years ago Robert Creamer tendered for 3 years rent, £3-15s-7d, which Banyard noted as he was then present in the court. This tender was made before Thomas Burnham, bailiff to Sir Hamon and before the steward in the manor court of Heacham. Burnham refused it as insufficient, having been ordered to do so by Sir Hamon.

12. Thomas Burnham bailiff to Sir Hamon siezed by his master's appointment lands that were in Creamer's possession 'and putt them in proclamation, but for what cause the land of Creamer's was so putt in proclamation and seized on he cannot depose.'

Signed by Edmund Banyard and by the above six commissioners.

To Le Strange's first set of interrogatories:

1. He did not know if Creamer had ever employed Warner.

23. 'Sir Nicholas is a very sober and civill gent and a temperate man.'

24. 'Mr Styleman is reputed for a rich man, and not given to suites in lawe for ought he knoweth or hath heard.'

Signed by Edmund Banyard and by the above six commissioners.

fos. 336v-342r (Witness 10), Edmund Jenner of Heacham, co. Norfolk, yeoman, born there, aged 32

To Creamer and Stileman's defence:

1. Warner had been employed by Sir Hamond in the manor court of Heacham, sitting alongside the steward and advising on copyhold lands, 'and is very experte and skilful in perusing the court rolls'.

3. Mr Spratt was steward of Heacham manor court for Sir Hamon in 7 Chas I

7-8. He was at Thomas Hendry's house on 11 July 1638 with Creamer, Warner, and Rogerson when Creamer blamed Warner for 'razeing and altering his copy of court rolls'. Warner replied that the copy 'did not agree with the first copy delivered, and did then and there confesse that he had altered it, and then and there in the presence of this witness.' Warner gave unto Creamer 'a noate of those enterlyenings and alteracons which were in effect these that follow:'

[list of alterations]

9. Creamer at Hendry's house in Heacham on 11 July 1638 asked Warner whether he altered the copy by order for Sir Hamon or his lady. Warner responded: 'That because the copy was not agreeing (as he said) to the court books and rowles therefore they desired the same might be made right.'

10. Robert Creamer at Heacham's court at Michaelmas 2 years ago made a tender of £3-15s-7d to the steward and bailiff in lieu of his freehold and copyhold rents. The bailiff refused it saying it was insufficient. Since the suit began between Sir Hamon and Creamer, Jenner was present in Heacham manor court at Michaelmas 1639, where he saw Creamer 'make a tender of a certain some of money bound up in a lynnen cloath to the steward Mr Neve, which sum of money he refused to take, saying if there were enough he would take it'. Then Jenner went with Creamer into a chamber thereby saw 'there was tenne pounds then tendered and more money.'

12. Jenner had 'heard there hath been seizures made of Mr Creamer's land and was present in court when his lands were putt in proclamation'.

17. 'He knoweth there hath been and is a suite depending there between Creamer and Sir Nicholas Le Strange and Roger Warner; and that by the same suite Warner is questioned for raceing the copy of court roll.'

18. 'Mr Stileman and Mr Creamer are knowen to be men of civill life and conversacon and are of good repute and men beloved of those who are men of the best quality'.

Signed by Edmund Jenner and by the above six commissioners.

To Le Strange's first set of interrogatories:

1. Warner had lived in Heacham for at least 15 years and he was reputed an honest man 'saveing for the imputation Mr Creamer layd on him for this business.'

4. Warner was ready to open the evidences for all to see, and that no other tenant but Creamer had complained of him.

5. Mr Spratt had been steward to Sir Hamon, 'and doeth not remember that he hath heard any body blame him but Sir Hamond and his lady.'

8. Creamer had complained to nobody before he proferred his petition.

14. He did not know whether Creamer sent for Warner. Creamer told Jenner he might 'perhaps goe from thence to Norwich assises with him.'

15. He heard Mr Warner say to Creamer that he was glad to hear that Sir Hamon and he were agreed; and that he knew Sir Hamon would do Creamer no wrong.

16. He came into Hendry's house where he found Warner writing a note for Mr Creamer. Upon the top of this note, at the request of Creamer, Warner wrote, 'A noate of the lands interlined in the copy'. Warner subscribed this note with his name.

17. Creamer asked Warner if he had been ordered by Sir Hamon and Lady Le Strange to alter his copy of the court roll. Warner replied that 'because the copy was not agreeing (as he said) to the court books and rowles therefore they desired that the same might be made right.'

22. 'Sir Hamon doth lett to some of his tenants good pennyworths, but to other some he letteth hard pennyworths. And he never heard that he hath wronged any of his tennants.'

23. 'Sir Nicholas Le Strange is a very civil gentleman.'

24. 'Mr Stileman is accounted a good able man in estate, and knows not that he is given to suites in lawe, and he hath not heard any man complaine of him, nor is not terrible to any of his neighbours.'

25. 'He believeth that Mr Stileman, being his uncle, doeth advise Mr Creamer the best he can in the carriage of this suite; but for instigation or abetting he doeth not believe because he hath heard Mr Styleman often wish that there were an end betwixt Sir Hamond and Creamer, and that there might be a peaceable end betwixt them.'

26. Mr Creamer's land was worth about £100 per annum 'but he believeth and knoweth that Mr Creamer is much in debt.'

28. He had heard Mr Creamer say that Warner 'had raced and interlined a copy of his.'

29. He knew Sir John Tracy, William Neve, Thomas Dixe, John Rogerson, Roger Warner, and Sir Nicholas Le Strange, and as far as he knew all were such that 'will not upon there oaths speake an untruth and such as will not for any sinister respecte speake an untruth.'

Signed by Edmund Jenner and by the above six commissioners.

fos. 342v-344r (Witness 11), Thomas Burnham of Heacham, co. Norfolk, yeoman, aged 24

To Creamer and Stileman's defence:

1. Sir Hamond had employed Warner for 5 or 6 years in the manor court of Heacham, sitting alongside the steward and advising on questions concerning land and rents and 'in perusing of court books, court rowls and field bookes and doeth pretend himself skilfull in the same and is soe.'

3. Mr Spratt had been steward until his death.

10. He refused the tender made by Creamer 'because Creamer then said he would pay no more then formerly'. Also at two courts held for Heacham manor, Creamer made two more tenders, which Burnham still refused because Sir Hamon had given him another book wherein more rent was required than Creamer had formerly paid.

12. 'There were some seizures and proclamations made and awarded against some of the lands of Creamer, for that Creamer refused to take upp the land as copyhold of the manor of.'

16. 'Sir Nicholas Le Strange is son and heir apparent of Sir Hamond Le Strange, and hath as he beleeveth been already examined as a witness in this cause.'

Signed by Thomas Burnham and by the above six commissioners.

To Le Strange's first set of interrogatories:

25. He believed that Stileman put Creamer on to question Sir Hamon and Warner concerning the altering of the copy and also for the entering, ploughing, and sowing of Creamer's lands. He believed that Creamer would not have begun without the counsel and advice of Stileman.

Signed by Thomas Burnham and by the above six commissioners.

Acta (4), fos. 344r-344v, Notary public's certificate

Certificate in Latin signed by Nathaniel Garey, notary public that the above examinations had been completed and were now being returned.

Dated 17 January 1640.

Notary public's mark.

Acta (4), fos. 355-6, First and second schedules

These lengthy Latin documents are Robert Creamer's documents, drawn for the manor court of Heacham, as they are interlined between lines 27 and 28, as mentioned in the above depositions.

Signed by Edward Spratt, steward of the manor court of Heacham.

Acta (4), fo. 357, Note

'A note of the lands enterlyned in the Coppy'.

Dated 11 July 1638.

Signed by Roger Warner in the presence of Edmond Jeynor and John Rogerson.

Sentence / Arbitration

10/12/8, Plaintiff's sentence [damaged]

Sentence on behalf of the plaintiff.

For saying in their petition that 'Sir Hamon Le Strange had lately obtained from Robert Creamer his copy of court roll and had caused the same to be razed, altered, interlined, and the rents augmented in several places and had sued him for new rent... that Sir Hamon Le Strange had caused to be razed, or interlined Robert Creamer's copy of court rolls and had them augmented...'

£200 damages and £80 costs.

No date.

11/5, Plaintiff's sentence

For saying in their petition that 'Sir Hamon Le Strange had lately obteyned from Robert Creamer his copie of court roll and had caused the same to be rased and interlyned and the rents augmented in severall places and had sued him.... Sir Hamon Le Strange had caused to be rased or interlined Robert Creamer's copy of court roll and had therein augmented his rent'.

Creamer and Stileman were fined £200 damages, £200 fine to the king and £30 costs.

No date.

Signed by Arthur Duck and Arundel.

14/1h, Plaintiff's bill of costs

Michaelmas term, 1638: £5-8s-4d

Hilary term, 1638/9: £24-6s-8d

Easter term, 1639: £7-6s-8d

Trinity term, 1639: £34-15s-4d

Michaelmas term, 1639: £40-14s-8d

Hilary term, 1639/40: £27-3s-4d

Sum total: £144-9s-0d

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Taxed at £80.

Signed by Arundel and Surrey.

Submission

4/46, Submission of Stileman

22 February 1640

Stileman was to perform his submission 'with an audible voice' between 2 and 4pm on 10 March in the shirehouse at Thetford before the judge of the assizes.

'Whereas I, Robert Stileman, do stand convict... to have drawen or written or caused to be drawen or written a scandalous peticon tending to the great scandal of the right worshipful Sir Hamond Le Strange of Hunstanton in the countie of Norfolk, knight, and to have counselled or advised one Robert Creamer a tenant to Sir Hamond Le Strange in the deliveringe of the peticon to the reverend judges Sir John Brampston, knight, cheife justice of the King's Bench, and Sir George Croke, knight, one of the justices of the same, then judges of the assize for the countie of Norfolk; and also to have at several times and places maliciously published and reported divers scandalous speeches of Sir Hamond Le Strange, and in particular to have said and published that Sir Hamond Le Strange had caused to be razed or interlined Robert Creamer's copy of court roll and had therein augmented his rent, I do acknowledge the sentence to be just and honourable and do hereby humbly confess and acknowledge that I am hartilie sorry for my drawing or causing to be drawn the scandalous peticon. And also for my malicious publishing and reporting the scandalous speeches of Sir Hamon Le Strange, whom I do hereby acknowledge to be a worthy knight descended of an honourable family. And I do humbly pray Sir Hamon Le Strange to pardon and forgive my great offence done unto him by the premises as aforesaid, promising hereby forever hereafter to behave myselfe with all due observance and respect towards Sir Hamon Le Strange and all other the gentry of this kingdome.'

'Let this submission be made in form aforesaid.'

Signed by Arundel and Surrey

'This submission Sir Hamon Le Strange was pleased to accept to be made at the house of James Newark, innkeeper, in Burnham 6 June 1640 which I have accordingly performed and confirmed the same by the subscription of my name

Robt Styleman'

[Overleaf]

'This submission being performed in manner as aforesaid Robert Styleman is to subscribe his name thereto and to desire the clarke of the assize and some others present to subscribe their name thereto in testimony of his performance thereof, and to certify the same with these presents the first court day, which shalbe holden in the Courte Militarie in Easter Terme next ensuinge.'

Signed by William Lewin, registrar.

4/47, Submission of Stileman

Wording of submission as 4/46.

'Let this submission be made in form aforesaid. Subscribed Arundel and Surrey'

[Overleaf]

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck and Dr Lewin acted for Le Strange and Dr Talbot and Dr Parry for Creamer and Stileman. On 9 February 1639 it was recorded that Creamer and Stileman promised to appear personally in the court, Talbot appeared for them, Duck presented the libel and Talbott rejected the 3-5th articles, but admitted the 2nd and 6-9th articles and referred to petition to the assize judges. However, all this was crossed through. Dr Duck again presented the libel on behalf of Le Strange on 21 February 1639 and Dr Talbot and Dr Parry were given time to prepare a response on behalf of Creamer and Stileman. On 4 February 1640 material from the defence witnesses was required to be produced and examined.

Notes

Sir Hamon Le Strange of Hunstanton was the son of Sir Nicholas Le Strange (d.1592), and Mary, daughter of Robert Bell of Beaupré Hall, Outwell, co. Norfolk.

He married Alice, daughter of Richard Stubbs / Smith of Sedgeford, co. Norfolk, esq.

He was appointed a deputy lieutenant in 1625 and was M.P. for Norfolk in 1614 and 1621, and M.P. for Castle Rising in 1625. During the civil wars, on 13 August 1643 Sir Hamond Le Strange led a party of local gentry to sieze King's Lynn for the king, in which town he endured a siege until surrendering on 16 September 1643. His estates were sequestered in 1649. His son Sir Nicholas Le Strange (1603-55) was created a baronet in 1629, and married Anne, daughter of Sir Edward Lewkenor, of Suffolk, knt.

C. R. Kyle, 'Sir Hamon L'Estrange (1583-1654)', Oxford DNB (Oxford, 2004); British Library, Thomason Tract, E67(28), A Briefe and True Relation of the Siege and Surrender of Kings Lyn, 20 September (London, 1643).

Robert Styleman of Field Dalling (d.1645) was the son of Robert Styleman of Field Dalling. Robert married Anne, daughter of Robert Strutt of Hadleigh, co. Suffolk, while Robert's sister Bridget married Edward Creamer. Robert Creamer was the son of Edmund / Edward Creamer of Heacham.

W. Rye (ed.), The Visitation of Norfolk of 1563, 1589 and 1613 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 33, 1891), p. 272; A. W. Hughes Clarke and A. Campling (eds.), The Visitation of Norfolk, anno domini 1664, part I (Publications of the Harleian Society, 85, 1933), pp. 60, 122; A. W. Hughes Clarke and A. Campling (eds.), The Visitation of Norfolk, anno domini 1664, part II (Publications of the Harleian Society, 86, 1934), p. 207.

Robert Creamer brought an action in Star Chamber against Sir Hamon Le Strange for altering a copy of manor court roll for the manor of Heacham, where Creamer was one of Le Strange's copyholders. Sharpe cited notes for this action: Ashmole MS 394, fo. 53, 21 October, 16 Charles I; K. Sharpe, The Personal Rule of Charles I (Yale, 1992).

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Libel: 10/14a (9 Feb 1639)
    • Summary of libel: R.19, fo. 23r (1639)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: 10/14d (9 Aug 1639)
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/3r (no date)
    • First set of defence interrogatories: 10/14 oversize (no date)
    • Second set of defence interrogatories: 10/14c (no date)
    • Third set of defence interrogatories: 10/14b (no date)
    • Plaintiff depositions: 10/14e (17/18 Sep 1639)
    • Notary public's certificate: 10/14f (19 Sep 1639)
  • Defendant's case
    • Defence: Acta (4), fo. 357 (no date)
    • Summary of defence: R.19, fo. 24r (1639)
    • Letters commissory for the defence: Acta (4) fo. 354 (9 Dec 1639)
    • Second set of plaintiff interrogatories: Acta (4), fo. 353 (15 Jan 1640)
    • Defence depositions: Acta (4), fos. 314-343 (14-16 Jan 1640)
    • Notary public's certificate: Acta (4), fos. 344 (17 Jan 1640)
    • Schedules: Acta (4), fos. 355-6 (no date)
    • Note: Acta (4), fo. 357 (11 Jul 1638)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiff's sentence: 10/12/8 (no date)
    • Plaintiff's sentence: 11/5 (no date)
    • Plaintiff's bill of costs: 14/1h (no date)
  • Submission
    • Submission of Stileman: 4/46 (22 Feb 1640)
    • Submission of Stileman: 4/47 (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: 1/7, fos. 36-47 (9 Feb 1639)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 20-33 (21 Feb 1639)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Armiger, John, gent
  • Bacon, Robert, mercer
  • Banyard, Edmund, husbandman
  • Bell, Mary
  • Bell, Robert
  • Blackhead, John, scrivener
  • Bramston, John, knight (also Branston)
  • Burnham, Thomas, yeoman
  • Chosell, Thomas, husbandman
  • Clarke, Dr
  • Claxton, Hamon, clerk
  • Clowdeslie, Thomas, gent
  • Cobbe, Edmund, gent (also Cobb)
  • Cobbe, George (also Cobb)
  • Cobbe, Martin, gent (also Cobb)
  • Crampe, Thomas, yeoman
  • Creamer, Bridget (also Cremer)
  • Creamer, Edmund (also Cremer)
  • Creamer, Robert, gent (also Cremer)
  • Crooke, George, knight (also Croke, Crook)
  • Dawney, Thomas, clerk
  • Dixe, Thomas, gent (also Dix)
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Eldgar, John the elder
  • Eldgar, John the younger
  • Garey, Nathaniel, notary public
  • Goldsmith, Robert, miller
  • Gooding, Mr
  • Goodwin, Vincent, clerk
  • Gournay, Edward, esq (also Gurney)
  • Hendry, Thomas
  • Houghton, Robert, esq
  • Hovell, Hugh, gent
  • Hoverson, Roger
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Jenner, Edmund, yeoman (also Jeynor)
  • Le Strange, Alice, lady (also L'Estrange)
  • Le Strange, Hamon, knight (also L'Estrange)
  • Le Strange, Mary, lady (also L'Estrange)
  • Le Strange, Nicholas, baronet (also L'Estrange)
  • Le Strange, Nicholas, knight (also L'Estrange)
  • Lewin, William, lawyer
  • Lewkenor, Alice
  • Lewkenor, Edward, knight
  • Lownde, Ralph
  • Mileham, Edward, esq
  • Mordaunt, Henry, esq
  • Neve, William, gent
  • Newark, James, innkeeper
  • Overman, William, husbandman
  • Page, Robert, gent
  • Parry, George, lawyer
  • Parvis, John (also Parvish)
  • Playford, William
  • Pynnocke, William, carpenter
  • Rogerson, John, husbandman / yeoman
  • Salter, John, husbandman
  • Smyth, William, clerk
  • Spratt, Edward, steward
  • Stileman, Anne (also Styleman)
  • Stileman, Bridget (also Styleman)
  • Stileman, Robert the elder, gent (also Styleman)
  • Stileman, Robert the younger, gent (also Styleman)
  • Strutt, Anne
  • Strutt, Robert
  • Stuart, Charles I, King
  • Symond, Edward, gent
  • Talbot, Clere, lawyer
  • Terrick, Humphrey
  • Thirlbie, Henry, gent (also Thirlby)
  • Thornton, Nathaniel, clerk
  • Thorowgood, Thomas
  • Thurloe, William, gent
  • Tracy, John, knight
  • Trott, Matthew, notary public
  • Tubbin, John, gent
  • Turner, Charles, gent
  • Warner, Roger, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • Cambridgeshire
    • Isleham
    • Soham
  • Norfolk
    • Beaupré Hall
    • Brancaster
    • Burnham
    • Burnham Norton
    • Burnham Overy
    • Burnham Thorpe
    • Burnham Westgate
    • Cales
    • Carbrooke
    • Castleacre
    • Castle Rising
    • Chosely
    • Cley next the Sea
    • Congham
    • Denver
    • Docking
    • Field Dalling
    • Gaywood
    • Great Bircham
    • Great Yarmouth
    • Heacham (also Hitcham)
    • Holkham
    • Hunstanton
    • Hunstanton Hall
    • Ingoldisthorpe
    • King's Lynn
    • Little Massingham
    • Newton
    • North Creake
    • Outwell
    • Sedgeford
    • Snettisham
    • Stiffkey
    • Studdie
    • Tattersett
    • Thetford
    • Walsingham
    • Weasenham
    • Wolferton
    • Wymondham
  • Norwich
    • Maid's Head Inn
    • Norwich Castle
    • St Paul's
  • Suffolk
    • Hadleigh
  • Surrey
    • Southwark
  • Yorkshire, North Riding
    • Wilton

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • allegation of riot
  • assizes
  • civil war
  • deputy lieutenant
  • fen drainage
  • festival
  • hundred court
  • judicial maiming
  • justice of the peace
  • King's Bench
  • member of parliament
  • other courts
  • previous litigation
  • provocative of a duel
  • royalist
  • Star Chamber
  • taxation