396 Machen v Waters

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'396 Machen v Waters', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/396-machen-waters [accessed 4 March 2024]

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396 MACHEN V WATERS

Richard Machen of Benson, co. Oxford, gent v John Waters of the same, gent

January - December 1640

Abstract

Machen complained that when he rebuked Waters for beating the constable of their village, Waters said that Machen was 'a base shitten gentleman', and that he was the 'best man of the parish'. According to Machen, Waters 'bade me kisse his arse and sayd a turd for you, and that he would have me whipped'. When Machen warned Waters to remember the Court of Chivalry, he allegedly replied 'that he cared not a turd for the Lord Marshall of England nor his court and wished me to doe my worst.' Machen claimed that Waters was of 'an inferior, plebeian stock', but he was described in the court proceedings as 'gent'. Dr Tooker entered the libel on 4 February 1640 and on 30 October Machen was awarded £40 in damages and £20 in expenses, and Waters' submission was appointed for the next Berkshire Assizes.

Initial proceedings

2/72, Petition to Arundel

'Your petitioner is a gentleman of auntient descent and good qualitie; yet one John Waters of Benson, a man of a meane and evill condicon, lately used these opprobrious words to and of your petitioner, vizt. That he was a shitten base gentleman and that he cared not a [blank] for him, a [blank] in his teeth, with other injurious language. And when he was reproved for the same and advised to take heed of your lordships honorable Court Military he replied that he cared not a [blank] for that court, which words he used upon no just occasion or provocation whatsoever.'

Petitioned that Waterer be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process on 21 January 1640.

2/56, Plaintiff's bond

24 January 1640

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

Signed by Richard Machen.

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

2/51, Defendant's bond

3 February 1640

Bound to appear 'in the Court'.

Signed by John Waterer.

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

11/24, Libel [damaged]

1. Machen's family had been gentry for up to 100 years and Waters was of an inferior plebeian stock.

2. 'John Waters, *alias Waterer*, was beating one Edward Costard being then constable or tything man of that village, and I, going toward the Church and casually passing by, asked him why he beat & abused Costard and bad him forbeare and not to kill him and to remember that Costard was an officer. But Waters among other contumelious words used these, vizt. That I, Richard Machen, was a base shitten gentleman, and that Waters was the best man of the parish, and bad me kisse his arse; and sayd a turd for you *meaning Richard Machen* and that he would have me whipped. Then I wished Waters to remember the Court of Honor which would repaire my credit and punish his ill language but Waters replyed that he cared not a turd for the Lord Marshall of England, nor his court, and wished me to doe my worst.'

2 more items in Latin

No date [4 February 1640].

Signed by Charles Tooker.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck and Dr Tooker were counsel for Machen, and Dr Parry and Dr Sweit for Waters. Dr Tooker presented the libel on 4 February 1640. On 30 October 1640 Machen was awarded £40 in damages and £20 in expenses, and Waters' submission was appointed to be at the next Berkshire Assizes. On 4 December 1640 it was decided that the expenses were to be paid by the last session of next Hilary term, and the damages within two months after that.

Notes

Richard Machen of Benson, co. Oxford, was the son of Thomas Machen of Crickley in the city of Gloucester, and Christian, daughter of Mr Baston of Swell, co. Gloucester. Richard married Margaret, daughter of John Davenport of Davenport, co. Chester.

G. D. Squibb (ed.), The Visitation of Oxfordshire, 1669 and 1675 (Publications of the Harleian Society, new series, 12, 1993), p. 96.

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 2/72 (21 Jan 1640)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 2/56 (24 Jan 1640)
    • Defendant's bond: 2/51 (3 Feb 1640)
    • Libel: 11/24 (4 Feb 1640)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 56r-64v (10 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings before Stafford: 1/11, fos. 41r-44v (24 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 19r-30v (30 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 79r-87v (4 Dec 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Baston, Christian
  • Baston, Mr
  • Costard, Edward
  • Davenport, Margaret
  • Davenport, John
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Howard, William, baron Stafford
  • Machen, Christian
  • Machen, Margaret
  • Machen, Richard, gent
  • Machen, Thomas
  • Parry, George, lawyer
  • Sweit, Giles, lawyer
  • Tooker, Charles, lawyer
  • Waters, John, gent (also Waterer)
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • Cheshire
    • Davenport
  • Gloucestershire
    • Crickley
    • Swell
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Oxfordshire
    • Benson

Topics of the case

  • assault
  • assizes
  • constable
  • comparison
  • denial of gentility
  • office-holding
  • other courts
  • scatological insult
  • threatened violence