44 Beverley v Gardiner

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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George Beverley of Sherborne St John, co. Hampshire, gent v Nicholas Gardiner of the same, yeoman

October 1639


Beverley claimed that in Basingstoke, Hampshire, on 18 September 1639, Gardiner had called him 'a base fellow or sharke or cheat' at a hearing before Dr English and other gentlemen, thereby provoking him to strike Gardiner. Beverley maintained he was descended from knights, and that his father had fought in Ireland in Queen Elizabeth's wars. Process was granted on 27 October 1639, but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

6/16, Petition

'The petitioner is a gent descended of an auncient family many of his auncestors having beene knights'. About 18 September 1639 'Nicholas Gardiner of Sherborne did very much abuse the petitioner in manner followinge, vizt. the peticoner affirminge a matter of truth before Mr Doctor English and divers gent of good quality, Gardiner in a very rude and opprobrious manner replied, Thou didst it, Thou arte a base fellowe very much provokinge your petitioner by his insolent carriadge to your petitioner to breake the peace and strike Gardiner.'

Petitioned that Gardiner be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process on 27 October 1639.

6/15, Plaintiff's bond

29 October 1639

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

Signed by John Feilding of the city of London, gent, on behalf of George Beverley.

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

20/1l, Libel

1. Beverley's family had been ancient gentry for up to 200 years, and his father, George Beverley, had fought in Ireland in Queen Elizabeth's wars. Gardiner was a plebeian, of the 'inferior sort', and no gentleman.

2. Between August and October 1639, in Basingstoke parish, Gardiner said that Beverley 'was a base fellow or sharke or cheat... he then confessed that he knew me to be a gentleman'. These words were provocative of a duel.

No date.

Signed by Charles Tooker.


George Beverley did not appear in the Hampshire Visitations of 1622-34 nor 1686:

W. H. Rylands (ed.), Pedigrees from the Visitations of Hampshire, 1530, 1575 and 1622-34 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 64, 1913); G. D. Squibb (ed.), The Visitation of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 1686 (Publications of the Harleian Society, new series, 10, 1991).


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 6/16 (27 Oct 1639)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 6/15 (29 Oct 1639)
    • Libel: 20/1l (no date)

People mentioned in the case

  • Beverley, George, gent
  • English, Dr
  • Feilding, John, gent
  • Gardiner, Nicholas, yeoman
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Tooker, Charles, lawyer
  • Tudor, Elizabeth I, queen
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • Hampshire
    • Basingstoke
    • Sherborne St John
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • assault
  • denial of gentility