45 Billiard v Robinson

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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In this section


Thomas Billiard of Thorpe, Peterborough, co. Northampton, gent v Matthew Robinson of the same, gent

May 1637 - May 1638

Figure 45:

Peterborough, where Thomas Billiard and Matthew Robinson quarreled at the Three Tuns Tavern in January 1637 (From John Speed, Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain (1611))


Billiard maintained that on 21 January 1637 at the Three Tuns Tavern in Peterborough, Robinson gave him the lie, calling him a son of a whore and challenging him to fight. Robinson claimed that he had been provoked by Billiard telling him that he was 'no gentleman nor honest man' and Billiard, in turn, insisted that he responded to Robinson with restraint, saying, 'I will not meete you in your bushy close, but I will meet you in the Star Chamber, or some other Court of Justice, where the lawe shall right mee and I will not right my selfe'.

In spite of all this, in May 1637 Billiard pressed his suit in the Court of Chivalry, attempting to argue that no proper reconciliation had taken place. Robinson decided to challenge Billiard's gentility because he was 'enformed that if Billiard was no gentleman, his cause should be dismissed.' The defendant's witnesses were examined by a commission headed by Sir Thomas Shirley at the Angel Inn, Peterborough, on 15 January 1638. In February, Dr Duck presented proof of Billiard's gentility from the King of Arms. However, no further proceedings survive and, in the circumstances, it is probable that a settlement was finally arranged.

Initial proceedings

17/3r, Affidavit

Ismaell Mason of Collyweston co. Northampton, gent, made oath that Mr Matthew Robinson of Thorpe, in Peterborough, co. Northampton about 21 January 1636, did twice in the presence of him and others, tell Mr Thomas Billiard of Gray's Inn 'that he lyed, without any cause that I could perceive'. He also told Billiard 'that he was the sonn of a whore and bidd him strike him if he durst, and afterwards did challenge Mr Billiard saying meet me in my bushie close if thou darest'.

'Jur 20 May 1637'

Signed by Robert Riche.

Exhibited 28 November 1637.

12/1p, Citation

Robinson to appear at the suit of Billiard for scandalous words provocative of a duel.

Dated: 24 May 1637

'This process or monicon was served upon Matthew Robinson the elder upon Fryday being the second of June at Peterborough. Anno dm 1637'.

Signed by Thomas Catesby.

Introduced on 18 November 1637, by special direction of Gilbert Dethick, registrar.

EM3172, Libel

Robinson 'gave mee the lye and said I was the sonne of a whore, and badd mee strike him if I durst, and did challenge me to meete him in his bushy close if I did dare' or to similar effect.

No date.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

R.19, fo. 29r, Personal answer

'Sayes that he was never summoned to appeare in this Court att the suite of Billiard, but by the name of Bellialld, wherefore he ought not to answer to the name of Billiard, saveing to himself the privilege and right andc. By protestation sayes that he does not believe that Thomas Billiard and his ancestors is and have bin gentlemen above 10, 50, 100, 200 years past, as in the pretensed libel menconed. And denies all and singular the defamatory tending to provocation as in the libel. Prayes to be dismist with his costs andc.'

Third session, Trinity term (June), 1637.

No signature.

Plaintiff's case

14/1r, Defence interrogatories

1. Had not Robinson and Billiard previously been 'very good friends familiar and loving acquaintance'.

2. 'Whether Mr Robinson out of his love and good respects towards Mr Billiard did not use his best meanes and endeavours to bring Mr Billiard to Thorpe where they both now live.'

3. If any witness deposed that Robinson spoke the words in the libel, they were to be asked at what time, place and in whose presence? Were the words spoken at a tavern or alehouse? At what hour, after how much drinking, and whether the parties were 'distempered with such their drinking'?

4. What provoking words had Billiard said of Robinson before the speaking of the words?

5. Whether Billiard did 'offer to draw upon him' and whether did Robinson 'first leave the roome and company and betake himself to a private chamber, to avoid all further difference and quarrels'?

No date.

No signatures.

Defendant's case

16/2c, Defence

2. At an inn called the Three Tonnes in Peterborough in January 1637, Billiard had said of Robinson: 'That I was no gentleman nor honest man' and Robinson replied 'I said that if there were any man that would say so and maintain it he said not true'.

4. Billiard attempted to draw his sword, but Robinson had no sword or other weapon.

Signed by Thomas Exton.

16/2a, Letters commissory for the defendant

Addressed to commissioners Sir Thomas Shirley, Edmund Bullock, esq, John Sherard, esq, and John Hacher, esq, and also, Thomas Dove, esq, Richard Stace of Castle Bytham, gent, Matthew Clerke of Bourne, gent, and Edward Pate of Peterborough, gent, to meet to hear a cause of words provocative of a duel from 15 to 17 January 1638, at the Angel Inn, Peterborough, co. Northampton.

Dethick assigned Robert Furley as notary public.

Dated 28 November 1637.

Signed by Gilbert Dethick, registrar.

16/2d, Letters substitutional

Arthur Duck appointed Thomas Catesby, gent, to act for him in prosecuting the cause on behalf of Thomas Billiard.

21 December 1637.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

16/2e, Plaintiff's interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. What was the witness's age, occupation, place and condition of living? How did they know the parties?

2. Did the witness live of their own or depend upon another? How much were they worth in goods with their debts paid? Had they been asked to testify and been promised their expenses? Had they spoken to anyone concerning their testimony?

3. Was the witness a household servant, tenant or retainer to Robinson? Was the witness related to Robinson and if so, in what degree? Who did they favour in this cause and to whom would they give the victory if it were in their power?

4. Had the witness been instructed how to depose in this cause?

5. Whether between December and February last he heard Robinson say to Billiard 'You lye, and that you are the son of a whore, and whether did not Robinson bidd Mr Billiard strike him, if he durst, and did challenge Mr Billiard to meet him in his bushy close if he did dare, or wordes to that effect, and whether he did not often or at least twice repeat these words in a violent and angrie manner in the presence of diverse persons and what other words of provocation, reproach and disgrace did he heare Robinson use within the time aforesaid to and against Mr Billiard'?

6. Whether Billiard answered the challenge 'I will not meete you in your bushy close, but I will meet you in the Star Chamber, or some other Court of Justice, where the lawe shall right mee and I will not right my selfe, or what other words did he use to that effect'?

7. Whether immediately after Robinson's provocative words, 'Thomas Glapthorne did not in a friendlie manner take Robinson aside from the Companie and blame him for uttering those words against Mr Billiard, and advised him to submit himself to Mr Billiard and recant those words for that Robinson knew not in what danger he had come into, and whether Robinson did not thereunto replye, and said I will justifie that Mr Billiard is the sonne of a whore, or what other wordes did he speak to this effect and in whose presence'?

8. 'Whether after the premises Thomas Glapthorne seeing Robinson to be so intemperate in his language did not with much earnestness persuade him to go with him into some other roome from the Companie and when they were in that other room, whether did not Glapthorne tell Robinson that if he would be sorry for what he had said to Mr Billiard he would undertake to procure Mr Billiard to be reconciled to him; and whether Glapthorne did not thereupon go to Mr Billiard and procured him after much intreatie to come to the roome where Robinson was, and that as soone as he came into the roome, whether did not Robinson bid Billiard doe his worst, and that he cared not for him, and did againe repeat the disgraceful speeches in the former interrogatories menconed. Let the witness set downe what were the words he then used, and what other words did he use to that effect'?

9. If 'anie witness shall depose that Mr Billiard did first provoke Robinson to use the opprobrious words against him, let such witness express what manner of provocation he used, and whether by any words that Mr Billiard used there was just cause given to Robinson to use the opprobrious words against Mr Billiard; and whether Mr Billiard did not demeane himself soberlie and civillie, as became a gentleman with much patience towards Robinson'?

10. 'Whether he did see (or was only told so) that Mr Billiard attempted the time aforesaid to drawe his sword against Robinson and if he did attempt it, who hindered him from doing of it, and whether Robinson did not dare and provoke Mr Billiard to a duel with him'?

11. 'Whether Matthew Robinson the time aforesaid without a sword to fitt his outrageous and angrie spirit did not goe out of the Roome, and somewhere procured a sword and then returned againe to the same roome where Mr Billiard was and said, come Billiard I am now provided, strike me if thou durst, or what other gesture and words did he use'?

12. 'In case any witness shall endeavour to depose that the same day within 2 or 3 hours after the dissention between Mr Billiard and Robinson they were again reconciled, and that thereupon they drunk together each to other, let such witness be interrogated whether he was present at the same time and did heare and observe all the speech that passed between them and by whome was the reconciliation wrought, who were present thereat; and whether it was not only proposed by Thomas Glapthorne, and upon Robinson's refusal to ask Mr Billiard forgiveness for abusing of him, and for that Robinson at that time further abused Mr Billiard by many disgraceful speeches, whether they desisted not from any agreement and there was no peace concluded between them; and did they not depart in variance and heate and choler one against another'?

13. 'In case any witness shall depose that Mr Billiard did acknowledge that he and Robinson were reconciled, let such witness be interrogated in what place, what day or time of the day and in whose presence was such acknowledgement made'? 'And whether did Mr Billiard at any time since the falling out meet with Robinson and in token of their reconciliation did such witness ever know them drink aloane, or whether it was not casuallie in the company of others'? 'If at any time Mr Billiard hath been at the house of Robinson was he not urged or importuned thereunto by some of his friends merely to accompany them and for their sakes went he thether as such witness doth know, believe or hath heard'?

14. 'Whether he doth not know, or hath not crediblie heard, that Robinson did labour and tamper with Wm Milton one of the witnesses to the libel before his examination to deny that he heard Robinson utter the words in the libel against Mr Billiard and what sum of money did he offer him as such witness doth know or hath heard'?

15. 'Whether he hath not heard Robinson since the time in the libel abuse Mr Billiard by sundry other opprobrious words in diverse places, and hath said that Billiard was a base fellow and noe gentleman, or what other words did he use to that effect and in whose presence'?

16. 'Whether he hath not heard Ismaell Mason often reporte and say before his going to sea that he heard Matthew Robinson the time and place in the libel, vizt. about December, Januarie or Februarie last past, say unto Mr Thomas Billiard you lye, you are the sonne of a whore, and that he bade Mr Billiard strike him if he durst, and did challenge him to meet him in his bushie close if he did dare or words to that effecte and that thereof he would depose upon his oath'?

17. 'Whether Mr Billiard be not a gentleman of an ancient familie and so accounted and whether Robinson be not a yeoman and noe gentleman, and soe commonlie accounted'?

18. 'Whether Wm Milton, Thomas Glapthorne and Anne White witnesses produced by Mr Billiard be not people of honest life and conversation and such to whose testimony credit is to be given'?

No date.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

16/2b, Defence depositions

Taken before commissioners Sir Thomas Shirley, Edmund Bullock esq, John Hatcher, esq, Thomas Dove, esq, Richard Stace, gent, and Edward Pate, gent, at the Angel Inn, Peterborough, co. Northampton on 15 January 1637/8.

(Witness 1), Anthony Mason of Achurch, co. Northampton, labourer, born there, aged about 24

To Robinson's defence:

1. Robinson and his ancestors were commonly reputed gentlemen.

2. He was present at the Three Tuns Tavern in Peterborough on a Saturday at 9 or 10pm between Christmas and Candlemas. Billiard, Robinson, Glapthorne and many other gentlemen were present. He heard Mr Billiard say to Robinson 'You are no gentleman'. He saw Mr Billiard 'offer to draw his sword and had drawne his sword if he had not been hindred by some of the gent that were there present'. Then he heard Mr Billiard swear he would be the death of Robinson.

4. Billiard had a sword at his side but Robinson had no weapon.

6. After Mr Billiard had offered to draw his sword, Robinson and Glapthorne went out into another room. After an hour and at the mediation of Glapthorne and another gentleman, Mr Billiard entered the room where Robinson was, and Mason saw Robinson drink to Mr Billiard. Mason conceived they were thereby made friends.

Not examined on the rest by Robinson's consent.

To Billiard's interrogatories:

2. He lived by service and was the new servant of Robert Woodruffe of Waterthorpe of Achurch parish. He testified at Robinson's request and charges.

3. Last year he was a household servant of Robinson, and favoured him the most in this cause.

18. William Milton and Thomas Glapthorne were 'of honest life and conversation for ought that he ever heard but for Anne White he doth not know'.

Signed by Anthony Mason (his mark) and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 2), John Harleston of Peterborough, co. Northampton, gent, born at South Ockendon, co. Essex, aged about 27

To Robinson's defence:

1. He had heard from some that Robinson was a gentleman, but from others that he was not. Harleston himself accounted Robinson a gentleman.

2. After the falling out between Robinson and Billiard, sometime between Shrovetide and Easter last he was at Robinson's house at Thorpe, and after breakfast, he went with Robinson to a Thorpe alehouse where Mr Billiard was drinking. He observed Robinson and Billiard drank together there, and then saw them go back to Robinson's house together, where they drank together once again.

To Billiard's interrogatories:

1. He had known Billiard and Robinson for about a year and a half.

13. Since their falling out, Billiard and Robinson did never drink alone together, and that Billiard only drank in Robinson's company 'but casually and in the company of others'. Billiard was 'importuned and desired by some gentlemen of the company to go to the house of Mr Robinson', and Harleston believed that Mr Billiard did so for their sake.

14. He did not know but had heard that Robinson had urged William Milton 'to deny such words as Mr Billiard did pretend that Mr Robinson did speak against him'.

16. He had heard Emanuel Mason say before going to sea that he had heard Robinson say to Billiard at the time and place in the libel 'you lye, you are the sonne of an whore', and that Robinson urged Billiard 'to strike him yf he durst', and to 'meet him in his Bushie close if he durst'.

17. He had heard that both Robinson and Billiard were accounted gentlemen.

18. He had not heard other than Milton, Glapthorne and White were of 'honest life and conversation and credit is to be given to their testimony'.

Signed by John Harleston and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 3), Elizabeth Douglas of Thorpe in Peterborough, co. Northampton, spinster, born at Finedon, co Northampton, aged about 24

To Robinson's defence:

1. Robinson was commonly accounted a gentleman and she esteemed him so.

8. After the falling out between Robinson and Billiard, about Candlemas last, Billiard amongst other gentlemen went to Robinson's house, where they 'did speak friendly and familiarly one to the other and did drink together and were friendly to her thinking'. She was present serving the wine. She heard that afterwards, Billiard, Robinson and their wives rode together to Lord Fitzwilliam's for the christening of Lady Lee's child.

To Billiard's interrogatories:

2. She was Robinson's servant and worth £5. She testified at Robinson's urging and costs but 'it is all one to her who hath the victory in this cause'.

4. She had not been instructed how to depose.

15. Since the falling out, she never heard Robinson 'speak any opprobrious words against Mr Billiard'.

Signed by Eliz Douglas (her mark) and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 4), Paul Panke of Peterborough, co. Northampton, clerk and vicar, born at London, aged about 34

To Robinson's defence:

1. As witness 3.

8. After the falling out he was at Robinson's house among other gentlemen, when Mrs Robinson told him of the quarrel and pleaded with him to 'use the best meanes he could to see if he could make them friends'. Mrs Robinson sent her eldest son to Mr Billiard to desire him to come to their house, but he not returning, Panke thought it unfit that Billiard should come to Robinson's house, or Robinson go to Billiard's. He thought of a third place, the house of Faith Wright in Thorpe, and went there with other gentlemen. They found Robinson and his son, and Billiard already there. Panke 'as minister unto them both did endeavour to perswade a peace between them'. He desired Billiard to be friendly to Robinson, and Robinson to give satisfaction to Billiard if he had wronged him, 'which then seeming reconcyliation was expressed by a mutual drinking one to the other'. When Robinson drank to Billiard he said 'Thou hast had of me curtises heretofore, and if it lyes in my power hereafter thou shalt command me in anything to do thee service'. Robinson commanded his son to go home to fetch a flagon of sack, which he did. The sack was drunk by the company present, and they then retired to Robinson's house for another cup of sack.

To Billiard's interrogatories:

13. When Billiard went from Wright's house to Robinson's house, he did so 'partlye by the importunitye and perswasion of others and partely in some conceived reconciliation as he did then believe.'

15. Since then Robinson had spoken to Panke that 'he had enquired of the ancestors of Mr Billiard and he could not find or knowe of any that Mr Billiard was a gentleman and upon further conference Matthew Robinson did say that he was told or enformed that if Billiard was no gentleman, his cause should be dismissed. And for other opprobrious words he never heard Mr Robinson speake against Mr Billiard'.

18. He knew all the parties in the interrogatory and conceived them to be 'persons of honest life and conversation and to be witnesses to whom credit may be given.'

Signed by Paul Panke and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 5), Robert Warde of Peterborough, co. Northampton, gent, born at Edith Weston, co. Rutland, aged about 34

To Robinson's defence:

10. He knew William Milton was 'an honest poor man in some things, and in some things he hath not carried himself honestly for he was intrusted by Mr Catesby to carry a letter to Mr Troughton at London, which letter Milton did *as he told [Warde] suffer to be* opened and as Milton told Warde for that the effect of the letter did concerne a suite *betweene* Sir Henry Mallery, one Mr Vintner and William Milton'. Furthermore, Milton had been arrested and imprisoned for debt several times at Peterborough and Huntingdon. Whether Milton could be easily drawn to swear falsely he could not say.

To Billiard's interrogatories:

1. 'He doth not depend on any but liveth by his industry and calling, and is worth of his owne estate forty pounds'. He was a witness at Robinson's request and charges, but had not received or been promised any money.

Signed by Robert Warde and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 6), Richard Allen of Peterborough, co. Northampton, gaoler, born at Eastfield in the parish of Peterborough, aged about 40

To Robinson's defence:

10. He knew William Milton and Anne White. Anne was a servant who had £20 'stock left her but whether she gott it of her brother or not he knoweth not, and now she is gone out of towne to dwell and therefore knoweth not her estate'. William Milton 'hath a charge of children and liveth by his service under a woman and believeth that he is poor because that he hath a charge of children and hath no other meanes but his service as far as he knoweth'. He did not know if they were such who might be persuaded by hope of gain to depose an untruth.

To Billiard's interrogatories:

Not examined by consent of Billiard.

Repeated on 16 January.

Signed by Richard Allin and by the commissioners Shirley, Pate, Dove, Hatcher and Stacy.

(Witness 7), Matthew Robinson the younger of Thorpe in Peterborough, co. Northampton, gent, born at Maxey Castle (near Market Deeping), co. Northampton, aged about 23

To Robinson's defence:

8. About a month after the falling out he was at his father's house in Peterborough with Mr Panke, the vicar of Peterborough, Mr Johnson, Mr John Harleston, when he heard his mother ask these gentlemen to 'use their best meanes' to make his father and Mr Billiard friends again, 'for saith she, I desire that we may live neighbourly and loveingly together'. His father then said that he had been made friends with Mr Billiard before by other gentlemen. But his mother was not satisfied and sent him to Mr Billiard's house to desire him to come to their house. He arrived at Billiard's house and explained the gentlemen there wished to reconcile them, but Billiard answered that 'he would not goe, for sayth he your father hath done me wrong and it is not fitt for me to go to his house but if it please him I will meet him halfe way'. Robinson the younger then said 'will you meete at Wrights'? Billiard agreed and arrived there before Robinson, Panke, Johnson and Harleston. After a while at Wright's, he was sent home by his father to fetch a flagon of sack. He did so, and his father took a cup and went to Mr Billiard and said: 'Mr Billiard for what is past I am sorry, there was too much said on both sides, here is to thee with all my hearte, thou shalt have more interest in me then ever thou hadst in thy life'. His father then drank and Mr Billiard did 'pledge him and so did continue there together very merry for the space of an hour or thereabouts'. After this they all retired to his father's house where they drank to each other for over an hour 'and were very merry together, parted very friendly and so did continue until Lent following'. Then, in Lent, both Mr Billiard and Mr Robinson were invited to the christening of Sir John Lee's child, and the night before a servant of Mr Billiard's called at the Robinsons asking them to call at Mr Billiard's house in the morning so that they could go together. Mr Robinson and his wife did so 'and there stayd whilst the horses of Mr Billiard was brought forth and they gott upon their horses and so did ride together' to the christening. On the journey Mr Billiard and Mr Robinson 'did confer together about an horse race which was the same week to be at Stamford'. After this, during Easter week, Mr Billiard and Mr Robinson met at Stamford and rode home together 'until they came to the house of the Lady Browne in loving and familiar manner *as this witness conceiveth*. All this he doth know to be true because he was present and did heare and see all things to be so done as is predeposed.

To Billiard's interrogatories:

1. He had known his father 'ever since his knowledge', and had known Mr Billiard for three or four years.

2-3. He 'doth live under his father and is worth Fifty Pound'. He was his father's heir and was a witness at the request of his father. His 'natural affection bind him to favour' his father, yet wished if his father had done Mr Billiard any wrong, 'he may make satisfaction'.

13. He never heard Mr Billiard acknowledge any reconciliation other than as he had already deposed. He had not known Mr Billiard and his father to drink together alone, and 'at the coming out of Wright's house, Mr Billiard offering to take his leave of the company was desired generally by all present to go with them to Mr Robinson's and Mr Billiard did thereupon without any gaynesaying go with them to Mr Robninson's house'.

18. 'He never knew any dishonesty by any of the partys in this interrogatory named.'

Repeated on 16 January.

Signed by Matthew Robinson and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 8), Sarah Linford, wife of Thomas Linford of Ailsworth, in the parish of Castor, co. Northampton, shoemaker, born there, aged about 22

To Robinson's defence:

8. About twelve months ago she became a servant of Mr Billiard, and remained so until a fortnight after Easter, all which time she never heard of any falling out between Mr Billiard and Mr Robinson, 'but that they did live friendly and lovingly together as neighbours for ought that she did know'.

To Billiard's interrogatories:

She did not answer by consent of Mr Billiard.

Signed by Sarah Linford [her mark] and by the above six commissioners.

(Witness 9), Thomas Glapthorne of Whittlesey, in the Isle of Ely, gent, born there, aged about 40

To Robinson's defence:

1. He had known Robinson for 20 years and all that time Robinson had been accounted a gentleman.

2. In last January he was with Mr Billiard, Mr Robinson and many other gentlemen at the house of 'one Sheppard in Peterborowe *in several roomes* in which house a Taverne is kept'. He was not present at the beginning of the falling out.

4. At that time and place, Mr Billiard wore a sword and Mr Robinson had no weapon 'for he did borrowe of him this deponent *a sword* for to go home withal because it was dark and Robinson was to go home alone'.

6. That evening he came into the room and heard Mr Billiard and Mr Robinson quarrelling, so he persuaded Mr Robinson to leave the room with him.

7. After this, Mr Glapthorne went into Mr Billiard's room and persuaded him to go into the room where Mr Robinson was. There Mr Glapthorne 'did endeavour to make them friends which he thought he had really done because in his sight and presence they did in a loving manner drink the one to the other. And he having an occasion to leave the room did go out of it, and at his coming into the room again did find that Mr Robinson and Mr Billiard were at some jarring words whereupon Mr Robinson went away and so they parted'.

To Billiard's interrogatories:

5. As he entered the room where Mr Robinson and Mr Billiard were, 'they being ready to lay hands the one upon the other, he did step between them and kept them asunder, whereupon Mr Robinson wrested himself from him and went unto Thomas Billiard and said unto him that he was the son of a whore but upon what grounds or former provocation he knoweth not'.

7. He took Mr Robinson aside from the company in a friendly manner into another room 'and told him his error and the danger that might come upon it and did desire that he might intercede for a peace between them which Mr Robinson yielded unto. And further to this interrogatory he cannot answer more than he hath formerly deposed.'

Signed by Thomas Glapthorne and by the above six commissioners.

Repeated on 16 January 1638.

Also signed by Sir Henry Marten on 24 May 1638 who had taxed the case at 25 shillings.

16/2f, Notary public's certificate

Dated 16 January 1638 and signed by the six commissioners. Followed by a certificate in Latin signed by Robert Furley, notary public that the above examinations had been completed and were now being returned.

Notary's mark.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Billiard and Dr Exton for Robinson. On 31 October and 10 November 1637 Dr Duck produced witnesses for the prosecution, and on 28 November, Dr Exton began the defence. On 2 December, the commissioners Edmund Bullocke, esq, Sir Thomas Shirley, John Sherard, esq, John Hacher, esq, and also Thomas Dove of Upton, esq, Richard Stace of Castle Bytham, gent, Matthew Clerke and Edward Pate, gents, were nominated to meet from 15 to 17 January 1638 at the Angel Inn, Peterborough. On 3 February 1638 Dr Exton produced three witnesses for Robinson, and on 12 February Dr Duck presented a certificate of Billiard's gentility, Billiard having been instructed previously on 18 November 1637 to obtain one from the Kings of Arms.


There is no record of either of the parties in the Visitations, nor the calendar of state papers domestic, nor of Thomas Billiard's admission to Gray's Inn.

H. I. Longden (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Northampton in the year 1681 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 87, 1935); J. Foster (ed.), The register of admissions to Gray's Inn, 1521-1889 (London, 1889).


  • Initial proceedings
    • Affidavit: 17/3r (20 May 1637)
    • Citation: 12/1p (24 May 1637)
    • Libel: EM3172 (no date)
    • Personal answer: R.19, fo. 29r (Tri 1637)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/1r (no date)
  • Defendant's case
    • Defence: 16/2c (no date)
    • Letters commissory for the defendant: 16/2a (28 Nov 1637)
    • Letters substitutional: 16/2d (21 Dec 1637)
    • Plaintiff's interrogatories: 16/2e (no date)
    • Defence depositions: 16/2b (15-16 Jan 1638)
    • Notary public's certificate: 16/2f (16 Jan 1638)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 8/26 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/27 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/28 (31 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Marten: 7/20 (10 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/29 (18 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/30 (28 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings: 8/30 (2 Dec 1637)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 23-35 (3 Feb 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 38-56(12 Feb 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Allen, Richard, gaoler (also Allin)
  • Billiard, Thomas, gent (also Billiald)
  • Browne, lady (also Brown)
  • Bullock, Edmund, esq (also Bullocke)
  • Catesby, Thomas, gent
  • Clerke, Matthew, gent
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Douglas, Elizabeth, spinster
  • Dove, Thomas, esq
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Exton, Thomas, lawyer
  • Fitzwilliam, baron
  • Furley, Robert, notary public
  • Glapthorne, Thomas, gent
  • Hacher, John, esq (also Hatcher)
  • Harleston, John, gent
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Johnson, Mr
  • Lee, John, knight
  • Lee, lady
  • Linford, Sarah
  • Linford, Thomas, shoemaker
  • Mallery, Henry, knight
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Mason, Anthony, labourer
  • Mason, Ismaell, gent
  • Milton, William
  • Panke, Paul, vicar
  • Pate, Edward, gent
  • Riche, Robert
  • Sheppard
  • Sherard, John, esq (also Sherrard)
  • Shirley, Thomas, knight
  • Stace, Richard, gent (also Stacy)
  • Troughton, Mr
  • Vintner, Mr
  • Warde, Robert, gent
  • White, Anne
  • Wright, Faith

Places mentioned in the case

  • Essex
    • South Ockenden
  • Isle of Ely
    • Whittlesey
  • Lincolnshire
    • Bourne
    • Castle Bytham
  • London
  • Middlesex
    • Gray's Inn
  • Northamptonshire
    • Achurch
    • Ailsworth
    • Eastfield
    • Castor
    • Collyweston
    • Finedon
    • Market Deeping
    • Maxey Castle
    • Peterborough
    • Thorpe
  • Rutland
    • Edith Weston

Topics of the case

  • challenge to a duel
  • drinking healths
  • drunkenness
  • inns of court
  • King of Arms
  • reconciliation
  • sexual insult
  • sport
  • Star Chamber
  • weapon