450 Morris v Woodhall

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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450 MORRIS V WOODHALL

Richard Morris of St Dunstan-in-the-East, London, barber surgeon v John Woodhall of St Benet Fink, London, barber surgeon

January - November 1638

Abstract

Morris complained that Woodhall had said that he 'lyed like a base stinkeing fellowe' at an assembly of the Company of Surgeons held to swear in the new master between September and November 1637. Woodhall maintained that he had been provoked by Morris striking him on the head and insulting him. Morris responded that he struck Woodhall's cap off his head because the company was standing bareheaded while the oath of supremacy was read and Woodhall was asleep. Woodhall was also accused of having previously fought a drunken duel with a Polish gentleman while on military service under Lord Willoughby of Eresby.Process was grantedin January 1638 and on 6 November the court moved to hear sentence at the next sitting; but the final result remains unknown. [For Woodhall's counter suit, see cause 727].

Initial proceedings

3/26, Petition to Arundel

'The petitioner being a Barbor Chirurgeon, and haveinge beene Master of his Company, beinge also a gent by birth bearing armes, one John Woodhall, likewise a Barber Chirurgeon, in September or October last, in a publique assembly gave your petitioner many disgracefull and scandalous speeches and amongst others told the peticoner that he lyed like a base stinkeing fellowe.'

Petitioned that Woodhall be brought to answer.

Duck desired Dethick to send out process, 12 January 1638.

13/1u, Citation

Woodhall to appear at the suit of Morrice for scandalous words provocative of a duel

Dated 12 January 1638.

By the special direction of Gilbert Dethick, registrar.

13/1d, Libel

Morris was from the family of Morris of Tretower, co. Brecknock, and Woodhall was a Master Surgeon of the Company of Barber Surgeons, London.

That September to November last in the assembly of the Company of Surgeons in St Olave, Silver Street London, at a public meeting of the society, before a number of honest and credible persons, John Woodhall said 'I lyed like a base stinking knave and that I was a base stinking fellowe'.

No date.

No signatures.

Plaintiff's case

14/1ii, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. What was the age, occupation and condition of the witness? Where had they lived for the last ten years? How long had they known the parties?

2. Was the witness related to either of the parties? Was the witness a household servant or liveried retainer to either of the parties? Were they indebted to either of the parties?

3. How much were they worth in their own goods with their debts deducted?

4. In what place, house and room were the words pretended in the libel spoken? And in what year, month and day were the pretended words spoken? Upon what occasion or provocation were the pretended words spoken?

5. Had he received or been promised anything from Morris to depose? If so, what was it? Where, when and by whom was it given or promised?

6. Was he present at the beginning of the 'pretended falling out'? Were his fellow witnesses also present with him, and what were their names?

7. Did Morris give 'ill, *contumelious and injurious* words' to Woodall just before the time of the 'pretended words' in the libel, and what ill language was this?

No date.

Signed by William Merrick.

Defendant's case

14/2a, Plaintiff interrogatories [damaged]

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. Where had the witness lived for the last ten years?

2. How much was the witness worth in goods with their debts paid?

3. Was the witness a household servant, retainer or relative of either of the parties, and to which would they give the victory if it were in their power?

4. Had the witness been compelled to attend? How much had they received or what did they expect to receive in expenses?

5. Had there been any discord or controversy among the witnesses?

6. Had any of the witnesses been instructed how to depose?

7. 'How, when, where, in whose presence and in what manner was the pretended injurie done or the pretended blow given'? 'Was the pretended blow given in a violent and angry manner, or in a meeke, mild or jesting manner'? Did 'the pretended occasion' constitute 'ground or provocation' for the 'pretended blow given'?

8. Whether 'Richard Morris did strike John Woodhall a blow on the head whereby the flat cap and night cap of Woodhall fell to the ground'? What colour was the night cap, and was it 'wrought or plaine, and who tooke upp the flat cap and night cap from the ground'?

9. 'Whether the pretended blow was not given at a solemn meeting in the Barber Chirurgions hall when a master was to be sworne and when all the company stood bare with their hatts and capps off, the master then taking his oath of supremacie and allegiance, and was not then Woodhall asleepe with his cap on his head?'

No date.

Signed by Thomas Exton.

18/5e, Plaintiff's interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. What was their age, occupation and condition? Where had they lived during the last ten years and how did they know the parties?

2. Did they live of their own or depend upon another? How much were they worth in goods with their debts paid and how much did they pay in taxation to the King?

3. Were they a household servant or retainer of Woodhall's? Were they a relative of Woodhall's 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 they been asked to testify? Had they received or been promised anything for testifying in this cause?

5. Had there been controversy or discord among the witnesses?

6. Had the witness spoken to anyone concerning their testimony? Had they been instructed how to depose? If so, by whom, and what was said?

7. Exactly where and when were 'the pretended words' first spoken? Who were present? Upon what occasion or provocation were the words spoken?What words were spoken by Woodhall to Morris before the uttering of the words in the libel? What words or speeches passed between them?

Introduced 11 April 1638

Signed by Thomas Exton.

14/2aa, Plaintiff interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness.

2. 'How and in what manner he deserved under the Right Honorable the Lord Willoughby; and for what cause he was interred and enrowled amongst the gentlemen of the companie; and whether he the pretended witness was one of the same companie... and in what place or office and how he knoweth that Woodhall was soe enrowled'?

3. 'What was the Polonian Gentleman's name with whome it is pretended that Woodhall should fight and with what weapons did they fight; and what wounds did the Polonian Gentleman receive from Woodhall, and what wounds did Woodhall receive from the Polonian gentleman'?

4. 'What were the pretended reproachful words, pretended to be spoken by the Polonian? When, where and before whome, were those reproachful words spoken and whether he the pretended witness was present at the time of the words speaking or present at the pretended duell? And what man of note or eminence was then and there present'?

5. Were Woodhall or the Polonian drunk 'immediately, or a very short tyme, before the pretended duel was fought'?

6. 'Of whome Woodhall obtained leave to fight the duel and who was the generall of the armie; and who was Woodhall's captaine at that time'?

Introduced 28 May 1638.

Signed by Thomas Exton.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Ryves, Dr Merrick, Dr Duck and Dr Exton all served as counsel at some point in this cause. On 27 January 1638 Morris was required to appear in response to a warning and Woodhall entered bond to the king of £100. On 3 February Dr Duck was required to prove the articles. On 6 November 1638 the court moved to hear sentence at the next sitting.

Notes

Richard Morris ap Evan Vaughan, barber surgeon, appeared in the Visitation of London of 1634, married to Ann, daughter of John Leonard, a niece of Sir Edward Peacock, knt.

J. Jackson Howard (ed.), The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634, 1635 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 17, 1883), p. 112.

John Woodall, barber surgeon of Broad Street, London, was the son of Richard Woodall of Warwick and Mary, daughter of Peirse Ithell of North Wales. John married Sara, daughter of one Henchpole.

J. Jackson Howard (ed.), The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634 and, 1635, vol. II (Publications of the Harleian Society, 17, 1883), p. 365.

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 3/26 (12 Jan 1638)
    • Citation: 13/1u (12 Jan 1638)
    • Libel: 13/1d (no date)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/1ii (no date)
  • Defendant's case
    • Plaintiff interrogatories: 14/2a (no date)
    • Plaintiff interrogatories: 18/5e (11 Apr 1638)
    • Plaintiff interrogatories: 14/2aa (28 May 1638)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/5, fos. 1-15 (27 Jan 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 23-35 (3 Feb 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 454r-468v (6 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 400v-412v (20 Nov 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Bertie, Montagu, baron Willoughby of Eresby
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Exton, Thomas, lawyer
  • Henchpole, Sarah
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Ithell, Mary
  • Ithell, Peirse
  • Leonard, Ann
  • Leonard, John
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Morris, Richard, barber surgeon (also Morris ap Evan Vaughan)
  • Peacock, Edward, knight
  • Ryves, Thomas, lawyer (also Rives)
  • Woodhall, John, barber surgeon (also Woodall)
  • Woodhall, Mary (also Woodall)
  • Woodhall, Sarah (also Woodall)
  • Woodhall, Richard (also Woodall)

Places mentioned in the case

  • Brecknockshire
    • Tretower
  • London
    • Broad Street
    • St Benet Fink
    • St Dunstan-in-the-East
    • St Olave, Silver Street
  • Poland
  • Wales

Topics of the case

  • apparel
  • assault
  • barber surgeon
  • city company
  • denial of gentility
  • duel
  • drunkenness
  • giving the lie