490 Officers Of Arms v Willymott

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'490 Officers Of Arms v Willymott', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/490-officers-of-arms-willymott [accessed 29 February 2024]

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Henry Chitting, Chester Herald and Thomas Thompson, Rouge Dragon Pursuivant v Robert Willymott of Chaddesden, co. Derby, yeoman

Michaelmas term, 1634 - June 1635

Figure 490:

Henry Chitting, Chester Herald, who instigated the prosecution of Robert Willymott for styling himself a gentlemen after having made a disclaimer at the Derbyshire visitation of 1611 (Reproduced by permission of the Chapter of the College of Arms)


This was a cause of office launched in October 1634 in which Chitting, and Thompson prosecuted Willymott for having styled himself gentleman after being made to disclaim by Sir Richard St George, Norroy King of Arms at the Visitation of Derbyshire in 1611. Willymott appointed his son to act for him. The heralds won the case and on 30 May 1635 Willymott's son was ordered to perform a submission on behalf of his father and had to pay £10 in expenses.

Initial proceedings

9/4/37, Appointment of proctor

Signed statement by Robert Willymott the elder that he has constituted and ordayned his son Robert 'my full and lawfull proctor for mee, and in my name to answer and defend, or to doe any other act whatsoever, in the suite, ratifying and allowing and accountinge as my owne acte and dead whatsoever Robert Willymott shall doe in my behalfe in the suite'

Sealed and delivered in the presence of Edward Pottell and Robert Spencer.

'Edward Pottell of Staple Inn maketh oath that this writinge was sealed and delivered by Mr Robert Willymott the elder to the use of his sonne in the presence of me G. Mynshell'.

Dated 13 February 1635.

9/4/41, Articles

Robert Willymott and his family had since time immemorial been plebeian and non gentle and at the visitation of Derbyshire in 1611 before Sir Richard St George, Norroy, he was publicly declared and proscribed to be plebeian and non gentle. But since then in the parish of Chaddesden and other parishes nearby he had claimed the addition of gentleman, verbally and in writing.

Endorsed 18 April 1635.

Sentence / Arbitration

9/4/20, Plaintiffs' bill of costs

Michaelmas term, including initial warrant 30 Oct 1634: £4-15s-10d

Hillary term, 1634: £3-8s-4d

Easter term, 1635: £3-11s-8d

Trinity term, 1635: £9-8s

Total: £21-4s-2d

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Taxed at £10

Signed by Arundell and Surrey.


9/4/19, Submission

An order of submission enjoined by Arundel:

'Whereas at the visitation of Derbyshire in 1611 by Sir Richard St George, Norroy, Robert Willimot of Chadesden, yeoman, 'being found to have taken upon him the name and title of a gentleman, contrary to the lawes of armes in this kingdome, was therefore by vertue of a commission under the great seal of England disclaymed by Sir Richard St George and admonished not to use the title or addition of a gentleman any more which, notwithstanding, Robert Willmott hath since used. For which his offence, Robert Willmott being convented before the right honourable Thomas earl of Arundel and Surrey, Earl Marshall of England in the Court Military, and by Robert Willmott his sonne, lawfully authorised in that behalfe, acknowledging and confessinge his offences, is ordered by the court to make the submission hereafter following in and by the person of his sonne under Robert the elder his hande in that behalf.

I, Robert Willmott the younger, for and in the name and person of my father Robert Willimott of Chadesden, in the county of Derby, yeoman, doe humbly acknowledge and confesse that Robert Willmot the elder, my father, hath offended and done contrary to the lawe and customes of armes, and of this court and kingdom, in using and assuminge the name and title of a gentleman, being soe disclaymed, proclaymed and prohibited, and doe in my father's name promise never to offend in the like kind hereafter; and doe humbly desire this honourable court to forgive the offence and accept of this my submission and acknowledgement, for and in the name and person of my father.'

Dated 30 May 1635.

Signed by Robert Willymotte.

Subscribed in the court in the presence of William Dethick, Garter.

Summary of proceedings

The cause appeared before Lord Maltravers on 24 January 1635. On 30 May the court was to hear the taxes and expenses and mode of submission, while Robert Willymott the younger was warned to attend. On 20 June 1635 Willymott was ordered to pay expenses.


For another report on this see,G. D. Squibb, Reports of Heraldic Cases in the Court of Chivalry, 1623-1732 (London, 1956), p. 20.

On 31 January 1638 Edward Walker was appointed Chester herald in the place of Henry Chitting, deceased. On 17 May 1635 Thomas Thompson was appointed Lancaster herald in the place of William Penson, deceased.

J. Broadway, R. Cust and S. K. Roberts (eds.), A Calendar of the Docquets of Lord Keeper Coventry, 1625-1640 (List and Index Society, special series, 34, 2004), part 1, pp. 204, 222.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Appointment of proctor: 9/4/37 (13 Feb 1635)
    • Articles: 9/4/41 (18 Apr 1635)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiffs' bill of costs: 9/4/20 (Tri 1635)
  • Submission
    • Submission: 9/4/19 (30 May 1635)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/2 (24 Jan 1635)
    • Proceedings: EM349 (30 May 1635)
    • Proceedings before Huntingdon: 8/25 (20 Jun 1635)
    • Undated proceedings: R.19, fos. 390-399 (c. Jun 1635?)

People mentioned in the case

  • Chitting, Henry, herald
  • Dethick, William
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Mynshell, G.
  • Penson, William, herald
  • Pottell, Edward
  • St George, Richard, knight
  • Spencer, Robert
  • Thompson, Thomas, pursuivant
  • Walker, Edward, herald
  • Willymott, Robert the elder, yeoman (also Willmott, Willimott)
  • Willymott, Robert the younger, yeoman (also Willmott, Willimott)

Places mentioned in the case

  • Derbyshire
    • Chaddesden
  • London
    • Staple Inn

Topics of the case

  • false claim to gentility
  • Herald
  • inns of court
  • King of Arms
  • pursuivant