511 Pendred v Farr

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Robert Pendred of Shefford, co. Bedford, gent v William Farr of the same, innkeeper

May - November 1636


Pendred, an overseer of the poor in Shefford, Bedfordshire, complained that Farr, an innkeeper, had given him the lie when Pendred approached him for his contribution to the poor rate, abusing him as a 'base fellow, foole, asse', and bidding 'a turd in his teeth'. Farr said that Pendred was a 'cunning fellow and could alter figures, and that when he wanted money he went skipping up and downe the towne with a paper, and that noe man would lend him thirtie shillings'. On 7 May 1636 Farr was cited to appear before the court, and process was granted on 13 May. Farr questioned Pendred's gentility and in June 1636 Sir William Le Neve, Clarenceux, was due to appear in the court to certify this. The Earl of Cleveland and Sir Oliver Luke were also mentioned as arbiters in June, and it appears that arbitration was still being attempted on 8 November, now involving Luke and Sir Peter Osborne. No further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

3/12, Petition to Arundel

'Your petitioner, being overseer of the poor for the towne and coming in a loving and neighborlie manner to demand the poore's mony assessed upon William Farr, an innkeeper there, William Farr without any provocation, did openly revile and abuse your petitioner with slanderous and reproachfull language saying that your petitioner is a cunning fellow and could alter figures, and that when hee wanted mony he went skipping up and downe the towne with a paper, and that noe man would lend him thirty shillings. And also called your petitioner base fellow, foole, asse, and many other like tearmes, and bade a turd in his teeth (all which will appeare to your lordship by sufficient proofe). And forasmuch as your petitioner is a gentleman discended of an ancient and noble familie, as he can alsoe make appeare to your honor, and by the injurious and disgracefull wordes is greatly wounded in his reputation and hath noe meanes to right himself but by your lordship's honorable favor.'

Petitioned that Farr be brought to answer.

Process advised by Duck and granted by Maltravers on 13 May 1636.

20/1a, Citation

Farr to appear between 8 and 10am at the Palace of Wesminster on 24 May, at the suit of Pendred for scandalous words provocative of a duel.

Dated 7 May 1636.

'We the constables of Shefford did see the execution of this processe on Fryday the xx th day of this present month of May 1636 whereunto we have set our hands'.

By the special direction of Gilbert Dethick, registrar.

R.19, fo. 7r, Summary of libel

'Pendred and his ancestors for above 300 yeares past is and have bin gentlemen, and c. And that Farr called Pendred a base fellow, foole and asse, and gave him the lye, thereby to provoke and c.'


No signature.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Eden was counsel. In May 1636 Farr questioned Pendred's gentility and thus ability to prosecute him. In June 1636 Sir William Le Neve, Clarenceux King of Arms, was to appear and certify Pendred's gentility, and the earl of Cleveland and Sir Oliver Luke were mentioned as arbiters. On 8 November 1636 the proceedings mentioned Sir Oliver Luke and Sir Peter Osborne. Possibly the quarrel was referred to them to arbitrate and only if they failed would the cause proceed.


Robert Pendred was possibly the son of John Pendred and Elizabeth, widow of John Butler of Shillington, co. Bedford, gent.

F. A. Blaydes (ed.), The Visitations of Bedfordshire, 1566, 1582 and 1634 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 19, 1884), p. 64.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 3/12 (13 May 1636)
    • Citation: 20/1a (7 May 1636)
    • Libel: R.19, fo. 7r (1636)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: College of Arms MS. 'Court of Chivalry' (act book, 1636-8) [pressmark R.R. 68C] (hereafter 68C), fos. 89r-100r (May 1636)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 68C, fos. 112r-121v (Jun 1636)
    • Proceedings: 68C, fos. 105r-110v (8 Nov 1636)

People mentioned in the case

  • Butler, Elizabeth
  • Butler, John
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Farr, William, innkeeper
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Le Neve, William, knight
  • Luke, Oliver, knight
  • Osborne, Peter, knight
  • Pendred, Elizabeth
  • Pendred, John
  • Pendred, Robert, gent
  • Wentworth, Thomas, earl of Cleveland

Places mentioned in the case

  • Bedfordshire
    • Shefford
    • Shillington
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • arbitration
  • denial of gentility
  • giving the lie
  • King of Arms
  • office-holding
  • overseer of the poor
  • provocative of a duel
  • scatological insult
  • taxation