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520 Pincombe v Prust

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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520 PINCOMBE V PRUST

John Pincombe of Poughill, co. Devon, esq v Hugh Prust of Monkleigh, co. Devon, gent

May 1639 - July 1640

Abstract

Pincombe, a barrister of the Middle Temple, complained that on various occasions during 1636 and 1637 Prust, an attorney, had said of him in Great Torrington, Devon, that he was 'a base fellow and a scurvy fellow', and that he had 'dealt basely, vilely, scurvily, ignobly' with Prust and 'would not keep [his] word.' Prust had allegedly added that 'he would imblason my name to my shame and sound a trumpet of my discredit'. During the same period, at the office of Mr Page, a Master of Chancery, in Chancery Lane, Prust was also alleged to have said 'that I was neither worshipfull nor a gent.' Finally he claimed that Prust had given him 'provoking words' at a dinner party at the Black Swan Inn, Exeter in the presence of local gentry and clerics. The main evidence for these remarks was contained in a series of three letters, written by Prust to Pincombe between July and November 1636 which revealed that they had quarrelled over a debt of £19-12s-2d owed by Pincombe to Prust. Prust won a judgement against Pincombe for £120 in the Stannary Court of Chagford in the autumn of 1636, but Pincombe appealed to Sir James Bagge, then vice warden of the Stannaries which delayed execution and clouded the issue by having Prust summoned at such short notice that he was unable to attend the hearing. In November 1636 Prust proposed an arbitration, appealing to the fact that they had been schoolfellows together forty years earlier and that he wished for a quiet old age, but also containing a veiled threat to testify to words he had spoken against the Dean of Exeter. This seems to have had little effect because each had launched a suit against the other in the Court of Chivalry by May 1639. [For Prust's counter suit, see cause 544].

Pincombe's witnesses were examined by a commission headed by William Tyler clerk, on 10 April 1640, at the inn of Sidwell Pennacott in Chulmleigh, Devon. In his defence, Prust questioned the gentility of Pincombe's father and grandfather, who were South Molton clothiers, and also claimed that he had falsely assumed a commission as captain of the South Molton trained band, beating up his drum late at night to lead 'his guard of souldiers from alehouse to alehouse.' Several witnesses laughed this off, claiming that when Pincombe was 'merrily disposed' he had a habit of beating the drum to summon up the 'untrained' band and would then disperse money to local paupers. Prust also maintained that Pincombe had a history of quarrelling and that when he had been called on to answer a charge in Chancery, he had

The sentence does not survive, but it seems that in this case both sides were able to claim some sort of victory. Prust won the counter suit, but Pincombe won this case, securing a sentence on 6 July 1640 in which Prust was bound to perform his submission and obtain a certificate for having done so.

Initial proceedings

16/4l, Letter of Prust

Hugh Prust to John Pincombe at 'his house of Wellsbeare in Poughill', Torrington, 23 July 1636

'I thought it impossible you could so much digresse from that worthy ranke and quality [which] should make you value, or at least your several letters making your promises of value and substance as I esteemed them not of shadows, and vilely (I had almost said scurrility) as you performe them. Mr Smyth tells me you sent vili to him, but not to be paid unless you might have up your man's bill given for £18-4s-9d being justly due and longe behind for your part, the one or other he promised to do at my returne from London to make good which his promise he hath redelivered the vili to your messenger that brought it; and if you will not make even part at the assizes your letters shall sound the praise of your noble performance if that will not shame you to deale so ignobly with your friends. Mr Clotworthy and I must try (if Lydford or some other lawe will make them) your obligacon to pay your due. You must know there is more money disburst since the accompt made up when your man gave the bill who is not to be blamed; nor did he anything but what became an honest servant in pursuance of his master's letters and direccons. I expect your liberal readiness to beare out my charges that ventured my life to do for you as for my selfe. How you well requite it I know not. The business is now at length brought to this last order. I trust, as by the last report which you may see at the assizes, that you are as neare your whole money as we are. To the consideration thereof I leave you and myselfe to be your friend and servant if you will use me as you would be used.'

Signed by Hugh Prust.

16/4k, Letter of Prust

Hugh Prust to John Pincombe 'at his house in Poughill', Monkleigh, 13 August 1636

'I see tis not faire means, nor any friendly desire I can use, will move you to doe me that right I know you would expect from me and all men, as it is fit you should; and in much less than 4 yeares to have that due and reckonings made even from any able man. And you do not only wrong me in deteyning your own part of the money I have disbursed for you, but your president and example begets answere from the rest, They will pay when Mr Pincomb doth. Wherefore I send you this bearer with Stannary process against your self and your man, hoping it is the shortest way to get my money from you on your man's bill, your letters and promises under your hand, whereof you know I have witnesses enough. And if my privilege in Stannary will not do it I will then lay what my privilege in Chequer and Common Pleas can doe. But I hope you will not have your name blazoned for such unworthy dealing with me, but will send my money by this bearer, which by the accompt on the other side you may find to be £19-12s-2d, the particulars whereof I have ready to shew you at any tyme to be examined by you, as Mr Clotworthy hath done. To the consideration thereof I leave you and myself to be your friend if you would use me as you would be used'.

Signed by Hugh Prust.

'Your business is now come to perfection which I leave to your own managing, that better can do it than myself, proposing to meddle no further therein unless you agree amongst you to give me some recompence toward my great charge. You have a note of my hand for some costs for Mr Hach, on pretence to stay a trial when you had none against him. You know it was subscribed at Westminster in court, [to] you and not to him to get so much money from him if it might have bene. Pray send that note by this bearer or your answer to the contrary that I may use means to have it up.

Mr Pincomb was behind of his 4th part of the charge against Clotworthy and Leach in Michas terme 1635 as by the bills of particular: £17-4s-9d

Whereof he paid in June 1636 by his man Owen: £4-0s-0d

So rested then: £13-4s-9d

His 4th parte of Hillary terme 1635 and of Easter terme 1636 is: £4-7s-4d

His 4th parte of Trinity terme 1636: £2-0s-0d

So due by Mr Pincomb this 13th day of August 1636: £19-12s-2d'.

16/4j, Letter of Prust

Hugh Prust to John Pincombe at 'his house of Wellsbeare in Poughill', Marsh, 28 November 1636

'Though my former letters could not move you to do me right, as at our last meeting you promised you would ere you went out of Exon, your breach wherein begot the suites now a foote between us, wherein you know you are condemned and from thence have appealed to Mr Vicewarden, before whom you summoned me to appear on such short warning as you knew was impossible for me to performe, and so you thought to have catcht me by delay. But the kt's. nobleness would not judge my default till he heard me, and therefore gave you a second day to summon me, whereof I had notice though you would *not* summon me. And so I now perceive a 3rd day is given you to prosecute your appeal 14 December next, of which I do take notice and will attend it God willing. But methinks Mr Pincomb and I, schoolfellows and friends this 40 years, should not so much weaken our discretions to have our names on the stage for that. Men of reason can judge themselves for which cause I once again hereby friendly and charitably invite you to imbrace peace with me. You have appealed to Sir Ja. Bagge for equity. I offer you no rigour. Let your own heart judge you. I desire from you but the money I have laid out of my purse for you, which by 2 notes of agreement and 3 letters of your own hand writing you promise me payment, as divers witnesses can likewise testify. I wonder you should not blush and shame to have this proved against you to your disgrace. I know your will and purse would have all goe as you list. I desire you believe neither of them must move me to lose my money. Can you object I have wronged you in word or deed. Prove it I will give you full satisfaction and a meeting *convenient* when and where you please. And shalbe willing my Cosen Elston, that is your good friend as well as mine, shalbe the judge of all differences between us who I have intreated to ride over to you herewith to procure me your answer.

I have been importuned by my worthy friends to discover your words spoken in my presence in several publique places *against Mr Deane of Exon,* which I have yet refused to do. How far it may concern you let your own heart tell you. I love mine ease, peace and quietness in my old age. Methinks you should not dislike the same. I conclude and name myselfe the desirer of your better requitals.'

Signed by Hugh Prust.

6/163, Plaintiff's bond

21 May 1639

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

Signed by John Pincombe.

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

6/110, Defendant's bond

1 June 1639

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

Signed by Edward Hungerford.

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

16/4b, Libel

1. Pincombe was descended from a family of ancient gentry and he was utter barrister at law in Middle Temple, London.

2. Prust and his family were plebeians.

3. For 12 months from March 1636, in the parish of Great Torrington, co. Devon, Prust had said of Pincombe 'that I was a base fellow and a scurvy fellow and that I had dealt basely, vilely, scurvily, ignobly with Prust; and that I would not keep my word; and that he would imblason my name to my shame and sound a trumpet of my discredit'. For 12 months from March 1638, in the city of London and its Middlesex suburbs and in Torrington, co. Devon, Prust had said 'that I was neither worshipfull nor a gent', which words were provocative of a duel.

No date.

Signed by Clere Talbot.

10/8a, Libel

1. Pincombe's family had been ancient and armigerous gentry for up to 200 years, and John Pincombe was an Utter Barrister of the Middle Temple.

3. Prust gave him provoking words in the Black Swan Inn, Exeter.

No date.

Signed by Clere Talbot.

Plaintiff's case

16/4a, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners Peter Sainthill, esq, Edward Cotton, clerk, William Tayler, clerk and Robert Pollard, gent, and also, Anthony Short, Professor of Theology, John Bury, John Pyne and Daniel Challoner, clerks, to meet from 9 to 11 April 1640 at Penicote in the town of Chumleigh, co. Devon.

William Lewin assigned Robert Kifte as notary public.

Dated 14 February 1640.

Signed by William Lewin.

10/8b, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners Peter Sainthill, esq, Edward Cotton, clerk, William Tayler, clerk, Robert Pollard, gent, and also, Anthony Short, Professor of Theology, John Dury, John Pyne and Daniel Chaloner, clerks, to meet from 11 to 14 April 1640 at 'the Peny Cote' in the town of Chulmleigh, co. Devon.

William Lewin assigned Robert Kiffie as notary public.

Dated 14 February 1640

Signed by William Lewin.

16/4d, First set of defence interrogatories

1. What was the witness's age, occupation and condition? Where had they lived during the last ten years and how did they know the parties? Were they a relative, tenant, retainer, or obliged in money to either of the parties?

2. Had they been asked to come to depose or instructed to do so? Had they been promised anything for their testimony?

3. Whether he knew Prust and for how long? Had Prust 'allwaies lived in the ranke and fashion of a gent and a man of good esteem and quality in the country where he liveth, and amongst people of the best rank and quality, a man of civil, grave and peaceable carriage and deportment and generally reputed'?

4. Was the witness present at the speaking of the words in the libel, and if so, why? Exactly where, when and who was present? Did Pincombe first provoke Prust with 'scandalous words'? Did Pincombe swear, 'or use boasting or intemperate language'?

5. 'Whether he knew Pincombe and for how long, and whether Pincombe 'be not a man of hasty provoking and intemperate carriage and behaviour, of a stiff and quarrelsome disposition and in his passion forward to give abuse or distaste to those amongst whom he is conversant and so generally accompted and reputed'?

6. Whether he knew Pincombe's father or grandfather, of what quality or profession were they? Were they gentlemen or descended of gentlemen, and where did they live? Was Pincombe's grandfather a weaver or clothier, and was Pincombe's father a weaver, clothier or mercer in South Molton?

7. Had Pincombe entered the Inns of Court? If so, which one? For how long was he a student, and whether he was ever called to the bar, 'or what exercise hath he done for obteyning any degree in the lawe'? Had the witness ever seen him wearing a barrister's gown? Had the witness ever heard him plead at the barr? If so, in what case and who were plaintiff or defendant? Had Pincombe 'usually stiled himself a Capteyn and Captayn of the untrained band or company of Southmolton'? 'By what authority hath he stiled himself; whether he hath had any such power or commission from the Lord Lieutenant or the deputy lieutenants of the county of Devon? Whether under color of that name or office hath he at unseasonable tymes in the night caused a drum to be beaten up and called together apprentices and others of the town of Molton, and divers of uncivil and infamous behaviour, and hath ledd them as his guard of souldiers from alehouse to alehouse and from tavern to tavern within the towne of Southmolton'?

No date.

Signed by Joseph Martyn.

16/4e, Second set of defence interrogatories

1. Had the witness been a 'bayliff or footeman that useth to serve process'? Four years ago, had he served Prust and Pincombe with a process or order from Chancery at the suite of James Frank and William Clotworthy, and 'did not the witness make affidavit that he had so done? Did not Pincombe since say that the witness had forsworn himself in that affidavit and that Pincombe would have him in Star Chamber or indite him for it and have his eares'?

2. 'Whether at the making of that affidavit, and at the hearing of the cause thereupon between the parties at the house of Mr Page (a Mr of the Chancery) in Chancery Lane, did he see Pincombe and Prust together? Whether were they not then good friends and joined together as plaintiffs in that suite and so continued of a good space after? Whether did the witness ever hear Pincombe and Prust talke or speake together in any unkind or angry manner at all? When and where was it and who was present'?

3. Did the witness reside in the parish of Poughill where Pincombe lived? Did the witness fear to displease Pincombe and believe that if he did, Pincombe would have revenge? What had the witness been promised for his journey? Had he been directed to swear that Prust had said that Pincombe 'was not worshipfull or an esquire or gent'? 'By whom was the promise made'?

No date.

Signed by Joseph Martyn.

16/4g, Third set of defence interrogatories

Was the witness present at the Black Swan, Exeter, when the words in the libel were spoken? What exactly were the words? Did Pincombe enter the dining chamber where Prust was at supper with Richard Cabell, esq, George Prestwood, esq, William Leigh, esq, George Beare, esq, John Prestwood esq, Jo. Berry, esq, Hugh Wyott, esq, Edmond Fountaine, clerk, parson of Parkham and Parracombe, Arthur Giffard, M.A. and Robert Slee, gent? Did these gentlemen 'somewhat crowd themselves' to make room for Pincombe? 'Had not most of these gent their servants then waiting on them? Did Pincombe in any way provoke Prust to give him 'any uncivil or offensive words in your hearing'?

No date.

Signed by Joseph Martyn.

16/4f, Fourth set of defence interrogatories

1. 'Whether the witness doth know think or believe that the letters now showed unto him in this his examination subscribed with the name of John Pincombe be all or how much thereof of the proper handwriting of Pincombe? And whether John Pincombe subscribed to the paper now shewed unto him or any of the words and which of them therein conteyned are the proper hand writinge of Pincombe'?

No date.

Signed by Joseph Martyn.

16/4h, Fifth set of defence interrogatories

1. 'Whether the witness doth know, have heard, or do believe, that Prust hath a Judgement for 120li against Pincombe in the Stannary Court of Chagford by default? Did Pincombe 'make severall appeales and obteyne severall references upon the judgment *for relief in equity* unto Sir James Bagge, knt., then vicewarden of the Stannaryes, unto Mr Francis Trelawney, his deputy vicewarden, and unto John Were, esq., and John Halse, gent? Were they not obteyned at the instance and request of Pincombe? Were there not several orders thereupon made that Pincombe should bring into the court the sum of xxl or thereabouts demanded by Prust in this declaration of Pincombe and pay Prust's costs*; and Prust to prosecute his enquiry for damages, but stay execution until Sir James Bagge heard the cause in equity? Did* Pincombe performe any of the orders? Did he not bring a prohibition to stop the proceedings of the court? Whether are the papers now shewed unto you, subscribed with the names of Sir James Bagge, Francis Trelawny, John Were and John Halse, [were] the same orders or copies of them, to your knowledge or as you thinke or beleve'?

No date.

Signed by Joseph Martyn.

16/4i, Sixth set of defence interrogatories

'Whether the witness hath been at any time a solicitor, or baile pledge, or surety, for Pincombe in the accon late and yet depending in the Stannary Court of Chagford against Pincombe at suite of Prust? Is not the witness in that accon and court returned a pledge or surety for Pincombe? Did not this witness ride to Plymouth with Pincombe to prosecute an appeal in that accon before Sir James Bagge, knt., deceased, then vicewarden of the Stannaryes of Devon? Was not Prust summoned by Pincombe to attend a hearing of the cause before the vicewarden by warrant under his hand? Did not Prust send his letters of excuse for not appearing unto Sir James Bagge and inclosed it in a letter to one Mr Smith a minister to solicite Sir James Bagge therein in the behalf of Prust? Is not this witness a minister in holy orders? Did not the witness take on him the name of Smyth; and said to the footeman that brought the letters I am the man to whom they are directed? Did not [the] witness open the letters or read them to Pincombe; and how far and in what manner did he discover the secrets of the letters to Pincombe? Was not Prust by non delivery of his letters to Sir James Bagge and Mr Smyth much abused and prejudiced; and what plots, conspiracies or consultations had the witness and Pincombe against Prust after knowledge of the secrecy of the letters? Did not Pincombe by Prust's non appearance obteyn a mandate from the vicewarden for stay of the accon and afterwards a prohibicon out of the Common Pleas to delaye and keepe Prust from his last debt'?

No date.

Signed by Joseph Martyn.

16/4i, Seventh set of defence interrogatories

'Whether the witness doth know that Mr George Holgrove clerk was a solicitor or agent for Pincombe in the suite in Chagford depending between Pincombe and Prust? Did he not many times and how many times come thither and to Plymouth about the suite sometimes with Pincombe and sometimes alone in Pincombe's behalf'?

No date.

Signed by Joseph Martyn.

16/4c, Plaintiff depositions

Taken before William Tyler and Daniel Challoner, clerks, on 10 April 1640, in the house of Sidwelle Pennacott in the town of 'Chulmeleigh'.

(Witness 1), John Cade of Poughill, co. Devon, weaver, born there, aged about 37

To Pincombe's libel:

1. Pincombe's father was accounted a 'gentleman of an ancient stocke', while he lived, and Pincombe himself was an utter barrister that had studied in the Middle Temple, 'and therefore an esq as he believeth for he is commonly called by the name of esq.'

2. Prust 'is commonly called Mr Prust and accounted a man of good estate but whither he be a gentleman or esq or not he knoweth not.'

3. About 3 or 4 years since 'as he remembreth', Prust was 'at the Chamber of one Mr Page one of the Maisters of the Chancery situate in Chancery Lane in London and having some discourse concerning John Pincombe esq, said that Pincombe was neither worshipful or a gentleman... for that he was present in and heard the premises. Present also [were] John Leach and James Franke, gent, and one Mr George Beere, councellor at lawe, with others whom he doth not now remember.'

Signed by John Cade [his mark] and by the above two commissioners.

To Prust's first set of interrogatories:

1. 'He getteth his living by his trade of weaving and sometimes by husbandry'.

2. 'A servant of Mr Pincombe gave him xii d for his charges to come and testifie, he having travailed 8 miles to that purpose.'

3. He had known Prust for 7 years or more for which time Prust had lived 'in good ranke and fashion and well esteemed of'.

4. 'Saving that when he heard the wordes formerly by him deposed he carried writings for Mr Franke to the chamber of Mr Page, and that the wordes were spoken between' 2 and 3pm 'as he remembreth.'

5. He had known Pincombe for about 20 years.

6. Pincombe's father was a merchant living in South Molton.

7. 'He hath heard it related that Mr Pincombe when he hath been merrily disposed hath caused a drumme to be beaten.'

Signed by John Cade [his mark] and by the above two commissioners.

To Prust's second set of interrogatories:

1. 'When he is employed he doth serve subpoenas and orders and goeth on foote to London to make oath and affidavit thereof and that about 4 years since he served Mr Prust with an order as is interrogate and made affidavit thereof and hath heard that Mr Pincombe did report the words interrogate but he never spake them to this respondent.'

Signed by John Cade [his mark] and by the above two commissioners.

Deposed at Exeter, 16 April 1640

(Witness 2), John Bellew of Barnstaple, co. Devon, gent, born at Yarnscombe, co. Devon, aged about 24

To Pincombe's libel:

1. He had heard that Pincombe was an utter barrister at law and 'an esq of ancient stocke and family'.

2. Prust was 'accounted a gentleman and so commonly called.'

3. 'At the time of this examination he viewed three letters annexed unto this commission which he verily beleeveth to be the proper hand writing of Hugh Prust gent.'

Signed by John Bellew and by commissioners Anthony Short and William Tyler.

To Prust's first set of interrogatories:

2. 'He was percepted to come and testifie in this cause and received xii d for his salary.'

3. He had known Prust for 7 years or more for which time Prust had lived 'in the ranke of a gentleman and in good esteem and fashion and hath gravely and civilly behaved himself.'

5. He had known Pincombe for about 5 years 'and hath in his passion given some angry words tending to a distaste.'

7. He had heard 'Mr Pincombe stile himself a Captaine and hath heard that he hath caused a drumme to be beaten in Molton.'

To Prust's third set of interrogatories:

1. Pincombe 'came into a Chamber at the Blacke Swanne in the City of Exon interr where were present at supper one Mr Cabell, Mr Prestwood, Mr Beane and other gent where some *angry* words passed between Mr Pincombe and Mr Prust at which time some of the servants of the gent at the table were present and waited on their Masters but he heard no words of provocation given by Prust to Pincombe.'

Signed by John Bellew and by commissioners Short and Tyler.

(Witness 3), Robert Slee of Sherwill, co. Devon, gent, born there, aged about 40

To Pincombe's libel:

1. He believed Pincombe was a gentleman, had heard him called esq, and heard that 'he hath taken the degree of an utter barrister at law'.

2. Prust was 'esteemed a gentleman and as far as he knoweth or hath heard hath behaved himself accordingly.'

3. 'At the time of his examination he saw three letters annexed to this commission which three letters he verily beleeveth to be the proper hand writing of Hugh Prust.'

Signed by Robert Slee and by commissioners Short and Tyler

To Prust's first set of interrogatories:

4. He had heard words between Pincombe and Prust 'which he doth not now certainly remember.'

5. Pincombe 'is a man transported something with passion and therein a man angry and provoking.'

6. He had heard that Pincombe's father was a merchant or shopkeeper in South Molton.

7. 'He hath heard Mr Pincombe in his merry disposition to say that he was Captaine of the untrained number and sometimes in his own house to make himself merry hath caused a drumme to be beaten.'

To Prust's third set of interrogatories:

1. When Pincombe came into the room there were divers gent at supper and some of them had their servants attending on them.'

To Prust's fourth set of interrogatories:

'At the time of his examination hath seene six several notes or letters all which he verily believeth are subscribed with the proper hand writing of John Pincombe esq.'

Signed by Robert Slee and by commissioners Short and Tyler.

16/4c, Notary public's certificate

Dated 1 May 1640.

Certificate in Latin signed by Robert Kifte, notary public that the above examinations had been completed and were now being returned.

Notary's mark.

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fos. 137r-138v, Plaintiff deposition

fos. 137r-138v (Witness 4), John Leech of St Martin-in-the-Fields, co. Middlesex, esq, lived there for 7 years, born at Pin, co. Devon, aged about 50

18 May 1640

To Pincombe's libel:

1. He had known Pincombe for 6 years and knew him to be a barrister at law.

3. In 1636 or 1637 he came out of Mr Page's office in Chancery Lane, and heard one Cade say that Prust had shortly before said that Mr Pincombe 'was neither worshipful nor a gentleman'. Cade said that he had taken a note to remember the words. Mr James Franke was also present.

To Prust's interrogatories:

1. He was a 'gentleman usher and quarter waiter to the king's Majesty'.

2. 'He was served with a compulsorie to come to be a witness in this cause', and had received nothing for doing so.

3. He had known Prust for 7 years, and Prust was an attorney and solicitor.

4. Cade spoke the words in an afternoon, and the witness was there because he had some business with a master of Chancery.

5. He had known Pincombe for 5 years and 'hath heard that he is a man of a hastie disposition'.

7. He had heard that Pincombe 'hath styled himself a Captaine of the untrained band.'

To Prust's second set of interrogatories:

1. 'Cade was employed by Mr Franke to serve subpoenas and make affidavits.'

2. He did not see Prust and Pincombe together at Mr Page's house or office in Chancery Lane.

3. Negative, for his part.

To Prust's third set of interrogatories:

1. He was not present.

To Prust's eighth set of interrogatories:

3. 'Mr Prust did solicit a cause in Chancery for Mr Pincombe and others and was before Mr Page upon that occasion the time and place aforesaid.'

Signed by John Leche.

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten, 18 May 1640.

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fos. 177v-178v, Plaintiff deposition
fos. 177v-178v (Witness 5), James Frank of St Botolph's, Aldgate, London, grocer, lived there for 8 or 9 years, born at Poughill, co. Devon, aged about 45

12 June 1640

To Pincombe's libel:

1-2. He had known Pincombe for 30 years, during which time he 'lived in the fashion of a gentleman'. He had known Prust for 10 years and had heard that he 'lived as an attorney or solicitor of causes'.

3. Three years ago at Mr Page's house in Chancery Lane, London, he heard Prust say in the presence of Mr Page, master of Chancery, Mr Leech, Mr Beare and John Cade, that Mr Pincombe was 'neither worshipful nor a gentleman'.

To Prust's last set of interrogatories:

3. At the time of speaking the words, Prust was before Mr Page concerning a suit in Chancery in which Pincombe and Prust were plaintiffs against this witness who was guardian to Mr Clotworthy. Prust then 'did tax John Cade for making an untrue affidavit against Mr Pincombe'. Prust said that Pincombe would have Cade in Star Chamber. Cade replied 'Mr Pincombe was a worshipful gentleman and would do him no wrong.' Then Prust said 'Mr Pincombe is neither worshipful nor a gentleman'.

4. He did not know whether Prust spoke the words of malice or not.

To Prust's first set of interrogatories:

1. He was a London grocer indebted by £70 to Mr Pincombe.

2. He came to testify at the request and cost of Mr Newte, solicitor to Mr Pincombe.

Signed by James Franke.

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten, 13 June 1640.

Submission

5/112, Bond of submission

6 July 1640

Prust is bound to perform his submission and obtain a certificate of having done so.

Signed by Hugh Prust and Joseph Prust.

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

Summary of proceedings

Dr Talbot was counsel for Pincombe with Dr Marten for Prust. There were proceedings before Lord Maltravers on 4 February 1640.

Notes

Hugh Prust (1614-1650) was the eldest son of Hugh Prust (d. 1666) and Anne, daughter of Francis Cary of Alwington. According to Monkleigh parish register, on 19 May 1645 Hugh Prust married Jane, daughter of John Coffin of Portlinch, co. Devon. He may well have been the Lieutenant-Colonel Prust in the royalist regiment of Sir Thomas Stukeley. He was buried at Monkleigh.

J. L. Vivian (ed.), The Visitations of the County of Devon, 1531, 1564 and 1620 (Exeter, 1895), pp. 210, 630; P.R. Newman, Royalist officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660: A biographical dictionary (London, 1981), p. 308.

John Pincombe of South Molton was the son of John Pincombe of South Molton and Amy, daughter of Richard Dorridge of Barnstaple. John Pincombe became a Barrister of the Middle Temple. He married Mary, daughter of Sir John Carew of Crowcombe [see cause 93]. He died before 1657.

F. T. Colby (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Devon in the year 1620 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 6, 1872), pp. 210, 226-7; J. L. Vivian (ed.), The Visitations of the County of Devon, 1531, 1564 and 1620 (Exeter, 1895), p. 594; C. T. Martin (ed.), Minutes of Parliament of the Middle Temple, vol. 2, 1603-1649 (London, 1904), pp. 445, 598, 602, 604, 610, 615, 621, 738.

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Letter of Prust: 16/4l (23 Jul 1636)
    • Letter of Prust: 16/4k (13 Aug 1636)
    • Letter of Prust: 16/4j (28 Nov 1636)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 6/163 (21 May 1639)
    • Defendant's bond: 6/110 (1 Jun 1639)
    • Libel: 16/4b (no date)
    • Libel: 10/8a (no date)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: 16/4a (14 Feb 1640)
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: 10/8b (14 Feb 1640)
    • First set of defence interrogatories: 16/4d (no date)
    • Second set of defence interrogatories: 16/4e (no date)
    • Third set of defence interrogatories: 16/4g (no date)
    • Fourth set of defence interrogatories: 16/4f (no date)
    • Fifth set of defence interrogatories: 16/4h (no date)
    • Sixth set of defence interrogatories: 16/4i (no date)
    • Seventh set of defence interrogatories: 16/4i (no date)
    • Plaintiff depositions: 16/4c (10-16 Apr 1640)
    • Notary public's deposition: 16/4c (1 May 1640)
    • Plaintiff deposition: Cur Mil 1631-42, fos. 137-8 (18 May 1640)
    • Plaintiff deposition: Cur Mil 1631-42, fos. 177v-178v (12 Jun 1640)
  • Submission
    • Bond on submission: 5/112 (6 Jul 1640)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Bagge, James, knight (also Bagg)
  • Beane, Mr
  • Beare, George, esq
  • Bellew, John, gent
  • Berry, Jo., esq
  • Bury, John, clerk (also Dury)
  • Cabell, Richard, esq
  • Cade, John, weaver
  • Carew, John, knight
  • Carew, Mary
  • Cary, Anne
  • Cary, Francis
  • Challoner, Daniel, clerk
  • Clothworthy, William, Mr
  • Coffin, Jane
  • Coffin, John, gent
  • Cotton, Edward, clerk
  • Deane, Mr
  • Dorridge, Amy
  • Dorridge, Richard
  • Elston
  • Fountaine, Edmund, clerk
  • Frank, James, grocer / gent
  • Gifford, Anthony, M.A.
  • Hach, Mr
  • Halse, John, gent
  • Holgrove, George, clerk
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Hungerford, Edward
  • Kifte, Robert, notary public
  • Leach, John, esq (also Leech, Leche)
  • Leigh, William, esq
  • Lewin, William, lawyer
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Martin, Joseph, lawyer (also Martyn)
  • Newte, Mr, lawyer
  • Owen
  • Page, Mr
  • Pennacott, innkeeper
  • Pincombe, Amy
  • Pincombe, John, esq
  • Pincombe, Mary
  • Pollard, Robert, gent
  • Prestwood, George, esq
  • Prestwood, John, esq
  • Prust, Anne
  • Prust, Hugh, gent
  • Prust, Jane
  • Pyne, John, clerk
  • Sainthill, Peter, esq
  • Short, Anthony, Professor of Theology
  • Slee, Robert, gent
  • Smyth, Mr
  • Stukeley, Thomas, knight
  • Talbot, Clere, lawyer
  • Trelawney, Francis, Mr
  • Tyler, William, clerk (also Tayler)
  • Watson, John
  • Were, John, esq
  • Wyott, Hugh, esq

Places mentioned in the case

  • Devon
    • Alwington
    • Barnstaple
    • Chagford
    • Chumleigh
    • Exeter
    • Great Torrington
    • Monkleigh
    • Parkham
    • Parracombe
    • Penicote
    • Portlinch
    • Poughill
    • Sherwill
    • South Molton
    • Yarnscombe
  • London
    • Chancery Lane
    • Inner Temple
    • Middle Temple
    • St Botolph's, Aldgate
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Somerset
    • Crowcombe

Topics of the case

  • allegation of tradesman status
  • assizes
  • civil war
  • Court of Chancery
  • Court of Common Pleas
  • Court of Exchequer
  • debt
  • denial of gentility
  • deputy lieutenant
  • inns of court
  • insult before gentlemen
  • judicial maiming
  • Lord Lieutenant
  • military officer
  • office-holding
  • other courts
  • royalist
  • Star Chamber
  • trained band