521 Pitts v Shelberry

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Rowland Pitts of St Magnus, London, gent v Henry Shelberry of the same

February 1636


Pitts complained that Shelberry gave him the lie in the parishes of St Magnus and St Michael, Crooked Lane, London, saying that Pitts 'was a base knave, a st[ar?] knave, an arrant knave'. The libel was dated 11 February 1636, but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

17/1c, Libel

Pitts's family had been gentry for up to 200 years, while Shelberry was a plebeian. Between August and October 1635 in the parishes of St Magnus and St Michael, Crooked Lane, London, Shelberry 'gave me the lye and sayd I was a base knave a st[ar?] [document faded and damaged] knave, an arrant knave', which words were provocative of a duel.

Dated 11 February 1636

Signed by Arthur Duck.


Henry Shelberry of London, scrivener (d.1679), was the son of Isaac Shelberry of Colchester and Elizabeth, daughter of one Harvey of Colchester. Henry married Anne, daughter of Alexander Butcher of Wadhurst, co. Sussex, and was mentioned as a scrivener in the 1664 Visitation of London. Henry Shelberry obstructed the collection of sums for Parliament's war effort and had many of his goods confiscated and sold.

Rowland Pitts did not appear among the 1633-5, 1664 or 1687 Visitations of London.

J. B. Whitmore and A. W. Hughes Clarke (eds.), London Visitation Pedigrees, 1664 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 92, 1940), p. 121; K. Lindley, Popular Politics in Civil War London (Aldershot, 1997), pp. 65, 240.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Libel: 17/1c (11 Feb 1636)

People mentioned in the case

  • Butcher, Alexander
  • Butcher, Anne
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Harvey, Elizabeth
  • Pitts, Rowland, gent
  • Shelberry, Anne (also Shelbery)
  • Shelberry, Elizabeth (also Shelbery)
  • Shelberry, Henry (also Shelbery)
  • Shelberry, Isaac (also Shelbery)

Places mentioned in the case

  • Essex
    • Colchester
  • London
    • St Michael, Crooked Lane
    • St Magnus
  • Sussex
    • Wadhurst

Topics of the case

  • civil war
  • denial of gentility
  • giving the lie
  • provocative of a duel
  • taxation