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522 PLOMER V BRUMSALL
William Plomer of Sandy, co. Bedford, gent v Ralph Brumsall of Beeston, Sandy, co. Bedford
February 1636 - February 1637
Plomer, the grandson of Sir William Plomer formerly sheriff of Bedfordshire, complained that Brumsall had called him 'a base lying knave', during January and February 1636 in the parish of St Andrew's, Holborn, Middlesex. Plomer pointed out that Brumsall had been declared a plebeian in the 1634 Visitation of Bedfordshire by Sir Richard St George, Clarenceux. Brumsall, while not claiming to be a gentleman, none the less pointed out that he was charged with finding a 'lawnce horse' for the king's service, was rated at £8 land in the subsidy booke and had paid £20 to the king for knighthood, all of which added up to as much in payments to the king as many of the Bedfordshire justices of the peace. He complained that Plomer had provoked him by saying that he 'bought one house of a poore fellowe for a pott and a cake.' On 7 May 1636 Dr Duck was required to prove the libel and he produced Thomas Smyth and George Rotherham as witnesses for Plomer. Duck petitioned to hear the sentence on 11 February 1637, but no further proceedings survive.
The plaintiff was the eldest son and heir of William Plomer, esq, whose father was Sir William Plomer. His family had been gentry for up to 200 years, while Ralph Brumsall had been proclaimed as a plebeian in the visitation by Sir Richard St George, Clarenceux King of Arms. During January and February in the parish of St Andrew's, Holborn, co. Middlesex, Brumsall said that Plomer 'was a base lying knave', which words were provocative of a duel.
Dated 11 February 1636
Signed by Arthur Duck.
14/1k, Defence interrogatories
1. When and where were the words spoken, unto whom and in whose presence?
2. On what occasion were the words spoken by Plomer and Bromsall? 'Lett such witness set down all the words as he shall depose of were spoken', and in what sequence?
3. Whether at that time and place George Rotherham said to Bromsall that Plomer had said that Bromsall 'doe buy houses good cheape for you bought one house (meaning a house in Sandy) of a poore fellowe for a pott and a cake.'
4. Had Bromsall's ancestors been Beeston freeholders for over 200 years and had they served in the offices of High Constable and High Collector for the subsidy there?
5. Whether Bromsall was charged with finding a 'lawnce horse' for the king's service and was rated at £8 land in the subsidy booke, and that he paid £20 to the king for knighthood; and that he was charged as much as many of Bedfordshire's justices of the peace in payments to the king?
6. Whether Plomer was not a landed man 'and that in publique payments he payeth as the inferior sorte of people', and that Bromsall paid 20 times more in all such payments.
7. Speak the truth of what you know, believe or have heard.
21 February 1636.
Signed by Thomas Eden.
Summary of proceedings
Dr Duck acted as counsel for Plomer and Dr Eden for Brumsall. On 7 May 1636 Dr Duck was required to prove the libel and he produced Thomas Smyth and George Rotherham as witnesses for Plomer. Dr Duck petitioned to hear the sentence on 11 February 1637.
G. D. Squibb, Reports of Heraldic Cases in the Court of Chivalry, 1623-1732 (London, 1956), p. 23.
William Plomer was the son of William Plomer of Radwell, esq, and Anne, daughter of Mr Stumpe of Malmesbury, co. Wiltshire. His paternal grandfather was Sir William Plomer, knighted by James I on Enfield Chase on 23 September 1610 during his service as high sheriff of co. Bedford. William Plomer, esq, was appointed high sheriff of Hertfordshire in November 1633.
F. A. Blaydes (ed.), The Visitations of Bedfordshire, 1566, 1582 and 1634 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 19, 1884), p. 189; 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, 35, 2004), part 2, p. 366.
- Initial proceedings
- Libel: 17/1b (11 Feb 1636)
- Plaintiff's case
- Defence interrogatories: 14/1k (21 Feb 1636)
- Undated proceedings: College of Arms MS. 'Court of Chivalry' (act book, 1636-8) [pressmark R.R. 68C] (hereafter 68C), fos. 64r-67r (c. Apr 1636)
- Proceedings before Arundel: 68C, fos. 89r-100r (May 1636)
- Proceedings before Maltravers: 68C, fos. 74r-83v (7 May 1636)
- Proceedings before Maltravers: 68C, fos. 112r-121v (Jun 1636)
- Proceedings: 68C, fos. 105r-110v (8 Nov 1636)
- Proceedings before Arundel: 68C, fos. 51r-59r (28 Jan 1637)
- Proceedings: 68C, fos. 23r-36v (11 Feb 1637)
- Proceedings: 68C, fos. 70r-73v (c. 1636-8)
People mentioned in the case
- Brumsall, Ralph (also Bromsall)
- Duck, Arthur, lawyer
- Eden, Thomas, lawyer
- Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
- Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
- Plomer, Anne
- Plomer, William, esq
- Plomer, William, gent
- Plomer, William, knight
- Rotherham, George
- St George, Richard, knight
- Smyth, Thomas
- Stuart, Charles I, king
- Stuart, James I, king
- Stumpe, Anne
- Stumpe, Mr
Places mentioned in the case
- Enfield Chase
- St Andrew's, Holborn
Topics of the case
- giving the lie
- high constable
- high sheriff
- justice of the peace
- King of Arms