531 Popham v Sellacke

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Alexander Popham of Thurloxton, co. Somerset, gent v Henry Sellacke of West Monkton, co. Somerset, gent

July 1639


Popham complained that Sellacke had threatened him with a cudgel, calling him 'a base fellowe, a base knave and the scumme of the countrey', thereby provoking Popham to fight him. Process was granted on 11 July 1639, but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

6/70, Plaintiff's bond

10 July 1639

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

Signed by Alex. Popham.

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

6/71, Petition to Maltravers

Popham was 'a gent. discended of an ancient family and hath right to bear armes. Tthat he was lately very much abused in words and gesture by Henry Sellacke of Westmonckton in the said county, who, in a dareing manner, said unto your peticoner that your peticoner was a base fellowe, a base knave and the scumme of the countrey; and att the speaking of the words, Henry Sellacke having a cudgell in his hand held it upp and offered to strike your peticoner, provoking him thereby to fight with him.'

Petitioned that Sellacke be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process on 11 July 1639.


Sarah, the daughter and coheir of Alexander Popham of Thurloxton, co. Somerset, married Richard Crosse of Wells, esq. Henry Selleck of West Monckton, co. Somerset, gent, was the son of William Selleck of Tolland, co. Somerset, gent. Henry married Margery, daughter of William Bennett of Isle Brewers, co. Somerset.

G. D. Squibb (ed.), The Visitation of Somerset and the City of Bristol, 1672 (Publications of the Harleian Society, new series, 11, 1992), pp. 49, 132.

An Alexander Popham, son of Edward Popham of Huntworth and Jane, daughter of Richard Norton of Bristol, is mentioned in the Visitation of 1623.

F. T. Colby (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Somerset in the year 1623 (Publications of the Harleain Society, 11, 1876), p. 125.

The plaintiff is not to be confused with the Alexander Popham who became a prominent parliamentarian in Somerset and Wiltshire during the civil war.

J. Wroughton, 'Alexander Popham (1605-1669)', Oxford DNB (Oxford, 2004); M. F. Keeler, The Long Parliament, 1640-1641: A Biographical Dictionary of its Members (Philadelphia, 1954), p. 310.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Plaintiff's bond: 6/70 (10 Jul 1639)
    • Petition to Maltravers: 6/71 (11 Jul 1639)

People mentioned in the case

  • Bennett, Margery
  • Bennett, William
  • Crosse, Richard, esq
  • Crosse, Sarah
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Norton, Jane
  • Norton, Richard
  • Popham, Alexander, gent
  • Popham, Edward
  • Popham, Jane
  • Popham, Sarah
  • Sellacke, Henry, gent (also Selleck)
  • Sellacke, Margery (also Selleck)
  • Sellacke, William, gent (also Selleck)
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Somerset
    • Isle Brewers
    • Thurloxton
    • Tolland
    • West Monkton

Topics of the case

  • civil war
  • denial of gentility
  • parliamentarian
  • provocative of a duel
  • threatened violence
  • weapon