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538 Powell v Jones

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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538 POWELL V JONES

Philip Powell of St Lawrence Pountney, London, gent v Edmund Jones of Gray's Inn, London, gent

December 1639 - October 1640

Figure 538:

London Bridge and Southwark in the early seventeenth century, showing St Saviour's church (also known as St Mary Overy) in the foreground. Philip Powell and Edmund Jones quarrelled in the street here in late 1639.

Abstract

Powell complained that in November-December 1639 in the street in St Saviour's parish, Southwark, on the way to Marshalsea prison, Jones had called him 'a base rascally fellow, and a beggar', saying that he 'had begged of him on the high waye and that of late time he begged about the streets'. Jones's friend, Henry Probart, esq, of Penclase [Penclawdd?], Monmouthshire, was being arrested at the time over a debt to Powell which was the subject of an action in the Knight Marshal's court. Jones, a student at Gray's Inn, admitted to speaking the words to Probart, in Powell's absence, but insisted that he had been provoked by Powell preventing him from giving bail for Probart. He also maintained that Powell was not a gentleman by descent, but had lived in a penurious state begging money from Probart and his son until his recent marriage to a rich widow. Process was granted on 9 December 1639 and Powell's witnesses were examined before Sir Henry Marten in April and May 1640. Jones's witnesses appeared before William Jones and David Powell, gents, on 24 September 1640 at the inn of Francis Gulwell in Raglan, Monmouthshire. They confirmed that prior to his marriage Powell had lived in Monmouthshire 'in a poor and mean estate, and not in the fashion of a gentleman', relying on handouts from Probart and his son. No indication of sentence survives and the case was probably lost with the suspension of the court's proceedings in December 1640.

Initial proceedings

2/68, Petition to Arundel

'Edmund Jones, of St Andrew's Holborne, did, within these two months last past diverse times call your petitioner, a base rascally fellow, and a beggar and said he had begged of him on the high waye, and that of late time he begged about the streets, with divers other opprobrious speeches (your petitioner being qualified as above and of an ancient family) in the presence of diverse credible witnesses without any provocation, and your petitioner being voide of remedy elce where.'

Petitioned that Jones be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process on 9 December 1639.

2/67, Plaintiff's bond

10 January 1640

Bound to appear 'in the court in the paynted chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'.

Signed by Philip Powell.

Sealed and delivered in the presence of Humphrey Terrick.

2/46, Defendant's bond

24 January 1640

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

Signed by Edmund Jones.

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

15/3a, Libel [damaged]

1. Powell's family had been gentry for up to 60 years. Edmund Jones had between last October and January 1640 said that 'I was a base rascallie begger, and one that had begged of him and others on the high waye and one that had begged about the streets', thereby provoking Powell to duel.

No date.

Signed by Thomas Gwynn.

Plaintiff's case

14/3nn, Defence interrogatories

1. What is the relationship of the witness to the parties involved?

2. Where and when were the words spoken, in the city or the suburbs?

3. How had they came to know Powell? Were they bailiffs or employed to arrest men? Had they arrested Mr Probart of Pontyglasse, co. [Monmouth superimposed over Montgomery], Wales, 'for a pretended debt' at the suit of Powell and delivered him to the Marshalsea prison, refusing to take bail at Powell's request, despite being offered sufficient. Was Edmund Jones present at this arrest?

4-5. If Jones did speak the words in the libel, was it not upon the occasion of Mr Probart's arrest only? Did he speak anything other than this to Mr Probart: 'that he taking it very unkindly that Mr Probart should be soe hardly used by Powell I doe wonder that he, meaning Phillipp Powell, will make no more of his fortunes, but by his ill dealing, will drawe gentlemen upon him and thereby spende his fortunes; well, until he married a widdowe, he was but a poore man for he begged of your own son in the highway'?

6. Was Mr Probart a gentleman 'that Powell had then no just cause to arrest for debt or otherwise'? Was Jones also a gentleman and a friend of Probart? Were the words 'rather spoken in comparison' of Powell, for his ill carriage against Mr Probarte then to any scandal upon Powell?

7. Was Powell 'a gentleman by descent or otherwise and howe doe he know him so to be'?

Introduced 17 February 1640.

Signed by Clere Talbot.

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fos. 55r-57v, Plaintiff depositions
fos. 55r-56r (Witness 1), George Thorowgood of St Martin-in-the-Fields, co. Middlesex, yeoman, lived there for 2 years, before that for 12 years in St Giles-in-the-Fields, co. Middlesex, born in Buckworth, co. Huntingdon, aged about 36

To Powell's libel:

He had known Jones for two years, who had lived in the fashion of a gentleman and was reputed such for all that time. In November or December he was with Jones, Edward Ordway and one Probart going along a street in Southwark towards the Marshalsea prison. Jones then spoke of Philip Powell: 'hange him... base beggarly rascall, he hath begged of me upon the highway and of Mr Probart, meaning Mr Probart his sonne'. Jones spoke the words in 'a disgraceful manner and to the disparagement of Mr Powell'.

To Jones's interrogatories:

1. The witness was an officer under Sir Edmund Verney, Knight Marshall, and he arrested Probart 'at the suit of Mr Powell upon an action of debt'.

2. The words were spoken in the forenoon 'in the way leading from the waterside toward the prison the Marshalsea in Southwarke'.

3. Mr Powell requested the witness 'take good bail' from Probart 'for that his debt was great'. Probart did not give good bail, so the witness committed him to the Marshalsea, 'and Mr Jones was present at the premisses'.

4. He did not hear Mr Jones 'speak any disgracefull words at any other time of Mr Powell.'

Signed by George Thorowgood

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten on 15 April 1640.

fos. 56v-57v (Witness 2), Edward Ordway of St Clement Danes without Temple Bar, London, gunmaker, lived there for about a year, born in Lench, co. Worcester, aged about 50

To Powell's libel:

At the time mentioned in the libel, Mr Powell gave Ordway and Thorowgood, both Marshall's men, order to arrest Mr Probart for debt, which they did. He failed to provide enough bail and they took him to the Marshalsea prison. On their way there they 'went alonge in Southwarke, neere Winchester house', and Edmund Jones accompanying them, 'in a malicious manner and to disgrace and disparage Mr Powell' said that Mr Powell 'was a base beggarly rascally rogue and had begged of him and another gent upon the highway'. Thorowgood then bade Ordway to bear witness as he would tell Mr Powell what Jones had said.

To Jones's interrogatories:

2. The words were spoken in the forenoon 'in St Saviours parish in Southwark as he taketh it'.

3. Mr Powell requested the witness 'take good bail' from Probart 'for that his debt was great', but Powell did not forbid him to take bail for Mr Probart.

Signed by Edward Ordway

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten on 15 April 1640.

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fos. 109r-112r, Plaintiff depositions fos. 109r-110v (Witness 3), John Hart of St Dunstan-in-the-West, London, servant, born in Islington in the parish of Clerkenwell, aged about 17

11 May 1640

To Powell's libel:

1. The plaintiff lived in the rank and quality of a gentleman but he did not know whether he was descended from a gentry family. About the end of Michaelmas term 1639, he was in his master's chamber in the Inner Temple in the parish of St Dunstan-in-the-West, London, when he heard Jones say of Powell: 'He is a base beggarly fellow to use a gentleman thus (meaning Mr Probart who at that time was defendant in a cause depending in the Knight Marshalls Court in which cause Mr Powell was plaintiff)'. Jones also said 'in a verie angry and disgraceful manner', that he knew Powell had 'begged about the streets' only a year before. The only other witness to this was his fellow servant, Thomas Christie.

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten, lieutenant on 14 May 1640, in the presence of Henry Linch, notary public.

To Jones's interrogatories:

3. He first became acquainted with the parties in Michaelmas 1639 when there was a suit depending in the Knight Marshal's Court between Mr Powell and Mr Probart. In this cause the witness's master, Mr Henry Kemp, was Powell's attorney, while Edmund Jones was either bail or solicitor for Probart.

4. Jones came to Kemp's chamber about this suit and spoke the words deposed above, and none others about Mr Powell.

5. He did not know whether Probart was a gentleman, nor whether 'Mr Powell had then just cause to sue Mr Probart'; but he believed Powell had just cause, otherwise he would not have prosecuted the suit. He did not know whether Jones was a gentleman, and Jones spoke the words 'in great contempt and disgrace of Mr Powell'.

Signed by John Hart

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten on 4 May 1640.

fos. 109r-110v (Witness 4), Thomas Christie, household servant of Mr Henry Kempe of St Dunstan-in-the-West, London, attorney, born in Bedford, co. Bedford, he had known the Powell and Jones for about 6 months, aged about 18

11 May 1640

To Powell's libel:

1. About Michaelmas term 1639, he was in his master's chamber in the Inner Temple in the parish of St Dunstan-in-the-West, London, when he heard Jones say of Powell that he 'is a base beggarly fellow, and I knew him within these twelvemonths, when he begged about the streetes'. Jones uttered these words 'in a verie angry and disgraceful manner'. The only other witness to this was his fellow servant, John Hart.

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten, lieutenant on 4 May 1640, in the presence of Henry Linch, notary public.

To Jones's interrogatories:

3. As witness 3.

4. As witness 3.

5. He had heard Mr Probart was a gentleman but did not know for sure, 'and saith he verily believeth that Mr Powell had just cause of action against Mr Probert.'

6. He did not know whether Mr Powell was a gentleman.

Signed by Thomas Christie.

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten on 4 May 1640.

Defendant's case

Cur Mil II, fo. 180, Defence [damaged]

1. [Lines have been struck through this Latin article]. Jones denied speaking the words in the libel.

2. Philip Powell for several years before his last marriage 'to a widow in or near London hath been and is a man of poore and meane fortune and estate, and hath not lived in the fashion of a gentleman or man of worth, but in the condition of a servant in a mean place; and that by reason of his meane estate, he hath within a fewe years last past depended upon the benevolence of gentlemen of his acquaintance and many times, by his letters and otherwise, begged of Mr Probert, menconed in the depositions of the witnesses and others, for relief to support him; and have thereby obteyned maintenance and money from them; and hath also begged the same of Mr Probert in the highway. And the letter hereunto annexed was written by Powell to Mr Probert in his owne proper handwrightinge, and the said letter he caused to be delivered to Mr Probert. And this is true publike and notorious'.

[3-5. Lines have been struck through these articles.]

3. 'Mr Probert hath been and is a man of qualitie *and a justice of peace* in the county of Monmouth and a gentleman by dissente and hath in estate a 1000 li per annum or yearly revenewes in lands or otherwise, and a man of good repute, and Mr Probert is neerely alleyed to me Mr Jones, whose daughter I married, and otherwise one to whome I Edmund Jones am ingaged in my affection towards him.'

4. 'Philip Powell hath for divers yeares last past beene a very contentious person and given to stirre up and commence divers vexatious sutes at lawe against divers persons and amongst them he the said plaintiff commenced an unjust action against Mr Probert and procured George Thorowgood and Edward Ordinary, bayliffes, to arrest Mr Probert in Michaelmas term last past and they did arrest him accordingly in the open street in or aboute the Citty of London in the company of me the said Mr Jones.

5. 'At the time of the arrest Mr Probert and I Edmund Jones desired the bayliffes to take bayle in the action, and we then and there offered good and sufficient bayle to the said action, but these bayliffes by the direction of Mr Powell as they confessed refused to accepte of any bayle, but not at all regarding the condition of Mr Probert or his request and offers, carried Mr Probert to the Marshallsea prison in Southwarke, and this is true, public and notorious.'

6. 'Hereupon, I, Mr Jones, considering the premises, especially the unjust proceeding of Mr Powell against Mr Probart, in my passion and grief of mind spoke to Mr Probart to this effect, I wonder Philip Powell will not make more of his fortunes then *in this manner* to drawe gentlemen upon him to spend his fortunes. I know till he married a widow he was but a poore man, and begged of your son upon the highway... George Thorowgood and Edward Ordway have deposed that I said he was a base beggarly rascall or to that effect... for others then present must of necessity [have] heard these words'.

7. Two of Powell's witness Thomas Christian and John Hart, were domestic servants of Henry Kemp, Powell's attorney against Mr Probert in the above mentioned lawsuit. Powell entered a large bond and went to Henry Kemp's chamber to take it out upon other security. Kemp's clerk refused this, 'and I being moved at the crosse and malicious proceedings of Powell therein said he was a beggarly fellow to use a gentleman as he did; but the witnesses, in deposing that I uttered the words base or that he begged about the... [damaged] for there were others then and there present and must of necessitie have heard me speak the words, but did... [damaged] is true, publike and notorious.'

8. Lines have been struck through this article.

9. 'I am a gentleman by dissente and education for divers years together last past and so am a student at Grayes Inn; and Philip Powell is commonly reputed in the place where he was borne to be noe gentleman, and that his grandfather's name was David Philip Howell, alias Powell, and his name was not David Powell which he should if he had been a gentleman of dissent and this is true, publick and notorious'.

No date.

Signed by Clere Talbot.

Cur Mil II, fo. 179, Letters commissory for the defendant

Addressed to commissioners William Jones, gent, Edward Morgan, gent, and Roger Oates, gent, and also, Philip Williams, gent, John Evans, gent and David Powell, gent, to meet in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, from 22 to 24 September 1640 in the inn of Francis Gulwell, in the town of Raglan, co. Monmouth.

Dr Lewin assigned Roger Otes as notary public.

Dated 3 July 1640.

Signed by William Lewin, registrar.

Cur Mil II, fos. 171-174, Defence depositions

Taken before commissioners William Jones, David Powell, gents, on 24 September 1640, in the house of Francis Gulwell in the town of Raglan, co. Monmouth, with Roger Otes as notary public.

fos. 172r-v (Witness 1), Howell John of Llansoy, co. Monmouth, yeoman, aged about 32

To Jones's defence:

2. About 3 or 4 years ago Philip Powell came to this witness's house complaining that he was in great want. Powell asked him to go to Henry Probert, esq, the witness's landlord, to request him to give Powell some money. Probert 'at the first denyed to give him any, saying that he had given him so often as he was weary of it, and thereupon this witness was very earnest with Mr Probert that he would once more give Philip Powell somewhat'. Then Probert directed the witness to give Powell 20 shillings, and 'Probert would allow it againe to this witness in his rent'. The witness did so.

Signed by Howell John and by the above two commissioners.

fos. 172r-v (Witness 2), Walter Thomas of Llanishen, co. Monmouth, gent, aged about 55

To Jones's defence:

2. Powell 'did live in this countrey, in a very poor and mean estate and not in the fashion of a gentleman', about 2 or 3 years before his last marriage. Powell came to his house and desired him to go with a letter to Mr Probert of Penclase [Penclawdd?], esq, which asked him 'that he would for God's love give him some money to helpe carry him and a sonne of his out of the countrey'. Powell told the witness he was so poor he would be unable to leave without Probert's aid. The witness went to Mr Probert 'and by his much intreaty' obtained a grant of 20 shillings from Howell John, one of Probert's tenants, which was accordingly given to Powell.

9. 'Edmund Jones is commonly taken and accompted to be a gentleman, and hath been educated in the University of Oxford and in the Innes of Court like a gentleman, and now is a student in Grayes Inne in Holborne.'

Signed by Walter Thomas and by the two commissioners.

fo. 173v (Witness 3), Henry William of Trelleck, co. Monmouth, yeoman, aged about 50

To Jones's defence:

2. About 4 or 5 years before his last marriage, Powell acquainted Henry Probert, esq, in Trelleck 'that he was poore and in want and begged him for relief, whereupon Mr Probert did put his hand in his pocket and gave to Philip Powell something which Philip Powell accepted and thanked Mr Probert for it'.

9. As witness 2.

Signed by Henry William [his mark], and by the two commissioners.

fo. 174r (Witness 4), George Probert of Penclase [Penclawdd?], co. Monmouth, esq, aged about 24

To Jones's defence:

2. About 3 or 4 years ago Philip Powell met the witness as he was riding home from London on the highway between Holborn and Knightsbridge. There Powell 'with his hatt in his hand did begg on this witness some relief for God's sake, *or used then some other begging words to him to the same effect, and then was in a very poore estate.'

9. As witness 2.

Signed by George Probert and by the two commissioners.

Cur Mil II, fo. 175, Notary public's certificate

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

24 September 1640.

Notary's mark.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Gwyn acted as counsel for Powell and Dr Talbot for Jones. On 4 February 1640 Dr Talbot was to respond to the libel. On 10 and 24 October 1640 the court sent to the commissioners for the testimony of the witnesses for Jones.

Notes

Edmund Jones, son of John Jones of Landeney, co. Monmouth, gent, was admitted to Gray's Inn on 3 November 1637.

J. Foster (ed.), The Register of Admissions to Gray's Inn, 1521-1889 (London, 1889), p. 214.

Neither party appears among the Visitations of London: J. Jackson Howard and J. L. Chester (eds.), The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634 and, 1635, vol. I (Publications of the Harleian Society, 15, 1880); J. Jackson Howard (ed.), The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634 and, 1635, vol. II (Publications of the Harleian Society, 17, 1883); J. B. Whitmore and A. W. Hughes Clarke (eds.), London Visitation Pedigrees, 1664 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 92, 1940); T. C. Wales and C. P. Hartley (eds.), The Visitation of London begun in 1687 (Publications of the Harleian Society, new series, 16 and 17, 2004).

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 2/68 (9 Dec 1639)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 2/67 (10 Jan 1640)
    • Defendant's bond: 2/46 (24 Jan 1640)
    • Libel: 15/3a (no date)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/3nn (17 Feb 1640)
    • Plaintiff depositions: Cur Mil 1631-42, fos. 55-7 (15 Apr 1640)
    • Plaintiff depositions: Cur Mil 1631-42, fos. 109-12 (4, 11, 14 May 1640)
  • Defendant's case
    • Defence: Cur Mil II, fo. 180 (no date)
    • Letters commissory for the defendant: Cur Mil II, fos. 179 (3 Jul 1640)
    • Defence depositions: Cur Mil II, fos. 171-4 (24 Sep 1640)
    • Notary public's certificate: Cur Mil II, fos. 175 (24 Sep 1640)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 56r-64v (10 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 49r-52r (24 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 19r-30v (30 Oct 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Christie, Thomas, servant (also Christian)
  • Evans, John, gent
  • Gulwell, Francis, innkeeper
  • Gwynne, Thomas, lawyer (also Gwyn, Gwynn)
  • Hart, John, servant
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Howell, David Philip (also Howell alias Powell)
  • Howell, John, yeoman
  • Jones, Edmund, gent
  • Jones, John, gent
  • Jones, William, gent
  • Lewin, William, registrar
  • Linch, Henry, notary public (also Lynch)
  • Kempe, Henry, attorney (also Kemp)
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Morgan, Edward, gent
  • Ordway, Edward, gunmaker (also Ordinary)
  • Oates, Roger, gent
  • Otes, Roger, notary public
  • Powell, David, gent
  • Powell, Philip, gent
  • Probart, Henry, esq (also Probert)
  • Talbot, Clere, lawyer
  • Terrick, Humphrey
  • Thomas, Walter, gent
  • Thorowgood, George, yeoman
  • Verney Edmund, knight marshall
  • Watson, John
  • William, Henry, yeoman
  • Williams, Philip, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • Bedfordshire
    • Bedford
  • Huntingdonshire
    • Buckworth
  • London
    • Clerkenwell
    • Gray's Inn
    • Islington
    • St Clement Danes without Temple Bar
    • St Dunstan-in-the-West
    • St Lawrence Pountney
    • Temple Bar
  • Middlesex
    • Knightsbridge
    • St Andrew's Holborn
    • St Giles-in-the-Fields
    • St Martin-in-the-Fields
    • Westminster
  • Monmouthshire
    • Landeney
    • Llanishen
    • Llansoy
    • Penclase [Pen-y-Clawdd]
    • Pontyglasse [Possibly Pontyglasier, co. Pembroke]
    • Raglan
    • Trelleck
  • Surrey
    • Marshalsea
    • St Saviour's, Southwark
    • Southwark
    • Winchester House, Southwark
  • Wales
  • Worcestershire
    • Lench [Abbots Lench, Atch Lench, Church Lench, Rous Lench or Sheriffs Lench]

Topics of the case

  • allegation of begging
  • apparel
  • debt
  • denial of gentility
  • denial of hat dignity
  • inns of court
  • threatened killing
  • University of Oxford