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544 Prust v Pincombe

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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544 PRUST V PINCOMBE

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

May 1639 - December 1640

Figure 544:

Early Stuart Exeter. John Pincombe was required to make his submission before the assize judges at Exeter castle, shown at the top of the drawing, in September 1640 (From John Speed, The Theatre of Great Britain (1611))

Abstract

Prust, an attorney, complained that Pincombe, a barrister of the Middle Temple, had said to him, 'Thou art a wicked fellow, an ungodly fellow. Thou canst not go to heaven, thou must go to hell. I am a better man than thou art and better descended both by father and mother.' The two men had quarrelled over a debt owed by Pincombe to Prust which resulted in Prust bringing suits in the Castle Court of Lydford, and the Stannary Court of Chagford. This was a countersuit to Pincombe's case against him in the Court of Chivalry which was also under way by May 1640 [see cause 520].

Witnesses for Pincombe's defence were examined before a commission headed by William Tyler, clerk, on 17 April 1640, at the inn of Sidwell Pennacott in Chulmleigh, Devon. According to the witnesses, Prust had endeavoured to smear Pincombe's reputation by claiming that he beat up his drum late at night to lead 'his guard of souldiers from alehouse to alehouse'; but they explained 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.

This was a case in which both sides could claim some sort of victory. Prust was required to perform a submission to Pincombe on his suit; but in this instance, on 3 September 1640 Pincombe was ordered to pay Prust £90 in costs and damages, and perform a submission before the judge of assize at Exeter Castle, in which he was required to apologise, acknowledge Prust's gentility and promise to behave 'with due respect toward Mr Prust and all the gentrie of this kingdome.' When Pincombe failed to appear before the court on 4 December 1640, Sir Henry Marten ordered his attachment.

Initial proceedings

6/162, Defendant'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.

Defendant's case

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fos. 101r-107v, Defence depositions

Taken before commissioners William Tyler and Daniel Chaloner, clerks, on 17 April 1640, in the house of Sidwell Pennacott in Chulmleigh, co. Devon, with Robert Kifte as notary public.

fos. 102r-v (Witness 1) Robert Slee of Sherwill , co. Devon, gent, born there, aged about 40

To Pincombe's defence:

1. He had known Pincombe for 20 years, during all which time Pincombe had lived as a gentleman 'and is commonly stiled by the name of Esq and hath heard that he hath taken upon him the degree of an utter barrester at lawe.'

2. 'Hugh Prust is commonly taken and reputed to be an atturney and solicitor in causes.'

3. He was present at supper at the Black Swan, but could not remember the words that passed there between Pincombe and Prust. He did not remember Prust provoking Pincombe in anyway.

Signed by Robert Slee and by the two commissioners.

To Prust's interrogatories:

Not examined by consent.

fos. 102v-103v (Witness 2) John Oliver of Great Torrington, co. Devon, gent, lived there for about 5 years, born at Kilkhampton, co. Cornwall, aged about 60

To Pincombe's defence:

1. As witness 1.

2. He did not know of any difference in birth, parentage or ancestors between Prust and Pincombe, but Pincombe was reputed an utter barrister while Prust had been formerly reputed 'an atturney at lawe and solicitor of causes, saving that he hath ordinarily reputed a gent.'

3. During his examination he saw three letters annexed to the commission which he believed were in Prust's handwriting.

Signed by John Oliver and by the two commissioners.

To Prust's interrogatories:

5. Pincombe was 'a man of an angry and hastie disposicon and subject to passion as some other men be'.

6. He had heard Pincombe's father was a clothier of South Molton.

7. He had heard Pincombe was a student in Middle Temple 'and that he had stiled himself by the name of Captaine, and that he hath caused a drume to be beaten in Southampton [sic].'

Not examined on the rest by consent.

Signed by John Oliver and by the two commissioners.

fos. 103v-104v (Witness 3) John Bond of Crediton, co. Devon, gent, born there, aged about 31

To Pincombe's defence:

1. As witness 1.

2. He had heard that Mr Prust was a gentleman, attorney and solicitor at law, 'yet in his judgement and opinion he doth verily imagine Mr Prust to be inferior unto Mr Pincombe.'

3. The witness was an attorney in the Stannary Courts of Devon and was retained in a cause between Prust as plaintiff and Pincombe as defendant 1 and a quarter years ago, 'which cause he thinketh is yet there depending'. He had heard that Prust had another lawsuit against Pincombe in the Castle Court of Lydford, and another lawsuit in the Stannary Court of Chagford against Owen Olencio, a servant of Pincombe's.

Signed by John Bond and by the two commissioners.

To Prust's first, second, third and fourth sets of interrogatories:

Not examined by consent

To Prust's fifth set of interrogatories:

He did not know or believe that Prust had a judgement of £120 against Pincombe in Chagford Stannary Court, 'only he had a condemnation in the said court against Pincombe, but for what sum he remembreth not'. Pincombe had obtained several references by appealing to Sir James Bagge, knight, vice-warden of the Stannaries, and Mr Francis Trelawny, his deputy vicewarden. 'And that he brought a prohibition to stop proceedings in the court. And that three of the papers now shewed unto him are respectively subscribed with the hands of Sir James Bagge and Mr Francis Trelawney and believeth that they are the orders or copies of the orders of Sir James Bagge and Mr Trelawney.'

Signed by John Bond and by the two commissioners.

fos. 105r-106r (Witness 4) George Holgrave of Woolfardisworthy, co. Devon, clerk, lived there for 24 years, born at Runnington, co. Somerset, aged about 56

To Pincombe's defence:

1. He had known Pincombe for 20 years during which time he had lived as a gentleman and was termed an esq. He had seen deeds in which Pincombe's father was entitled 'John Pincombe gentleman'.

2. Mr Prust, 'he verily believeth is far inferior in gentry unto Mr Pincombe.'

3. Prust had suits in the Stannary Court of Devon against Pincombe, in which Prust 'had dealt sinisterly with him'. At the time of his examination he had seen three letters annexed to the commission which he believed were in Prust's handwriting.

Signed by George Holgrave and by the two commissioners.

To Prust's interrogatories:

3. He had heard Prust was 'a man of a turbulent disposition and troublesome to his neighbours and so commonly reputed'.

5. He had known Pincombe for over 20 years.

7. He had heard Pincombe held the degree of utter barrister, 'and when he hath been so disposed he hath caused a drumme to be beaten at sound of which poore people have flocked about him to whome he hath liberally bestowed money.'

To Prust's second, third and fourth sets of interrogatories:

Not examined by consent.

To Prust's fifth set of interrogatories:

He believed Pincombe appealed to 'Sir James Bagge, then vice-warden of the Stannaries of Devon, and brought a prohibition directed to the officers of the Stannaries.'

To Prust's sixth set of interrogatories:

He was a pledge or surety for Pincombe in the Stannary Court in the aforesaid action 'and did ride to Plimouth with Pincombe as a friend but not to solicite for him. And further he answereth that he is a priest in holy Orders.'

Signed by George Holgrave and by the two commissioners.

fos. 105r-106r (Witness 5) John Northmore of South Tawton, co. Devon, yeoman, born there, aged about 29

To Pincombe's defence:

1. He had known Pincombe for 3 years during which time he had been titled an esq, and was an utter barrister at law.

2. He had heard that Prust 'hath followed causes in lawe'.

3. 'About Michaelmas last was three years' Prust had two suits depending against Pincombe, one in the Castle Court of Lydford, and the other in the Stannary Court of Chagford, 'both which suites as this deponent conceiveth by the declarations were nere one and the same and that Mr Pincombe did take some troublesome journeys in defending himself against Mr Prust'.

Signed by John Northmore and by the two commissioners.

To Prust's first, second, third and fourth sets of interrogatories:

Not examined by consent.

To Prust's fifth set of interrogatories:

Pincombe appealed to 'Sir James Bagge, then the vice-warden of the Stannary of Devon, or his deputy, and doth believe that upon his appeale or appeales several orders were made to which he for the more certainty referreth himselfe. And that there was a prohibition brought...as he believeth. And that *three* of the papers now shewed unto him at this his examination *are respectively* subscribed with the proper hands of Sir James Bagg and Mr Francis Trelawny* as he verilie believeth*.'

To Prust's sixth set of interrogatories:

Not examined by consent.

To Prust's seventh set of interrogatories:

George Holgrave, clerk, had 'several times come unto [Northmore] and remembered Mr Pincombe's love unto him and willed him to be careful in *looking after* Mr Pincombe's business.'

Signed by John Northmore and by the two commissioners.

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fo. 107v, Notary public's certificate

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

1 May 1640.

Notary's mark.

Submission

5/160, Bond of submission

3 September 1640

Pincombe was ordered to pay into the Registry of the court for the use of Prust a total of £90 in costs and damages.

£45 was to be paid before the last court of Michaelmas term, the other £45 was to be paid by the end of the next Hilary term.

Signed by John Pincombe, Henry Newte and Owen Linsey, with their seals.

Signed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of Jonathan Wood.

4/40, Submission

Pincombe was to perform his submission 'standing bareheaded' between 9 and 11am before the judge of the assizes at Exeter Castle.

'Whereas I, John Pincombe, stand convict... to have used divers provoking speeches to and against Hugh Prust of Mounckly in the county of Devon gent and in particular to have used these words following, vizt. Prust thou art a wicked fellow an ungodly fellow. Thou canst not go to heaven thou must go to hell. I am a better man than thou art and better descended both by father and mother. I do now hereby confesse and acknowledge that Hugh Prust is a gent descended of an ancient family bearing armes and that I did him much wronge by uttering the provoking speeches and am hartily sorry for the same. And I do promise for the future not to offend in the like kind but to carry my selfe with due respect toward Mr Prust and all the gentrie of this kingdome.'

[Overleaf]

'This submission being performed in manner as aforesaid John Pincombe is to subscribe his name thereto and to desire the clarke of the assize and some others to testify his performance thereof and to certify the same together with these presents in Michaelmas Terme next ensuing.'

No date.

Signed by William Lewin, LL.D., Registrar.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Marten acted as counsel for Prust and Dr Talbot for Pincombe. On 4 February 1640 the court moved to send to the commissioners the material for Pincombe's defence. On 4 December 1640 Mr Pincombe was required to pay a sum upon bond, but did not appear and so Sir Henry Marten ordered his attachment, warning Pincombe's sureties to appear.

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
    • Defendant's bond: 6/162 (21 May 1639)
  • Defendant's case
    • Defence depositions: Cur Mil 1631-42, fos. 101-7 (17 Apr 1640)
    • Notary public's certificate: Cur Mil 1631-42, fos. 107 (1 May 1640)
  • Submission
    • Bond on submission: 5/160 (3 Sep 1640)
    • Submission: 4/40 (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 79r-87v (4 Dec 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Bagge, James, knight (also Bagg)
  • Bond, John, gent
  • Carew, John, knight
  • Carew, Mary
  • Cary, Anne
  • Cary, Francis
  • Challoner, Daniel, clerk
  • Coffin, Jane
  • Coffin, John, gent
  • Dorridge, Amy
  • Dorridge, Richard
  • Holgrave, George, clerk
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Kifte, Robert, notary public
  • Lewin, William, registrar
  • Linsey, Owen
  • Martin, Joseph, lawyer
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Newte, Henry
  • Northmore, John, yeoman
  • Olencio, Owen, servant
  • Oliver, John, gent
  • Pennacott, Sidwell, innkeeper
  • Pincombe, Amy
  • Pincombe, John, esq
  • Pincombe, Mary
  • Prust, Anne
  • Prust, Hugh, gent
  • Prust, Jane
  • Slee, Robert, gent
  • Stukeley, Thomas, knight
  • Talbot, Clere, lawyer
  • Trelawny, Francis (also Trelawney)
  • Tyler, William, clerk
  • Watson, John
  • Wood, Jonathan

Places mentioned in the case

  • Cornwall
    • Kilkhampton
  • Devon
    • Alwington
    • Barnstaple
    • Chagford
    • Chumleigh
    • Crediton
    • Exeter
    • Great Torrington
    • Lydford
    • Monkleigh
    • Portlinch
    • Poughill
    • Sherwill
    • South Molton
    • South Tawton
    • Woolfardisworthy
  • London
    • Middle Temple
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Somerset
    • Crowcombe
    • Runnington

Topics of the case

  • assizes
  • comparison
  • debt
  • military officer
  • office-holding
  • other courts
  • previous litigation
  • royalist
  • trained band