56 Bolle v Lambert

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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November 1640 - January 1641


Bolle claimed that in June 1640, at the house of William Darwin at Beesby, Lincolnshire, Lambert had said Bolle 'was a coward and durst not meet Sir Gervase Scroope in the quarry when they fell out'. Lambert was also said to have reported that Bolle had visited Scroope to make a submission to him and, finding that his own servant was too drunk to draw it up, asked Lambert to do so. Lambert refused and maintained that Scroope had to draft it himself, all of which was said 'to the manifest disgrace and reproach of your petitioner, and to provoke him to duel.'

At the final meeting of the court on 4 December 1640 Lambert was bound to appear at Arundel house in the Strand and three witnesses testified depositions for Bolle before a commission headed by Sir Henry Radley on 12 January 1641 at the Red Lion at Louth, Lincolnshire. However, no further proceedings survive, and it is likely that Lambert was saved from a humiliating submission by the cessation of the court's activities.

Initial proceedings

5/175, Petition

'Whereas your petitioner is a gentleman descended of an ancient family, one George Lambert of Great Carlton in the County of Lincoln gentleman, about the month of June last being in the house of one William Darwyn at Beesly did then and there say that Sir Charles Bolles was a coward and durst not meet Sir Gervase Scroope in the Quarry when they fell out, and that presently after Sir Charles came to Cockerington to Sir Gervase his house to tender him satisfaction and that one Ned Mashinberd was called in to write your petitioner a submission but being drunke could not write, and that thereupon Lambert was called in to draw the same which he refused to doe and soe he thought his master drew it, or words to the same effect, in the presence of divers witnesses to the manifest disgrace and reproach of your petitioner and to provoke him to duel.'

Petitioned that Lambert be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process, 2 November 1640.

5/174, Plaintiff's bond

30 November 1640

Bond to 'appear in the court in the painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'.

Signed by Michael Covell (of the parish of East Greenwich, co. Kent), gent, acting for Bolle.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of J. Oughton and H. Bury?

5/177, Defendant's bond

7 December 1640

Bond to 'appear in the court in Arundel house in the Strand'.

Signed by George Lambert

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

Plaintiff's case

EM3670, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners Sir Henry Radley, Francis Lockton, esq., and Thomas Elye, gent, with John Rainshaw as notary public, to meet on 12 January 1640/1 at the inn of Edward Price, the Red Lion Inn, at Louth, co. Lincoln.

They were to examine as witnesses John Prescott, gent, John Righton, gent, and William Moore as apparently specified in Bolle's libel.

EM3670, Plaintiff's depositions

(Witness 1), John Prescott of Maltby-le-Marsh co. Lincoln, gent, born at Saltfleetby, co. Lincoln, aged 50

To Bolle's libel:

2-3. In June 1640 at Beesby in the house of William Darwin he heard Lambert say that 'Sir Charles Bolles was a coward & durst not meete Sir Gervase Scroope in the quarry pit where they appoynted to meete, or wordes to that effect. George Lambert further sayd that Sir Charles Bolles the next day came to Cock[er]ington to give Sir Gervase Scroope satisfaction and that Sir Charles Bolles called in his owne servant Edward Massenbeard to write downe Sir Charles Bolles's submission; but Edw Massingberd was soe druncke that he could not write and George Lambert then sayd that he was called in to write the same but refused... and that for ought that hee knew either Bolles or Sir Gervase Scroope writt the submission.' And George Lambert 'uttered the words in contempt and disgrace of Bolles as' Prescott 'verily believeth' and there were present at the time John Righton and William Moore.

(Witness 2), John Righton of Beesby, co. Lincoln, gent, born in Louth, co. Lincoln, aged 45

To Bolle's libel:

The same as Prescott's deposition except that he added that Lambert 'conceyvinge as he sayth the former difference betweene Sir Gervase Scroope his master and Sir Charles Bolles was unwilling to write the same and absolutely refused to doe it; and George Lambert beinge sent out of the roome sayd he thought Sir Gervase Scroope did write the submission himselfe'.

(Witness 3), William Moore of Swaby, co. Lincoln, yeoman, born at Winthorpe, co. Lincoln, aged 35

To Bolle's libel:

As witness 2.

Each deposition was signed by the commissioners Radley, Lockton & Elye and attested by John Rainshaw notary public.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Bolle and Dr Hart for Lambert. In Michaelmas term, 1640, Bolles nominated as commissioners Sir Henry Radley, knt, Francis Lockton, esq, Thomas Elye and Clement Benson, gent. Lambert nominated William Skipwith, esq, Nathaniel Healon, gent, and Edward Howlden, clerk. They were to meet from 11 to 13 January 1640/1 in the inn of Edward Pryce called the Red Lion in Louth, co. Lincoln. In proceedings before Lord Maltravers and the earl of Huntingdon on 4 December 1640, Dr Duck gave the libel and Dr Hart was to respond on Lambert's behalf within ten days.


Sir Charles Bolle of Haugh and Thorpe Hall, co. Lincoln, knt (1592-1661), and subsequently, Louth, was knighted in 1616 and the son of Sir John Bolle of Haugh, co. Lincoln, knt, and Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Waters of King's Lynn. Bolle was a deputy lieutenant for Lincolnshire involved in an inquiry into ship money in September 1636. He later became a commissioner of array and lieutenant-colonel in the royalist army.

A. R. Maddison (ed.), Lincolnshire Pedigrees (Publications of the Harleian Society, 50, 1902), vol. 1, p. 152; P. R. Newman, Royalist Officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660: A biographical dictionary (London, 1981), p. 35; CSP Dom. 1636-7 , pp. 118, 149, 215.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 5/75 (2 Nov 1640)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 5/174 (30 Nov 1640)
    • Defendant's bond: 5/177 (7 Dec 1640)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: EM3670 (12 Jan 1641)
    • Plaintiff's depositions: EM3670 (no date)
    • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: 1/12 (Mic 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 79r-87v (4 Dec 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Benson, Clement, gent
  • Bolle, Charles, knight (also Bolles)
  • Bolle, Elizabeth (also Bolles)
  • Bolle, John, knight (also Bolles)
  • Bury, H.
  • Covell, Michael, gent
  • Darwin, William
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Elye, Thomas, gent (also Ely)
  • Hart, Richard, lawyer
  • Hastings, Henry, earl of Huntingdon
  • Healon, Nathaniel, gent
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howlden, Edward, clerk (also Houlden)
  • Lambert, George, gent
  • Lockton, Francis, esq
  • Longland, John
  • Massenbeard, Edward (also Massingberd)
  • Moore, William, yeoman
  • Oughton, J.
  • Prescott, John, gent
  • Price, Edward, innkeeper (also Pryce)
  • Radley, Henry, knight
  • Rainshaw, John, notary public
  • Righton, John, gent
  • Scroope, Gervase, knight (also Scrope)
  • Skipwith, William, esq
  • Waters, Edward

Places mentioned in the case

  • Kent
    • East Greenwich
  • Lincolnshire
    • Beesby
    • Cockerington
    • Great Carlton
    • Haugh
    • Louth
    • Maltby-le-Marsh
    • Saltfleetby
    • Swaby
    • Thorpe Hall
    • Winthorpe
  • Middlesex
    • Arundel House
    • The Strand
    • Westminster
  • Norfolk
    • King's Lynn

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cowardice
  • challenge to a duel
  • deputy lieutenant
  • drunkenness
  • military officer
  • royalist
  • ship money
  • taxation