561 Rivers v Weekes

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Thomas Darcy, 1st Earl Rivers, Viscount Colchester and 3rd Baron Darcy of Chiche v Richard Weekes of Clerkenwell, co. Middlesex

January - May 1636


Thomas Darcy, 1st Earl Rivers complained that Weekes had publicly said to Thomas Darcy, esq, in St Andrew's Holborn parish that he was 'a better gentleman, or as good a gentleman, as any Darcy in England', which words were an insult to his family. The libel was given and the court required it to be proved during proceedings in May 1636; but nothing further survives.

Initial proceedings

18/1i, Libel [damaged]

Rivers's family had been nobility for many years, whereas Weekes's family had for all that time been plebeians. Weekes had said to Thomas Darcy, esq, in the parish of St Andrew's Holborn, publicly in the presence of several persons, that he was 'a better gentleman, or as good a gentleman, as any Darcy in England', which words were an insult to his family.

Dated 30 January 1636.

Signed by Thomas Eden.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Eden acted as counsel for Earl Rivers and Dr Duck for Weekes. The court required the libel to be proved during proceedings in April and May 1636.


Thomas Darcy (1581-1640) was created Viscount Colchester in 1621 and Earl Rivers in 1626. He secured the reversion of this title for Thomas Savage, the husband of his daughter, Elizabeth. Their son, John Savage, 2nd Earl Rivers, served as a Catholic royalist colonel in the civil wars. Darcy was suspected of Roman Catholicism and excluded from the Essex bench, but his close links at court provided protection against recusancy fines. He died in 1640 and his estate was sacked during popular rioting on the outbreak of civil war in August 1642. Weekes did not appear in the London Visitations or Middlesex pedigrees.

G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage (London, 1949), vol. 11, pp. 25-6; J. Walter, 'Elizabeth Savage, Countess Rivers', Oxford DNB (Oxford, 2004); J. Walter, Understanding popular violence in the English Revolution: the Colchester plunderers (1999); P.R. Newman, Royalist officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660: A biographical dictionary (London, 1981), p. 331.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Libel: 18/1i (30 Jan 1636)
  • Proceedings
    • 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 Maltravers: 68C, fos. 74r-83v (7 May 1636)

People mentioned in the case

  • Darcy, Thomas, earl Rivers
  • Darcy, Thomas, esq
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Savage, Elizabeth
  • Savage, John, earl Rivers
  • Savage, Thomas
  • Weekes, Richard

Places mentioned in the case

  • Middlesex
    • Clerkenwell
    • St Andrew's Holborn

Topics of the case

  • civil war
  • comparison
  • Roman Catholic
  • royalist