565 Rookes v Morgan

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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George Rookes of London, gent v Turberville Morgan of Dover, co. Kent, gent

February 1639 - December 1640


Rookes complained that Morgan had boasted that he 'would lay George Rookes on the backe and would not leave him worth a groat, nor a fleece of wool'. Rookes had also prosecuted Morgan at common law for saying that Rookes's wife was a whore who kept a bawdy house. Their quarrel originated in a conflict over holding the office of searcher at Sandwich and Dover. Morgan responded to Rookes's libel in April 1639 and in February 1640 the testimony of Rookes's witnesses was published. On the 30 October 1640 the court was due to examine a testimonial of Rookes's gentility. There is no indication of sentence either in this case, or Morgan's counter suit [see cause 445].

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Rookes and Dr Merrick, Dr Hart and Dr Gwyn for Morgan. There were early proceedings on 23 February 1639. On 2 April 1639 Dr Hart gave Morgan's response to Rookes's libel in writing, contesting it with a denial. On 4 February 1640 the testimony of Rookes's witnesses upon the libel was published. On 30 October 1640 the court was due to hear sentence and examine a certificate of Rookes's gentility. Dr Duck examined the certificate given by Sir William Le Neve, Clarenceux King of Arms. Dr Duck petitioned for sentence next, but Dr Gwyn and Dr Merrick dissented. On 20 November the sum of 20 shillings expenses was mentioned. On 4 December Rookes had to pay 20 shillings for expenses and to hear the sentence.


George Rooke of Horton was the son of Lawrence Rooke of Monk's Horton, and Ursula, daughter of Sir Reginald Scott, knt. George married Mary, daughter of William Burrell of Deptford, co. Kent and Poplar, co. Middlesex, esq. Their son George was aged 7 in 1619-21. No Turberville Morgan appeared in either Visitation, but a Turberville Morgan was a royalist major of foot and sub governor of Brecon in 1645.

R. Hovenden (ed.), The Visitation of Kent taken inthe years 1619-21 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 42, 1898), p. 184; G. J. Armytage (ed.), A Visitation of the County of Kent, 1663-8 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 54, 1906), p. 141; P.R. Newman, Royalist officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660: A biographical dictionary (London, 1981), p. 263.

The Coventry docquets and State Papers provide the details of a lengthy quarrel over the searcher's office. On 22 August 1635 George Rookes and Robert Edwards had been granted the office of searcher for Sandwich during Rookes's life in reversion after his son Thomas Rookes and Andrew Cater surrendered their claim (Coventry Docquets , p. 194). He had then harassed his son out of the office with numerous lawsuits. Turberville Morgan, backed by James Hamilton, Marquis of Hamilton, and Hugh Lewis procured a grant to take over the office from Thomas Rookes on 23 November 1637(Coventry Docquets , p. 203) which George Rookes contested in Star Chamber and the Exchequer. On 23 May 1638 Hamilton asked Secretary Windebank to intervene on Morgan's behalf, in accordance with the king's wish that the whole issue be settled by law. Rookes obtained an order from the privy council in his favour on 9 January 1639, but the king then intervened and ordered that this decision be suspended because the matter was about to be settled in the Exchequer, which Rookes claimed was false and simply intended to prevent him taking possession of his office. He therefore obtained another order from the council of 27 February 1639 to take possession of the place. Morgan and Lewis petitioned the king on 4 March and he referred the matter to the lord treasurer to determine in the Exchequer. On 16 April 1639 the king issued an order to Juxon from York that the rights of Morgan and Lewis should not be prejudiced by the delays in deciding the case in Exchequer; however, on 15 August, via one of the Masters of Requests, he referred the determining of the matter to the privy council in Star Chamber, to be heard on 11 October. This instruction was then countermanded on 9 October when Hamilton intervened personally to pass on the king's wish that the council forbear further proceeding until his pleasure was known.

J. Broadway, R. P. Cust and S. K. Roberts (eds.), A Calendar of the Docquets of Lord Keeper Coventry, 1625-1640 (List and Index Society, spec. ser., 34-37, 2004); CSP Dom. 1637-8 , pp. 100-1, 451; CSP Dom. 1638-9 , pp.258, 508, 532-3, 633; CSP Dom. 1639 , pp. 44, 530; CSP Dom. 1639-40 , pp. 21-2.


  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 1-9 (23 Feb 1639)
    • Proceedings before Marten: 1/6 (2 Apr 1639)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 19r-30v (30 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings: 1/11, fos. 5r-9r (20 Nov 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 79r-87v (4 Dec 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Burrell, George
  • Burrell, Mary
  • Cater, Andrew
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Edwards, Robert
  • Gwyn, Thomas, lawyer
  • Hamilton, James, marquis of Hamilton
  • Hart, Richard, lawyer
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Juxon, William, bishop of London
  • Le Neve, William, knight
  • Lewis, Hugh
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Morgan, Turberville, gent
  • Rooke, Lawrence
  • Rooke, Ursula
  • Rookes, George, gent (also Rooke)
  • Rookes, Thomas
  • Scott, Reginald, knight
  • Scott, Ursula
  • Stuart, Charles I, king
  • Windebanke, Francis, knight

Places mentioned in the case

  • Brecknockshire
    • Brecon
  • Kent
    • Deptford
    • Dover
    • Horton
    • Monk's Horton
    • Sandwich
  • London
    • St Stephen, Walbrook
  • Middlesex
    • Poplar
  • Wales
  • York

Topics of the case

  • civil war
  • Court of Exchequer
  • military officer
  • office-holding
  • other courts
  • sexual insult
  • royalist
  • Star Chamber