571 Russell v Cooper

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Thomas Russell of East Barsham, co. Norfolk, esq v Robert Cooper of Little Raynham, co. Norfolk, yeoman

April 1638


Russell complained that Cooper gave him the lie seven times in January 1638 in the inn of Thomas Salmon in Fakenham, Norfolk, and said that he 'was as good a gentleman as I, and would do what I durst with him by way of challenge.' Process was granted on 9 April 1638 and Russell gave the libel on the 28th; but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

EM114, Petition

Cooper spoke disgraceful words to and about the petitioner in Fakenham in January, telling him 'you lye; and told him he lyed seaven tymes together; and said he was as good a gentleman as I, and would do what I durst with him by way of challenge.'

Endorsed on 9 April 1638 by Arthur Duck to Mr Dethick that the petitioner is qualified for the cause to be brought to the Earl Marshal's Court.

EM115, Plaintiff's bond

10 April 1638.

Bound to appear in the court 'in the painted chamber within the Palace of Westminster'.

Signed by Thomas Attwood of St Martin Outwich, London, scrivener to the king on behalf of Russell.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of Humphrey Terrick.

17/4c, Libel

Russell's family had been ancient gentry for 50 years. Robert Cooper, who was not a gentleman, did between January and February 1638, in the inn of Thomas Salmon in Fakenham, provoke Russell to a duel by saying 'that I lied, I lied, and oftentimes gave me the lye; and said that he was as good a gentleman as I Thomas Russell; and by way of challenge badd me doe what I durst.'

Dated 28 April 1638.

Signed by Clere Talbot.


F. W. Steer (ed.), A Catalogue of the Earl Marshal's Papers at Arundel Castle (London, 1964), p. 19.

None of the parties appear in the Visitations of Norfolk of 1563, 1589 and 1613. Katherine, daughter of Thomas Russell of North Barsham married Thomas Watts of Burnham Ulpe, gent. Jemina, daughter of Thomas Russell of North Barsham, gent, married Philip Britiffe of Wighton.

A. W. Hughes Clarke and A. Campling (eds.), The Visitation of Norfolk, anno domini 1664, part II (Publications of the Harleian Society, 86, 1934), p. 236; A. Campling (ed.), East Anglia Pedigrees (Publications of the Harleian Society, 91, 1939), p. 242.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: EM114 (9 Apr 1638)
    • Plaintiff's bond: EM115 (10 Apr 1638)
    • Libel: 17/4c (28 Apr 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Attwood, Thomas, scrivener
  • Britiffe, Jemina (also Britiff)
  • Britiffe, Philip (also Britiff)
  • Cooper, Robert, yeoman
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Russell, Jemina
  • Russell, Katherine
  • Russell, Thomas, esq
  • Salmon, Thomas, innkeeper
  • Stuart, Charles I, king
  • Talbot, Clere, lawyer
  • Terrick, Humphrey
  • Watts, Katherine
  • Watts, Thomas, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • St Martin Outwich
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Norfolk
    • Burnham Ulpe
    • East Barsham
    • Fakenham
    • Little Raynham
    • North Barsham
    • Wighton

Topics of the case

  • challenge to a duel
  • comparison
  • giving the lie