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572 RYLEY V OWEN
William Ryley, Bluemantle Pursuivant v George Owen, York Herald
Hilary term, 1639 - May 1640
William Ryley, Bluemantle Pursuivant, complained that his superior, George Owen, York Herald, had struck him in the Office of Arms. Owen acknowledged that there had been a quarrel in Lincoln's Inn over the keeping of the records in the Tower of London and the Office of Arms, and that he had taken exception to Ryley's responses, reminding him that 'there was a distance between him in the Office of Armes, for that Owen was a herald and Ryley but a pursuivant'; however, he insisted that any injury systained by Ryley had been a result of striking his face on a door.On 21 February 1639 Dr Duck and Dr Parry presented the libel and produced as witnesses in support of it John Borough, Garter King of Arms, Edward Norgate, Windsor Herald, George Manwaring, Richmond Herald, Thomas Thompson, Lancaster Herald, Edward Walker, Chester Herald, William Collett, Thomas Knight, John Heath, Benjamin Peere, William Peere and John Philpott the younger. Sentence is not recorded in any of the documents listed here, although Squibb's edition of the case notes that on 20 May 1640 sentence was given in favour of the defendant.
14/3oo, Defence interrogatories
1. 'If any witness shall indeavour to depose anie of the words in the libel to have been uttered or spoken by Mr Owen, Yorke Herald, let every such witness express and set downe the particular tyme and place where and when, and in whose presence, such pretended wordes were uttered or spoken and how the witness came to be present and whether was there any other person or persons then and there present besides Ryley, Owen and yourself.'
2. 'Whether at such time and place in the libel and whilest the pretended witness was in company with Yorke Herald and Ryley, Bleumantle Pursuivant of Armes, whether he such witness did see howe and in what manner Ryley carried and demeaned himself towards Mr Owen, Yorke Herald. And did Bleumantle, at such time and place aforesaid, use gentle and lowlie, or proud and loftie, words and gestures, to and of Yorke Herald. And were those words and gestures fitting to be given to the Yorke Herald his superior in office, as you then observed and conceived'?
3. 'Whether at such time and place, did not Yorke Herald take offence or dislike at Bleumantle's wordes, gestures or demeanor, and thereupon said that there was a distance between him in the Office of Armes, for that Owen was a herald and Ryley but a pursuivant; and so advised him to regard his superiors according to his oath by him taken when he was created a pursuivant. And whether the words that you conceived then spoken by Yorke Herald concerning Bleumantle's oath was not uttered upon the dislike and offence taken by Yorke Herald against Bleumantle, only in regard of Bleumantle's lofty wordes, and gesture and demeanor, uttered towards him, Yorke Herald being his superior in office, and not in relation to any other matter whatsoever'?
4. 'Have you not at any time since the time of the words in the libel were pretended to be spoken in Lincoln's Inn, or any other place or places, to certen person or persons, [heard] that the words pretended to be spoken by York Herald concerning Bleumantle's oath had relation to the disrespectful and uncivil wordes and behaviour of Bleumantle used then to Yorke Herald his superior in office, and not to any other matter or cause whatsoever'?
5. 'Did you, at the time and place in the libel when the pretended words or discourse happened betweene Yorke and Bleumantle, heare Yorke speake or utter any words to Bleumantle concerning the Records of the Tower, or the Records of the Office of Armes; or did you hear Yorke once mention the Records of the Tower or the Records of the Office of Armes in all or any parte of the discourse'?
6. 'Do you not know or have you not heard, that Mr Ryley did tell his wife that night that he pretended that Mr Yorke should strike him in the Office of Armes, that he did *hitte* his face against the door of the office, or words to that effect, and of whom heard you that declare your knowledge therein'?
Signed by William Merrick.
Sentence / Arbitration
15/4bb, Defendant's sentence
Friday 23 May 1640
Spaces for sums of money left blank, but document signed by William Monik and Mowbray and Maltravers.
15/4cc, Defendant's bill of costs
Hillary term, 1638/9: £3-15s-10d
Easter term, 1639: £6-10s-0d
Trinity term, 1639: £5-5s-0d
Michaelmas term, 1639: £6-4s-0d
Hillary term, 1639/40: £5-10s-0d
Easter term, 1640: £12-13s-4d
Sum total: £39-18s-1d [one pence lower than sum of terms].
Summary of proceedings
Dr Duck and Dr Parry acted as counsel to Ryley and Dr Eden and Dr Merrick to Owen. On 21 February 1639 Owen was required to appear in response to a summons and Dr Merrick appeared on his behalf. Dr Duck and Dr Parry presented the libel and produced as witnesses in support of it John Burrough, Garter King of Arms, Edward Norgate, Windsor Herald, George Maynwaring, Richmond Herald, Thomas Thompson, Lancaster Herald, Edward Walker, Chester Herald, William Collett, Thomas Knight, John Heath, Benjamin Peere, William Peere and John Philpott the younger. On 19 March 1639 Dr Duck presented the libel and Dr Merrick denied it. On 4 February 1640 the witnesses were warned to submit to examination upon the libel.
S. Handley, 'William Ryley', Oxford DNB (Oxford, 2004).
Squibb maintained that this was a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, in which the court gave sentence in favour of defendant on 20 May 1640.
G. D. Squibb, Reports of Heraldic Cases in the Court of Chivalry, 1623-1732 (London, 1956), p. 47.
George Owen was appointed York herald on 3 January 1634 and William Ryley was appointed Bluemantle Pursuivant on 5 September 1633.
J. Broadway, R. Cust and S. K. Roberts (eds.), A Calendar of the Docquets of Lord Keeper Coventry, 1625-1640 (List and Index Society, special series, 34 and 36, 2004), part 1, pp. 187, 189.
- Plaintiff's case
- Defence interrogatories: 14/3oo (no date)
- Sentence / Arbitration
- Defence sentence: 15/4bb (23 May 1640)
- Defence bill of costs: 15/4cc (Eas 1640)
- Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 20-33 (21 Feb 1639)
- Proceedings before Marten: 1/6, fos. 9-12 (2 Mar 1639)
- Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 12-17 (19 Mar 1639)
- Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)
People mentioned in the case
- Borough, John, knight (also Burrough)
- Collett, William
- Duck, Arthur, lawyer
- Eden, Thomas, lawyer
- Heath, John
- Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
- Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
- Knight, Thomas
- Marten, Henry, knight
- Manwaring, George, herald (also Mainwaring, Maynwaring)
- Merrick, William, lawyer
- Norgate, Edward, herald
- Owen, George, herald
- Parry, George, lawyer
- Peere, Benjamin
- Peere, William
- Philpott the younger, John
- Ryley, William, pursuivant
- Thompson, Thomas, herald
- Walker, Edward, herald
Places mentioned in the case
- Office of Arms
- Tower of London
- Lincoln's Inn
Topics of the case
- inns of court
- provocative of a duel