576 Salkeld v Drake

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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John Salkeld of Churchstanton, co. Devon, gent v Jonathan Drake of the same, yeoman

February 1637 - February 1638


Salkeld complained that Drake had offered him scandalous words that were provocative of a duel, but Drake maintained he had been provoked by'ill language, or uncivil and intemperate actions'. Drake, a gamekeeper for Sir Francis Popham, claimed that their quarrel had arisen because he had charged Salkeld with having stolen deer and rabbits from one of Popham's warrens. Proceedings were under way by 16 February 1637 and a commission headed by Sir Thomas Drew was appointed to meet to examine witnesses 3-5 January 1638 at Edward Drewston's Swan Inn at Wellington, Somerset; but nothing further survives.

Initial proceedings

14/1q, Defence interrogatories [damaged]

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. What was the age, occupation and condition of the witness? Where had they lived for the last ten years? How long had they known the parties in this case?

2. Had they been compelled to testify? How much had they received or did they expect to receive in expenses?

3. Did they live of their own or were they dependent upon another? How much were they worth in goods with their debts deducted? Were they taxed for the subsidy and if so for what amount?

4. Was the witness a household servant or relative to either of the parties, and if so in what degree? To which party would they grant the victory if it was in their power?

5. Was there any discord or controversy between them and any other witness?

6. Speak the truth of what you know, believe or have heard.

7. If any witness should depose that Drake spoke the words in the libel, they were to be asked at what time and place, and in whose presence?

8. What words or actions passed immediately before and after the words, and whether Drake was provoked by 'ill language or uncivil and intemperate actions'?

9. Was Drake keeper of a rabbit warren of Sir Francis Popham's, and had Drake charged Salkeld with stealing deer and coneys from the warren, breaking in or climbing over a garden wall near one of Popham's houses, and stealing coneys from the garden? Was this not the occasion of differences first arising between Salkeld and Drake?

10. Whether within the last 6 years John Salkeld the younger with others had been charged with stealing deer and coneys from Sir Francis Popham's park or warren, and the matter 'being proven against him he fled for the same'?

11. Whether he knew of any families called Drake in Cornwall, Devon or Somerset? How many knights, esquires and gentlemen were from these families respectively and was not Jonathan Drake allied to one or more of these families?

12. Whether he was acquainted with John Salkeld the elder of [place faded] in the county of Devon, and whether he rented the tithes of [place faded] from Mr Salkeld? How long had Salkeld the elder lived in Devon, and where had he lived beforehand?

No date.

No signatures.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Salkeld and Dr Tooker for Drake. Drake was warned to appear on 16 February 1637 and there were further proceedings on 14 October 1637. On 28 November 1637 Sir Henry Marten was to give his verdict on whether Duck's allegations were to be admitted; if not the court was to proceed to sentence. The commissioners Sir Thomas Drew, Henry Ashford, esq, and Samuel Wilson, clerk, and also, Matthew Sandford, esq, John Porter, gent, and Walter Cliffe, gent, were appointed to meet from 3 to 5 January 1638 at Edward Drewston's Swan Inn at Wellington, co. Somerset. On 3 February 1638 Dr Tooker was required to go through the commission.


Neither party appeared in the 1620 Visitation of Devon: F. T. Colby (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Devon in the year 1620 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 6, 1872).

On 17 February 1636 an 'Ousterlemain above value' was granted to John, son of John Salkeld, gent.

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, 35, 2004), part 2, p. 337.


  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/1q (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: College of Arms MS. 'Court of Chivalry' (act book, 1636-8) [pressmark R.R. 68C], fos. 1r-11r (16 Feb 1637)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 8/26 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/27 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/29 (18 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/30(28 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 23-35 (3 Feb 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Ashford, Henry, esq
  • Cliffe, Walter, gent
  • Drake, Jonathan, yeoman
  • Drew, Thomas, knight
  • Drewston, Edward
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Popham, Francis, knight
  • Porter, John, gent
  • Salkeld, John the elder, gent
  • Salkeld, John the younger, gent
  • Sandford, Matthew, esq
  • Tooker, Charles, lawyer
  • Wilson, Samuel, clerk

Places mentioned in the case

  • Devon
    • Churchstanton
  • Somerset
    • Wellington

Topics of the case

  • hunting
  • provocative of a duel