584 Scott v Steeper

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Thomas Scott of Marlow, co. Buckingham, gent v William Steeper of St Andrew Holborn, co. Middlesex, tailor

February 1637 - February 1638


Scott complained that Steeper had given him scandalous words provocative of a duel. Steeper maintained that he had been provoked when he went to Scott's house where Scott refused to pay him money he owed for beer and threw a glass of wine in his face. Steeper maintained that Scott was a brewer and attempted to challenge his claim to gentility. Proceedings were under way in February 1637, and on 3 February 1638 Dr Duck moved the court to hear the sentence. Although no copy of a sentence survives, a faint trace of the word 'taxamus ' on Scott's bill of costs suggests that he won the verdict. [For Steeper's counter suit, see cause 622].

Plaintiff's case

14/1s, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness.

'Of what condition or trade of life he is, and what he is worth, his debts paid; and where doth he dwell; and whether he be, or have been, servant or otherwise dependent, upon Scott; and whether he be a subsidy man'?

2. If the witness deposed Steeper said the words in the libel, they were to be asked in what room, in what house or other place, in what parish, upon what hour and day and in whose presence'?

3. Was Scott a brewer and where did he dwell? At the time of the 'pretended words' had Steeper come to Scott's house 'to reckon with him for beer he had taken from him? And did not Mr Scott first fall out, revile and miscall William Steeper before he spake any the pretended words, and told Steeper that he would never pay for his beer, to [Steeper], or any of his predecessors of whom he tooke beer, without arrest or suit against him. And whether Mr Scott and William Steeper, being together about the reckonings and drinking of a pint of wine, [Scott] did take a glasse of wine and threw it on William Steeper's face, yea or noe, before he uttered the pretended words to and of Mr Scott? Lett them express the whole passage and provocations then and there done to Steeper'.

4. Had Steeper paid for the beer from Mr Scott and his predecessors in the brew house 'duely at such times as they have demanded of it; and they been satisfied with the same'?

5. Whether in London Scott was accounted a gentleman by descent, and 'such a one as may bear armes; and hath he been taken by others to be a man not so qualified'?

No date.

No signatures.

Sentence / Arbitration

9/4/69, Plaintiff's bill of costs

Easter term, 1637: £6-3s-4d

Trinity term, 1637: £6-7s-4d

Michaelmas term, 1637: £4-1s-0d

Hilary term, 1637/8: damaged

No total, but a faint trace of the word 'taxamus ' suggesting that Scott got the verdict.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Scott and Dr Talbot for Steeper. There were proceedings on 11 and 16 February 1637. On 14 October 1637 Dr Talbot was to prepare material for the defence. On 28 November 1637Dr Talbot's material for the defence was to be heard before Sir Henry Marten.On 27 January 1638 Dr Talbot was to prove the material for the defence and the names of Sir William Le Neve, Sir Henry St George, Dr Gwyn, Dr Ryves and Dr Merrick were given, probably in relation to a challenge to the gentility of Scott. On 3 February 1638 Dr Duck moved the court to hear the sentence.


Thomas Scott of Marlow was the son of Thomas Scott of London and Mary, daughter of Mr Sutton. He married Alice, daughter and heiress of William Allanson of London.

W. H. Rylands (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Buckingham made in 1634 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 53, 1909), p. 111.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/1s (no date)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiff's bill of costs: 9/4/69 (1637/8)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: College of Arms MS. 'Court of Chivalry' (act book, 1636-8) [pressmark R.R. 68C] (hereafter 68C), fos. 23r-36v (11 Feb 1637)
    • Proceedings: 68C, fos. 14r-20v (16 Feb 1637)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 8/26 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/27 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/28(31 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/29 (18 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/30 (28 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/5, fos. 1-15 (27 Jan 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 23-35 (3 Feb 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Allanson, Alice
  • Allanson, William
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Gwyn, Thomas, lawyer
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Le Neve, William, knight
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Ryves, Thomas, lawyer (also Rives)
  • St George, Henry, knight
  • Scott, Alice
  • Scott, Thomas, gent
  • Scott, Mary
  • Steeper, William, tailor
  • Sutton, Mary
  • Sutton, Mr
  • Talbot, Clere, lawyer

Places mentioned in the case

  • Buckinghamshire
    • Marlow
  • Middlesex
    • St Andrew's Holborn

Topics of the case

  • allegation of tradesman status
  • debt
  • denial of gentility
  • provocative of a duel