588 Segar v Wadman

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Frederick Segar of St Andrew's, Holborn, co. Middlesex, gent v John Wadman of Staple Inn, London, gent

November 1637 - February 1638

Figure 588:

The Staple Inn in Holborn, residence of John Wadman.


Segar complained that Wadman had between October and December 1637 said in the presence of several gentlemen that 'I was a base fellowe and he kept better to wipe his shoes; and bidd mee kisse his arse, and called for pen, inke and paper, and said he would affirme itt under his hand'. Process was granted on 30 November 1637 and Wadman was required to respond to the libel on 3 February 1638. He presumably admitted his guilt because on 15 February he was sentenced to pay Segar £13-6s-8d damages and, £3 expenses, and also perform a submission which he was required to certify before the court by 14 April 1638.

Initial proceedings

3/21, Petition to Arundel

'Humbly shewing that your peticoner, being a gent. of discent, as is well knowne to your lordship, and being of inoffensive behaviour and of civill conversation, hath bene lately, with injurious language, and termes full of disgrace and comparison, provoked and reviled by one John Wademan, an atturney, who in most insolent manner said to your peticoner, I would have you know I keep better then you to wipe my shoes and you are a base fellow; and bad your petitioner kisse his breech, and calling for pen and incke offered to affirme it under his hand.'

Petitioned that Wadman be brought to answer.

Arthur Duck desired Mr Dethick to send out process on 30 November 1637.

3/22, Plaintiff's bond

30 November 1637

Bound to appear 'in the Court in the painted Chamber within the Pallace of Westminster'.

Signed by Frederick Seagar.

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

13/1a, Libel

Between October and December last, publicly in the presence of various persons of dignity, Wadman had said 'I was a base fellowe and he kept better to wipe his shoes; and bidd mee kisse his arse and called for pen, inke and paper, and said he would affirme itt under his hand', or words to that effect.

No date.

Signed by Arthur Duck.


8/11, Defendant's bond on submission

15 February 1638

'The condicon of this obligacon is such that if the above bounden John Wadham, his executors, actors or assignes, shall pay, or cause to be payd, into the registry of this courte, to the use of Frederick Seagar his heires, executors or actors, the full some of £13-6s-8d for damadges, and £3 for charges of suite, adjudged and taxed against him by the right honorable Henry Lord Matravers, lieutenant to the hoble. Thomas earl of Arundell and Surrey, Earl Marshall of England, in a cause lately dependinge before him in the Courte Military betweene Frederick Seagar, plaintiff, and John Wadham, defendant, in the manner followinge, vizt. the some of £8-3s-4d at or before the 14 April next ensuinge; and also £8-3s-4d before 25 June next; and shall likewise performe such submission and in such a manner, tyme and place as shalbe enjoyned him by this court, and certify his performance therof accordingly, and shall personally appeare in the court in the Painted Chamber of the 14 April next between 9 and 11am, and soe from court to court as hee shall bee assigned. And likewise if John Wadham shall in the mean time, and, during the pleasure of the court, continue to bee of good behaviour towardes the king's most excellent Majestie and all his liege people, then this obligacon to be voyd or else remayne in full force and vertue'.

Signed John Wadman and John Hungerford.

Sealed in presence of William Suffield and John Watson.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Segar and Dr Exton for Wadman. On 27 January 1638 Wadman was summoned to appear and on 3 February he was required to respond to the libel. Sentence was heard on 12 February 1638 and Wadman was required to pay his fine in two equal installments.


The plaintiff was born in 1599 and the son of Sir William Segar, Garter King of Arms: A. R. J. S. Adolph, 'Sir William Segar (c. 1564-1633)', Oxford DNB (Oxford, 2004).

Frederick Segar did not appear in G. J. Armytage (ed.), Middlesex Pedigrees (Publications of the Harleian Society, 65, 1914).


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 3/21 (30 Nov 1637)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 3/22 (30 Nov 1637)
    • Libel: 13/1a (no date)
  • Submission
    • Defendant's bond on submission: 8/11 (15 Feb 1638)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/5, fos. 1-15 (27 Jan 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 23-35 (3 Feb 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 38-56 (12 Feb 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Exton, Thomas, lawyer
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Hungerford, John
  • Segar, Frederick, gent (also Seagar)
  • Segar, William, knight (also Seagar)
  • Suffield, William
  • Terrick, Humphrey
  • Wadman, John, gent (also Wademan, Wadyman)
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • Staple Inn
  • Middlesex
    • St Andrew's, Holborn
    • Westminster

Topics of the case

  • comparison
  • denial of gentility
  • inns of court
  • scatological insult