59 Bowen v Moulsworth and Gartfoote

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Thomas Bowen of the Middle Temple, London, gent v Guy Moulsworth of St Andrew, Holborn, co. Middlesex and William Gartfoote of the Inner Temple, London, gents

April - June 1635

Figure 59:

The Middle Temple is on the left hand side and the Inner Temple is on the right, separated by Middle Temple Lane running down the centre of the picture, just below Temple Bar. At the top of the lane is the gateway to the Inner Temple, where Thomas Bowen was insulted by Guy Moulsworth and William Gartfoote (From the plan of London by Ralph Agas, c.1560-1570)


Bowen, a gentleman of the Middle Temple, complained that on 16 March 1634/5 he was standing, talking at the gate of the Inner Temple, London, when he was insulted by Moulsworth, Gartfoote and others. Bowen had previously petitioned Arundel against Moulsworth for which Moulsworth had been bound over for £500. Moulsworth taunted him over this declaring loudly, 'Zounds, what a redd face hee hath; itt would make a man forfeite five hundred pounds to looke upon him and his face. Zounds, I cannot looke aside on him but he will complayne to my Lord Marshall on me and I shall forfeite my fyve hundred pound bond. I care not for your complainte, nor for my £500 bond.' The defendants were charged with contempt of court and the case was being heard in June 1635; but no further proceedings survive. [For a related action by Bowen see below; for Moulsworth and Gartfoote challenging Robert Napper, another Middle Temple student, in March 1635, see cause 456].

Initial proceedings

9/4/24, Articles

Bowen alleged that he was standing near the gate of the Inner Temple when Guy Moulsworth, William Gartfoote and others approached him and Moulsworth pointing at Bowen said, 'This is one of the gentlemen that petitioned my L. Marshall', and 'swearing in a deriding manner', said 'Zounds, what a redd face hee hath; itt would make a man forfeite five hundred pounds to looke upon him and his face. Zounds, I cannot looke aside on him but he will complayne to my L. Marshall on me and I shall forfeite my fyve hundred pound bond. I care not for your complainte, nor for my £500 bond.' Then William Gartfoote said 'lett mee see his face', to which Moulsworth answered, 'Looke on him'. Moulsworth, Gartfoote and others with them continued 'deridinge and scoffinge at Thomas Bowen, passed by him, and imediatelye returninge againe gazed on him and stared in his face'. Then Moulsworth said to Gartfoote, 'Come away Gartfoote. This man (meaninge Thomas Bowen) is a prettie fellowe. Lett him goe againe to my L. Marshall to complayne'.

Endorsed 18 April 1635.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Plaintiff's case

7/80, Complaint and interrogatories

On Monday 16 March 1634/5, Bowen was standing in the Inner Temple gate, talking with Mr Lowe, a gentleman of the Inner Temple, when he was affronted by 'Mouldsworth, Gufford and two others in this manner: Mouldsworth pointing towards me said "This is one of the gent, and the gent that peticoned my Lord Marshall" swearinge with as much derision as possible he could, "Zoundes what a read face he hath; it would make a man forfeit five hundred pounds to looke uppon him and his face", again "Zoundes I cannot looke aside on him, but he will complaine to my Lord Marshall on me and I shall forfeit my five hundred pounds bond". "Let me see his face" sayd they. "Looke on him" sayd Mouldsworth. Soe they both with the other two gent. with the like dirision, more then could be well endured, passed by me and returned againe purposely and gazed and star'd in my face. And sayd Mouldsworth, "Come away Gufford this is a pretty fellow" and thus uncivilie they parted.'


1. Did you see Mr Bowen standing at the Temple gate and who was with you when you saw him?

2. What words did you speak to Mr Bowen concerning the Lord Marshall, and in what manner?

3. Did you not say 'this is one of the gentlemen that complained to my Lord Marshall, and that this is he that petitioned my Lord Marshall swering with derision, zounds, see what a redd face he hath or to this effect? What other words & speeches & gestures did you then give out & use'?

4. Did you not 'then in a derydyng way swear, zounds, I cannot looke aside of him but he will complayne to my Lord Marshall & I shall forfeit my £500 bond, or what words to that effect or any other did you then speake or here spooke'?

5. Did you not 'laugh at Bowen because he had applied himselfe to my lord for justice against those abuses & affronts done to himselfe & friends. Whether did you not stare him in the face & goe rownd him & curse at him; & if you did what were the reasons induced you so to doe'?

6. Did you not by petition 'solicite my lord for favour and to give what satisfaction should be thought fitt, either by way of subscription or other wise'?

Signed by Morgan Napper and Bowen.

Summary of proceedings

On 9 May 1635 Moulsworth and Garfoote were to be examined upon the articles and penalty reserved for their non appearance. On 30 May Moulsworth and Garfoote were to submit to examination upon the articles. There were further proceedings on 9 June 1635 before the earls of Arundel and Huntingdon, Lord Maltravers and Sir Henry Marten, and 20 June 1635 before the latter three. The defendants stood accused of contempt, and there was a discussion of submission and taxation.


Thomas Bowen was the first son and heir of Charles Bowen of Trefloyne, in Penally parish, co. Pembroke, esq., and his family had been acknowledged as gentlemen for 300 years: see Bowen's libel in case 48, College of Arms, Curia Militaris, 9/4/63. Guy Moldsworth was a professional soldier serving in the Bishops Wars and later in Ireland.

P.R. Newman, Royalist officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660: A biographical dictionary (London, 1981), p. 258.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Articles: 9/4/24 (18 Apr 1635)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Complaint and interrogatories: 7/80 (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: EM348 (9 May 1635)
    • Proceedings: EM349 (30 May 1635)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 8/24 (9 Jun 1635)
    • Proceedings before Huntingdon: 8/25 (20 Jun 1635
    • Undated proceedings: R.19, fos. 390-399 (c. Jun 1635)

People mentioned in the case

  • Bowen, Charles, esq
  • Bowen, Thomas, gent
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Gartfoote, William, gent (also Garfoote, Gufford)
  • Grenville, Richard, knight
  • Hastings, Henry, earl of Huntingdon
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Lowe, Mr, gent
  • Maurice, Prince
  • Moulsworth, Guy, gent (also Moldsworth)
  • Napper, Robert, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • Cornwall
    • Pendennis
  • Essex
    • Ingatestone
  • Ireland
  • London
    • Inner Temple
    • Middle Temple
  • Middlesex
    • St Andrew's Holborn
  • Pembrokeshire
    • Penally
    • Trefloyne
  • Wales

Topics of the case

  • blasphemy
  • contempt of court
  • inns of court
  • insult before gentlemen
  • military officer
  • previous litigation
  • royalist