618 Sprye v Syes

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'618 Sprye v Syes', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/618-sprye-syes [accessed 1 March 2024]

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John Sprye of Truro, co. Cornwall, gent v Thomas Syes of St Ives, co. Cornwall, merchant

February 1638 - February 1639


Sprye complained that in late 1637 Syes had given him the lie and said he 'was a base fellow', 'a baggidge, a rascall, a cheater' and 'that he sent a fellow to cheate him'. Process was granted on 26 February 1638, and Dr Tooker presented material for the defence in November 1638 and February 1639; but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

7/109, Petition to Arundel and advice of King's Advocate

'The petitioner, being a gentleman of armes and ancient descent, was within six moneths last past much abused by many uncivill and opprobrious words spoken by Thomas Syes of St Ives in the countie merchant, Syes saying the petitioner did lye, that he was a baggidge, a rascall, a cheater and that he had sent a man to cheate him, with divers base language, without any provocation from the petitioner.'

Petitions for process.

Dr Duck informs Mr Dethick to grant process, 26 February 1638.

7/110, Plaintiff's bond

27 February 1638

Bound to duly prosecute his suit in the court in the painted chamber, Palace of Westminster.

Signed John James on behalf of Spry

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

R.19, fo. 3r, Summary of libel

'Sprye and his ancestors for above 300 years past is and have been gentlemen. Syes before many persons said of Sprye that he was a base fellow and a cheater and that he sent a fellow to cheate him, and often gave Sprye the lye. Thereby to provoke and c.'


No signature.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Parry acted as counsel for Sprye and Dr Tooker for Syes. On 6 and 20 November 1638 Dr Tooker related the material for the defence, and on 27 November Sir Henry Marten decreed that Tooker was to prove his allegations in the second session of the next term. On 21 February 1639, at the instigation of Dr Tooker, one Turberville was attached to appear as a witness for the defence.


This may have been John, the eldest son of Thomas Spry of Tencreek, and Ann, daughter of John Vashment, who was aged 18 in 1620. Alternatively he may have been John, eldest son of George Spry of Cutcrew, in the parish of St Germans, and Ann, daughter of Arthur Ashford of Wonwell Court, co. Devon, esq, who was aged 13 in 1620. A John Spry was major of foot in the royalist regiment of William Arundell (see cause 8).

J. L. Vivian and H. H. Drake (eds.), The Visitation of Cornwall in the year 1620 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 9, 1874), pp. 209-11; P.R. Newman, Royalist officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660: A biographical dictionary (London, 1981), p. 354.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition and advice of the King's Advocate: 7/109 (26 Feb 1638)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 7/110 (27 Feb 1638)
    • Libel: R.19, fo. 3r (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 454r-468v (6 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 400v-412v (20 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Marten: R.19, fos. 413v-416v (27 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/9 (28 Jan 1639)
    • Proceedings: 1/7, fos. 36-47 (9 Feb 1639)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 20-33 (21 Feb 1639)

People mentioned in the case

  • Arundell, William
  • Ashford, Arthur, esq
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Parry, George, lawyer
  • Sprye, Ann (also Spry)
  • Sprye, George (also Spry)
  • Sprye, John, gent (also Spry)
  • Sprye, Thomas (also Spry)
  • Syes, Thomas, merchants (also Seyes)
  • Terrick, Humphrey
  • Tooker, Charles, lawyer
  • Turberville
  • Vashment, Ann
  • Vashment, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • Cornwall
    • Cutcrew
    • St Germans
    • St Ives
    • Tencreek
    • Truro
  • Devon
    • Wonwell Court
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • civil war
  • denial of gentility
  • giving the lie
  • military officer
  • royalist