632 Style v Shaw

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'632 Style v Shaw', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/632-style-shaw [accessed 4 March 2024]

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Sir Humphrey Style of Langley, co. Kent, bart v William Shaw the younger of St Michael, Crooked Lane, London, merchant

February - October 1640


Style complained that close to midnight on 7 January 1640, at a supper in the Bell Tavern in St Martin Orgar, London, in the presence of his brother, Michael Style, draper, Robert Ellis, merchant, and Mr Job Royce, Shaw had said, 'I know what Sir Humfry Styles is, he is a man worth nothing; he hath gamed away all his estate; he doth flinge his baggs in every corner; he is a base conditioned fellow'. Style was not present, but his brother and Ellis began trading blows with Shaw who later had Michael Style brought before a J.P. and bound over to appear at the next quarter sessions. Shaw and Michael Style also began suits against each other in the Court of Common Pleas and Crown Office. Process was granted on 15 February 1640 and Style presented his libel on 1 May. His brother and Ellis appeared as witnesses before the court in June and July and proceedings were still under way in October 1640; but nothing further survives.

Initial proceedings

2/23, Petition to Arundel

'William Shaw junior, citizen of London one whome your petitioner never sawe, nor had any dealinge with, hath most unsufferably vilified, abused and traduced your petitioner in the hearing of your petitioner's brother, and divers other persons of good quality, vizt. He knew what Sir Humphrey Stile was, he was a man worth nothinge; and that he gamed away all his estate; and did flinge his bags in every corner; and a base condiconed fellow, with divers other reproachfull speeches. And being by the company exhorted to forbeare to injure your petitioner he reiterated the fowle language againe and againe to the great prejudice of your petitioner.

Your petitioner hath good and cleere estate of land able to support his degree, is not in debt, but hath paied 10,000li in one tearme where he was ingaged. Your petitioner hath annexed the testimony of 3 of those that heard the reproachfull abuses, and humbly praieth process against Shawe to answeare your petitioner in the Court of Honor.'

Maltravers granted process on 15 February 1640.

2/24, Plaintiff's bond

15 February 1640

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

Signed by Thomas Forster of St Clement Danes without Temple Bar, London, gent, on behalf of Style.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Watson.

5/18, Defendant's bond

Described the defendant as of St Michael's parish, Crooked Lane, London, merchant.

4 May 1640

Bound to 'appear in Arundel house in the Strand without Temple Bar, London'.

Signed William Shaw.

Sealed signed and delivered in the presence of John Watson.

18/4t, Libel

1. Style's family had been reputed gentry for up to 200 years, and Style was a knight and baronet.

2. William Shaw had said in January in the parish of St Martin Orgar, London, 'I know what Sir Humfry Styles is, he is a man worth nothing; he hath gamed away all his estate; he doth flinge his baggs in every corner; he is a base conditioned fellow'. These words were provocative of a duel.

Signed by Thomas Eden.

No date but filed under Easter term, 1 May 1640.

Plaintiff's case

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fos. 146r-148v, Plaintiff deposition

(Witness 1), Michael Style of St Martin Orgar, London, draper, lived there for 15 years, born at Bromley, co. Kent, aged about 32

3 June 1640

To Style's libel:

1. He had known Style as long as he could remember. Style was a gentleman bearing arms, a knight and baronet, and so reputed.

2. On 7 January last he was with Shaw in the Bell Tavern in St Martin Orgar parish, when Shaw said, 'I know what Sir Humphrey Stile is, he is a man worth nothing; and hath gamed away his estate; and he doth flinge his bagges in everie corner; and that Sir Humphrie had done [Michael] and Sir Humphrie his family a great deale of wronges'. Shaw said the words 'by way of disparagement and derogation from Sir Humfrie Style'. Robert Ellis and Jobe Royse were present and heard the speeches.

To Shaw's interrogatories:

1. He was a woollen draper and had known Shaw for 7 years 'and wisheth right may take place.'

2. He was 'brother by the father's side but not by the mother's side' to Style. Mr Foster had written a letter to him desiring Mr Ellis and Mr Royse to be witnesses, which the witness did 'desire them accordingly'.

3. There were several lawsuits depending between him and Shaw, two of which were commenced by Shaw against him, and the others commenced by him against Shaw. Two of these were in the Court of Common Pleas, and the third in the Crown Office. All of these suits concerned Shaw's abuse of this witness and Sir Humphrey Style in the time and place above mentioned.

4. He and his wife, and the rest of the parties in the interrogatory, 'did supp together at the Bell Tavern' with Shaw and his wife at the time of the words, but he did not send for Shaw.

5. There were blows between him and Shaw when the words were spoken.

6. At the aforesaid time and place, Shaw 'tooke up a glove of Mr Ellis and wiped his nose therewith', and afterwards Shaw told Ellis 'he would give him two paire of gloves for the glove'. Shaw 'carrying himself very unmannerly and uncivilly, Mr Ellis told him he was not fit to keepe civil company'.

7. Shaw procured a warrant from a J.P. to convent this witness before a J.P. and bound him over to answer at the sessions. This was done before the beginning of this suit. This suit would have commenced sooner 'had not Mr Royse promised that Shawe should give satisfaction to Sir Humfry Style' and this witness.

8. Shaw had a joint action against the witness and Mr Ellis in the Court of Common Pleas for an assault.

9. He believed Shaw never saw Sir Humphrey Style. The words before deposed were said 'without any provocation', at 11pm or midnight 'in a lower room of the house neere the kitchen'.

Signed by Michael Style.

Repeated before Sir Henry Marten on 9 October 1640, in the presence of Thomas Maidwell, notary public.

1/12, Plaintiff deposition
(Witness 2) Robert Ellis of St Michael, Crooked Lane, London, merchant, had lived there for two years, was born in the city of York, and aged about 34.

To Styles's libel:

Styles was commonly reputed to be a knight and baronet.

On Monday 7 January 1640 at the Bell tavern in St Martin Orgar's, William Shawe, talking of Sir Humphrey Styles said, 'I did live in the cuntrie neere to Sir Humfrie Style and I know what Sir Humfrie Style is. He hath gamed away his estate and doth flinge his bags in everie corner; and he hath done his brother Michael Style a great deale of wronge.'

Shaw spoke the words in contempt and without provocation.

To Shawe's interrogatories:

1. He wished right would take place.

2. Michael Style was reputed to be Sir Humphrey Style's brother.

3. Shawe was suing this witness and Michael Style in the Court of Common Pleas in an action of battery. He believed that Michael Style was suing Shawe for the same in the Court of Common Pleas also.

30 July 1640.

No signatures.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Eden acted as counsel for Style and Dr Tooker for Shaw. On 24 October 1640 the witnesses were warned to submit to examination, and on 30 October 1640, before Lord Mowbray and Maltravers, and Lord Stafford, Dr Eden petitioned that the witnesses' depositions be published.


Sir Humphrey Style of Beckenham and Langley, co. Kent, knt and bart (1595-1659), was entered in the 1634 visitation of London as the son of William Style of co. Kent, and Mary, daughter of Judge Clerke, Baron of the Exchequer. A gentleman of the Privy Chamber and cupbearer to Charles I, he was created a baronet in 1627. He died without heirs and the baronetcy became extinct. William Shaw did not appear in the Visitations of London.

G. E. Cokayne (ed.), The Complete Baronetage, 1611-25 (Exeter, 1900), vol. 1, p. 259; G. E. Cokayne (ed.), The Complete Baronetage, 1625-1649 (Exeter, 1902), vol. 2, p. 474; J. Jackson Howard (ed.), The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634 and, 1635, vol. II (Publications of the Harleian Society, 17, 1883), p. 272.

On 16 February 1638 an order was issued for the arrest of Sir Humphrey Style for his failure to appear in court to answer the charges of Anne Carleton, viscountess Dorchester.

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. 432.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 2/23 (15 Feb 1640)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 2/24 (15 Feb 1640)
    • Defendant's bond: 5/18 (4 May 1640)
    • Libel: 18/4t (1 May 1640)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Plaintiff depositions: Cur Mil 1631-42, fos. 146-8 (3 Jun 1640)
    • Plaintiff deposition: 1/12 (30 Jul 1640)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Stafford: 1/11, fos. 41r-44v (24 Oct 1640)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 19r-30v (30 Oct 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Carleton, Anne, viscountess Dorchester
  • Clerke, judge
  • Clerke, Mary
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Ellis, Robert, merchant
  • Forster, Thomas, gent
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Howard, William, baron Stafford
  • Maidwell, Thomas, notary public
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Royce, Job, Mr (also Royse)
  • Shaw, Mrs
  • Shaw, William the younger, merchant
  • Style, Humphrey, knight and baronet (also Stile, Styles)
  • Style, Michael, draper (also Stile, Styles)
  • Style, Mary (also Stile, Styles)
  • Style, Mrs (also Stile, Styles)
  • Style, William
  • Tooker, Charles, lawyer
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • Kent
    • Beckenham
    • Bromley
    • Langley
  • London
    • Arundel House
    • St Clement Danes
    • St Martin Orgar
    • St Michael, Crooked Lane
    • Strand
    • Temple Bar
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • York

Topics of the case

  • allegation of bankruptcy
  • apparel
  • assault
  • Court of Common Pleas
  • denial of gentility
  • justice of the peace
  • other courts
  • quarter sessions
  • royal servant
  • tavern brawl