635 Sydenham v Sandford

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'635 Sydenham v Sandford', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/635-sydenham-sandford [accessed 5 March 2024]

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Roger Sydenham of Dulverton, co. Somerset, gent v Henry Sandford of Ninehead Flory, co. Somerset, gent

February - May 1640


Sydenham complained that on 28 November 1639 in the parish of Ninehead Flory, Somerset, Sandford said that 'I was a base fellow and had dealt basely with my wife; and had casheer'd her who had kept me from starving'. He also claimed that Sandford had struck him on the face. Both parties entered bond and a libel was given on 1 May 1640; but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

2/9, Petition to Arundel

'Your petitioner is a gent descended of an auntient family and hath right to beare armes. He hath lately bin much wronged and abused in words by Henry Sanford of Nynehead Flory in the county, gent., whoe in November last said and told your petitioner that he was a base fellow and that I had dealt basely with my wife; and had cashiered her who had saved me from starving; and forthwith stroake mee on the face, and with other threatening speeches told me that were it not for Mr William Sydenham's sake, your petitioner's brother, he would beate me out of doores.'

Petitioned that Sanford be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process, no date.

2/3, Plaintiff's bond

25 February 1640

Bound to appear 'in the Court in Arundell house within the parish of St Clement Danes without Temple Barr, London'.

Signed by Ro. Sydenham.

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

5/39, Defendant's bond

18 May 1640

Bound to 'appear in the court in the painted Chamber within the palace of Westminster'.

James Osmond of Halberton, co. Devon, gent., acting on behalf of Henry Sandford

Signed by James Osmond.

Sealed subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Watson.

18/4s, Libel

1. The Sydenhams had been reputed gentry for up to 300 years, and his father was Humphrey Sydenham, esq.

2. On 28 November, in the parish of Ninehead Flory, Sandford said that 'I was a base fellow and had dealt basely with my wife; and had casheer'd her who had kept me from starving, and struck me on the face'.

3. These words were provocative of a duel.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

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


The details of the Sydenham family given in the libel do not match the pedigrees for the family given in the Visitations of 1623 and 1672.

F. T. Colby (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Somerset in the year 1623 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 11, 1876), pp. 99-100; G. D. Squibb (ed.), The Visitation of Somerset and the City of Bristol, 1672 (Publications of the Harleian Society, new series, 11, 1992), pp. 92-3, 168.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition to Arundel: 2/9 (no date)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 2/3 (25 Feb 1640)
    • Defendant's bond: 5/39 (18 May 1640)
    • Libel: 18/4 (1 May 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Osmond, James, gent
  • Sandford, Henry, gent
  • Sydenham, Humphrey, esq (also Sidenham, Siddenham)
  • Sydenham, Roger, gent (also Sidenham, Siddenham)
  • Sydenham, William, gent (also Sidenham, Siddenham)
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • Devon
    • Halberton
  • London
    • Arundel House
    • St Clement Danes
    • Temple Bar
  • Somerset
    • Dulverton
    • Nynehead Flory

Topics of the case

  • assault
  • denial of gentility
  • threatened violence