64 Brandling v Southgate

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'64 Brandling v Southgate', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/64-brandling-southgate [accessed 12 April 2024]

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Sir Francis Brandling of Alnwick, co. Northumberland, knight v William Southgate of Longbenton, co. Northumberland, yeoman

Trinity term, 1637 - February 1639

Figure 64:

Early Stuart Newcastle upon Tyne where commissioners met at the Angel Inn to take depositions in September and October 1638.


This case appears to consist of two separate actions arising out of a quarrel between the two men which stretched back more than five years. Around 1633, at Longbenton, Northumberland, it was claimed that Southgate had provoked Brandling by declaring, in the presence of his workmen, that 'he would spend his blood to be revenged on Brandling', and that 'he would have 20d to spend when Brandling should not have a groate.' This was apparently prompted by ongoing lawsuits involving the two men which included an action for trespass brought against Southgate by Lord William Howard and a suit in King's Bench. The first action in the Court of Chivalry appears to have ended with the rare occurrence of a plebeian defendant winning the verdict. In Trinity term 1637 the court decreed that Sir Francis Brandling had been unable to prove his libel. William Southgate was 'absolved in perpetual silence from Sir Francis Brandling', and Brandling was sentenced to pay Southgate £20 in costs.

In spite of this judgement, Brandling renewed the cause on 4 December 1637, charging Southgate with having called him 'a forsworne knight' and declared that he had 'perjured and forsworne himself' in the city of London earlier in 1637 at a time when the two men were engaged in an action in Star Chamber. In June 1638 the court ordered that Brandling's witnesses be examined before a commission headed by Sir John Delaval, Sir Lionel Maddeson and Sir Peter Riddell at the Angel Inn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, from 17 to 19 September 1638. Brandling allegedly had difficulty procuring witnesses, and only the testimony of two yeomen survives, taken before Ralph Bowes and Henry Hirdman, gents, at the Angel Inn on 4 October 1638. Dr Duck produced two further witnesses in court on 20 November and on 21 February 1639, the court decreed that because Southgate had produced no material for his defence the court should proceed to sentence; however, no further proceedings survive.

Sentence / arbitration (first action)

R.19, fo. 31r, Defendant's sentence

'And having called before us the parties and being assisted by our councell learned in lawes, we doe (at the instance of Sir Francis) not being able to prove his libel, pronounce, decree and declare that William Southgate be dismist and absolved in perpetual silence from Sir Francis Brandling. And that Sir Francis Brandling doe pay *Southgate* for his costs and charges the sume of twenty pounds which we condemn him to pay by this our definitive and finall decree.'

Third session, Trinity term, 1637.

Signed by Arundel and Surrey.

Initial proceedings

3/37, Petition to Arundel

'The petitioner being a knight and a gentleman of Armes and ancient descent was within sixe months last much abused by many evill and base words given him by one William Southgate of Benton in the countie of Northumberland yeoman. Southgate amongst other base speeches in a very reproachfull and opprobrious manner sayeing the petitioner was a forsworne knight without any provocation.'

Petitioned that Southgate be brought to answer.

Duck desired Dethick to grant process.

4 December 1637.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

3/38, Plaintiff's bond

5 December 1637

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

Signed by Andrew Lumsden of Felling, co. Northumberland, gent, on behalf of Brandling.

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

Cur Mil I, fo. 209, Libel

1. Brandling's family had been reputed gentry for up to 300 years, and Brandling had been reputed a knight for over fifteen years, while Southgate was a plebeian.

2. Between May and December in the city of London, Southgate had said of Brandling 'that I was forsworne and perjured and had forsworne myself, and had caused divers of my servants to forsweare themselves and that they by my advise had forsworne themselves, and being reprehended by some or one present for the wordes answered and professed that he would speak and publish the same to my dishonour and disgrace.'

3. In the parish of Longbenton, Southgate had said 'that he would spend his blood to be revenged on Brandling, and that he did not value Brandlinge and that he would have 20d to spend when Brandling should not have a groate.'

4. These words were provocative of a duel.

28 April 1638

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Plaintiff's case

Cur Mil I, fo. 208, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners Sir John Delaval, Ralph Bowes, gent, Henry Hirdman, gent, and William Hunter, gent, and also Robert Berwick, esq, vice sheriff of Northumberland, Sir Lionel Maddeson, Sir Peter Riddell and Ralph Gray, esq, to meet in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, from 17 to 19 September 1638, at the Angel Inn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Dethick assigned James Marshall a notary public.

Dated 2 June 1638.

Signed by Gilbert Dethick.

14/2cc, Defence interrogatories

1. 'Doe you Andrew Lumsden thinke and conceive yourself a witness necessary in this suite. Is your testimony voluntary or by compulsion of legal process, and who served you with such process'?

2. Were there Star Chamber cases depending between Brandling, Southgate and others 'for perjury and subornacon of perjury? Have you had discourse with Southgate touching the same, and referring thereupon? Declare when, where, how and before whome.'

3. Was the witness a servant or solicitor of Brandling in the Star Chamber and Court of Honour causes, or in other courts, and which courts? The witness was asked to name the persons who informed Brandling of the speeches in the libel.

4. How many suites had the witness prosecuted against Southgate, for whom, for what causes, and in which courts?

5. 'Did you prosecute suite at law against William Southgate and Richard Goston his suretie (upon two bonds for appearing in the King's Bench at your master Sir Francis suit) in the name of Sir Ralph Selby knight, late Sheriff of Northumberland who directed and gave your warrant and monies to doe and prosecute the same? Were you not complained of to Mr Justice Berkeley upon the reference to him out of Star Chamber for the same? Did he not command stay of the suits, and willed you bid your master Sir Francis come before him? Who delivered you or your master those bonds, or how came you unto them'?

6. 'Did you retain one Richard Bourne an attorney of the Common Pleas to declare against William Southgate as an attorney there in the name of John Smith and in the name of my Lord William Howard in several actions of trespass? What warrant had you in so doing, and from whome, and who paid the charges therein'?

7. 'Did you and your master Sir Francis, or who, how many, or which of you, proferr, prosecute and give evidence upon an indictment of perjury against William Southgate in the Crown office before his majesties justices of his bench in or about Easter terme xi Car. Regis? Was William Southgate found guilty therein...? And how knew you to depose that the cause was neither published nor dismiste at Yorke, as by the indictment appears?'

8. 'Was the evidence you gave upon the said indictment trew, as the same is therein specified and found? Who procured you to give evidence therein, and by what legal command'?

9. 'How many affidavits have you sworne, in Star Chamber touching Brandling and William Southgate? Did you make an affidavit there dated 2 December last and thereby deposed that the defendants at Sir Francis Brandling's suit had got a reference to Mr Goad to tax them costs? Whether was the sume trew or false? Was there then any reference at all to tax costs to him direct; and did not William Southgate then shew the reference in court to be otherwise; and was not your oath thereupon avoided?'

Introduced 14 June 1638.

No signatures.

Cur Mil I, fo. 210, Plaintiff depositions

Taken before commissioners Ralph Bowes, gent and Henry Hirdman, gent, on 4 October 1638, at the Angel Inn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

fo.210 (Witness 1), John Pearson of Longbenton, co. Northumberland, yeoman, aged about 60.

To Brandling's libel:

1. Brandling had been reputed a knight for over fifteen years, and that his ancestors had been reputed gentry for 'tyme out of mind of man'. He knew Southgate but did not know any of his ancestors.

3. About five years ago he was threshing in a barn in Longbenton when Southgate entered, and 'after sundry other terms touching Sir Francis Brandlinge did say that when Sir Francis Brandling had spent eighteen pence he (Southgate) would have five groates.'

4. That Southgate spoke these words 'in scorne and contempt of Sir Francis Brandling and to disgrace him'.

fo.210 (Witness 2), Thomas Pearson of Longbenton, co. Northumberland, yeoman, aged about 56.

To Brandling's libel:

3. About 5 years ago he was threshing in a barn in Longbenton and Southgate entered and 'after some speeches used by him concerning some differences betwixt him and Sir Francis Brandling knight', Southgate said 'that when Sir Francis Brandling had spent xviii d he (Southgate) would have five groats'.

4. As witness 1.

Signed by commissioners Ralph Bowes and Henry Hirdman in the presence of the notary public James Marshall.


18/2e, Defendant's petition

'Sir Francis Brandling, knight, upon an uncertain libel against the petitioner examined two witnesses in Court last terme, and also had a commission into Northumberland last vacation; and examined two or more witnesses there; and attempted divers other of his tenants or servants to depose against the petitioner, who denyed, saying they could depose no further then in Star Chamber they had deposed formerly. And this long terme the petitioner hath attended this court of honour, to his great charge, and nothing but delayed used therein.'

Petitioned he may be dismissed with his costs, 'or have charges of this terms needless expenses'.

Dated 28 November 1638.

Signed by Lord Maltravers.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Ryves and Dr Duck acted as counsel for Brandling, Dr Eden for Southgate. Southgate was summoned to appear on 28 January 1638. On 20 October 1638 Dr Duck had to prove Brandling's libel and on 20 November the testimony of two further prosecution witnesses William Austell and Edward Phillipps was produced in support of this. On 21 February 1639, Southgate was directed to provide material for his defence; but he had none so sentence was scheduled for the next term.


Neither party appeared in the 1615 and 1666 Visitations of Northumberland, yet Sir Francis Brandling was appointed high sheriff of Northumberland in November 1626. In January 1636 it was recorded that William Southgate, an attorney of Common Pleas, dwelling in Northumberland was indicted for a common barretor. Sir Francis was acting as a deputy lieutenant for Northumberland in 1640 and in April he took charge of garrisoning Berwick. His two sons, Charles and Ralph later served in the royalist army as a colonel and major. Charles Brandling abjured his Catholicism to compound for his estates in 1649.

J. Foster (ed.), Pedigrees recorded at the Heralds' Visitations of the county of Northumberland, 1615, 1666 (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1891), p. 20; CSP Dom. 1635-6 , pp. 161-2; CSP Dom. 1639-40 , p. 312; CSP Dom. 1640 , p. 42; P. R. Newman, Royalist officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660: A biographical dictionary (London, 1981), p. 40; J. Broadway, R. Cust and S. K. Roberts (eds.), A Calendar of the Docquets of Lord Keeper Coventry, 1625-40 (List and Index Society, special series, 35, 2004), part 2, p. 360.


  • Sentence / arbitration (first action)
    • Defendant's sentence: R.19, fo. 31r (Tri 1637)
  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition to Arundel: 3/37 (4 Dec 1637)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 3/38 (5 Dec 1637)
    • Libel: Cur Mil I, fo. 209 (28 Apr 1638)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Cur Mil I, fo. 208 (2 Jun 1638)
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/2cc (14 Jun 1638)
    • Plaintiff's depositions: Cur Mil I, fo. 210 (4 Oct 1638)
  • Submission
    • Defendant's petition to Arundel: 18/2e (28 Nov 1638)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/5, fos. 1-15 (27 Jan 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: R.19, fos. 434r-449v (20 Oct 1638)
    • 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, fo. 413r (26 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 422r-428r (28 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 474r-484v (5 Dec 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

  • Austell, William
  • Berkeley, Mr Justice
  • Berwick, Robert, esq
  • Bourne, Richard, attorney
  • Bowes, Ralph, gent
  • Brandling, Charles, esq (also Brandlinge)
  • Brandling, Francis, knight (also Brandlinge)
  • Brandling, Ralph, esq (also Brandlinge)
  • Delaval, John, knight
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Goad, Mr
  • Goston, Richard
  • Gray, Ralph, esq
  • Hirdman, Henry, gent
  • Howard, Hnery, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Howard, William, baron Stafford
  • Hunter, William, gent
  • Lumsden, Andrew, gent
  • Maddeson, Lionel, knight (also Maddison)
  • Marshall, James, notary public
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Pearson, John, yeoman
  • Pearson, Thomas, yeoman
  • Phillipps, Edward
  • Riddell, Peter, knight
  • Ryves, Thomas, lawyer
  • Selby, Ralph, knight
  • Smith, John
  • Southgate, William, yeoman

Places mentioned in the case

  • Northumberland
    • Alnwick
    • Berwick
    • Felling
    • Longbenton
    • Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Topics of the case

  • allegation of perjury
  • comparison
  • Court of Common Pleas
  • deputy lieutenant
  • defendant victory
  • giving the lie
  • high sheriff
  • King's Bench
  • office-holding
  • other courts
  • previous litigation
  • Star Chamber