656 Utber v Baldery

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'656 Utber v Baldery', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/656-utber-baldery [accessed 5 March 2024]

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William Utber of St Gabriel, Fenchurch, London, gent v William Baldery of St Catherine Cree, London, vintner

November 1638 - February 1640


Utber complained that between August and October 1638 at the Mitre Tavern, in Fenchurch Street, London, Baldery said to him, in the presence of several gentleman, 'You lie. Kisse my a[rse]. Thou art a baldpated knave and a cheating rogue'. Baldery maintained that he had been provoked by Utber refusing to return him a pair of gloves and calling him 'base, tapsterly knave'. Utber presented his libel on 6 November 1638. The examination of witnesses began in November 1638 and was still going on in February 1639/40; but nothing further survives.

Initial proceedings

18/3d, Libel

1. Utber's family had been reputed gentry for up to 200 years.

2. Between August and October in the parish of St Dionis Backchurch, London, Baldery said in the presence of several gentleman to Utber, 'You lie. Kisse my a[rse]. Thou art a baldpated knave and a cheating rogue'.

3. These words were provocative of a duel.

Dated 6 November 1638.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Plaintiff's case

14/2j, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness.

2. Did the witness live of his own or was he the dependent of another? How much was he worth in goods with his debts paid? How much had he paid at the last assessment?

3. Was the witness a household servant or retainer to either of the parties? Was the witness a relative to either party, and if so by what degree? To whom would they give the victory if it were in their power?

4. Had they been compelled to attend? How much had they received or what did they expect to receive in expenses for their testimony?

5. Had there been any discord or controversy between the witnesses?

6. Had they talked with anyone about their testimony or been instructed how to testify and if so by whom?

7. 'Upon what occasion the pretensed words were given, and what provocation did Mr Utber give Mr Baldery to speake those words, and what words passed between them at that time both before and after? And who were then and there present when the words were spoken as is pretended?'

Introduced 26 November 1638

Signed by Thomas Exton.

Defendant's case

13/3a, Defence

'Mr Baldrie being at the Mitre Taverne in Fenchurch St...at the time of the pretended words Mr Utber came into Mr Baldrie's room ...and Baldrie showing him a paire of gloves and delivering them into his hand to view, Mr Utber put the gloves into his pocket; and Mr Baldrie demaunding them againe Utber refused to give them to Baldrie, but deteined and kept them from him and called him base, tapsterly knave and said Baldrie was not worthy to keep him companie.' The words that Baldrie was accused of were spoken after these words, 'and by and through the provocation of William Utber.'

No date.

Signed by Thomas Exton.

14/3ff, Plaintiff interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the danger of perjury and bearing false witness. What was their age, occupation and condition? Did they know Utber or Baldery? Did they favour one more than the other? To whom would they give the victory if it were in their power?

2. Were they a domestic servant or liveried retainer of Utber or Baldery? Were they indebted? If so, for how much? How much were they worth in good with their debts paid?

3. Had the witness been instructed how to depose? Had they received anything or were they expecting to receive anything for their testimony?

4. In September 1638 was the witness with Utber and Baldery? In what room of what house? Had Baldery said 'in a reviling and angry manner' to Utber 'that he was a rogue, a baldpated knave, cheating rogue, a base fellowe, and did not he give William Utber the lie, and badd him kisse his arse'?

5. That in case a witness deposed that Utber came into the room of a tavern where Baldery was in Fenchurch Street, and took from Baldery a pair of gloves 'and did call him tapsterlie knave, and did say that Baldrie was not worthie to keepe Utber company, let such witness be interrogated whether he was present in the same room with them and how long was he present with them? What was the communication then had between Mr Utber and Baldrie and what was the occasion of their falling out; and whether did not Utber demeane himself soberlie and civillie towards Baldrie at the same time and place, and used noe disgracefull wordes or wordes of provocation as such witness did heare'?

6. Was the witness present; and 'whether did not Baldrye deliver Bisbege his gloves; and whether did not he put the same into his pocket and soe carry them away out of the roome from Baldrye, and not Mr Utber, as such witness doth know and well remember'?

7. Whether 'Baldrie is a man given to quarrelling and brawling apt to provoke men by his opprobrious speeches and soe accounted'?

No date.

No signatures.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for Utber and Dr Exton for Baldery. On 6 November 1638 Baldery was warned to appear in person. Dr Duck gave the libel and Baldery entered a bond to the king for £100. On 20 November Dr Exton was required to appear and respond to the libel for Baldery. On 24 November Dr Duck produced as witnesses for Utber, John Besbitch and Richard Fenner. On 5 December more of Utber's witnesses were warned to submit to examination, and Dr Duck was required to produce as witnesses upon the libel Jane King and Margaret Saunders. On 28 January 1639 the witness Joane Cheyney was examined on behalf of Utber. On 4 February 1640 witnesses for Baldery's defence were examined.


William Utber of London, merchant was entered in the Visitation of 1633 as the son of Bernard Utber of Hoo, co. Norfolk, and Anne, daughter of Robert Browne of Norwich. William married Joane, daughter of Richard Fenner of Nutfield, co. Surrey.

William Baldery does not appear in the Visitations of London.

J. Jackson Howard (ed.), The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634 and, 1635, vol. II (Publications of the Harleian Society, 17, 1883), p. 306.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Libel: 18/3d (6 Nov 1638)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/2j (26 Nov 1638)
  • Defendant's case
    • Defence: 13/3a (no date)
    • Plaintiff interrogatories: 14/3ff (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. 412v-413r (24 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 before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Baldery, William, vintner
  • Besbitch, John
  • Browne, Anne
  • Browne, Robert
  • Cheyney, Joane
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Exton, Thomas, lawyer
  • Fenner, Joane
  • Fenner, Richard
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • King, Jane
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Saunders, Margaret
  • Utber, Anne
  • Utber, Bernard
  • Utber, Joane
  • Utber, William, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • St Catherine Cree
    • St Dionis Backchurch
    • St Gabriel, Fenchurch
  • Norfolk
    • Hoo
  • Norwich
  • Surrey
    • Nutfield

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • apparel
  • denial of gentility
  • giving the lie
  • insult before gentlemen
  • provocative of a duel
  • scatological insult
  • taxation