662 Vicars v Hudson

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'662 Vicars v Hudson', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/662-vicars-hudson [accessed 2 March 2024]

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James Vicars of Reigate, co. Surrey, gent v William Hudson of the same, esq

October 1638


This is the counter suit to the case brought by Captain Hudson, a trained band captain of Surrey, against Vicars, a woollen draper, after a confrontation at Surrey sessions at Reigate in January 1638. [For details, see cause 314].

Plaintiff's case

14/3n, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. What was the witness's age, occupation and condition during the last seven years? Did the witness know the parties?

2. Was the witness related to either of the parties, and is so, in what degree? Was the witness a liveried or household servant to either of the parties?

3. Was he a subsidy man, had he paid ship money, and which party in the cause did he favour?

4. Had the witness spoken to anyone about his deposition or been instructed how to depose?

5. Was William Hudson 'a gentleman descended of an ancient family' who lived 'in the rancke, quality, fashion and reputation of a gentleman'? Was Hudson captain of a trained band in Surrey, and for how long?

6. Did Vicars between November 1637 and February 1638 'in a scornefull manner utter divers disgracefull and contumelious speeches' against Hudson, 'terming him a base fellow, a base shitten Captaine, a dogge and that Mr Hudson barked at the moone when he spake' to Vicars? Did Vicars 'bend his fist against Captain Hudson'? What other words or gestures did Vicars then use against Hudson?

7. If any deposed of 'contumelious or reproachful words' uttered by Hudson against Vicars, then they were to be asked if Vicars had provoked Hudson by complaining against Hudson to the justices of the peace for Surrey, desiring Hudson be bound to the peace? Did Hudson thereupon voluntarily submit himself to the justices, as soon as he heard of the complaint against him, 'and entered recognisance in £100 to keepe the peace'?

8. 'In the afternoone of the same day and shortly after Captaine Hudson voluntarily became bound to the peace', James Vicars came into the room where the justices and Hudson were. Hudson in 'a quiet and peaceable manner' then asked Vicars what the reason was that he had required the peace against him? Did Mr Vicars, before Captain Hudson spoke any of the pretended words, then 'utter divers disgracefull and contumelious speeches against Captaine Hudson, and in a dareing manner bending his fist at him and provokeing Captaine Hudson to breake the peace as much as in him laye'? What 'wordes and gesture of provocation did Mr Vicars first speake and use before any of the pretended words were spoken as is pretended'?

9. Those that 'shall depose that Captaine Hudson *sayde* in the presence of Sir Thomas Bludder knight and Edmund Saunders Esq that Mr Vicars was a base rascall, and not worthie to keep such gentlemen company, but worthy to be whipt out of the Countrie; that he the said Mr Vicars was a beggar and a braggadoria and not the man he was taken to be for estate, and that he was a base cheating rascall, and that he would cheate one Mr Rider of his estate, or wordes to the like effecte'; then they were to be asked whether 'Mr Vicars at the speaking of the pretended wordes, or immediately before or after the wordes were spoken, use and utter divers scornefull and contumelious wordes and gesture against Captaine Hudson, saying that Captaine Hudson was a base fellowe and a base shitten Captaine, a dogge, and that Captaine Hudson barked at the moone when he spake unto Vicars or what other wordes or gesture of contempt, scorne and provocation' did Vicars use of Hudson'?

No date.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Merrick acted as counsel for Vicars and Dr Duck for Hudson. Dr Duck had to respond to the libel on behalf of Hudson on 20 October 1638.


Neither William Hudson nor James Vicars appear in the Visitations of Surrey in 1623 or 1662-8, but a William Hudson has been noted as a royalist lieutenant-colonel who surrendered in Lichfield Cathedral Close in 1646.

P. R. Newman, Royalist Officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660: A biographical dictionary (London, 1981), p. 204.


  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/3n (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: R.19, fos. 434r-449v (20 Oct 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Bludder, Thomas, knight
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Hudson, William, esq
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Saunders, Edmund, esq
  • Vicars, James, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • Staffordshire
    • Lichfield
  • Surrey
    • Reigate

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • civil war
  • denial of gentility
  • justice of the peace
  • military officer
  • office-holding
  • quarter sessions
  • royalist
  • scatological insult
  • ship money
  • taxation
  • threatened violence
  • trained band