68 Brome v Woodman

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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68 BROME V WOODMAN

Thomas Brome of Winchester, co. Hampshire, gent v John Woodman of the same, grocer

February - December 1640

Figure 68:

Winchester in 1610. Thomas Brome and John Woodman quarreled in one of the city's many alehouses in August 1639 (From John Speed, Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain (1611))

Abstract

The initial quarrel took place in August 1639 when Brome came into the lower room of Edward and Susan Pescod's alehouse in Winchester and took a slice of meat from Woodman's plate. Woodman chided him over this and two men got into an argument about whether Brome had been in debt to Woodman in the past. When Woodman told him that he lied, Brome retorted that he was a gentleman and that he 'did him wrong to give him the lie.' Woodman's response was 'thou art not a gentleman thou art a dungehill... thou art a hogtrough and a base rascally fellow, and I am a better man then thou'. Brome was a goldsmith, but claimed his family had been reputed gentry for over 100 years and that Woodman was merely a grocer. Yet the status of the two men was far closer than Brome suggested: Brome was a churchwarden while Woodman a constable, and Woodman had paid more in ship money that Brome. Woodman's interrogatories questioned Brome's gentility by claiming that Brome worked at the forge in a leather apron, and pointed out that Brome's first witness, Francis Verney, was a Roman Catholic. Woodman also petitioned that as he was a collector of ship money he could not leave Winchester, and that the cause might be arbitrated by local churchmen, aldermen or gentlemen. This may have been the outcome as proceedings on 4 December 1640 mention an agreement between the parties.

Initial proceedings

2/29, Petition to Arundel

'Your petitioner being paternally discended of a family of gentry in the month of August last past, one John Woodman of Winchester grocer (amongst other discourse) gave your petitioner as well the lye as these words ensueing, (Thou art not a gentleman thou art a dungehill). Your petitioner replied, Sir, I am a gentleman of an ancient family. He then replied, Thou art a hogtrough and a base rascally fellow, and I am a better man then thou.'

Petitioned that Woodman be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process on 12 February 1640.

18/4b, Libel [damaged]

1. Brome's family had been reputed gentry for 100 years or more.

2. In August or September, Woodman gave Brome the lie, said he was not a gentleman, 'and thou art a dunghill'. When Brome replied he was a gentleman, Woodman said: 'thou art a hoggtrough or hogstye, and a base rascally fellow and I am a better man then thou', which words were provocative of a duel.

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

Signed by William Merrick.

Plaintiff's case

Cur Mil 1631-1642, fos.162-169, Plaintiff depositions

fos. 162r-164v (Witness 1), Francis Verney of St Andrew's, Holborn, jeweller, lived there for 7 years, born at Wing, co. Buckingham, aged about 30

8 June 1640

To Brome's libel:

1. He had known Brome for 15 years and had heard that his ancestors were gentlemen.

2. He was with Brome and Woodman last September at an alehouse in Winchester, when Woodman told Brome that 'Brome was beholding to him John Woodman'. Brome denied it, saying he had never been beholden to Woodman for anything, and Woodman replied 'thou lyest'. Brome then said 'he was no such man to be told he lied by Woodman, for that he was a gentleman'. Woodman replied 'Thou a gentleman, thou a hogg trough, thou arte a dunghill, thou art a base rascally fellow and I am a better gentleman than thou arte. And he saith that the words were spoken in an angrie and hastie manner' in this witness's presence, along with 'a young man called Nicholas and one Susan Pescod, the woman of the house, and who else he knoweth not.'

To Woodman's interrogatories:

1. He only knew Woodman by sight and was not acquainted with him.

2. At the time of the words, the witness 'had a little working room' in Brome's house 'and did sometimes make ringes or do such like worke for Brome, but was not in the manner of a servant or journeyman to Brome.'

3. He was taxed for ship money at 3s-4d, and 'he careth not who hath the better in this cause.'

4. After the speaking of the words, Brome asked him what words he had heard Woodman use. Verney wrote them down and gave them to Brome.

5. 'He is a Roman Catholique or recusant, but is not a Convict recusant or excommunicated, and saith he was last at the Queenes Chappell in Somerset House and received the sacrament there *on Sunday was seaventh night last past before this his examination* at the hands of a Capucian fryer and hath received the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of Rome eight times or thereabouts within a Twelvemoneth last past.'

6. 'Thomas Brome useth the trade of a goldsmith and worketh sometimes at the forge and anvil... saveing he saith he never saw him wear a leather apron.'

7. Negative, and 'he taketh Thomas Brome to be a very civil man'.

8. He heard that Woodman was rated at more for ship money than Brome. At the time of speaking the words, Woodman was a constable and Brome a churchwarden. Both parties were 'of good repute and credit'.

9. The words deposed were spoken in a lower room or kitchen of the house at about 9 or 10pm. He went with Brome to 'drinke a cup of beere.'

10. He testified at Brome's request.

12. At the speaking of the words, Brome 'was in an alehouse or victualling house but was not distempered with drink'. He went with Brome to the alehouse 'to drink a cupp of beere', and found Woodman there eating with another man. Brome took a piece of the meat which Woodman was eating and ate it. Then Woodman said 'what hungry fellow is this', and Brome replied that 'he was not beholding to him'. Woodman said that he was, 'and thereupon the words predeposed were spoken.'

15. He believed the witness Susan Pescod kept an alehouse, and that it was 11pm before he and Brome departed.

Signed by Francis Verney.

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten, lieutenant, on 9 June 1640 in the presence of John Longland, notary public.

fos. 165r-167r (Witness 2), Nicholas Rookely of the city of Winchester, cordwainer, lived there for 15 years, born at Beaulieu, co. Hampshire, aged about 23

9 June 1640

To Brome's libel:

1. 'He cannot depose anything of his own knowledge, but he hath heard divers say that Thomas Brome is a gentleman well descended.'

2. About last Michaelmas he was at Edward Pescod's alehouse or victualling house in Winchester with John Woodman 'and one Musprot'. After a while Brome and Verney entered the house, and Brome took and ate a piece of the meat Musprot was eating. Woodman told Brome he was a hungry fellow, and Brome replied 'I am not beholding to you'. Woodman replied 'you have been beholding to me'. Brome refuted this, and Woodman said 'Thou lyest'. Brome said that he was a gentleman and Woodman 'did him wrong to give him the lye'. Woodman replied: 'you a gentleman, you are a dunghill and you may go sitt upon the dunghill. You are a hogg trough you are a base rascally fellow and I am a better gentleman than thou.' Woodman said the words 'in a disgraceful manner and by way of disparagement to Thomas Brome'. Francis Verney, Thomas Musprot, Susan Pescod were all present, but whether Musprot was there throughout he did not know.

To Woodman's interrogatories:

1. He had known Brome and Woodman for 5 years.

2. Negative.

3. He was not a subsidy man but was taxed for ship money at 6s-8d, and 'wisheth right may take place and careth not who hath the better in this cause.'

4-5. Negative.

6. 'Thomas Brome is by trade a goldsmith, but whether he worketh at the forge or anvile or weareth an apron he knoweth not.'

7. As witness 1.

8. At the time of speaking the words, Woodman was a constable in Winchester and a 'man of good repute'.

9. The words deposed were spoken in a lower room or kitchen of the house at about 8 or 9pm. The witness was present at the time of the words.

10. He testified at Brome's request, and Brome had threatened him that if he did not come, Brome would serve him with a warrant. He expected Brome would pay for his loss of time, but had still not received anything yet.

11. Since the speaking of the words, he had been invited to Brome's house and had dined with him 'as in former times he hath done.'

12. Negative.

15. Susan Pescod kept the alehouse where the words were spoken. He believed he and the rest of the company left the alehouse soon after 9pm.

Signed by Nicholas Rookely.

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten, lieutenant, on 9 June 1640 in the presence of John Longland, notary public.

fos. 167r-169r (Witness 3), Susan Pescod, wife of Edward Pescod of the city of Winchester, tailor, had been his wife for over 20 years, born at Winchester, aged about 46

9 June 1640

To Brome's libel:

1. As witness 2.

2. About last Michaelmas Thomas Brome and John Woodman were at her victualling house in Winchester, when Brome ate some of Woodman's meat, and Woodham called him 'hungrie fellow'. Brome said he was not 'beholding to Woodman', Woodman replied he was, and that Brome 'had borrowed much money from him upon a pawne'. Brome denied it, and Woodman told him he lied. Brome then said he was a gentleman. Woodman replied 'you a gentleman, you a dunghill... you are a base rascally fellow and a hogg trough and I am a better gentleman than you'. The words were spoken in 'anger and to the disparagement' of Brome. Nicholas Rookely and Francis Verney were present 'and who else she knoweth not'.

To Woodman's interrogatories:

1. She had known Brome and Woodman for 6 years.

2, 4. Negative.

5. 'She hath heard reported that Francis Verney is a papist.'

6. 'Thomas Brome is by trade a goldsmith.'

7. 'She taketh Brome to be a civil man'.

8. As witness 2.

9. As witness 2.

10. She testified at Brome's request, who had threatened that if she did not do so, 'he would get a pursuivant sent for her'. Brome bore her charges.

11. She had 'supped twice' at Brome's house since the words were spoken, 'but was not invited'. Rookely was also there at the time she went.

12. At the time and place of the words, she heard Brome tell Woodman 'that he was a scurvie idle fellow *or a rascally fellowe' to abuse him soe which words were spoken in answer' to Woodman's speeches.

14. Negative.

15. She kept the alehouse where the words were spoken, and it was about 9 or 10pm when the company departed.

Signed by Susan Pescod [her mark].

Repeated in court before Sir Henry Marten, lieutenant, on 9 June 1640 in the presence of John Longland, notary public.

Submission

17/6k, Defendant's petition

'Your petitioner being one of the collectors of ship money in the City of Winchester where both parties are inhabiting. And for as much as witnesses have been examined in this honourable court in the cause now in difference and that the petitioner's occasions for his Majesties present service require his personal attendance in the citie, and the plaintiff hath examined his witnesses, it may please your honour to reserve the hearing of the cause to any of the Church of Winchester or any of the aldermen there or any other gentlemen that your lordship shall think meet'.

No date marked but filed under second session, 15 June 1640.

No signatures.

Summary of proceedings

In proceedings before Lord Maltravers and the earl of Huntingdon on 4 December 1640, Dr Merrick referred to an agreement between the parties.

Notes

Thomas Brome is not mentioned in the Visitations of Hampshire: W. H. Rylands (ed.), Pedigrees from the Visitations of Hampshire made 1530, 1575, 1622, 1634 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 64, 1913); G. D. Squibb (ed.), The Visitation of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 1686 (Publications of the Harleian Society, new series, 10, 1991).

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 2/29 (12 Feb 1640)
    • Libel: 18/4b (1 May 1640)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Plaintiff depositions: Cur Mil 1631-42, fos. 162-9 (8 Jun 1640)
  • Submission
    • Defendant's petition: 17/6k (15 Jun 1640)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/11, fos. 79r-87v (4 Dec 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Brome, Thomas, gent
  • Henrietta Maria
  • Hastings, Henry, earl of Huntingdon
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Longland, John, notary public
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Musprot, Thomas
  • Pescod, Edward, tailor
  • Pescod, Susan
  • Rookely, Nicholas, cordwainer
  • Verney, Francis, jeweller
  • Woodman, John, grocer

Places mentioned in the case

  • Buckinghamshire
    • Wing
  • Hampshire
    • Beaulieu
    • Winchester
  • Middlesex
    • St Andrew's Holborn

Topics of the case

  • alderman
  • allegation of tradesman status
  • arbitration
  • Capuchin
  • churchwarden
  • comparison
  • constable
  • denial of gentility
  • drunkenness
  • giving the lie
  • office-holding
  • Roman Catholic
  • scatological insult
  • ship money
  • Somerset House
  • taxation