688 Waterhouse v Holte

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'688 Waterhouse v Holte', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/688-waterhouse-holte [accessed 5 March 2024]

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Sir Edward Waterhouse of Lincoln's Inn, co. Middlesex, knt v William Holte of Holborn, co. Middlesex, esq

No date

Figure 688:

The late fifteenth-century hall and Tudor Old Buildings at Lincoln's Inn. Sir Edward Waterhouse was a resident of the inn, near where William Holte alleged that he was assaulted by Waterhouse's servants (Photograph: Richard Cust)


The cause and result of the complaint by Waterhouse, who came originally from Halifax, Yorkshire, against Holte remains unknown; however, one of Holte's servants, Arthur Leache, petitioned that he had been assaulted from behind by several of Waterhouse's servants armed with 'bastinadoes', in defiance of the Earl Marshal's orders to both parties to restrain their households 'from any violent, quarrellous or scandalous acts'. Leache also accused Sir Edward's wife, Abigail, together with Mr Richardson, his chief attendant, and other servants, of deriding and heckling members of Holte's household, lying in wait outside Holte's house near the end of Chancery Lane, in Holborn and in the streets leading to the parish church. Leache petitioned the Earl Marshal for justice against his assailants, and his complaint was probably part of Holte's wider bid to discredit Waterhouse.

Initial proceedings

EM314, Petition of Arthur Leache, servant to William Holte, esq

'The petitioner having had necessary and daily occasion, both morning and evening, for the contynuall service of his master's house in Holborn neer the end of Chancery Lane, with meat and dyett to passe through the same lane by Lincoln's Inn gate, where the house of Sir Edward Waterhouse is, to other houses thereabouts, and to the market without Temple Barr, and namely about 6 of the clocke the last evening of the 2 day of September, after your lordship's determynacon, the day of the cause betwixt Sir Edward and William Holte, and after express chardge was given to both parties, and their servants and attendants, to absteyn from any violent, quarrellous or scandalous acts words or behaviour.

So it is that Dame Abigall, the wife of Sir Edward, Mr Richardson, one of her contynuall attendants, and others of her pages, footmen and servants and of his companie being then present at the same chardge, and she and they ever since that late ryotous acte committed by them in the house of William Holte, and in the street and fields thereaboute (begun prophanely upon the Saboth day at the time of divine service and continued till midnight), having been continually accustomed both by day and night to lye in a waie as well about the door of her own house, and the gate of Lincoln's Inn for the passage of this petitioner and his fellow servants that way, and also in other streets and especially about the doors and windows of the house of William Holte in Holborn and in the way to and from the church, upon the saboth dayes, or in the church itself during divine service, and before and after at the church door, and in the streets sometimes publiquely, with many scornful reproaches and lowed laughters, shouts, cryes and clapps of their hands, and upon their hipps and other such ridiculous and odious gestures, so to deride and scorn the petitioner and his fellow servants as the beholders thereof have wondered thereat and thought they were distracted or madde. And sometimes suddenly att his backe and upon his head first to assault and beat him, and after to run away from him; and sometimes threatening with many oaths and vowes to carry him into Lincoln's Inn and there to pump him. And namely the last evening aforesaid Dame Abigall, being according to her custom aforesaid in the street about her own door, Mr Richardson and others his assistants as yet unknown, and some of her servants in their company, did suddenly and forceably assault this petitioner att his backe, and buffet and beat him upon the head and body, and this day walke thereabout armed with bastinadoes and other weapons. And they then, and sundry of her servants at other times thereabouts, have so suddenly and cruelly many of them at once assaulted and beaten him att his backe, and carrying burdens in his hand, that both inhabitants and passengers have extremely exclaimed against them for their crueltie, and against William Holte for his patience of so publique and barbarous abuses both of himself and his servants.

The petitioner's humble desire is that your lordship for example and terror of such scornfull and violent offences and contempts of your high and honorable dignitie, authoritie and commandment, and for the due correction and punishment thereof, and for the publique and private peace, would execute your justice and honorable sentence, and provide for such reformacon therein, as to your wisdome and justice shall seem fitt. And your petitioner shall ever pray and c.'

No date.

No signatures.


Sir Edward Waterhouse was born at Shibden, Halifax, co. York in 1581. He attended Cambridge and the Inner Temple, and was knighted in 1603. He was among those Yorkshire knights whose estates had been seriously weakened by financial crisis. He sold Shibden in 1609 and in March 1629 he was removed from the North Riding commission of the peace. He married Abigail, daughter of John Barker of Ipswich.

J. T. Cliffe, The Yorkshire Gentry from the Reformation to the Civil War (London, 1969), p. 244; J. Broadway, R. Cust and S. K. Roberts (eds.), A Calendar of the Docquets of Lord Keeper Coventry 1625-1640 (List and Index Society, special series, 34, 2004), p. 62; J. and J. A. Venn (eds.), Alumni Cantabrigienses from the earliest times to 1751 (Cambridge, 1922), vol. 4, p. 344.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition of Arthur Leache: EM314 (no date)

People mentioned in the case

  • Barker, Abigail
  • Barker, John
  • Holte, William, esq
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Leache, Arthur, servant
  • Richardson, Mr
  • Waterhouse, Abigail, dame
  • Waterhouse, Edward, knight

Places mentioned in the case

  • Cambridgeshire
    • University of Cambridge
  • London
    • Inner Temple
    • Temple Bar
  • Middlesex
    • Chancery Lane
    • Holborn
    • Lincoln's Inn
  • Suffolk
    • Ipswich
  • Yorkshire, North Riding
  • Yorkshire, West Riding
    • Halifax
    • Shibden

Topics of the case

  • assault
  • justice of the peace
  • office-holding
  • weapon