694 Weaver v Pye

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'694 Weaver v Pye', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/694-weaver-pye [accessed 5 March 2024]

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Richard Weaver, former Mayor of Hereford, esq v Walter Pye of Saddlebow and Stapleton, co. Hereford, gent

November 1639 - January 1640


This was a countersuit to the case brought by Pye against Weaver in July 1639 [see cause 550]. Weaver, former mayor and M.P. for Hereford, complained that at the time of the Herefordshire assizes, 12-13 March 1639, in the shop of his nephew, Robert Weaver of Hereford, mercer, Pye had said 'before many persons' that 'the Weavers were base fellowes, and that he would bring Richard Weaver's ring (wherein his armes were ingraven) under the herald's hammer; and threatened that he would [cutt] his nephew Robert Weaver's throat; and said that Rich. Weaver had denyed his own hand which he had subscribed to an acquittance'. Weaver claimed Pye had also accused him of using fraudulent weights and measures in his trade as a mercer. The occasion of the quarrel, according to Pye, was that Weaver had refused to return a pedigree with a coat of arms of the Weavers which he had lent him at the time of the Herefordshire Visitation in 1634 and that Weaver had then abused him in the terms outlined in Pye's initial suit.Process was granted on 19 November 1639 and witnesses were examined before John Hagley, clerk, 7 - 9 January 1640 at the Crown in Hereford. No further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

2/117, Petition to Arundel

'Your petitioner is convented before your honor in the Court Militarie by one Walter Pye gent for certaine words pretended to be spoken by your petitioner to the disparagement of Pye, which words your petitioner hath and doth utterly deny. And whereas Walter Pie at the same time and place, when the words were pretended to be spoken, did exceedingly provoke your petitioner being a gentleman of bloud and descent and did much injure and villifie both him and his family by saying, The Weavers were base fellows, and by threatening to cutt the throate of one Robert Weaver and to have the heart bloud of one Thomas Weaver your petitioner's nephews; and gave many reproachfull and scandalous words to your petitioner by threatening him to bring his ring under the herauld's hammer, as (he said) it was formerly; and by upbraiding him in a darke manner of weights and measures, and by telling your petitioner, that he had disavowed his owne hand subscribed to an acquittance for the payment of certaine monies, for which monies (he said) your petitioner afterwards sued the...party to whose acquittance he had formerly sett his hand, with which words and injuries your petitioner finds himselfe much greeved and disgraced to the insufferable prejudice of your petitioner's credit and good name.'

Petitioned that Pye be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process on 19 November 1639.

2/119, Plaintiff's bond

19 November 1639

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

Signed by Richard Weaver.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Watson.

2/118, Defendant's bond

25 November 1639

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

Signed by Walter Pye.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Watson.

Acta (4), fo. 10, Libel

1. Richard Weaver and his family had been gentry for up to 100 years.

2. On 12 or 13 March 1639, Pye said 'that the Weavers were base fellowes and that he would bring my ring (wherein my armes were ingraven) under the herauld's hammer; and threatneth that he would cutt my nephew Robert Weaver's throat and that he would have my nephew Thomas Weaver's hart's blood; and did upbraid mee with weights and measures, as if I had deceived men with them; and said I had denied mine owne hand which I had subscribed to an acquittance, and afterwards sued for the money which had been paid mee'

3-4. Through these words Pye did challenge Weaver to a duel and Weaver prayed for satisfaction.

No date.

No signatures.

R.19, fo. 17r, Summary of libel

'Walter Pye [sic] and his ancestors for above 100 yeares is and have beene gentlemen. And that Pye (at such a time and place) before many persons at the time of the assizes at Hereford said that the Weavers were base fellowes, and that he would have Richard Weaver's ring (wherein his armes were ingraven) under the herald's hammer; and threatened that he would [cutt] his nephew Robert Weaver's throat; and said that Rich: Weaver had denyed his own hand which he had subscribed to an acquittance, thereby to provoke and c.'


No signature.

Plaintiff's case

Acta (4), fo. 1, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners John Hagley, clerk, Thomas Edmund, gent, William Badham, gent, and Henry Blackeway, gent, and also Charles Booth, Abel Carwarden, gent, John Smyth, gent, and Francis Geers, gent, to meet from 7 to 9 January 1640 at the Crown in Hereford.

Dated 11 November 1639

Signed by Humphrey Terrick.

Acta (4), fos. 6r-v, First set of defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. What was their age, occupation and condition? Where did they live and how did they know the parties?

2. From where did Weaver derive his gentility? Was it from Richard Weaver late of Stapleton deceased?

3. 'Was Richard Weaver late of Stapleton deceased a gentleman of blood and armes'? 'What are his armes as you know beleeve or have heard'? Did 'Walter Pye marrie Joyce Weaver daughter and heiress of Richard Weaver deceased?

4. Did Richard Weaver 'procure of Walter Pye or his wife the coate of armes of Richard Weaver late of Stapleton at or about the last visitation made by the heralds in those parts; and doth not Weaver deteine, or cause to be deteyned, the same from Walter Pye and for what cause and by whome is the same so deteyned'?

5. Did Weaver 'give ill wordes and language at the commission of heralds to the then commissioners, and what were these wordes'?

6. 'Hathe Walter Pye often demanded of Richard Weaver 'the coate of armes and did Richard Weaver then give Walter Pye the lye and call him base fellow, base lying fellowe, dronkerd, common dronkerd and beggerly fellow with other words in provocacon'? 'Did not Richard Weaver say that Pye was noe gent but what his wife made in them but he could Pye him; and that Pye's children would goe a begging and that som of that name were... that he could beat Pye and that Pye durst not strike or to that effecte'? What provocation did Weaver give to Pye before Pye spoke any angry words?

7. 'Have you heard Weaver or his son Edmund say in the presence of Pye that he would justify the words in the previous interrogatory before Pye 'the knave and base knave with other contemptuous words', when Weaver was 'summoned to appear before the right honourable the Earle of Arundell in this court'? 'Did not Weaver 'then detain the process served on him and refused to redeliver the same to be returned into the court'?

8. To which party would the witness give the victory if it were within their power?

9.Speak the truth of what you know, believe or have heard.

No date.

No signatures.

Acta (4), fos. 6-7, Second set of defence interrogatories

1 'Did not Pye at the time that Weaver gave Pye the lye severall times desire to know of Weaver what cause Pye ever gave Weaver that he should abuse Pye; and did not Pye desire the parties then present to bear witnes of words given'?

2 'Did you hear or know that George Owens, Yorke Herald, at the commissioners, did call for a hammer to breake the ringe and seale of armes of Weaver in regard hee did writt and intitulate himself esq.; and gave the coat without any difference; and hath not Weaver bene committed for his opprobrious speeches and ill behaviour and bound to the good behaviour'?

No date.

No signatures.

Acta (4), fos. 2-5, Plaintiff's depositions

fos. 2r-3v (Witness 1), Robert Weaver of Hereford, mercer

To Weaver's libel:

1. Weaver 'is reputed and taken to be a gent. descended of an ancient family and this witness verily believeth him to bee soe'

2. One day in March 1638/9, at the time of Hereford assizes, in his shop, he heard Pye say that he would 'bring the ring wherein Mr Weaver's armes were cutt under the herauld's hammer'. Pye then told 'Mr Weaver that he had denied his handwritinge which hee had subscribed to an acquittance, and afterwardes sued for the money which had been payd him'. Pye then 'spake some wordes concerninge waites and measures to Mr Weaver which this witness doth not nowe remember'. Mrs Lake and this witness and his wife were also present.

3. 'Walter Pye spoke the wordes before deposed in a scornefull and disgracefull manner'

To Pye's first set of interrogatories:

1. He had known Weaver ever since he could remember and Mr Pye about 14 or 15 years.

2. He was the son of Weaver's brother and 'beleeveth Weaver is descended from the Weavers of Stapleton.

3 'He beleeveth that Richard Weaver of Stapleton was a gentleman, bearing armes; and that Walter Pye did marrie the daughter and heire of Weaver'.

4 'His brother did borrowe the coate of armes of Mr Pye and hath since restored the same again'.

6. 'At the time of the speaking of the wordes before used Mr Weaver told Mr Pye that hee hoped hee would not strike him, but sayd that if hee did strike him he hoped hee should make his parte good with him, as ould a man as hee was, or to that effect; and saith the wordes were spoken after the wordes before deposed'.

8 'Hee wisheth right may take place and careth not whoe hath the better in the cause and saith if it were in his power hee would give the better to him that it should appear had wrong'.

To Pye's second set of interrogatories

1. 'About a week after the speaking the wordes Mr Pye wished him to remember the passages aforesaid'

2. 'He hath heard that there was some difference betweene Mr Weaver and Mr Owen but upon what occasion he knoweth not'.

Signed by Robt. Weaver and by commissioner John Hagley.

fos. 3v-3av (Witness 2), Thomas Lake, clerk

To Weaver's libel:

2. At the same time and in the same venue as deposed above he heard Mr Pye 'upbrayd Mr Weaver with his waytes and measures, and utter divers other wordes against Mr Weaver', but could not remember exactly what they were; and referred to his deposition in Pye v Weaver, but recalled that at the time there were present his own wife, Robert Weaver's wife, James Williams 'and saith he thinketh that Robert Weaver was present but cannot remember'.

3. Pye's words were spoken in 'a scornfull, contemptuous manner'.

To Pye's first set of interrogatories:

2. 'He married Mr Weaver his brother's daughter'

3. He heard Mr Weaver 'upon speakinge of some threatninge speeches badd Mr Pye strike him if hee durst'.

Signed by Tho. Lake and by commissioner John Hagley.

fos. 3av-4r (Witness 3), Martha Lake, wife of Thomas Lake, clerk

To Weaver's libel:

1 'She believed that the auncestors of Weaver have been gent descended of an auncient family, and Mr Weaver liveth in the fashion of a gentleman'.

2. Referred herself to her deposition in Pye v Weaver.

3. She was brother's daughter to Weaver, and he was descended from the Weavers of Stapleton.

6. She heard Weaver say that 'although he was an ould man he did not feare his threats; and that if Pye did strike him he did thinke he could beat him.'

8. 'In respect of speaking the truth she favoureth the parties indifferently, and wisheth right may take place'.

Signed Martha Lake and by commissioner John Hagley.

fos. 4v-5v (Witness 4), Margaret Weaver, wife of Robert Weaver

To Weaver's libel:

2. In March 1638/9 at assize time Mr Pye came into the shop and asked her for a roll of pedigree which her husband had received 'from one that Mr Pye had lent it to; and [Weaver] makeinge answer that her husband was not within, Mr Pye replied 'the Weavers are base fellows and sayd hee would cutt [her] husband's throat and that hee would have his brother Thomas Weaver's 'hart's blood'. She 'saith that Robert Weaver and Thomas Weaver are Richard Weaver's brother's sons'. After Mr Pye spoke some words to Richard Weaver 'in a disgracefull manner concerninge weights and measures, and told him he would bring Richard Weaver's ring under the heralde's hammer'. At Pye's first entering the shop there were present Mrs Lake, [her] servant, James Williams, 'and nobody else as she remembers; and at his speeches concerning the ring Mr Lake and his wife, Rich Jones, James Williams, herself and her husband.'

3. 'The wordes before deposed were spoken in angrie and passionate manner'.

7. When the process was served on Richard Weaver he said to Mr Pye 'that he would keepe it and looke on it and see what it was, and that hee should have it'.

8. 'She wisheth right may take place and saith that if it were in her power she would give the better to him that hath most right thereto'.

Signed by Margaret Weaver and by commissioner John Hagley.


For another account of the case, see G. D. Squibb (ed), Reports of Heraldic Cases in the Court of Chivalry, 1623-1732 (London, 1956), p. 43.

Richard Weaver of Hereford, esq., former Mayor of Hereford and M.P. for the town, was the second son of Edmund Weaver of Aymestrey, Herefordshire, and Margaret daughter of - Burrop of Byton, Herefordshire, cousin to Richard Weaver of Stapleton, gent, and uncle to Robert Weaver of Hereford. He was married to Katherine, daughter of Edmund Fox of Leighton Court, Herefordshire, esq. His eldest son Edmund was described as 'of the Inner Temple.' Richard died 16 May 1642 and had a monument in Hereford Cathedral. He had signed the pedigree for the Weavers of Stapleton and Aymestrey in 1634.

Walter Pye of Stapleton, co. Hereford, was the son of Robert Pye of Saddlebow. Walter married Joyce, daughter and heir of Richard Weaver of Stapleton. He sold the manor of Saddlebow to Sir Walter Pye in 1633.

Richard Weaver of Stapleton was the son of Thomas Weaver of Stapleton, and Joyce, daughter of James Boyle of Hereford, esq.

Robert Weaver of Hereford was the second son of Robert Weaver of Aymestrey, gent, late sheriff of Radnorshire.

M. P. Siddons (ed.), The Visitation of Herefordshire, 1634 (Publications of the Harleian Society, new series, 15, 2002), pp. 68-9, 80; M. F. Keeler, The Long Parliament, 1640-1641: A Biographical Dictionary of its Members (Philadelphia, 1954), pp. 381-2.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition to Arundel: 2/117 (19 Nov 1639)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 2/119 (19 Nov 1639)
    • Defendant's bond: 2/118 (25 Nov 1639)
    • Libel: Acta (4) fo. 10 (no date)
    • Summary of libel: R.19, fo. 17r (1639)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Acta (4), fo. 1 (11 Nov 1639)
    • First set of defence interrogatories: Acta (4), fos. 6r-v (no date)
    • Second set of defence interrogatories: Acta (4), fos. 6-7 (no date)
    • Plaintiff depositions: Acta (4), fos. 2-5 (7-9 Jan 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Badham, William, gent
  • Blackeway, Henry, gent
  • Booth, Charles, gent
  • Burrop, Margaret
  • Carwarden, Abel, gent
  • Edmund, Thomas, gent
  • Fox, Edmund
  • Fox, Katherine
  • Geers, Francis, gent
  • Hagley, John, clerk
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Jones, Richard
  • Lake, Martha
  • Lake, Thomas, clerk
  • Owen, George, herald
  • Pye, Joyce
  • Pye, Robert
  • Pye, Walter, gent (also Pie)
  • Pye, Walter, knight
  • Smyth, John, gent
  • Terrick, Humphrey
  • Watson, John
  • Weaver, Edmund
  • Weaver, Joyce
  • Weaver, Katherine
  • Weaver, Margaret
  • Weaver, Richard, esq
  • Weaver, Robert, gent
  • Weaver, Robert, mercer
  • Weaver, Thomas
  • Williams, James

Places mentioned in the case

  • Herefordshire
    • Aymestrey
    • Byton
    • Hereford
    • Leighton Court
    • Preston-upon-Wye
    • Saddlebow
    • Stapleton
  • London
    • Inner Temple
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Radnorshire
  • Wales

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • assizes
  • coat of arms
  • corporation
  • denial of gentility
  • drunkenness
  • giving the lie
  • Herald
  • high sheriff
  • mayor
  • member of parliament
  • other courts
  • threatened violence