698 Weston v Humberstone

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper, '698 Weston v Humberstone', The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/698-weston-humberstone [accessed 19 June 2024].

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper. "698 Weston v Humberstone", in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) . British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/698-weston-humberstone.

Cust, Richard. Hopper, Andrew. "698 Weston v Humberstone", The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ). . British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/698-weston-humberstone.

In this section


John Weston of St Stephen, Lombard Street [sic], London, gent v William Humberstone of London

January 1639 - February 1640


Weston complained that Humberstone had slighted the Earl Marshal's warrant on 3 September 1638 in the King's Head Tavern, near the Old Exchange, London, and detained him there by force. Humberstone denied the charges and declared that it was not he, but Mr Nevill, an upholsterer, who had caused Mr Weston to be arrested, and that it had happened in the Rose Tavern in the Poultry for a debt of £300. Dr Merrick began Humberstone's defence in February 1639 and drew up his personal answer in May. Proceedings were still under way in February 1639/40, but no indication of sentence survives.

Initial proceedings

19/7c, Personal answer [damaged]

1. [Damaged].

2. Humberstone had recently returned to London when Mr Weston and Pawling followed his servant John Milburne to his room in the King's Head tavern, near the Old Exchange, London, and otherwise he did not believe the article to be true.

3. Mr Weston and Pawling coming into his room, he asked them if they would speak with him, and Mr Weston replied he would. Mr Weston bade Pawling to 'doe his office', and Pawling pulled out a paper which he said was a copy of the Lord Marshall's warrant. Humberstone said he would willingly obey the Lord Marshall's warrant, and then 'Pawling pulled out a warrant under seale and threw the same upon the table; and [Humberstone] denieth that he did snatch the warrant from Pawling, or slight the same, or use any contemptuous words against the warrant; and otherwise than he hath above expressed he denieth this article to be true in any parte.'

4. Afterwards, he desired Mr Weston stay with him to drink a glass of wine and tell him where he should appear, but denied detaining Weston or Pawling there by force.

5. This article was not true, except that Mr Weston was arrested at the suit of a Mr Nevill, not at the direction of Humberstone. At 8pm that night in the Rose Tavern in the Poultry, he caused Mr Weston to be arrested for a debt of £300 'and not for coming into his roome.'

6. He did not believe this article to be true.

7. He did not believe this article to be true. Present with him at the King's Head tavern were John Bickly of St John the Baptist, Walbrook, draper, Peter Coxe of the same, vintner, Thomas Huffe of St Botolph's Bishopgate, milliner, and Edward Humberstone of Cefn Mabli, co. Glamorgan, gent.

Dated 28 May 1639

Repeated in court, 26 June 1639.

Plaintiff's case

14/3m, Defence interrogatories

1. What was the witness's age, occupation and condition?

2. Was the witness related to either Weston or Humberstone? Was the witness a household servant?

3. Exactly when were the pretended words spoken?

4. Where were the pretended words spoken? Who was present?Were the witnesses present in the same room or place? What were Weston and Humberstone and the company present doing?

5. What words passed at the time and place between Weston and Humberstone whereby Humberstone might be provoked to speak the pretended words? 'What was the occasion of that discourse'? What had Mr Weston done or said to provoke Humberstone?

6. Was Humberstone 'not a man of civill and sober conversation? Whether doth he not live friendly and neighbourly among his neighbours, and whether he be not at this present so commonly reputed and taken to be'?

No date.

Signed by William Merrick.

14/3q, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. What was the witness's age, occupation and profession?

2. Whether about 3 September the witness was in the room of the tavern 'where the contempt is pretended to have been committed? Who were then and there present? Likewise what discourse passed between Mr John Weston and Will Humberstone'?

3. Whether at this time and place did not Humberstone use Weston 'with good respect' and drink to him with wine 'and what followed thereupon'? Did not Humberstone say that he would appear in the Court Military to answer 'according to the monicon in the warrant? And whether did not Humberstone receave the monicon with due reverence and respect to this honourable court; and if any witness should depose otherwise lett him specifie the particulars wherein Humberstone did slight or condemn this honourable court?'

4. 'In case Weston were then and there arrested, whether he were not arrested att the suite of one Nevill an upholsterer? And how doth the witness know that Humberstone did send his servant for the sergeant as is articulated'? Did the witness know Humberstone's servant? If yes, for how long?

No date.

Signed by William Merrick.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Tooker acted as counsel for Weston and Dr Merrick for Humberstone. On 28 January 1639 the parties were to appear in response to a summons. On 23 February 1639 Dr Merrick denied the libel. On 4 February 1640 a motion of contempt was promoted for Weston against Humberstone.


The Visitation of 1634 mentions a John Weston who was the son of William Weston of London, merchant tailor and Margaret, daughter of John Walles.

J. J. Howard (ed.), The Visitation of London in 1633, 1634, and 1635 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 17, 1883), vol. 2, p. 339.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Personal answer: 19/7c (28 May 1639)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/3m (no date)
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/3q (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/9 (28 Jan 1639)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 1-9 (23 Feb 1639)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Bickly, John, draper
  • Coxe, Peter, vintner
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Huffe, Thomas, milliner
  • Humberstone, Edward
  • Humberstone, William (also Hammerston)
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Milburne, John, servant
  • Nevill, Mr, upholsterer
  • Pawling
  • Tooker, Charles, lawyer
  • Walles, John
  • Walles, Margaret
  • Weston, John, gent
  • Weston, Margaret
  • Weston, William, merchant tailor

Places mentioned in the case

  • Glamorganshire
    • Cefn Mabli
  • London
    • The Old Exchange
    • The Poultry
    • St John the Baptist, Walbrook
    • St Stephen, Lombard Street
  • Wales

Topics of the case

  • contempt of court
  • debt