700 Wharton v Farer

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper, '700 Wharton v Farer', The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/700-wharton-farer [accessed 25 June 2024].

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper. "700 Wharton v Farer", in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) . British History Online, accessed June 25, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/700-wharton-farer.

Cust, Richard. Hopper, Andrew. "700 Wharton v Farer", The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ). . British History Online. Web. 25 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/700-wharton-farer.

In this section


Humphrey Wharton of Burtergill, Warcop, co. Westmorland, gent v John Farer of Crosby Garrett, co. Westmorland

February - April 1638


Wharton complained that during August and September 1637, on two separate occasions, in Penrith, Cumberland, and Warcop, Westmorland, Farer had said, in front of numerous witnesses 'that I was a base beggarlie fellowe, and noe gentleman and that I lived by cozening and cheatinge...'. Process was granted on 16 February 1637/8 and Wharton presented his libel on 14 April. Farer presented a petition to the Earl Marshal, endorsed by Thomas Lowther and Christopher Lancaster, esqs, requesting that the matter be referred to J.P.s or other gentlemen of Westmorland; but nothing further survives.

Initial proceedings

8/5, Petition

Humphrey Wharton was 'a gent descended of an auncient and generous family. That one John Farer... about September or August last much abused the peticoner and before many creddible witnesses said that the peticoner was noe gent., but a base, beggerly fellowe, therby and many other scandalous and injurious wordes provokinge the peticoner to duell'.

Petitioned for process.

'Mr Chute, the peticoner being a gent. as he informes, I take the cause to bee fitt for my L. Marshall's Court.

I desire process may goe out.'

16 February 1638

Signed by Arthur Duck.

8/6, Plaintiff's bond

17 February 1638

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

Procured by Henry Hutchinson of Clements Inn, London, gent.

Sealed by John Watson.

15/2x, Libel

1. Wharton was descended from a family that had been ancient gentry for up to 200 years, whereas Farer was a plebeian.

2. In September 1637 in the parish of Penrith, co. Cumberland, Farer had publicly said 'that I was a scurvy beggarly rascall and lived by cheatinge'.

3. In August and September 1637, in Warcop, Farer had said 'that I was a base beggarlie fellowe, and noe gentleman and that I lived by cozening and cheatinge and that I was a cheatinge fellow and lived by cheatinge and begging.'

4. These words were provocative of a duel.

14 April 1638

No signatures.

EM127, Defendant's petition

'That your petitioner, living in Westmorland, about 220 myles from London, was this last vacacon served with process and questioned before your lordship in the Courte of Honor by one Humphry Wharton, gent., for certain scandalous words by him alleadged to be spoken by your petitioner, tending to his disgrace, to which your petitioner hath in obedience to your honor's presse appeared.

Forasmuch as your petitioner (though no way guilty of the things he is charged with but allwayes ready to shew all offices of respects and friendship to Mr Wharton, is most unwilling to contest in law with him, or to undergo the trouble and great charge thereof having charge of wife 5 children and divers others in family), most humbly beseecheth your lordship of your wanted goodness and nobleness, your petitioner living so remote from hence, to be pleased to refer the differences between Mr Wharton and your petitioner to such justices of peace or other gent. in the country of Westmorland as your Lordship shall think fit to heare and determine the same. To whose judgement, or your lordships' upon their certificate, your petitioner, if he appeare faulty, will most willingly submit.

And as bounden pray for your Lordship.'

No date.

Signed by Thomas Lowther, esq, Christopher Lancaster, esq.


Neither Humphrey Wharton of Burtergill nor John Farer of Crosby Garrett appear in the Visitations of 1615 or 1666.

J. Foster (ed.), Pedigrees recorded at the Heralds' Visitations of the Counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, 1615, 1666 (Carlisle and Kendall, 1891); C. Bridges (ed.), The Heraldic Visitation of Westmoreland , 1615 (London, 1753).


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 8/5 (16 Feb 1638)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 8/6 (17 Feb 1638)
    • Libel: 15/2x (14 Apr 1638)
    • Defendant's petition: EM127 (no date)

People mentioned in the case

  • Chute, Mr
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Farer, John
  • Hutchinson, Henry, gent
  • Lancaster, Christopher, esq
  • Lowther, Thomas, esq
  • Watson, John
  • Wharton, Humphrey, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • Cumberland
    • Penrith
  • London
    • Clement's Inn
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Westmoreland
    • Burtergill
    • Crosby Garrett
    • Warcop

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • arbitration
  • denial of gentility
  • inns of court
  • justice of the peace
  • provocative of a duel