705 White v King

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper, '705 White v King', The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/705-white-king [accessed 18 June 2024].

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper. "705 White v King", in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) . British History Online, accessed June 18, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/705-white-king.

Cust, Richard. Hopper, Andrew. "705 White v King", The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ). . British History Online. Web. 18 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/705-white-king.

In this section


Thomas White of St Dunstan-in-the-West, London, esq v Robert King of Upton Grey, co. Hampshire, yeoman

March 1638 - September 1639


White, whose father and grandfather were knights, complained that between January and March 1638, at the Bell Tavern in St Dunstan-in-the-West, London, King, a plebeian, had said that he was 'a base fellow and a bastardly rogue, and a bastardly chitt, and begot by a cripple of some divell, and that he would prove it.' In his defence, King maintained that he had been provoked by White selling to his mother, Anne King, the inheritance of lands in the manor of Hoddington, in the parish of Upton Grey, Hampshire, after he had already mortgaged them. Since White refused to see him to settle the matter, he had complained to White's stepfather, Sir John Hall, who endorsed his complaints in a meeting at the Bell, reproving his son in law for having 'growne so poore and base that he had sold his laced suits and the best of his apparel to pay for his lodgings and dyett.' King admitted that, prompted by such remarks, he had called White 'a base rascal', for which he was 'hartely sorry and submitteth himself.' Process was granted on 24 March 1638 and during October and November White's witnesses were being summoned to appear before the court. Dr Tooker began the defence in November and was still having witnesses summoned in February 1639. On 29 August 1639 Sir John Hall wrote to White, to complain that he had been telling people that the whole action had been begun at his instigation. He refused to act as a witness for White and urged him to seek arbiters to settle the case out of court. Notwithstanding, White pressed on and by 11 September had secured a favourable verdict. King was sentenced to pay to him 100 marks damages and £20 expenses, and to perform a submission.

Initial proceedings

EM113, Petition

'Your petitioner is descended of an ancient family, his father and grandfather being both knights. Hee hath lately beene much abused in disgraceful manner by divers opprobrious and contumelious speeches uttered against him by one Robert King of Upton Gray in the county of Southampton, yeoman, who sayd that your petitioner was a base fellow, and a bastardly rogue, and a bastardly chitt, and begot by a cripple of some divell, and that he would prove itt or to that effect.'

Endorsed by Arthur Duck, who granted process on 24 March 1638.

15/2c, Citation

King to appear at the suit of White for scandalous words provocative of a duel.

Dated: 24 March 1638

By special direction of Gilbert Dethick, registrar.

7/103, Plaintiff's bond

24 March 1638,

Bound to duly prosecute his suit in the court in the painted chamber, Palace of Westminster.

Signed Thomas Coalton on behalf of White.

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

15/2g, Libel

White was descended of a family that had been knights, squires and gentry for up to 200 years, whereas King was a plebeian.

Between last January and March, King had said 'that I was a base fellow and a bastardly rogue, and a bastardly chitt, and begot by a cripple of some divell, he would prove me soe', which words were provocative of a duel.

14 April 1638

Signed by Arthur Duck.

17/4b, Personal answer

'The grandfather and some other of the ancestors of Mr Thomas White have been in the order of knighthood, and that Mr Thomas White and his ancestors for time beyond the memorie of man have been, and are, accompted and taken to be gentlemen. Mr Thomas White having mortgaged certaine lands belonginge to the manor of Hoddington in the parish of Upton Grey, wherein Anne Kinge this respondent's mother, had an estate for life, by custome of that manor, whereof Mr White was then lord, he sold the inheritance thereof unto Anne after he had morgaged the same as aforesaid, whereupon this respondent on the behalf of his mother, did often repair to the lodgings of Mr White when he could understand where he lay, to have treated with him concerning the premises. But when he missed of Mr White, he hath often repaired to Sir John Hall, knt., who married the mother of Mr White at his lodgings in the parish of St Dunstan-in-the-West, and did acquaint Sir John Hall how Mr White had dealt with his mother. And of many other times in the month of February, at a taverne within the signe of the Bell in the parish of St Dunstan's aforesaid, he complaining to Sir John of and concerning the premises, Sir John Hall said of Mr White that Mr White was growne so poore and base that he had sold his laced suits and the best of his apparel to pay for his lodgings and dyett. And one Hugh Eaton, servant of Sir John then said that Mr White then lately went more like a rogue than a gentleman. And upon this occasion, and for that Mr White had dealt soe indirectly with his mother, he did then and there in passion and upon this provocation use these words, vizt. What a base rascall and a base chitt is this to deale soe with my mother or with us, or to the like effect, and noe otherwise, and so farre as he hath offended in the premises he is hartely sorry and submitteth himself.'

Dated 28 April 1638.

Signed by Robert King.

Plaintiff's case

14/2u, Defence interrogatories [damaged]

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. Of what age, occupation and condition was the witness? Where did they live and where had they lived during the last ten years? How did they know the parties?

2. Had they been compelled to attend? How much had they received or how much did they expect to receive in expenses? Speak the truth of what you know, believe or have heard.

3. Had White mortgaged any lands in the manor of Hoddington Gray, co. Southampton, to whom and how long since?

4. Had Anne, mother of Robert King, an estate for life in lands and tenements in Hoddington? If yes, what lands and to what value?

5. Had White mortgaged those lands upon which Anne King had an estate for life 'and after he had mortgaged the same sold the inheritance thereof to Anne'?

6. Whether Robert King often went to White's lodgings to negotiate with him about his mother's lands, and also to the lodgings of Sir John Hall, knt., who had married White's mother, 'but could never or seldome meete with Mr White [rest damaged]'?

7. Was Hall indebted to Anne King? If yes, by how much?

Introduced 10 May 1638

No signatures.

14/2oo, Defence interrogatories [faded]

1. Had any of the witnesses given instructions for drawing up the libel? Had any given money on behalf of White? If yes, how much and to whom? Had any witnesses solicited the cause, defrayed 'the charge thereof or undertaken to defray the same'?

2. Was the witness indebted by £80 or another sum to Kinge's mother, and whether Kinge sued the witness for that money 'by virtue of a letter of atturney from his mother'? 'Were you taken in execution of that judgement'?Had King accepted of a £40 bill as satisfaction? Was there still a bill depending in the Court of Requests?

[The rest is too faded].

Introduced 16 July 1638

No signatures.

Sentence / Arbitration

4/48, Letter of John Hall

Mr Thomas White,

Whereas you told Robert King's wife at Zachary Wallopp's house at your last being there that I was the occationer of the setting on of the sute between you and Robert King in the Courte of Honour I utterly disclaime it. For my parte I have nothing to do with it and would earnestly desire you and Mr Colson that there maybe a faire end of it between you; and for that purpose that you would choose one friend and a doctor, and he an other friend and a doctor, to make a fynall end betweene you for I cannot nor will not be any witness therein for I knowe nothing of it. And I have here unto set my hand the 29th of August 1639'.

Signed by John Hall.

Witnessed by:

Henry Barty, William Tanton [his mark], Thomas Wilckes [his marke]

10/9/1, Plaintiff's sentence

[Badly damaged]

Sums of damages and expenses obscured by damage.

Taxed at £20

Signed by Arthur Duck and Lord Maltravers.

10/9/2, Plaintiff's bill of costs

Hilary term, 1637: £4-3s-4d

Vacation: £0-43s-0d

Easter term, 1638: £6-12s-6d

Trinity term, 1638: £5-1s-0d

Michaelmas term, 1638: £7-14s-08

Hilary term, 1638: £7-14s-02

Easter term, 1639: £3-16s-8d

Trinity term, 1639: [Sum faded]

Sum total: £53- [rest of sum faded]

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Taxed at £20

Signed by Lord Maltravers.


6/36, Defendant's bond on submission

11 September 1639

King was to pay to White £33-6-8, which was half of the 100 marks damages, on or before the first court day of Michaelmas term and the other half before the first court day of the next Hilary term.

King was also to 'perform such submission and in such manner tyme and place as shalbe enjoyned him by this Courte and vertify his performance thereof accordingly'.

Signed by Robert King, William Hering and Thomas Carr [his mark]

Sealed and delivered in the presence of Herbert Stanford and John Watson.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck acted as counsel for White and Dr Tooker for King. On 20 October 1638 the witnesses were warned to submit to examination and on 6 November Dr Duck petitioned that they be required to do so. Three witnesses were produced, two of them were examined and summoned back, but Sir John Hall was not asked back. On 20 November Dr Tooker was required to relate material for King's defence. On 27 November Dr Duck refuted articles 6 and 7 of the defence, so Dr Tooker was required to prove them in the second session of the next term. On 28 January 1639, Dr Tooker was required to prove material for the defence, and on 9 February 1639 he produced George Mayre as a defence witness. On 21 February the witnesses for King were warned to appear. Dr Tooker alleged that Richard Maynwaringe, gent, Thomas Westcott, Richard Coleville and Richard Woods were necessary witnesses and should be compelled to appear.


Robert King did not appear in the Hampshire Visitations. Several Thomas Whites appear in the Visitations of London, but none whose father and grandfather were knights.

J. Jackson Howard and J. L. Chester (eds.), The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634 and, 1635, vol. I (Publications of the Harleian Society, 15, 1880), p. 238; J. Jackson Howard (ed.), The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634 and, 1635, vol. II (Publications of the Harleian Society, 17, 1883), pp. 315, 346-7.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: EM113 (24 Mar 1638)
    • Citation: 15/2c (24 Mar 1638)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 7/103 (24 Mar 1638)
    • Libel: 15/2g (14 Apr 1638)
    • Personal answer: 17/4b (28 Apr 1638)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/2u (10 May 1638)
    • Defence interrogatories: 14/2oo (16 Jul 1638)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Letter of John Hall to Thomas White: 4/48 (29 Aug 1639)
    • Plaintiff's sentence: 10/9/1 (no date)
    • Plaintiff's bill of costs: 10/9/2 (no date)
  • Submission
    • Defendant's bond on submission: 6/36 (11 Sep 1639)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: R.19, fos. 434r-449v (20 Oct 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 454r-468v (6 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: R.19, fos. 400v-412v (20 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Marten: R.19, fos. 413v-416v (27 Nov 1638)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/9 (28 Jan 1639)
    • Proceedings: 1/7, fos. 36-47 (9 Feb 1639)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 20-33 (21 Feb 1639)

People mentioned in the case

  • Barty, Henry
  • Carr, Thomas
  • Coalton, Thomas
  • Coleville, Richard
  • Colson, Mr
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eaton, Hugh, servant
  • Hall, John, knight
  • Hering, William
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • King, Anne
  • King, Robert, yeoman
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Maynwaringe, Richard, gent (also Mainwaring)
  • Stanford, Herbert
  • Tanton, William
  • Tooker, Charles, lawyer
  • Wallopp, Zachary
  • Watson, John
  • Westcott, Thomas
  • White, Thomas, esq
  • Wilckes, Thomas
  • Woods, Richard

Places mentioned in the case

  • Hampshire
    • Hoddington
    • Upton Grey
  • London
    • Middle Temple
    • St Dunstan-in-the-West
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster

Topics of the case

  • allegation of bankruptcy
  • allegation of illegitimacy
  • apparel
  • arbitration
  • Court of Requests
  • denial of gentility
  • provocative of a duel