706 White v Seabrooke

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Citation:

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper, '706 White v Seabrooke', The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/706-white-seabrooke [accessed 16 June 2024].

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper. "706 White v Seabrooke", in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) . British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/706-white-seabrooke.

Cust, Richard. Hopper, Andrew. "706 White v Seabrooke", The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ). . British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/706-white-seabrooke.

In this section

706 WHITE V SEABROOKE

Thomas White of North Crawley, co. Buckingham, gent v John Seabrooke of the same, yeoman

June 1639 - May 1640

Abstract

White complained that just before midsummer day, in June 1639, in a field in North Crawley, Buckinghamshire, Seabrooke gave him the lie and 'bid him also to kisse his arse'. White also claimed that Seabrooke was 'a very wealthy fellow...of a most stubborn disposition and bo[a]steth of his abusing gentlemen' and that to 'incite' White to strike him, 'whereby he might have some action...at common law', told him that he had seen 'as tall a man' as White 'strech a halter'. Seabrooke claimed that he had been provoked by White during a quarrel the previous day over who had the right to crop some corn in the open fields. According to witnesses, White had called Seabrooke 'scab' or 'scrub' and threatened, 'If thou croppest here I will shoote a bullet into thy breech.' He also declared, somewhat obscurely, of Seabrooke that were it 'not for his bonesetting he might be hanged.' Process was granted on 27 June 1639 and order was given for White's witnesses to be examined by a commission headed by Roger Nicholls and Thomas Stafford, esqs, 15-17 August in John Prestman's Saracen's Head Inn at Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire. Seabrooke's defence witnesses were examined by Nicholls and other commissioners on 8 January 1640, again at the Saracen's Head. White won the verdict on 1 May 1640, but the details of Seabrooke's fine and submission remain unknown.

Initial proceedings

6/104, Petition

'Your petitioner being in company of divers persons of good reputation in some discourse with one John Sebroke of North Crawley aforesaid, yeoman, giving him no cause or couler of offence, Sebroke to abuse and provoke your petitioner gave your petitioner the lye bid him also to kisse his A:... And further to incite your petitioner to avenge himself and strike him, whereby he might have some action against the petitioner at common law, tould your petitioner he had seen as tall a man as your petitioner strech a halter, using other provoking speeches. This Sebroke being a very wealthy fellow is of a most stubborn disposition and bo[a]steth of his abusing gentlemen.'

Petitioned that Seabroke be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process on 27 June 1639.

6/105, Plaintiff's bond

27 June 1639

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

Signed by Thomas White.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of Humphrey Terrick.

6/88, Defendant's bond

2 July 1639

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

Signed by John Seabrooke.

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

EM133a, Libel

1. Thomas White's family had been ancient gentry for up to 300 years and were reputed as such.

2. Between March and June 1639 in the parish of North Crawley, co. Buckingham, and the parishes thereabouts, in the presence of persons of dignity, Thomas White complained that Seabrooke had insulted his dignity and said 'you lye and bid or said come kisse his arse and said that he had seene as tall a man as White stretch a halter' or words to that effect.

3. The above was public, notorious and manifest.

Signed by William Merrick.

13/13v, Personal answer

Very brief, simply denied that there was any truth in the libel.

Signed by Thomas Exton.

Plaintiff's case

EM133c, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners Roger Nicholls, esq, Anthony Carpenter, gent and William Saunders, gent, and also, Thomas Stafford, esq, John Wells, gent, and William Johnson, gent, to meet from 15 to 17 August 1639 in John Prestman's Saracens Head Inn at Newport Pagnell, co. Buckingham.

9 July 1639

EM133b, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness.

2. Did the witness live of their own and how much were they worth with their debts paid? How much had they paid in the last tax to the king?

3. Was the witness a household servant, retainer or relative of White? If they were a relative, by what degree? To which side would they give the victory if it were in their power?

4. Had the witness been asked to testify and how much in expenses had they received or been promised for doing so?

5. Was there discord or controversy among the witnesses?

6. Had they communicated with others concerning the cause, or been instructed how to depose? If so by whom, and in what particulars?

7. The witness was asked 'upon what occasion the words were spoken and upon what provocation did Mr White then give John Seabrooke to speake the pretended words and what words passed between them at that time both before and after'.

Signed by Thomas Exton.

Defendant's case

R.19, fo. 12v, Exceptions to the plaintiff's witnesses

'Sayes that the witnesses is [sic] of no credit, for that they are of kin to the plaintiff and his familiar friends, and great enemyes to Seabrooke, and says that the day before the words were pretended to be spoken, White did call Seabrooke scabb, and threatened to shoot a bullet into him without any provocation given by Seabrooke; and after followed him and railed at him and told him if it were not for his bonesetting he might be hanged, and that he cared not a turd for him. All which are true and c.'

1639

No signature.

Acta (5), fo. 317, Defence

2. 'Upon Thursday next before Midsomer day last being the next day before the words were pretended to be spoken in North Crawley in com. Bucks, Mr White did call Seabrooke, scrubb, and threatened to shoote a bullet into him without any provocation given by Seabrooke; and after followed him and railed at him and told him that if it was not for his bonesetting he might be hanged and that he cared not a turd for him.'

3. 'On the day of the pretended words, White demanded three severall times of him whether his breech was cleane or not; and Seabrooke demanding the reason of such his question White told him that the day before he had bidden him kisse his breech, which Seabrooke denying White tould him he lyed, and severall times badd hang him or hang himselfe, and said he was a scrubb and a lying fellow and the like; and shooke his staffe at him and then said that what he had said the day before, vizt. that he would shoote him, he would stand to.'

4. If any of the words pretended to be spoken by Seabrooke against White were spoken it was due to provocation from White.

No date.

Signed Thomas Exton.

Acta (5), fo. 316a, Letters commissory for the defendant

Addressed to commissioners Thomas Stafford, esq, John Wells, gent, William Johnson, gent and William Roberts, clerk, and also, Roger Nicholls, esq, Anthony Carpenter, gent, and William Saunders, gent, to meet in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel from 8 to 10 January 1640, in the Saracen's Head Inn, Newport Pagnell, co. Buckingham.

Humphrey Terrick assigned Edmund Arnold as notary public.

Dated 5 December 1639.

Signed by Humphrey Terrick.

Acta (5), fo. 316, First set of plaintiff's interrogatories

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

2. Was the witness a relative or household servant to either of the parties? How much was the witness worth in goods with their debts paid, and to whom would they give the victory if it were in their power?

3. Had he received or been promised a reward for his testimony? If yes, what?

4. The day before the speaking of the words, did Seabrooke bid Mr White 'kisse his arse or breech', or 'at least wise did not Mr White at the time and place in the libel say that Seabrooke had soe said unto him'?

5. Was Mr White ' not a gentleman, and whether he be not descended from gentlemen; and whether he live not in the condicon, fashion and reputacon of a gentleman'?

6. Did Seabrooke 'live in the fashion and quality of a gentleman'?

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

No date.

Signed William Merrick.

Acta (5), fo. 304, Second set of plaintiff interrogatories

1. Was he 'present at the falling out between White and Seabrooke'? If yes, who were present also? How far off were Seabrooke's witnesses?

2. Did Seabrooke tell Mr White 'in earnest words that Seabrooke would carry away the corne which was then growing upon Mr White's ground, and was not that the first cause of the falling out betweene the parties.'

No date.

No signatures.

Acta (5), fos. 306r-312v, Defence depositions

Taken before commissioners Roger Nicholls, esq, William Roberts, clerk, William Johnson and Anthony Carpenter, gent, on the 8 January 1640, in the Saracen's Head Inn, Newport Pagnell, co. Buckingham, with Edmund Arnold as notary public.

fos. 307r-308v (Witness 1), William Cooke of North Crawley, co. Buckingham, husbandman, aged 50

To Seabrooke's defence:

2. On the 'Thursday next before Midsommer daye last past, and the next daye before the falling out, he was present in the field and parish of North Crawley in the company of John Seabrooke and Mr White. Then and there some differences happening between Mr White and Seabrooke about a peece of ground which each of them claimed to belonge unto them, Mr White in an angry manner diverse times asked of Seabrooke saying, Wilt thou cropp my corne, and Seabrooke answering, I will cropp my corne. White, in an angry manner and without any provocation given by Seabrooke at that time, said to Seabrooke, If thou come to croppe any there I will shoote a bullet into thy breech. Thou art a scrubb, and if it were not for thy bonesetting then thou mightest be hanged'. On the Friday he was present in the field with Mr White and John Seabrooke, and heard White call to Seabrooke (whoe was a little distance from him) and saye, Seabrooke is thy breech cleane, (which words he repeated twice or thrice over). And he, asking Mr White why he asked that question, Mr White answered that yesterday Seabrooke badd me kisse his breech. And Seabrooke being thereon and denying the same, Mr White in an angry manner said, Thou liest; and then Seabrooke replying and saying to White, I see you said yesterday that I was a scrubb and might be hanged were it not for my bonesetting and that you would shoot a bullet into my breach. Mr White acknowledged that he had soe said, and said further that what he had then said he would stand to; and this White said without any provocation at this time given by Seabrooke'. The witnesses Richard Page the elder and Richard Page the younger were nearby. And after and upon the words soe on Fridaye used by White to Seabrooke, Seabrooke did speake or use the words by [him] formerly deposed to the libel to be by him spoken to or against Mr White, and not otherwise.'

To White's first set of interrogatories:

1. 'He liveth in the fashion of a husbandman and followeth husbandry; that he is 50 years of age and upwards and was borne at North Crawley.'

2. He and Seabrooke were 'brothers-in-lawe, vizt they married two sisters.'

5. 'The plaintiff is commonly called Mr White, and is commonly accompted a gentleman and he liveth in the fashion and reputation of a gentleman.'

6. 'Seabrooke doth not live in the fashion and qualitie of a gentleman.'

To White's second set of interrogatories:

1. 'He was in company of and neere White and Seabrooke.

Signed by William Cooke and by commissioners Johnson, Roberts and Carpenter.

fos. 308v-309v (Witness 2), Abel Hutton of North Crawley, co. Buckingham, shepherd, aged about 49

To Seabrooke's defence:

2. On the 'Thursday next before Midsommer daye last past, he was present in the field of North Crawley, and sawe Seabrooke and Mr White, and William Cooke in the field about 60 yards distance from [them] and there heard White and Seabrooke at some words of variance; and heard White with a loude voice aske Seabrooke, and saye, Seabrooke, wilt thou croppe here? And Seabrooke answering, I will cropp my corne, Mr White replied, If thou croppest here, I will shoote a bullet into thy breech. And Seabrooke telling Mr White that his father or grandfather would not have said soe to him, Mr White said, Hange thee, if it were not for thy bonesetting thou mightest be hanged'. He did not hear Seabrooke give any provoking words to Mr White.

To White's interrogatories:

1. He was a 'shepard and liveth by keeping of sheepe.'

2. He was worth £40 'in his cleare estate and that he would give the victory according to right.'

5. As witness 1.

6. 'Seabrooke liveth in the fashion and quality of a yeoman and not of a gentleman.'

Signed by Abel Hutton [his mark] and by the above three commissioners.

fos. 309v-310v (Witness 3), Richard Page the elder of North Crawley, co. Buckingham, husbandman, aged about 54

To Seabrooke's defence:

2-4. On the 'Friday next before Midsommer daye last', he was in the field of North Crawley and saw Seabrooke and Mr White together in the field 'about halfe a furlong distant from [him]'. He 'observed by their gesture and behaviour that they were at angry words together, and heard Mr White with a loud voice and in an angry manner saye to Seabrooke, It is a lie, which words were repeated twice or thrice over, and therewithal did hold up and shake his staffe on Seabrooke in this witness's sight'. Cooke and Mr Clerke, and his son Richard Page the younger were present with him.

To White's first set of interrogatories:

2. He was worth £100 with his debts paid.

5-6. As witness 1.

Signed by Richard Page and by the three commissioners.

fos. 310v-311v (Witness 4), Richard Page the younger of North Crawley, co. Buckingham, aged about 17

To Seabrooke's defence:

2-4. As witness 3.

To White's first set of interrogatories:

2. 'He liveth under his father and is in expectation of meanes from him.'

5-6. As witness 1.

Signed by Richard Page and by the three commissioners.

fos. 311v-312r (Witness 5), John Field of North Crawley, co. Buckingham, husbandman, born there, aged about 38

To Seabrooke's defence:

2-4. Around August 1639 he was with Seabrooke and Mr White before Mr Erlestone a Justice of Peace at Lavenden, co. Buckingham, when he heard Mr White and John Seabrooke 'complaine of each other and rehearse some former falling out betwixt them'. He heard Mr White acknowledge then and there before the justice that he had tolde Seabrooke that if he came to carry away any graine of his (speaking of himselfe) he would shoot a bullet into his breech.'

To White's first set of interrogatories:

5-6. As witness 1.

Signed by John Field and by the three commissioners.

fos. 312r-v (Witness 6), Henry Osburne of North Crawley, co. Buckingham, yeoman, born there, aged about 40

To White's first set of interrogatories:

5-6. As witness 1.

Signed by Henry Osburne and by commissioners Roger Nicholls, Will. Johnson, Will: Roberts and Antho. Carpenter.

Acta (5), fo. 312v, Notary public's certificate

Certificate in Latin signed by Edmund Arnold, notary public that the above examinations had been completed and were now being returned.

No date.

Notary's mark.

Sentence / Arbitration

18/4h, Plaintiff's sentence [damaged]

Seabrooke was sentenced for having 'bidd White kisse his breech and said he had seen a man as tall as Thomas White stretch a Halter'.

Sums awarded unknown.

No date but filed under Easter term, 1 May 1640.

18/4i, Defendant's sentence [damaged]

Sums awarded unknown [rest of document torn away].

No date but filed under Easter term, 1 May 1640.

Signed by Lord Maltravers.

18/4c, Plaintiff's bill of costs

Trinity term, 1639 - Easter term, 1640

Sum total: £43-6s-8d

No date but filed under Easter term, 1 May 1640.

Signed by William Merrick.

18/4q, Defendant's bill of costs [damaged]

Trinity term, 1639: £11-10s-10d

Michaelmas term, 1639: at least £5-0s-0d

[The rest torn off]

No date but filed under Easter term, 1 May 1640.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Merrick acted as counsel for White and Dr Exton for Seabrooke. On 4 February 1640 White was to prove that he was a gentleman andthe material from the defence witnesses was to be published.

Notes

No Thomas White of North Crawley appeared in the Visitation of 1634 although there were several Thomas Whites entered.

W. H. Rylands (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Buckingham made in 1634 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 53, 1909), p. 127.

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 6/104 (27 Jun 1639)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 6/105 (27 Jun 1639)
    • Defendant's bond: 6/88 (2 Jul 1639)
    • Libel: EM133a (no date)
    • Personal answer: 13/3v (no date)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: EM133c (9 Jul 1639)
    • Defence interrogatories: EM133b (no date)
  • Defendant's case
    • Exceptions to witnesses: R.19, fo. 12v (1639)
    • Defence: Acta (5), fo. 317 (no date)
    • Letters commissory for the defence: Acta (5), fo. 316a (5 Dec 1639)
    • Second set of plaintiff interrogatories: Acta (5), fo. 304 (no date)
    • First set of plaintiff interrogatories: Acta (5), fo. 316 (no date)
    • Defence depositions: Acta (5), fos. 306-312 (9 Jan 1640)
    • Notary public's certificate: Acta (5), fo. 312 (no date)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiff sentence: 18/4h (1 May 1640)
    • Defendant's sentence: 18/4i (1 May 1640)
    • Plaintiff bill of costs: 18/4c (1 May 1640)
    • Defendant's bill of costs: 18/4q (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/31 (4 Feb 1640)

People mentioned in the case

  • Arnold, Edmund, notary public
  • Carpenter, Anthony, gent
  • Cooke, William, husbandman
  • Erlestone, Mr
  • Exton, Thomas, lawyer
  • Field, John, husbandman
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Hutton, Abel, shepherd
  • Johnson, William, gent
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Nicholls, Roger, esq
  • Osburne, Henry, yeoman
  • Page, Richard the elder, husbandman
  • Page, Richard the younger
  • Prestman, John, innkeeper
  • Roberts, William, clerk
  • Saunders, William, gent
  • Seabrooke, John, yeoman
  • Stafford, Thomas, esq
  • Terrick, Humphrey
  • Watson, John
  • Wells, John, gent
  • White, Thomas, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • Buckinghamshire
    • Lavenden
    • Newport Pagnell
    • North Crawley
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster

Topics of the case

  • giving the lie
  • scatological insult
  • threatened violence