713 Willmer v Juckes

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Thomas Willmer of Dudley, co. Worcester, gent v John Juckes of the same, nailer

June 1637 - April 1638


Willmer complained that about the beginning of February 1637, in Juckes's house in Dudley, Juckes said 'that I was a base fellow and noe gentleman.' Juckes alleged that the incident occurred when Willmer and fourteen others entered the house, where he had been assisting the bailiff to secure Francis Smith. They had assaulted him and frightened his pregnant wife into a miscarriage, whereupon Juckes admitted saying, 'in great anguish,' that Willmer had acted as 'a base fellowe and noe gentleman'. Juckes gave his bond on 14 June 1637 and the libel was presented by Dr Lewin, Willmer's counsel, on 14 October. In November Lewin presented a certificate from the Kings of Arms affirming Willmer's gentility and procured a commission to hear his witnesses; but this never convened, and in February 1638 Dr Duck, Juckes's counsel, told the court that the matter had been referred to Mr Ashenhurst and another gentleman for arbitration. When sentence was given on 14 April 1638, no sums were filled in for the plaintiff, but the defendant was awarded £10 in costs which suggests the case had finally been dismissed in Juckes's favour.

Initial proceedings

3/195, Defendant's bond

14 June 1637

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

Signed by John Juckes.

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

15/1f, Libel

1. Willmer's family had been gentry for up to 200 years.

2. Juckes was a plebeian.

3. Between December 1636 and May 1637, Juckes had said in the parish of Dudley 'that I was a base fellow and noe gentleman', words provocative of a duel.

14 October 1637

Signed by William Lewin.

15/1r, Personal answer

1. He did not believe this article 'to be true in any parte'.

2. He believed this to be true.

3. About 8pm, on a day near last Candlemas, Francis Smith was arrested in Dudley 'by virtue of a copias ut legatum ' at the suit of William Weely. Smith was then brought to Juckes's house in Dudley where the bailiff who made the arrest charged Juckes to aid him. Thomas Wilmer then entered the house with 14 other men, where Juckes was assisting the bailiff. He assaulted Juckes and frightened his pregnant wife, 'and did bruse and wrong her so much that the child did perish in her body and was still borne to the great danger of her life.' In these circumstances, Juckes being 'in great anguish did say that Willmer was a base fellowe and noe gentleman, and soe shewed himself in the action, and in abusing himself as aforesaid, and in wronging his wife and family as aforesaid. And otherwise he doth not believe the same to be true in any parte.'

14 October 1637

Signed by John Juckes.

15/2t, Personal answer [damaged]

As in 15/1r

No date.

Signed by John Juckes.

Sentence / Arbitration

15/2h, Plaintiff's sentence

That Juckes was a plebeian and had said that 'Thomas Willmer was a base fellowe and noe gentleman'.

Spaces for sums not filled in.

14 April 1638

Signed by William Lewin.

15/2i, Plaintiff's bill of costs

Trinity term, 1637: £2-19s-10d

Michaelmas term, 1637: £7-9s-12d

Hillary term, 1638: £1-5s-0d

Easter term, 1638: £10-14s-6d

Total: £20-18s-8d

Signed by William Lewin.

15/2v, Defendant's sentence

Only 'quas' entered into the space for damages

Taxed at £10

14 April 1638

Signed by Arthur Duck and H. Maltravers

15/2w, Defendant's bill of costs

Michaelmas term, 1637: £6-15s-2d

Hillary term, 1637/8: £7-19s-4d

Easter term, 1638: £17-0s-0d

Total: £31-14s-6d

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Taxed at £10

14 April 1638

Signed by H. Maltravers.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Lewin acted as counsel for Willmer and Dr Duck for Juckes. The libel was given on 14 October 1637 and Juckes was required to appear in accordance with his bond. On 31 October Juckes was required to reply to the libel. On 18 November Dr Lewin introduced a genealogy on Willmer's behalf, including a certificate from a King of Arms concerning Willmer's gentility. Proceedings on 28 November referred to the nominating of commissioners, but no names were entered. On 27 January 1638 Dr Lewin was required to convey the examinations on the commission, but having nothing to convey sought to have the commission renewed which Duck disputed. On 3 February Dr Duck presented a petition which cited Thomas Linge of Staple Inn declaring that 'as he was told, Mr Askenhurst and Mr - were spoken to to speak to Mr Juckes to agree this cause.' On 12 February Dr Lewin was required to show that Juckes sought an agreement.


Willmer did not appear in the 1634 Visitation of Worcestershire: A. T. Butler (ed.), The Visitation of Worcestershire, 1634 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 90, 1938).


  • Initial proceedings
    • Defendant's bond: 3/195 (14 Jun 1637)
    • Libel: 15/1f (14 Oct 1637)
    • Personal answer: 15/1r (14 Oct 1637)
    • Personal answer: 15/2t (no date)
  • Sentence / Arbitration
    • Plaintiff's sentence: 15/2h (14 Apr 1638)
    • Plaintiff's bill of costs: 15/2i (14 Apr 1638)
    • Defendant's sentence: 15/2v (14 Apr 1638)
    • Defendant's bill of costs: 15/2w (14 Apr 1638)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 8/26 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/27 (14 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/28 (31 Oct 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/29 (18 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 8/30 (28 Nov 1637)
    • Proceedings before Maltravers: 1/5, fos. 1-15 (27 Jan 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 23-35 (3 Feb 1638)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/5, fos. 38-56 (12 Feb 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Ashenhurst, Mr (also Askenhurst)
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Juckes, John, nailer
  • Lewin, William, lawyer
  • Linge, Thomas
  • Smith, Francis
  • Terrick, Humphrey
  • Weely, William
  • Willmer, Thomas, gent (also Wilmore)

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • Staple Inn
  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Worcestershire
    • Dudley

Topics of the case

  • arbitration
  • assault
  • defendant victory
  • denial of gentility
  • inns of court
  • King of Arms
  • provocative of a duel
  • violence against women