714 Willoughby v Clerke

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper, '714 Willoughby v Clerke', The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/714-willoughby-clerke [accessed 17 June 2024].

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper. "714 Willoughby v Clerke", in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) . British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/714-willoughby-clerke.

Cust, Richard. Hopper, Andrew. "714 Willoughby v Clerke", The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ). . British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/714-willoughby-clerke.

In this section


Nicholas Willoughby of North Cheriton, co. Somerset, gent v Mathew Clerke of the same

May 1639


Willoughby complained that Clerke gave him the lie and publicly called him a 'scurvey gent, a base gent, a beggerly gent'. Process was granted on 16 May 1639, but nothing further survives.

Initial proceedings

6/156, Petition to Maltravers

'Your petitioner is a gent., discended of an ancient family, and hath right to beare armes. That he hath lately beene much abused with insolent and uncivill words uttered against [him], publiquely and to his great disgrace, by one Mathew Clerke of North-Cheriton, who in a scornefull, provoking, and dareing manner said unto and of your petitioner that your said petitioner was a scurvey gent, a base gent, a beggerly gent, and gave him the lye divers times, with other such like words and gesture, not to be endured.'

Petitioned that Clerke be brought to answer.

Maltravers granted process on 16 May 1639.


Nicholas Willoughby was not mentioned in the Somerset Visitations: F. T. Colby (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Somerset in the year 1623 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 11, 1876); G. D. Squibb (ed.), The Visitation of Somerset and the City of Bristol, 1672 (Publications of the Harleian Society, new series, 11, 1992).


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 6/156 (16 May 1639)

People mentioned in the case

  • Clerke, Matthew
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Willoughby, Nicholas, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • Somerset
    • North Cheriton

Topics of the case

  • denial of gentility
  • giving the lie