727 Woodhall v Morris

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper, '727 Woodhall v Morris', The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/727-woodhall-morris [accessed 20 June 2024].

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper. "727 Woodhall v Morris", in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) . British History Online, accessed June 20, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/727-woodhall-morris.

Cust, Richard. Hopper, Andrew. "727 Woodhall v Morris", The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ). . British History Online. Web. 20 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/727-woodhall-morris.

In this section


John Woodhall of St Benet Fink, London, barber surgeon v Richard Morris of St Dunstan-in-the-East, London, barber surgeon

December 1637 - December 1638


Woodhall complained that in September - November 1637, at the Court of Assistants in the hall of the Company of Barber Surgeons in London, Morris had struck him with his fist and said that he 'was a knave, a scurvie rascall, and that I lyed', which was provocative of a duel. Arundel held a preliminary hearing of the complaint against Morris by both Woodhall and Michael Andrews [see cause 5] at the Court of Chivalry on 13 December 1637, and decided that there was a case to answer. He therefore ordered that Morris be kept in custody until he entered bonds for his appearance. [For more details of the original confrontation, see Morris's counter suit, cause 450]. Woodhall's witnesses were ordered to be examined by a commission headed by Thomas Dowell, esq, from 29 to 31 March 1638 at the Roebuck Inn, at Bedminster, Somerset. The court proceeded towards sentence; however, on 28 November 1638 Sir Christopher Clithero and Henry Garraway, alderman of the city of London, were named as arbiters to arrange a settlement between the parties.

Initial proceedings

17/3d, Orders for directions

'Whereas Richard Morris one of the Company of Barber Chirurgeons of the City of London was this day brought before me to make answer to two several complaints made against him: the one by Michael Andrews, one of his Majestie's chirurgeons for uncivil and provoking language used to him by Morris in an open court held in Barber Chirurgeons Hall, London, and particularly for giving him the lye; the other by John Woodhall, an assistant of the company, for a blow given him by Morris with his fist as they sat together in a court kept within the hall. Both which complaints being proved upon oath, forasmuch as the offences were publike, committed in the face of a court and [before] principal members of the society, I conceive it most proper to be brought to a public trial. And doe therefore order that the plaintiffs do jointly, or severally (as their councell shall advise them) put in their libels into the Court Marshall against Morris for the foresaid abuses. And that Morris give bond with good sureties to appear and answer the complaints, to stand to, and performe such order as shall be made by the court, and pay such fines, costs and charges as shall be assessed, or awarded against him in the said causes. And until that security be given, Morris to remain in the custody of the messenger.'

Dated 13 December 1637.

Signed by Arundel and Surrey

[For another copy of this order, dated 12 December, see 18/3m, under cause 5].

19/5c, Libel

1. Woodhall's family had been ancient gentry for up to 100 years. Between September and November, in the College of Surgeons in London, Morris said that Woodhall 'was a knave, a scurvie Rascall, and that I lyed', which words were provocative of a duel.

No date or signatories.

12/2a, Libel [damaged]

Another copy of the same libel as 19/5c

12/2f, Libel

Refers to a duel fought in the kingdom of Poland in the presence of the King of Poland with a certain Polish gentleman on the expedition.

Endorsed '9 May 1638'.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Ryves and Dr Merrick were counsel for Woodhall with Dr Duck, Dr Eden and Dr Exton for Morris. On 27 January 1638 Morris was to appear in accordance with his bond. On 3 February Dr Merrick presented the libel and Dr Duck responded. On 12 February Dr Duck denied the libel and Thomas Dowell, esq, and Thomas Coward, gent, and also, Ferdinando Gorge, and William Yeomans of Bristol, gent, were appointed commissioners to examine witnesses from 29 to 31 March 1638at the Roebuck Inn, at Bedminster, co. Somerset. On 10 April 1638 Woodhall produced as witnesses to his libel William Clowes, Richard Watson, Richard Boothe and Richard Turner. On 20 October Dr Merrick was required to prove Woodhall's allegations and Dr Ryves was to publish the testimony of the witnesses. On 6 November sentence was appointed to be heard at the next sitting. On 28 November Sir Christopher Clithero and Henry Garraway, alderman of the city of London, were mentioned as arbiters to find a friendly agreement between the parties. The cause was to be continued on Wednesday 5 December 1638, where definitive sentence would be heard. A note was appended, reading: 'Men in eminent places or in the warrs uppon affronts shalbe heard, thoughe not of bloud gentlemen; yet this not rule for every base, meane person to have causes.'


John Woodall of London, barber surgeon of Broad Street, London, was the son of Richard Woodall of Warwick and Mary, daughter of Peirse Ithell of North Wales. John married Sara, daughter of one Henchpole.

Richard Morris ap Evan Vaughan, barber surgeon, appeared in the Visitation of London of 1634, married to Ann, daughter of John Leonard, a niece of Sir Edward Peacock, knt.

J. Jackson Howard (ed.), The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634 and, 1635, vol. II (Publications of the Harleian Society, 17, 1883), pp. 112, 365.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Order for directions: 17/3d (13 Dec 1637)
    • Libel: 19/5c (no date )
    • Libel: 12/2a (no date)
    • Libel: 12/2f (9 May 1638)
  • Proceedings
    • 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)
    • Proceedings before Marten: 1/5 (10 April 1638)
    • 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 Maltravers: R.19, fos. 422r-428r (28 Nov 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Andrews, Michael
  • Boothe, Richard
  • Clithero, Christopher, knight
  • Clowes, William
  • Coward, Thomas, gent
  • Dowell, Thomas, esq
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Exton, Thomas, lawyer
  • Garraway, Henry
  • Gorge, Ferdinando (also Gorges)
  • Henchpole, Sarah
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Ithell, Mary
  • Ithell, Peirse
  • Leonard, Ann
  • Leonard, John
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Morris, Ann (also Morris ap Evan Vaughan)
  • Morris, Richard, barber surgeon (also Morris ap Evan Vaughan)
  • Peacock, Edward, knight
  • Ryves, Thomas, lawyer (also Rives)
  • Turner, Richard
  • Watson, Richard
  • Woodhall, John, barber surgeon (also Woodall)
  • Woodhall, Mary (also Woodall)
  • Woodhall, Richard (also Woodall)
  • Woodhall, Sarah (also Woodall)
  • Yeomans, William, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • Broad Street
    • `St Benet Fink
    • St Dunstan-in-the-East
  • Poland
  • Somerset
    • Bedminster
  • Wales
  • Warwickshire
    • Warwick

Topics of the case

  • arbitration
  • assault
  • city company
  • giving the lie
  • provocative of a duel