730 Wortley v Allott

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Citation:

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper, '730 Wortley v Allott', The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/730-wortley-allott [accessed 19 June 2024].

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper. "730 Wortley v Allott", in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) . British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/730-wortley-allott.

Cust, Richard. Hopper, Andrew. "730 Wortley v Allott", The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ). . British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/730-wortley-allott.

In this section

730 WORTLEY V ALLOTT

Sir Francis Wortley of Wortley, co. York, knt and bart v Robert Allott of Worsbrough Dale, co. York, yeoman

October 1638 - June 1639

Abstract

Wortley complained that in May or June 1638 his warrener, Daniel Sherley, had been abused by Allott at the stable of Percival Thriste in Barnsley market, Yorkshire. Referring to Wortley, Allott said, 'If thou be one of his men thou art a rogue: for he keeps none but beggars and rascalls, and he is no better himselfe; and doe you tell him so', 'for I care not a fart of mine arse for him'. Later that night, according to witnesses Allott's friends beat up Sherley. At the behest of Lady Wortley, Allott was bound over by Robert Rockley, J.P. to appear at the next West Riding quarter sessions. Wortley's libel was presented on 20 October 1638 and his witnesses were examined by a commission headed by Richard Mountney, esq., 2 - 4 January 1639 at the inn of Charles Smith in Wortley, Yorkshire. Dr Exton began Allott's defence in February 1639, but by 29 June 1639 Wortley had won the verdict. Allott was bound to pay to him £30 damages and £20 costs, and to perform his submission as directed by the court.

Initial proceedings

Cur Mil I, fo. 222, Libel

1. The Wortley family had been reputed gentry for up to 200 years, and Francis Wortley was a baronet and a knight.

2. In 1637-8 in Barnsley, Allott said to Daniel Sherley, 'Thou art... one of Sir Francis Wortleye's men', to which Sherley replied 'Yes, I am'. Then Allott said, 'If thou be one of his men thou art a rogue: for he keeps none but beggars and rascalls, and he is no better himselfe, and doe you tell him so.'

Dated 20 October 1638.

Signed by Thomas Eden.

Plaintiff's case

Cur Mil I, fo. 223, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners John Bamford and Richard Mountney, esq, Nicholas Broadley, clerk, and also, Anthony Benns, clerk, Richard Burroughs and Richard Elmhirst, gent, to meet in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, from 2 to 4 January 1639 at the inn of Charles Smith in Wortley, co. York.

Gilbert Dethick assigned Edward Latham notary public.

Dated 6 November 1638.

Signed by Gilbert Dethick.

Cur Mil II, fos. 133-139, Plaintiff depositions

fos. 134r-135r (Witness 1), Daniel Sherley of Wortley, co. York, 'warrener', aged 37

To Wortley's libel:

Wortley was a knight and baronet 'of an ancient house and family descended'. In May or June 1638 he was buying provisions at Barnsley market for his master, Sir Francis Wortley. Allott approached him near the stable of Percival Thriste, where the witness was loading his horse, and asked him if he had any venison there. After talking a while, Allott said, 'Thou art Sir Francis Wortley's man'. The witness replied 'I am, what is that to thee'? Allot responded, 'If thou art Sir Francis Wortley's man thou art a rogue, and he keeps none but rogues and rascals, and he is no better himself, doe thou tell him soe, for I care not a fart of mine arse for him'. John Atkinson and Rosamund Birkinshaw were also present.

To Allott's first set of interrogatories:

1. He lived at Grendon, co. Warwick for 7 years before coming to Wortley as warrener to the late Sir Walter Chetwynd.

2. He was 'servant and warrener and fowler unto Sir Francis Wortley'. He received 20 nobles per annum in wages.

3. He lived with Sir Francis Wortley, was not in debt to any, and was worth over £20.

4. 'He wisheth that truth may prevaile'.

5. The words above were spoken on a Wednesday at about 4pm on a market day in Barnsley, near Percival Thriste's stable in the presence of himself, with John Atkinson and Rosamund Birkinshaw.

15-16. Robert Rockley, esq, JP, sent for Allott at the instance of Mr Okes, sent by Lady Wortley, as Sir Francis was absent in London. Rockley bound Allott to the good behaviour and to answer at the next quarter sessions. Sherley was a witness before Rockley for this.

17. He did not know Mr Birkbeck, nor did he see him at the time that he can recall, but 'shortly after the words were spoken there was one blacke, like a minister, but he knoweth not who it was'.

Signed by Daniel Sherley [his mark], and by commissioners Mountney, Broadley and Benns.

To Allott's second set of interrogatories:

1. John Atkinson and Edward Ferburne the night after the words were spoken, went to Thomas Garnet's house, 'and there caused the words [in the interrogatory] to be set down in a noate', which Atkinson and Ferburne then signed. The witness the next day fetched the note from Garnet's house.

2. He was not drunk at the time, but was rather too busy to go with Atkinson and Ferburne into Garnet's house, 'but did himself go up into a chamber; and further sayth that the reason wherefore he did not go home that night was for because there came other persons that threatened him, and therefore he was not willing to go home'.

Signed by Daniel Sherley [his mark], and by the three commissioners.

fos. 135v-136v (Witness 2), Rosamund Birkenshawe of Barnsley, co. York, widow, lived there since birth, aged 50

To Wortley's libel:

Wortley was 'of an ancient familie and so ever accounted', and that Sir Francis was a knight and baronet. 'About the beginning of summer last', she was at or near the house of Percival Thriste, innkeeper in Barnsley, holding Daniel Sherley's horse while he loaded a pack of meat on it. Allott approached and asked Sherley if he had any venison. Sherley replied, 'What is it to thee'? After further conversation, Allott said, 'Thou art Sir Francis Wortley's man, art thou'? Sherley answered, 'Yes, that I am'. Allott replied, 'Then thou art a rogue and a rascall and he, meaning Sir Francis Wortley, keeps none but rogues and rascals, and is little better himself'. Allott then told Sherley to tell Sir Francis that Allott 'did not care a fart of his arse for him'. Daniel Sherley and John Atkinson were also present.

To Allott's first set of interrogatories:

2. Negative.

3. 'She is a poore woman one that worketh for her living and receiveth of the countries benevolence sixpence everie fortnight, and is not worth her clothes of her back.'

5. The words above were spoken on a Wednesday at about 4pm on a market day in Barnsley, near Percival Thriste's stable in the presence of herself, with John Atkinson and Daniel Sherley 'besides others passed then up and down'.

6-7. Negative.

15, 17. She was called before Robert Rockley, esq, JP, to give evidence concerning the words in the libel, 'but what further became of the business' she knew not.

To Allott's second set of interrogatories:

1. Negative.

2. Daniel Sherley was sober enough 'for ought she could see to the contrary'.

Signed by Rosamund Birkenshawe [her mark], and by the three commissioners.

fos. 136v-137r (Witness 3), Ralph Lee of Barugh, co. York, locksmith, lived there for 14 years, aged 44

To Wortley's libel:

Wortley was a knight 'of an ancient family and so ever reputed'. About last midsummer, he was 'by chance in the outward fould yard of Percival Thriste in Barneslie', where he heard Allott call Sherley 'rogue and rascall', and say that Sir Francis Wortley 'kept none but rogues and rascals, and said that he, Allott, would live by him'. Allott continued 'Sir Francis is little better himself'. Many passed through the yard, including Thomas Bingley and Francis Hawley.

To Allott's first set of interrogatories:

2. Negative.

3. He lived by his trade and was worth over £10 with his debts paid.

4. 'He wisheth that truth may prevaile'.

5. The words above were spoken on a Wednesday between 3 and 4pm 'in the presence of the parties and in the place deposed of'.

6-7. Negative.

Signed by Ralph Lee [his mark], and by the three commissioners.

fos. 137r-138r (Witness 4), John Atkinson of Eastfield in Thurgoland, in the parish of Silkstone, co. York, lived there since the last feast of St Martin, and before at Barnsley, aged 32

To Wortley's libel:

Wortley was 'commonlie reputed to be a knight and baronet of an ancient familie'. About last midsummer he was an ostler in Percival Thriste's house in Barnsley and was helping Sherley load his horse with meat for Sir Francis Wortley when Allott approached and asked 'what he had there, and whether he had any venison yea or noe'. Sherley replied, 'What is that to you'? After talking a while, Allott said, 'Thou art Sir Francis Wortley's man art thou not'? Sherley replied, 'Yes, that I am'. Allot responded 'then thou art a rogue, and a rascall and thy master keeps none else but rogues and rascals, and he is little better himself; and tell him that I said soe, and that I care not a fart of mine arse for him'. Rosamund Birkinshaw and 'divers others' were also present.

To Allott's first set of interrogatories:

3. 'He always hath and still doth live by his service and is worth little, hardlie his own cloathes'.

5. The words above were spoken on a Wednesday between 5 and 6pm in the 'fould yard' of Percival Thriste in Barnsley, 'in the presence of the witnesses before deposed of.'

6. Soon after the words were spoken Edward Farberne 'wishing [Atkinson] to remember what words were spoken for that they were like to be questioned afterwards'. Farberne and this witness went to the scrivener Thomas Garnet 'and there, for their better remembrance, caused a note to be written of the words then spoken by Allott.'

7. Negative.

15-16. He was examined before Robert Rockley concerning the words in the libel; 'but what became thereof he knoweth not.'

17. 'There was a minister, as he conceived, drinking with Allott, a little before the words were spoken, and at the time Daniel Sherley was in loadening his horse, but he did not see him when the words were spoken by Robert Allott.'

To Allott's second set of interrogatories:

1. After the words were spoken, he went with Edward Farberne to Thomas Garnet's house and caused the words to be written. The witness did not recall if he signed it.

2. Daniel Sherley did not appear drunk, and Sherley 'did not goe hoame that night but did lie upon a bed in Percival Thriste's parlor most part of the night after, and in the morning went home'.

Signed by John Atkinson [his mark], and by the three commissioners.

fos. 138v-139v (Witness 5), Edward Farberne of Holbrook, co. York, gardener, lived there for 8 years, aged about 32

To Wortley's libel:

Wortley was 'commonlie accounted and reputed to be a knight baronet and of an ancient familie'. 'Between Bartholomewtide and Michaelmas last', he was in the yard of Percival Thriste's house in Barnsley, where he found Sherley loading his horse. 'Sherley being angry told him, that that man, demonstrating unto him Robert Allot then standing on wall not far off, had abused him and his master, and had called him rogue and rascal; and had said that Sherley's master kept none but rogues and rascals and that he himself was little better, meaning Sir Francis Wortley'. This witness then reprimanded Allott for abusing Sir Francis, but Allott responded, 'Whatsoever I said I will justifie'. The witness then persuaded Sherley 'to come away'.

To Allott's first set of interrogatories:

2. He had been a servant to Sir Francis Wortley for 8 years and received £3-10s-0d per annum in wages.

3. 'He is worth tenn pounds and better his debts paid'.

4. Negative.

5. The words above were spoken on a Wednesday afternoon in yard of Percival Thriste in Barnsley.

6. Soon after the words were spoken the witness went with John Atkinson to the scrivener Thomas Garnet, 'and did wish Garnett to write down the words which Robert Allott had spoken against Sir Francis Wortley, there being then with him Nicholas Greaves.'

7. Negative.

12. Negative.

15-16. He was examined as a witness against Robert Allott by Mr Robert Rockley, who bound Allott to the good behaviour and to appear at the quarter sessions, 'and believeth it was done at the instance of some of Sir Francis Wortley his servants.'

To Allott's second set of interrogatories:

1. The witness and John Atkinson set their hands to the note, but he did not know if Nicholas Greaves did.

2. At the time he went to Garnet, Daniel Sherley was not drunk, 'but saith after at night Sherley, being beaten and cuffed by one Woodcocke and others *of Robert Allott's friends*, what with choler and what with drink was not well, insomuch that this witness did lay Sherley upon a bed where he slept most parte of that night.'

Signed by Edward Ferberne [his mark], and by the three commissioners.

Cur Mil II, fos. 140-41, Notary public's certificate

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

21 January 1639.

Notary's mark.

Submission

6/90, Defendant's bond of submission

Described the defendant as of Lewden [in Worsborough Dale, in the parish of Darfield], co. York, yeoman.

29 June 1639

Allott was bound to pay to Wortley £30 damages and £20 costs.

£10 of these costs was to be paid before the feast day of St Michael the Archangel, and the other £10 before the feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin.

The £30 of damages was to be paid in annual £10 instalments on or before 29 June 1640, 1641 and 1642.

Allott was to perform his submission as directed by the Court and produce a certificate to prove he had done so.

William Allott of St Mary Abchurch, London, merchant and William Wilcocke of St Sepulchre, London, fishmonger, acted as Allott's sureties.

Signed and sealed by Robert Allott, William Allott and William Wilcocke.

Sealed subscribed and delivered in the presence of Richard Butler and John Watson.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Eden and Dr Duck acted as counsel for Wortley and Dr Merrick and Dr Exton for Allott. On 20 October 1638 Allott was to appear in person in court and Dr Eden was to give the libel in his presence, with Dr Merrick to respond. On 6 November Dr Merrick had to respond to the libel, and denied its allegations. Dr Eden was to prove the libel in the first session of next term and was to nominate commissioners for examining witnesses along with a day and place. On 28 January 1639 Dr Eden was required to prove the libel and transmit the commission. On 23 February Dr Exton offered material for Allott's defence. Dr Talbot dissented from this and Sir Henry Marten was required to give his verdict on it. On 2 March the court was due to hear the verdict on material for Allott's defence.

Notes

Sir Francis Wortley (1592-1652), was the son and heir of Sir Richard Wortley of Wortley (d.1603), and Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Boughton of Cawston, co. Warwick. He was knighted at Theobalds on 15 January 1611 and created a baronet on 29 June 1611. He was M.P. for East Retford from 1624 to 1626. Prior to the outbreak of war he had suffered much verbal abuse from plebeians in the West Riding quarter sessions and endemic large scale poaching decimated his deer park. During the 1630s he had suffered much verbal abuse from plebeians in the West Riding quarter sessions and endemic large scale poaching decimated his deer park. He achieved national fame in April 1642 when he drew his sword for the king in protest against Sir John Hotham's dramatic denial of access to Hull to the king. He served as a royalist colonel until his capture near Wakefield in 1644, after which he spent the rest of his life imprisoned in the Tower. His first wife was Grace, daughter of Sir William Brouncker of Melksham, co. Wiltshire. His second wife was Hester, daughter of George Smithes, alderman and sheriff of London. His son Francis was also a royalist colonel.

I. W. McLellan, 'Sir Francis Wortley', Oxford DNB (Oxford, 2004); G. E. Cokayne (ed.), The Complete Baronetage, 1611-25 (Exeter, 1900), vol. 1, pp. 48-9; P.R. Newman, Royalist officers in England and Wales, 1642-1660: A biographical dictionary (London, 1981), p. 422; P. R. Newman, The Old Service: Royalist regimental colonels in the Civil War 1642-46 (Manchester, 1993), pp.5, 22-3, 25, 29, 38, 273; J. T. Cliffe, The Yorkshire Gentry from the Reformation to the Civil War (London, 1969), pp.64-5, 82, 283, 287-8, 331-3, 340-1, 356.

For the commissioner Richard Mountney see cause 128. Mountney had been defendant against a suit promoted by Lionel Copley in the court of chivalry while Copley himself had been prosecuted in the West Riding Quarter Sessions for poaching.

J. Lister (ed.), West Riding Sessions Records: Orders 1611-1642, Indictments, 1637-1642 (Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Records Series, 54, 1915), vol. 2, pp. 39, 52, 57, 74, 76, 99, 100, 113-6, 140-1, 186, 188, 264.

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Libel: Cur Mil I, fo. 222 (20 Oct 1638)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Cur Mil I, fo. 223 (6 Nov 1638)
    • Plaintiff depositions: Cur Mil II, fos. 133-9 (no date)
    • Notary public's certificate: Cur Mil II, fos. 140-1 (21 Jan 1639)
  • Submission
    • Bond on submission: 6/90 (29 Jun 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 Maltravers: 1/9 (28 Jan 1639)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 1/6, fos. 1-9 (23 Feb 1639)
    • Proceedings before Marten: 1/6, fos. 9-12 (2 Mar 1639)

People mentioned in the case

  • Allott, Robert, yeoman (also Allot)
  • Allott, William, merchant
  • Atkinson, John
  • Bamford, John, esq
  • Benns, Anthony, clerk
  • Bingley, Thomas
  • Birkbeck, Mr
  • Birkinshaw, Rosamund (also Birkenshawe)
  • Broadley, Nicholas, clerk
  • Brouncker, Grace
  • Brouncker, William, knight
  • Burroughs, Richard, gent
  • Butler, Richard
  • Chetwynd, Walter, knight
  • Copley, Lionel, gent
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Elmhirst, Richard, gent
  • Exton, Thomas, lawyer
  • Ferburne, Edward, gardener (also Farberne)
  • Garnet, Thomas, scrivener
  • Greaves, Nicholas
  • Hawley, Francis
  • Hotham, John, baronet
  • Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Latham, Edward, notary public
  • Lee, Ralph, locksmith
  • Marten, Henry, knight
  • Merrick, William, lawyer
  • Mountney, Richard, esq
  • Okes, Mr
  • Rockley, Robert, esq
  • Sherley, Daniel, warrener
  • Smith, Charles, innkeeper
  • Smithes, George
  • Smithes, Hester
  • Talbot, Clere, lawyer
  • Thriste, Percival
  • Watson, John
  • Wilcocke, William, fishmonger
  • Woodcocke
  • Wortley, Elizabeth
  • Wortley, Francis, knight and baronet
  • Wortley, Grace
  • Wortley, Hester
  • Wortley, Richard, knight

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • St Mary Abchurch
    • St Sepulchre
    • Tower of London
  • Nottinghamshire
    • East Retford
  • Warwickshire
    • Cawston
    • Grendon
  • Yorkshire
    • Kingston-upon-Hull
  • Yorkshire, West Riding
    • Barnsley
    • Barugh
    • Eastfield
    • Holbrook
    • Lewden
    • Silkstone
    • Thurgoland
    • Worsbrough Dale
    • Wortley

Topics of the case

  • alderman
  • apparel
  • assault
  • corporation
  • deer
  • drunkenness
  • hunting
  • justice of the peace
  • military officer
  • quarter sessions
  • royalist
  • scatological insult