75 Browne v Atkinson

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Citation:

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper, '75 Browne v Atkinson', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/75-browne-atkinson [accessed 23 May 2024].

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper. "75 Browne v Atkinson", in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) . British History Online, accessed May 23, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/75-browne-atkinson.

Cust, Richard. Hopper, Andrew. "75 Browne v Atkinson", The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ). . British History Online. Web. 23 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/75-browne-atkinson.

In this section

75 BROWNE V ATKINSON

Richard Browne of West Overton, co. Wiltshire, gent v Thomas Atkinson of the same, clerk

April 1635 - February 1637

Abstract

The initial quarrel between the two men took place around the end of September 1634, in the presence of several gentlemen, at the stable door of the White Hart Inn, Marlborough, probably after the archdeaconry visitation for north Wiltshire. Browne urged the West Overton churchwardens to present Atkinson for not preaching often enough. Atkinson told him not to interfere and defended his preaching, whereupon Browne told him he was a drunkard who preached 'over a hogshead'. Atkinson was said to have retorted 'thou lyest in thy throate' and that Browne and his 'father did sacrilegiouslie robb the church' which led Browne to seek satisfaction of his honour from the Court of Chivalry. His libel was presented on 18 April 1635 and a commission to examine his witnesses, headed by William Sadler, gent, met at the White Hart on 17 September 1635. On 11 February 1637, Atkinson was warned to pay the notary 20s for expediting his commission; but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

9/4/12, Libel

Browne was of gentle stock and alleged that between last September and November at Marlborough in the presence of several persons of gentle status, Atkinson said to him 'thou lyest, thou lyest in thy throate' and that 'my father did sacrilegiouslie robb the church.'

Seeks justice against Atkinson for the restitution and satisfaction of his honour.

Endorsed 18 April 1635.

R.19, fo. 14r, Summary of libel

'Browne and his ancestors above 100 years past is, and have been, gentlemen of an ancient family. Atkinson (such a time and place) before many gentlemen and others, said that of Browne, Thou lyest in thy throate, and the more to provoke him added, that his father deceased did sacrilegiously robb the church, thereby to provoke and c.'

1635

No signature.

Acta (5), fo. 55, Libel

Browne's family had been gentry for up to 100 years.

Atkinson had said Browne 'he sayd thou lyest in thy throate' and 'that my father did sacrilegiously robbe the Church', which words were intended to provoke him to a duel.

21 April 1635.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Plaintiff's case

Acta (5), fo. 56, Letters commissory for the plaintiff

Addressed to commissioners Sir William Button, knt, John Sadler, gent, William Sadler, gent, John Francklyn, gent, and also, William Daniel, gent, William Digges, gent, Warner South, clerk, and John Gallimore, clerk, to meet in a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, from 17 to 19 September 1635, at the White Hart Inn, Marlborough, co. Wiltshire.

Dated 30 May 1635.

Gilbert Dethick assigned Humphrey Terrick as notary public.

Acta (5), fo. 54, Defence interrogatories

1. If any witness deposed that Atkinson spoke 'to or of Richard Browne or tending anywaies to Richard Browne's disgrace interrogate when and where such words were spoken'; and ask who were present. What words preceded and followed the disgraceful words?

2. Did the witness hear Browne call Atkinson 'hoggeshead and drunckard and many other opprobrious names'?

3. Did the witness hear Richard Browne 'threaten the churchwardens and charge them to put into their bill of presentment what he desired to have presented'?

4. Did the witness hear Atkinson 'in a fair and friendly manner desire of Richard Browne that he would forbeare to urge churchwardens to present but leave them to their own consciences'?

No date.

Signed by Thomas Eden.

Acta (5), fos. 46-50, Plaintiff's depositions

Taken before commissioners William Sadler, gent, John Francklyn, gent, and John Gallimore, clerk, with Humphrey Terrick acting as notary public, between 8am and noon on 17 September 1635, at the White Hart Inn, Marlborough, co. Wiltshire.

fos. 47r-v (Witness 1) Edward Dismer of Lockeridge, co. Wiltshire, yeoman, born there, had known the parties 11 years, aged 60

To Browne's libel:

About a year ago at the White Hart, in Marlborough, he heard Mr Browne say to Mr Atkinson that he 'had as much to doe to see the presentments of the churchwardens of Overton as Mr Atkinson had; whereupon Mr Atkinson replied and said that is a lye.'

To Atkinson's interrogatories:

1. He said there were present John Parsons and others whose names he did not remember 'and farther he answereth negatives.'

2-4. He could not depose.

Signed by Edward Dismars and by the above three commissioners.

fos. 47v-48v (Witness 2), John Parsons of West Overton, co. Wiltshire, husbandman, born there, known Browne for 4 years and Atkinson for 10 years

To Browne's libel:

Near the stable door of the White Hart, Marlborough, around last Michaelmas, he heard Browne say to Atkinson: 'that he had as much to doe with the Churchwardens presentments of Overton as Mr Atkinson had; whereupon Mr Atkinson replied and said it is a lye and at the same time Mr Atkinson said to Mr Browne thou or you (but whether thou or you he saith he doth not remember) lyest in thy throat.'

To Atkinson's interrogatories:

1. He said there were present Edward Dismer, the oastlers of the house and other whose names he did not remember. 'He farther answereth that after the words before by him deposed of Mr Browne said to Mr Atkinson that Mr Browne would make Mr Atkinson preach once a month. and then Mr Atkinson replied and said that soe he did; whereupon Mr Browne said yes in or over a hogshead (but whether in or over he saith he doth not now remember).'

2. He could not depose.

3. Mr Browne wished this witness 'and his fellowe churchwarden to present according to their articles, or ells he said he would present' them both.

4. At 'the time and place aforesaid he heard Mr Atkinson wishe Mr Browne not to trouble himselfe about' this witness and 'his fellows present'.

Signed by John Parsons and by the above three commissioners.

fos. 48v-49r (Witness 3) Thomas Edolls of Marlborough, co. Wiltshire, yeoman, lived there for 34 years, born at Sherston, co. Wiltshire, had known the parties for 7 years

To Browne's libel:

Mr Browne was reputed a gentleman for all the time Edolls knew him. At the stable door at the White Hart in Marlborough about a year ago he heard 'Mr Atkinson say Mr Browne was a cheating knave and that Mr Browne's father and Mr Browne went about to deceive the church of its due.'

To Atkinson's interrogatories:

1. Francis Merson and Alice Holbrooke were present. 'And he farther saith that after the words aforesaid were spoken Mr Browne said to Mr Atkinson I think you are druncke, ells you would not have used theis words'.

2. He referred himself to his preceding deposition.

3-4. He could not depose.

Signed by Thomas Edolls and by the above three commissioners.

fos. 49r-v (Witness 4), Alice Holbrooke, wife of Thomas Holbrooke of Marlborough, co. Wiltshire, lived there for 35 years, born at Hordle, co. Southampton, aged had known the parties for 3 years, aged about 60

To Browne's libel:

'Mr Browne hath been reputed to be a gentleman for theis three years last past. And she farther saith she cannot depose.'

To Atkinson's interrogatories:

1-4. 'She saith they doe not concerne her because she hath not deposed as... interrogated'.

Signed by Alice Holbrooke [her mark] and by the above three commissioners.

fos. 49v-50r (Witness 5), Francis Merson of Marlborough, co. Wiltshire, ostler, lived there for 6 years, born at Patterdell, co. Cornwall [sic], had known the parties for 5 years, aged about 30

To Browne's libel:

Deposed that Browne had been reputed a gentleman for over five years, and that at the stable door at the White Hart, Marlborough about a year ago he 'heard Mr Atkinson say to Mr Browne that he was a cheating knave for that Mr Browne's father and Mr Browne did goe about to stop the church of its due'.

To Atkinson's interrogatories:

1. Thomas Edells was present. 'After the words by him before deposed of were spoken Mr Browne said that if Mr Atkinson had not been druncke he would not have given him such language'.

2-4. He could not depose.

Signed by Francis Merson [his mark] and by the above three commissioners.

Acta (5), fo. 53, Notary public's certificate

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

No date

Notary public's mark.

Summary of proceedings

On 9 May 1635 Mr Browne was warned to nominate the day, place and commissioners. After further proceedings on 30 May, on 9 June the appointment of the commissioners to hear Browne's witnesses was recorded. On 11 February 1637, Atkinson was warned to pay the notary 20s for expediting the commission on his behalf. If he did not pay within a month he was to be attached.

Notes

Richard Browne of West Overton did not appear in the 1623 Visitation of Wiltshire: G. D. Squibb (ed.), Wiltshire Visitation Pedigrees, 1623 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 105 and 106, 1954).

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Libel: 9/4/12 (18 Apr 1635)
    • Summary of libel: R.19, fo. 14r (no date)
    • Libel: Acta (5), fo. 55 (21 Apr 1635)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Letters commissory for the plaintiff: Acta (5), fo. 56 (30 May 1635)
    • Defence interrogatories: Acta (5), fo. 54 (no date)
    • Plaintiff's depositions: Acta (5), fos. 46-50 (17 Sep 1635)
    • Notary public's certificate: Acta (5), fo. 53 (no date)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: EM348 (9 May 1635)
    • Proceedings: EM349 (30 May 1635)
    • Proceedings before Arundel: 8/24 (9 Jun 1635)
    • Proceedings: College of Arms MS. 'Court of Chivalry' (act book, 1636-8) [pressmark R.R. 68C], fos. 23r-36v (11 Feb 1637)

People mentioned in the case

  • Atkinson, Thomas, clerk
  • Button, William, knight
  • Browne, Richard, gent (also Brown)
  • Daniel, William, gent
  • Dethick, Gilbert, registrar
  • Digges, William, gent
  • Dismer, (also Dismars)
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Edolls, Thomas, yeoman
  • Francklyn, John, gent (also Franklin, Franklyn)
  • Gallimore, John, clerk
  • Holbrooke, Alice
  • Holbrooke, Thomas
  • Merson, Francis, ostler
  • Parsons, John, husbandman
  • Sadler, John, gent
  • Sadler, William, gent
  • South, Warner, gent
  • Terrick, Humphrey, notary public

Places mentioned in the case

  • Cornwall
    • Patterdell
  • Hampshire
    • Hordle
  • Wiltshire
    • Lockeridge
    • Marlborough
    • Sherston
    • West Overton

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • churchwarden
  • drunkenness
  • giving the lie
  • insult before gentlemen
  • office-holding
  • sacrilege