76 Browne v Horton

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

This free content was Born digital and sponsored by AHRC and University of Birmingham. CC-NC-BY.


In this section


George Browne of Shredicote, Bradley, co. Stafford, gent v William Horton of Bradley, co. Stafford, yeoman

May 1639


Browne complained that in April or May 1639, in Bradley, Staffordshire, Horton had given him the lie and said that 'all the Brownes were cowards' and that 'he was a better man than any of the Brownes of Shreddicott'. Process was granted on 20 May 1639, but no further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

6/159, Petition to Arundel

'Your petitioner is a gentleman descended of an ancient familie and beareth Armes: and that William Horton of the Countie of Stafford and parish of Braylie did in or about the month of April last past or of May nowe current abuse your petitioner, and called him base fellowe and said he lyed, and that all Brownes were Cowards, and he used other reviling speeches against your petitioner in the presence of diverse witnesses, which words he spake in a daring manner of purpose to provoke your petitioner to fight with him.'

Maltravers granted process on 20 May 1639

6/161, Plaintiff's bond

21 May 1639

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

Signed by George Browne.

Sealed, subscribed and delivered in the presence of John Watson.

20/3h, Libel

1. Browne's family had been gentry for up to 200 years, while Horton was not a gentleman, but a yeoman.

2. Between last March and May in Bradley, Horton said that 'I lyed and was a base fellow, and all the Brownes were cowards and gave me the lye diverse times and said he was a better man than any of the Brownes of Shreddicott'.

3. Horton said these words to provoke Browne to a duel.

No date.

Signed by Arthur Duck.


George Browne of Shredicote was the son of Thomas Brown of Shredicote, a proctor in the Court of Arches, and Appolina, daughter of George Southwike, a merchant of London. George died c.1652 and married Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Skrimshire of Aqualate Mere, co. Stafford, knt.

G. J. Armytage and W. H. Rylands (eds.), Staffordshire Pedigrees based on the Visitation of that County made by William Dugdale, 1663-4 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 63, 1912), p. 40.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Petition: 6/159 (20 May 1639)
    • Plaintiff's bond: 6/161 (21 May 1639)
    • Libel: 20/3h (no date)

People mentioned in the case

  • Browne, George, gent (also Brown)
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Horton, William, yeoman
  • Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
  • Watson, John
  • Skrimshire, Anne
  • Skrimshire, Thomas, knight
  • Southwike, Appolina
  • Southwike, George, merchant
  • Watson, John

Places mentioned in the case

  • Middlesex
    • Westminster
  • Staffordshire
    • Aqualate Mere
    • Bradley
    • Shredicote

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cowardice
  • comparison
  • Court of Arches
  • denial of gentility
  • giving the lie
  • other courts
  • provocative of a duel