87 Burges v Doncastle

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper, '87 Burges v Doncastle', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/87-burges-doncastle [accessed 26 May 2024].

Richard Cust. Andrew Hopper. "87 Burges v Doncastle", in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) . British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/87-burges-doncastle.

Cust, Richard. Hopper, Andrew. "87 Burges v Doncastle", The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ). . British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/87-burges-doncastle.

In this section


Thomas Burges of Heckfield, co. Southampton, gent v John Doncastle of Mortimer, co. Berkshire

May 1638


Burges, a royal purveyor, complained that in September 1637 as he rode between Heckfield, Hampshire, and Reading, Berkshire, he was abused by Doncastle who spattered him with mud and told him that his father was a better man than Burges. He said that although Burges 'was the king's man he was but an arayned [sic] man and one that lived by rooking the country'. After the incident had been investigated locally, Doncastle's father offered money for reconciliation, maintaining that his son had been drunk at the time and was sorry. No further proceedings survive.

Initial proceedings

EM119, Affidavits

(Witness 1), Elizabeth, wife of William Harmewoode of Heckfield, co. Hampshire, yeoman

Elizabeth Harmewoode, wife of William Harmewoode of Heckfield in the county of Southampton, yeoman, maketh oath that in the month of September 1637 she was riding upon the way with one Mr Burges of Heckfield; and as they were riding together one John Doncastell of Mortimer in the county aforesaid did over take them, and did in an affronting manner ride up to Mr Burges and very much dashed him with water and durt. Whereupon Mr Burges desired him in very fayre and mild tearmes that he would ride civilly and quietly and not to abuse him in that manner, to which he answered that the way was free for him as it was for Mr Burges; and with that ride up close to him as if he would have turned him of from his horse and withal told him Mr Burges that his father was a better man then he was, for he knew him well enough, and although he was the king's man he was but an arayned man, and one that lived by rooking the country, or used words to the same effect; and for a mile and halfe together he did in disgraceful words very much abuse and disparage Mr Burges, so as that this witness was afraid there would have been a quarrel between them.

10 May 1638

(Witness 2), John Burges of Mortimer, co. Berkshire, yeoman

'John Burges of Mortimer in the county of Berks., yeoman, maketh oath that Mr Thomas Burges of Heckfield, one of his Majestie's deputy purveyors, did come to this witness in or about the month of September 1637 and told him that he had suffered a terrible abuse as he was a riding between Heckfield and Redding, and he did not know the partie who had so abused him, but he had a supposition that the party that had so abused him lived in the same parish where [Burges], lived and desired this witness to enquire him out; and so he accordingly did make inquiry of one Mr Whit, told him that he did suspect one John Doncastle, and desired Mr Whit to send for him; and accordingly he did, and afterwards [Burges] repaired to Mr Whit again, and then Mr Whit told him that it was true it was John Doncastle that had so much abused Mr Burges, and that he confessed that he was in drincke when he did it, and he was very sorry for his offence; And afterwards the father of John Doncastle did offer this witness forty shillings, and his wifex s, to make his peace with Mr Burges.

10 May 1638


Edward Mill, married Jane, daughter of Thomas Burgess of Byton (Bighton), co. Hampshire, in 1686. John Doncastle of Wellhouse, co. Berkshire (b.c.1597) appeared in the Visitation of 1665-6, as married to Mary, daughter of John Browne, a second brother to Anthony, Viscount Montague. John Doncastle, gent, (presumably the father) received a pardon for recusancy in July 1634.

G. D. Squibb (ed.), The Visitation of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 1686 (Publications of the Harleian Society, new series, 10, 1991), p. 43; W. H. Rylands (ed.), The Four Visitations of Berkshire, 1532, 1566, 1623, and 1665-6, vol. I (Publications of the Harleian Society, 56, 1907), p. 194; J. Broadway, R. P. Cust and S. K. Roberts (eds.), A Calendar of the Docquets of Lord Keeper Coventry 1625-1640 (List and Index soc. new ser., 34-37), p. 270.


  • Initial proceedings
    • Affidavits: EM119 (10 May 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Browne, Anthony, viscount Montague
  • Browne, John
  • Browne, Mary
  • Burges, Jane (also Burgess)
  • Burges, Thomas, gent (also Burgess)
  • Doncastle, John (also Doncastell)
  • Doncastle, Mary (also Doncastell)
  • Harmewoode, Elizabeth
  • Harmewoode, William, yeoman
  • Mill, Edward
  • Mill, Jane
  • Whit, Mr

Places mentioned in the case

  • Berkshire
    • Mortimer
    • Reading
    • Wellhouse
  • Hampshire
    • Byton (Bighton)
    • Heckfield

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • arbitration
  • comparison
  • drunkenness
  • recusant
  • Roman Catholic
  • royal servant