Petitions to the Westminster Quarter Sessions: 1640s

Petitions to the Westminster Quarter Sessions, 1620-1799.

This free content was born digital and sponsored by the Economic History Society and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the cost of transcribing eighteenth-century items was funded by a later Economic History Society Carnevali Small Research Grant: ‘Poverty, Taxation and Regulation: Petitions to Local magistrates in Eighteenth-Century England’ and the other costs, including photography and transcription of seventeenth-century items and editorial work, were funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Grant: ‘The Power of Petitioning in Seventeenth-Century England’ (AH/S001654/1). CC-NC-BY.


In this section

Margaret Bennett. WJ/SP/1640/06/001 (1640)

To the right worshipfull the Justices of the Peace assembled this quarter sessions

The humble peticion of Margaret Bennett


That your petitioner being bred up at the charge of the parish of Putney was placed and putt apprentice, unto James Wright a tailor in Hartshorne Lane in the Strand, for 7 yeres, and hath well and faithfully served him these 4 yeres according to her indentures.

But may it please your worshipps notwithstanding the good service done by your petitioner the wife of the said James Wright, hath often misused your petitioner and hath beat her out of dores 3 or 4 tymes, and threatneth her to kill her, and to make your petitoner stay with her, that she may be revennged one your poor supplicant, and your petitioner is in bodily feare to be mischeifed by them, so that she feareth to goe out of dores.

Your petitioner humbly beseecheth your worshipps to be pleased to comiserate the distressed estate of your petitioner and to order that your petitioner may be released from her said master and mistress that so she may seeke for her living ells where. And to order that they maie paye the monies back they had with her or part therof. And your petitioner shall daily pray for your worships.


Right worshipful

this poore wenche was placed by the Chourch wardens of Puttny Yow shall [perfor?] a very charitable deed, to free her from the bon- deun shee is in, and to order them to paye or [perishe?] the monies they had Wee being [formerly?] enformed howe they continually have abused, all which I leave to your wisedomes, London, 22d June 1640

[Annha?] Daves

William Deacon and Christofer Winlow. WJ/SP/1644/002 (1644)

To the right worshipfull his Majesties Justices of the Peace for the Cittie and liberty of Westminster.

The humble peticon of William Deacon and Christofer Winlow.

Humblie shew

That your petitioner Deacon upon being bound over by Justice Edwardes to appeare att this Sessions upon the complaint of Robert Wood, and appeareing before your worshipps upon Satturday last; and after they was come out of the hall, the said Wood followed your petitioners witnesses almost to the upper end of King streete in Westminster and clapped his handes att them, calling them whores to theire great disgrace and disparagement being people of honest carriage, and well beloved amongst theire neighbours.

And upon the 25th: of June last the said Wood followed your petitioner Winlow out of one pallace yard into the other, calling him roague, and many other base names, and saith hee would make him an example to all roagues, and used many other threatening speeches, whereby your petitioner Winlow goes in danger of his life; notwithstanding the said Wood is bound to his good behaviour by the said Justice Edwardes,

Wherefore your petitioners humbly beseech your worshipps to take the premisses into consideracion, and to take such order that your petitioners may goe about theire occasions in quietnes, and alsoe to take such order with the said Wood as to your worshipps shall seeme meete

And your petitioners shall pray etc

Henry Gethin. WJ/SP/1644/003 (1644)

To the right worshipful the Justices of Peace and Coram for the County of Middlesex and Liberties of Westminster

The humble peticion Henry Gethin

Humbly sheweth

That your petitioner hath receaved many abuses and wronges from Thomas Amaston a neighbour of his, And especially uppon Tewsdaie in Witson- -weeke last, when your petitioner was gone to watch att the Bisshopp of Ely his house The said Amaston (heareinge your petitioners wife say he was gone thither to watch) said, the curse of god light uppon all such Rogues as watched in such a way as he did, and said further that your petitioner was a rogue to the Crown and a traitor to his Kinge, and said that he was a condempned man for stealinge a kettle, and that in Wales were fower men to be hanged, and he hanged three to save himselfe and many other reprochfull and scandalous wordes which shalbe approved if occasion require, to his great disgrace and blott of creditt

He most humbly beseecheth your good Worships to be pleased to take such course in the premisses for your petitioners releife as shall to your Worships wisdomes shall seeme fitt, and agreable to justice and equity

And he shall ever pray.

Richard Keymer and Mary his wife. WJ/SP/1644/006 (1644)

To the right worrshipfull the Justices of the Honorable Bench

The humble peticion of Richard Keymer, and Mary his wife


That your petitioners have suffered many insufferable injuries, and oppressions, by the unjust and malitious practises of Thomas Wells, who is for the same bound to the good behavior, yet the said Wells hath not onely broken his obligacion since by stopping their weekly pay, being their onely livelyhood, but accuseth this Honorable Bench of injustice, done him, as by 5 or 6 witnesses will appeare to this Honorable Bench.

Hee the petitioner Richard being a very weake, sickly, poore, aged, and impotent man, humbly prayeth this Honorable Bench to be pleased to settle such a course for their releife, and for the future quiett of him, and his wife, as this Honorable Bench shall thinke fitt

And they shall ever pray for your Honors eternall happines.

Alce Jacson, semster, a prisoner in the Gatehouse. WJ/SP/1644/007 (1644)

To the Right worshipfull the Justises of the Beench of the Citty of Westminster.

The humble peticion of Alce Jacson gen: semster now a prisonor in the Gatehouse:


That wheare as your peticonor is committed to the Gatehouse for woords pretended, that your peticoner should speake against Dockter Duxon, and for saiinge that the booke of Common prayer was like to a masse booke, which your petitioner takes uppon hir corperall oath as shee will answere before god, that as for Docter Duxon shee is inocent of speakinge anie thinge of him, and as for the booke of Common prayer shee doth not denie but sayde that it might som way bee comparde to the mass Booke, out of anger being provockt, by hir adversarie, one Jone Morese, which spake against the hounorable house of parliament, saiinge, the were Rounde headed Roags and Brownest fellowes, and beinge in the presents of your petitioner, your petitioner, tooke houlde of hir words, and there uppon brought before Justise Hoker, and proved againste hir, shee havinge noe baile, the ofence beinge soe heavie, the constable became her baile, only and toe maligne your peticoner and soe sett hir free, aand sent your poore peticioner, too the prison where shee is in greate wante and meserye

The primisses concidered, your peticoner humbly begs uppon hir binded knees, that your worships will bee gratiously pleased, to admitt your peticioner, to come beefore your Worships, to answere for hir selfe, and concider of hir cause and to order it, as in your grave wisdom, shall bee thought fitt, And your peticonor as bounde in dutie shall ever pray etc:

Margaret Davies, a poor distressed young woman. WJ/SP/1644/008 (1644)

To the right worshipfull Knights steward and the rest of the Justices of the Bench for the Citty and Liberties of Westminster.

The humble peticion of Margaret Davies a poore distressed young woman.

Humblie sheweth, that your poore petitioner not long since was placed in service and hired with one Michaell Clarke a frentch man for iiili. a yeare wages. Whear she had not beene above 3 weeks with him (at his howse in the Strand) but he daily sollicited hir to incontinencie; but beinge resisted, he forced the doare and locke of the roome whear she laie in the night season and violently came into hir bed and swore deeply he would marrie hir if she would yeeld to his desire. But being resisted unless hee first showld make hir his wife, he by strength stop'tt hir mouth with a cloath; and laie with hir whether she would or no.

Afterwards she findinge hirselfe to be with chylde acquainted him thearwith and demanded his promise which he had oft reiterated But the sayde Clarck most malityously to prevent hir complaint charged your petitioner with stealinge some periwiggs from him which (as she hopeth to be delivered of that she does with) she is free from. Yet by his meanes she was cast into prison and hath wasted all the money she had for wages; and now dares not walke abroade by reson he sayth his brother hath bought a knife to kill hir.

Hir humble sute is. that you woulde be pleased to looke upon hir with eies of pittie. and commiserate hir poore distressed estr estate. to her freinds she dare not goe; money she hath not but what she makes of hir cloaths; lodginge she cannot gett; So that what with his furious threats and hir owne wants she is in a most desperate condicion. But hir hopes rests in your wisdome and goodness that she shall eyther have him that hath thus disabled hir for others to be hir husband. or be releived out of his meanes who is ritch in money and estate as is well knowne. And she shall ever pray for your worships health.

Thomas Hopper, joiner. WJ/SP/1644/009 (1644)

To the right worshipfull the Kinges Majesties Justices assembled this quarter Sessions for the Cittie and Libertie of Westminster

The humble peticion of Thomas Hopper joyner

Humblie shewing That your petitioner being aged 70 yeares and upwardes very indigent and weake both in sight and lymms some 8 or ten daies since by Sir Silvian Parker was bound over to appeare this Sessions for not appeareing in person to watch (although he appoynted one for him) some 3 quarteres of a yeare sithence.

That he hath theise twoe daies attended this Sessions and was never called to his trouble and charge being a very poore man past his labor aad not able to watch in regard of th his age being as he hopeth (and is informed) by the lawes of this kingdome freed and discharged from the same by reason of his impotencie and age.

In tender regard whereof he most humblie beseecheth your Worships to vouchsafe to be pleased to take compassion of his present estate and to discharge his saide recognizance (soe acknowledged before Sir Silvian Parker) without further fees or attendance haveing paid iiis iiiid for his bynding over and none coming against him. And your petitioner with his aged wief shall daylie pray etc.

Dorothy Turner. WJ/SP/1644/010 (1644)

To the Right Worshipfull the Justices of the Peace now sitting at the Sesions at Westminster

The humble petition of Eli Dorothy Turner

Sheweth unto your good worshipps that your petitioner bein a very poore woman and destitute of all comfort by reason of her husbands absence whome your petitioner the wife of Robert Turner being a carefull honnest laborious painefull woman takeing any honnest course for her subsistance being at that time abroad keeping a woman in child bed came home late in the night and finding her adversary Alse Person in the bed with her husband did presume to thrust her out of her dore laying noe violent handes on her but this Alce Person or some others in her behalfe have taken an ocasion to indite and put to charges your poore petitioner whoe being in former time a servant to the worshipfull Mr Dixon in the Strand and can if shee may have soe much time being suffitient testimony for her civill life and behavieour

Your petitioner beseching your you worshipps to tak it into consideration the miserie that you petitioner is like to suffer by reason of this great wrong done unto her falsly and unjustly and she as in duty shall be ever bound to pray etc

Mathew Smith and Bridgett his wife. WJ/SP/1644/011 (1644)

To the right worshipfull the Justices of peace for the Cittie of Westminster etc.

The humble petition of Mathew Smith and Bridgett his wife.

Humbly sheweth

That upon some triviall fallinges out betweene Anne Bonnett the wife of William Bonnett and the said Bridgett being neighbours, the said Bridgett only spittting at the said Anne; your petitioners hath been 3 severall times arrested and put to such excessive charges, (being a poore tradesman,) that it hath been his undoeing; besides your petitioner standes now indited before your worshipps for a battery in the said cause, and is threatned by Bonnett, and one Briscoe (who did beate your petitioners wife the said Bridgett) to be loaden with accions; and (by Briscoes wife) to be fired out of the house:

Your petitioners humblie pray that their greivances of may be heard and that your worshipps would be pleased to take of the said Bennett and Brisco; who threaten them with fire and imprisonment that the said Smith may followe his trade to the maintenance of him and his familie.

And they shall pray.

Mary Luck, the wife of Robert Luck. WJ/SP/1644/012 (1644)

To the right Worshipful the Justices here assembled

The humble peticion of Mary Luck the wife of Robert Luck

Humblie sheweth

That your poore peticonor having kept a child of one Ellis Gwinn and Elinor Barker the space of halfe a yeare and more and being promised payment for the same by Justice Francis who put the childe to keeping to your peticonor but but as yet shee hath not received anie satisfaction for the same.

Her humble suite unto your Worships therefore is that your Worships would bee pleased to aquite her of the childe and to take order that shee may bee paid for the keeping of it shee being a verie poore woman not able to keepe and maintaine her owne selfe and children, her husband being a verie weake and sicklie man.

And your peticioner shall ever pray for your Worships etc

Marthay Johnson. WJ/SP/1644/013 (1644)

To the worshipfull Justices for the Liberties of Westminster now sitting on the bench

the humbley better of Marthay Johnson


to your worships that your pettitioner was a servant in the house with one Willyam Carter a barber they living in the countrie together being both single wear contracted together whereuppon he the said Willyam Carter got your pettitioner with child and he coming to London befor your pettitioner and mar ried to another and he after gave your pettitioner his bond for to taike away the child after she was delivered, and also to give her 40s to keepe her wwhile she lay in your pettitioner mistrested him tooke Justises Edwards warran to put in securitie to the parrish to dis charge it and he bound him over to apeare heare which he doth not

May it please the worshipfull bench to grant a war ran for to taike the said Willyam Carter for put in baile for the discharge of the parrish and your pettitioner as dutie bindeth will pray:

Thomas Parsons and Hugh Cliffe of St Clement Danes. WJ/SP/1644/014 (1644)

To the right worshipfull his Majesties Justices of the Peace for the Cittie and Liberties of Westminster.

The humble peticion of Thomas Parsons and Hugh Cliffe of the parish of St Clement Danes

Humblie sheweth That your petitioners att the request of one Ringer were ball for his appearance att this Sessions uppon the complaint of John Leyfeild, And afterwardes the said Layfeild and Ringer were reconciled together and the difference betweene them for which the said Ringer was bound over was ended And since the said Leyfeild and Ringer are both gone for soldiers and the said Ringer is slaine (as your petitioner is informed) And your petitioners Parsons and Cliffe being ball for the said Ringer as aforesaid, have attended here in Court and desired Mr Justice Hooker that they might be discharged and have theire recognizance withdrawne paying the fees thereof, but cannot as yet be discharged or freed thereof,

Humbly therefore beseeech your worshipps (in consideracion of the premisses and for that your petitioners are very poore men and have noe meanes of livelyhood b for themselves and familyes but by theire hard labours) That your worshipps wilbe pleased to discharge your petitioners and to give order for the withdrawing of the said recognizance,

And your petitioner (as in duty bound) shall ever pray for your Worshipps etc.

Richard Homan. WJ/SP/1644/015 (1644)

To the Right Worshipfull and others of the Bench now assembled at the Sessions

The humble peticion of Richard Homan.

Humbly sheweth

That Elizabeth Screwthen being a very ill neighbor a turbulent woman and a stirrer of striffe hath caused a warrant to bee served upon your petitioner into the Court to vex your petitioner upon mere mallice and noe just cause, and that your petitioner is nowe remayneing in the Gatehowse and hath a wife and 2 small children; and that noe neighbors can live about her in quiett.

Your petitioners humble suite is, That your worshipps would take his miserable estate into consideracion And that hee may have his release and to bee dismissed of his charges otherwise your petitioner must bee constrayned to leave his wiffe and 2 children to the parishe.

And as in duty bound, shall he [illegible] shall ever pray for your worshipps

Richard Homan, prisoner in Bridewell. WJ/SP/1644/016 (1644)

To the right worshipfull his Majesties Justice of the peace for the Citty and Liberties of Westminster.

The humble peticion of Richard Homan prisoner in Bridewell.


That your petitioner on Tuesday last uppon the complaint of his landlady Mistris Cherry and her daughter, was committed by your worshipps to Bridewell, And being hartely sorry for his offence, acknowledging your worshipps justice in his punishment

And for that he is a verie poore man, having a wife and 2 children to provide for, and nothing but his hard labor (as a water bearer) to maintaine them.

Hee most humblie beseecheth your worshipps to remitt his offenc, and give order for his inlargment.

And he shall ever pray etc.

Walter Finch, apprentice to James Dodwell of St Clement Danes. MJ/SR/0960/150 (1645)

The worshipfull John Glynn Esquire and Deputy Stewart and the rest of the worshipfull Bench here assembled

The humble peticion of Walter Finch apprentice to James Dodwell of Saint Clementes Daynes in the Countie of MIddlesex Curier

Humbly Complaing Sheweth.

That wheras one Joane Proudglove was sometime servant with your peticioner said master and for her light caridge and oft absenting her selfe from his said service, was putt away upon the 4th. Aprill last past; Sithence which tyme the said Joane by her lewd life hath byn unlawfullie gotten with child; she the said Joane false- accuseth your peticioner to have gott the said child.

That the said Joane hath formerly had a bastard but re- ceaved not condigne punishment for her said offence by reason she procured some such person as her selfe to make oath that she had a husband and that he was gone to sea; but sithence that tyme she hath justified her selfe to be a made maide and that she never had husband nor child, the trueth where of he shall gladly make appeare unto your worships by sufficient witnes:

The humble suite of your peticioner unto your worships that his fortunes may not be overthrowne upon the scandolous report of soe vild a liver: And that upon your baile he may have tyme untill the next Sessions to bring in his wittnesses for the clearing and freeing him from this false accusation;and for his principall witnes is out of towne; your peticioner is freed from this accusation by the jusges of the civill law; as by certificate under their hands may appeare: And he hopeth noe les from your worships

And as in dutie bound he shall daylie pray etc.

Abigaill Goddard, wife of Richard Goddard. MJ/SR/0960/151 (1645)

To the right Worshipfull his Majesties Justices of the Peace for the Citty and liberties of Westminster

The humble peticion of Abigaill Goddard the wife of Richard Goddard

Sheweth That your petitioner being deluded by one Christopher Stevenson upon pretence of marriage was seduced to lye with him whereupon she did for prevention of the shame, marry with the said Goddard, butt it proving otherwise and she being bro with child, the said Stevenson perswaded her to take drinkes to make away that she went with and promysed then to be very generous to her.

Butt now soe it is may it please your worshipes that since her being married she is brought to bedd with two children and the said Stevenson being the man that begott them, which her husbond knowing of, hath utterly forsaken her, soe that she and the children are like to perish.

In tender consideracion whereof and for that the saide Stevenson hath said he car'd not etc for your worshipes what you cold doe to him. that your worshipes wold be pleased to take course with him for the taking away and maineteynance of the children otherwise she and they must perish And she shalbe bound to pray etc.

Jane Painter. MJ/SR/0960/154 (1645)


exhibita 9th Januarij


To the Worshipfull the Justices of the Peace for the Citye of Wetsminster

The humble peticion of Jane Painter

May it please your worships to be advertised that there was one Charles Protheruth, brought before Justice Hooker by vertue of my Lord Chiffe Justice warant for incontinancie, wher he then entred baille for his apperans in this court this Sessions, and to save the Ch parishe harmeles from the childe, but may it please your worshipes for it is that your petitioner is already delivered, and the childe is dead and she nowe lyes inn, without any healp or reliffe, therfore she humbly prayth your worships to take it in to your worthy consideracion of the poore estate she nowe lyeth in, and to commaunde the bayle to give her present satisfacion for her months lyeinge inn, and what other damadge this worthy benche will thinke fitt for to defray those chardges she hat bine formerly at and not to suffer the deffendant to delaye the cause any longer, by reason of your petitioners povertie, all which she humbly prayeth off your worships for gods Love.

Johan Hoyt, widow. MJ/SR/0960/155 (1645)

To the Worshipfull Mr Glin and the rest of the Worshipfull bench

the humble pettition of Johan Hoyt widdow:

In all humility complayning to this worshipfull bench that your poore pettitioner hath most greivosly beine wronged by one Plumer and Yates, tow counstables, first in ther watch night they being both together broke open your pettitioners hatch, that was before her doore, and your pettitioner and Yaits having some wordes about the said doore, the said Yaits areasted your pettitioner into the Kings Bench, contrarie to the order of the Court of Westminster, and ever since hath from since, searched your petttioners house, and caused it to be searched, and also threatneth your pettitioner, that he will lay her in prison that it cost him 40li. and now hath caused your pettitioner to be bound over by reconesten to appeare heare for keeper a disorderes house, and your pettitioner hath none in her house but her selfe and a child.

May it please your worships to taike it into your wise consideration, that what this said Yaits Constable doth doe is out of meare now

So now your pettitioner humbley besechet that you will be so please, cause the said Yaits from trobleing your pettitioner any further, and him also to compell to withdraw his accion and in so doing your poore pettitioner will dayly praay for your worships eternall felecitie

William Heathe. MJ/SR/0960/167 (1645)

To the right worshipfull his Majesties Justices of peace for the Citty and Liberty of Westminster assembled

The humble peticion of William Heathe

Sheweth That by the certificate annexed it appeareth your poore peticoner with his wife have manie yeres in good and orderlie manner lived in this Citty without any ympeachment, Yett neverthelesse one Richard Davis and his wife most maliciously chardged your peticioner with the takeing away of a chamber pott out of the said Davis his backside, and for the manifestacion therof his wife being a weeding in the garden made her said husband take his oath your petitioner had the same, By meanes whereof he is bound over to answere the same before your good worshipps.

Now inasmuch as your petitioner in his owne conscience knoweth himselfe clere of this notorious fact, and that hee never did entertaine or harbour the least thought of doeing wronge in this the like or anie other waie whatsoever, And for that the said Davis his wife threatenes the undoing of your petitioner and that that they will have his life, May it please your worships for your petitioners releife and dischardge of this unjust taxacions and chardge, to take such order as in your grave wisdomes shall seeme meete, the rather for that the petitioners wife hath receaved many stripes and blowes from the said Davis his wife, And they shall ever pray for your good worships.

Matthew Barrett and Richard Wilton. MJ/SR/0972/1 (1645)

To the Right worshipfull the Justices of the Bench

The humble peticion of Matthew Barrett and Richard Wilton.

Sheweth That your petitioners being bound over by Sir Edward Powell for buying a nagg and mare of John Nicholls and Peter Cooper whoe (it appeares now) had felloniously taken the same abroad yet they being released uppon bayle and your petitioner still attending upon this buisnesse to theire great detriment.

Most humbly pray that the said Nicholles and Cooper or theire bayle may bee forthwith called to answere the same

And your petitioners will pray etc.

George Benson of Layton, Essex. MJ/SR/0972/6 (1645)

To the right worshipfull the Justices of the peace for the Cittie of Westminster att this present Sessions assembled

The humble peticion of George Benson of Layton in the County of Essex


That Anthony Minshaw (sonn of Mr John Minshaw and of Ursula his wife) borne in the Coven Garden in the parish of St Martin in the Feildes and baptized there the 22th day of March 1643 was then putt to nurse to your peticioners wife and hath been kept by her ever since, she haveing been paid but for one halfe yere only, and the peticoner being a very poore man no way able to keepe the said child without payment therefore (in respect the mother is dead and the father absent) addressed himselfe to the churchwardens of the said parish where the said child was borne, desireing them to provide for the said child, who (notwithstanding they were comanded so to do, by warrant under the handes and seales of 3 Justices of the peace in Essex as thereby appeareth refuse to obey the same, and the said child still remayneth on the poore peticioners handes who is hardly able to putt bread into the mouthes of his owne children:

In the due consideracion whereof he humbly de beseecheth your worships to order that the said parishioners may satisfie the peticioner his arreares due for keeping the said child and may now receive him and discharge the peticion of him or otherwise undertake to pay for his keeping as they shall agree upon for the tyme to come

And he shall pray etc.


ailt super null

John King, Peter Slutter, Robert Foote and Hugh Wilson. MJ/SR/0972/15 (1645)

To the right worshipful the Justices of Peace for the Citty and Libertyes of Westminster

The humble peticion of John King, Peter Slutter, Robert Foote and Hugh Wilson


That the petitioners being all lycenced victuallers in their severall dwellings in this Citty and Liberty; yet by the Wardmolts enquest the last Christide are presented for victualling without lycence, and for their fynes upon the same their goods distreyned and carried out of their houses by the bayliffe which are in the handes of John Camebridg.

Whereas in truth there is as the petitioners conceyve some mistake in the busines; for the petitioners have been and are long inhabitantes and many yeares together have been and are lycenced as they can make appeare.

In consideracion whereof and that the petitioners are poore men and have no other calling, yet paie all dutyes and imployed daily upon the States service.

Most humbly praie their goodes may be restored to them and they continued victualers as before

And they will ever pray etc.

Peter Woodstock and Ellen his wife. MJ/SR/0972/17 (1645)

To the right Worshippfull the Justices and Burgesses for the Cittie of Westminster

The humble peticion of Peter Woodstock and Ellen his wife:

That your petitioner being verie aged and haveing lived by the space of 55 yeares last past within the said Cittie demeaning themselves honestlie and loveingly amongst their neighbours takeing greate paines and hard labour to mentaine themselves and your petitioner Peter through extreame old age being noe longer able to worke is kept and mantained by the paines and dailie labours of your petitioner Ellen whoe is above 70 yeares old:

But of late your petitioner Ellen being much wronged and abused by one George Armestronge and Amy his wife the said Armestronge most cruellie did beate your petitioner, and the said Amy charged your petitioner with fellonie; being thus insufferablie injured by them; your petitioner to reight her selfe and to mentaine her good name (as deare to her as life) tooke the benefitt of a freeborne subject (and commenced twoe severall accions at Common Lawe against them, and being readie for triall and refuseing to forbeare the prosecucion of the said just suites without satisfaccion given to your petitioner; Thereupon the said Armestrong out of an inveterate malice that he did beare to your petitioner charged your petitioner to have stolen a sheete and a halfe tubb from his dore, Upon which malicious and false accusacion your petitioner was comitted to prison untill she she found baile to appeare att this Sessions and put in baile accordinglie.

Now for asmuch as the said Armestronge did most falslie accuse your petitioner as she is able to make it appeare before your Worshipps by many of her neighbours, and by such his malicious accusacion did hope to have terrified your petitioner and thereby stoped her just proceedinges against him att Common Lawe; It is therefore the most humble desire of your petitioner that your petitioner may produce her wittnesses before yow that they may be fullie heard, and upon the just proofe of your petitioner innocencie that the said Armestronge may be punished for his soe unjust accusacion:

And your petitioner will pray etc:


the recognizance is respited till next sessions

Elizabeth Orme and Jane Orme her daughter. MJ/SR/0972/18 (1645)

To the Honorable the Recorder and the rest of his Majesties Justices of Peace and Quorum and Justices of Peace att the Quarter Sessions holden at Westminster

The humble petition of Elizabeth Orme and Jane Orme her daughter


That your petitioners beinge now bound over the quarter Sessions by one Mary Hodges who was taken and called by the name of a spiritt by a soldier passinge by the White Harte gate in Covent garden where your petitioner and her daughter hath many yeares sold fruite and behaved her selfe honestly and justly amongst her neighbours, not beinge burdensome in any kinde to the parrish. The sayd Mary Hodges bound your petitioners over for mere mallice as many of her neighbours can and will testifie.

The humble request of your poore petitioner is, that this Honorable Bench wilbe pleased to heare what your petitioners witnesses can alledge in the way of equitie concerninge her accusation.

And your petitioner shalbe ever bound to pray etc.



Elizabeth Buck spinster. MJ/SR/0972/19 (1645)

To the Righte worshipfull his Majesties Justices of the peace for Westminster etc

The humble peticion of Elizabeth Buck spinster


That whereas your peticoner hath beene a servant to Abimalech Brewer of St Clementes Danes carman, for the space of one whole yeare, for which service she was to have the summe of 40s as will manifestly appeare by wittnes

Now for asmuch as your peticoner is in a distressed case by reason she hath neeither her father nor mother nor any freind in London, but left destitute to the world, and cannot receave her wages except your peticoner will serve her master another quarter which your peticoner is not able to undergoe the lyfe and labour she is put to,

And your peticoners mistress doth threaten her, that yf she doth offer to take[illegible] any course for the recoverie of her wages, she will spend 10li. before she shall have it.

Maye it therefore please your worships to consider your peticoners weake estate and grant her such releife for the recoverie of her wages as in your grave judgementes shall seeme fitt

And your peticoner as in dutie bound shall etc

Margery Evans. MJ/SR/0972/20 (1645)

To the right worshipfull the Justices sitting upon this worshipfull Bench.

The humble petition of Margery Evans


that your petitioner being a very poore woman, was lately but for speakinge a word against the misdemeanor and lewd life of one Mary the wife of John Jones, arrested at her suite and put to 7s. charge for which your petitioner was forced to pawne her cloathes. Now your petitioner understanding that by order of this worshipfull Bench, all vexatious suites onely commenced to impoverish poore people withall, are utterly prohibited

Therefore your poore petitioner humbly addres- seth her selfe unto this Worshipfull Bench and praieth your worships wilbe pleased to grant a warrant for the said Marie Jones to appere before this Worshipfull Bench to shew cause for the arresting of your petitioner and to answere unto such misdemeanors as your petitioner shall give information of.

And as in duty bound your petitioner, shall ever praye etc.

William O Coner, a prisoner in the Gatehouse. MJ/SR/0972/23 (1645)

To the Right Worshipfull the Justices of the Peace for the Cittie and liberty of Westminster

The humble petition of William O Coner a prisoner in the Gatehowse


That aboute 6 yeares since your petitioner was comitted to this prison onley by a verball warrant from Secritary Windebanke upon suspition of being a Roman Catholike where he hath ever scince remayned and was brought to his answere.

May it therfore plese this Worshipfull Bench to comiserate your petitioners long imprisoment being in great want and mesary and that you would be plesed hee your petitioner may be relesed and have leave to travell either into France or Italy

And your petitioner shall ever pray etc


to d be discharged


George Armestronge, gentleman, aged 102 yeares. WJ/SP/1645/006 (1645)

To the right worshipfull the Justices of Peace for the Cittye and liberty of Westminster

The humble peticion of George Armestronge gentleman aged 102 yeares

Humbly sheweth.

That your peticoner being prosecuted by one Hellen Woodstocke and Peter her husband a wicked malitious and turbulant woeman in two suites at lawe begun only for wordes pretended to be spoke by your peticioner He peticioned the right worshipful the Steward and Burgesses for this liberty to cause her to referr the same to arbitracion of two honest men indifferently chosen which they were pleased to doe accordingly but she afterwardes refused to stand thereto and would not suffer them to proceed in arbitrating the same and hath (without your peticoners privaty still followed on the same) whereby he's like to be utterly undone.

Now for that your peticioner being soe old and hath continued bed ridden almost these two yeares soe that he is not able to helpe himselfe in the said accions and she takeing advantage thereby hath caused him to pawne and sell all he hath and still threatened to leave him not worth a groat whereby he and his (if not assisted by your worshipps are like to become a charge to the parish haveing nothinge left whereon to subsist And alsoe for that her said accions are altogeather illegall and unjustly prosecuted she being of a wicked lewd and troublesome behaviour life and conversacion as by the articles and certificate of diverse honest persons hereunto annexed may appeare

Hee therefore humbly prayes your worships to be pleased to call the said Hellen Woodstocke and her husband before you, and to cause them to put the same to arbitration whereby noe further proceedinges may be therein, soe that your peticoner may depart the world in peace and quiett without becomeing a charge to the parish which he much desireth.

And shall ever peray etc.

Richard Pemberton, shoemaker. WJ/SP/1645/010 (1645)

To the right worshipfull the Justices of this Honorable Bench.

The humble peticion of Richard Pemberton. shoomaker


That about 3 moneths since, uppon the fast day at night one Nicholas Ardoe a youth came to your petitioners house, about 8 of the clocke in the night to his sonne, whoe and desir'd to be lodg'd with him that night, whoe contrary to your petitioners knowledge tooke him in, the said Nicholas having then before come sicke out of a house in Dunghill Alley, as hee himselfe confest, Afterwardes, though it was unknowne, when he came into your petitioners house, and was lodg'd the Wednesday night and Thursday night in the house, before your petitioner knew of it, and afterwardes the said Nicholas desiring to returne to the house in Dunghill Alley whence hee came, and to have one to goe along with him, your petitioner accordingly sent one with him thither, whoe refused to entertaine him, and being brought back againe to your petitioners house in the night, in that weake condition, your petitioner in charity was constrayned to get him a lodging other where, at a womans house whoe kept him 2 nightes and 2 dayes, in her house, till the paines of death came uppon him and then turn'd him out of doores whoe with extremity of sicknes run madd about the streetes, notwithstanding your petitioner paid for his being there and for other necessaries for him.

That whilst the petitioner went to the officer, to seeke meanes to gett him into the house where hee was turnd out in that extremity, the examiners came, and by violence broke up your petitioners doores contrary to 2 Justices Orderes, by which meanes your petitioners having lodgeres, they have deserted their lodgings, and your petitioner wholly lost his trading and custome to his utter undoing.

Your petitioner humbly therefore prayeth the Honorable Bench to take your petitioners sad condition into consideracion, his house having by this occasion beene shut up 7 weekes, To order that hee may bee freed of this insupportable charge, laid uppon him, And further for his releife as in your wisedomes shalbe thought fitt

And hee shall ever pray etc


this buisnesse is referred to Mr Edwardes and Mr Carter to heare and determine or certifie

Elizabeth Hunt, a poor servant. WJ/SP/1645/011 (1645)

To the Right Worshipfull Justices holding Sessions of the Peace at WestMinster'

The humble petition of Elizabeth Hunt, a poore servant.

Shewing That your petitioner was a hired servant unto John Alsoone A French man (who lived in the Crowne Court in Russell streete within this libertie) for the yearly wages of 45s. That there is one yeare and a halfes wages due to your petitioner her said master with her mistress and children being all dead of the Plague and your poore petitioner after her sicknes and great danger undergone turned out of dores, and the goods locked up by Mr Linxcome a cooke who is one of the overseers.

Your petitioner being brought beefore Justice Carter by the landlord hath upon her oath given a true accompt of the goods, and in all things performed the duty of a faithfull servant

It is humbly prayed, That warrant may bee given by this worshipfull Bench unto the high constable of that ward, Mr Linxcome and the landlord That they forthwith satisfye your petitioner her said wages together with so much as is due to the apothecary for phisick for your petitioner (which shee humbly conceiveth) is not above 5s. Or that goods may bee delivered unto your petitioner to a full value

And shee will praye

The neighbors subscribed doe testefye the said wages to bee due with the other things mencioned in the petition

  • And Barfot
  • Mary Hayes
  • Eliabeth Staker
  • And Alacine

The matters peticioned of are referred to Mr Edwardes aand Mr Carter to heare and determine yf they can or else to certifie and in the meane tyme the warrantes to be served and kept by Mr Linxcome [illegible] and Mr Garrett [illegible].

Hellen Ricketts, a poor nursekeeper. WJ/SP/1645/012 (1645)

To the right worrshipfull the Justices of the Honorable Bench

The humble peticion of Hellen Ricketts a poore nursekeeper a widdow


That your petitioner was 8 weekes a nursekeeping in a visited house of one John Hance a bookbinder in Russell streete, the whole family dying out of the said house, save onely the maidservant, and your petitioner your petitioner being xls yet unsatisfied for her care and paines taken therein.

Shee humbly prayeth this Honorable Bench to take her into consideracion, And to order that shee may be paid her wages for her carefull diligent attendance, in the said visited house As in your wisedomes shalbe thought fitt.

And shee shall ever pray etc.


This matter is allso referred to Mr Carter and Mr Edwardes to be all in one order with that of Eliz Hunt

Elizabeth Lawley, distressed relict of Lancelott Lawley. WJ/SP/1645/013 (1645)

To the Right worshipfull Bench

The humble peticion of Elizabeth Lawley the miserable distressed relict of Lancelott Lawley tailler deceased


Whereas hee formerly held a litle bulk under one Mr. Barnaby grocer and by Godees blessing upon his indeavors procured a competent livelyhood for the petitioner and her poore children untill one morning having att request of a Member of Parliament gone upon a message and then falling to work againe as a tailler, by the faire promises of a further message and other inticementes of one Edward Evans John Watkins and James Douglas was allured from forth his shopp, and thereupon they with theire confederates threw one another upon him till at last hee received a fatall bruise in his body which stoppt his naturall passages and thereof languishing neere 24 weekes in a lamentable manner yeilded his life, the petitioner having totally exhausted herself and freindes to prolong his life soe long as the Lord permitted her. [illegible]

In regard whereof and that this his death was occasioned by the said agentes confederacy as her said husband on his deathbedd deposed before witness

Shee humbly prayeth That for such conspiracy and losse shee may upon due proof and examinacion heereof receive such timely redresse for releif of her self and litle ones as to your worships grave wisedomes in equity shall seeme meete

And shee will pray etc

Edmund Wood. WJ/SP/1645/014 (1645)

To the Worshipfull Assembly of the Justices and others for the Quarter Sessions holden in Westminster.

The humble peticion of Edmund Wood.


That your petitioners daughter Martha Wood, was covenante servant to Richard Lambe attorney att 40s a yeare and lived with him 21 weekes and upwards which comes to 16s. 6d. or thereabouts, whereof 5s. received.

And your petitioners daughter falling sicke, hee put her forth to nursskeeping to one Widdow Wharton, aand sent her cloathes thither, and promised to pay all charges dureing her sicknes who is since deceased,

Your pettioner humbly pray that the said Mr Lamb may be sent for and ordered to pay the said Widdow Wharton whereby the said cloathes may be redelivered to your petitioner The rather in regard your petitioner paid for his said daughters buryall, and did send her money dureing her sicknes, as alsoe that her wages may be paid unto your petitioner.

And he shall ever pray for the happines of this Assembly.

Robert Tedder, brewer. WJ/SP/1645/015 (1645)

To the right Worshipfull the Justices of his Majesties Peace in this present Sessions assembled

The humble peticion of Robert Tedder brewer

Humbly sheweth

That your petitioner about 10 weekes since hired one Thomas Liddell for the terme of 5 yeares, from that tyme to ymploy the said Lydell with a dray to carry beare, the said dray by the negligence of the said Lidell or other misfortune went over the toe of a bricklayer in the high way whereby he lost his joint, whereuppon the said Lydall was apprehended and carried before a Justice, and the petitioner became his baile

Butt soe it is may it please your worshipes that one Parradice unkle to the said Lydall within short tyme after tooke away the said servant and bound him apprentice in London, and yet notwithstanding suffereth your petitioner (contrary to all equity and conscience) to answer for the fact of the said Lydall done to the said bricklayer

In consideracion whereof hee humbly prayeth your worshipes to order the said bricklayer to prosecute the said Mr Parradice for his releife, and that your petitioner may be forthwith dischardged of and from the same

And your petitioner shalbe bound to pray for your worshipes

John Battersby and Mary Parker. WJ/SP/1645/016 (1645)

To the right worshipful the Justices of Peace for the Citty and Libertyes of Westminster.

The humble peticion of John Battersby and Mary Parker.

Sheweth: That by the non residence of some person in Ebury Farme in the parish of St Martins, the barnes and outhousing there are so filled and infected with divers poore people some lame blynde and impotent others sturdy beggers to the nomber of 60 and above, who pretend they came out of Ireland; and many children borne there, likely to prove very burthensome to the parish, and to increase sicknes, and many other dangerous consequences like to arise thereby.

The petitioners therefore humbly pray for some speedy course may be taken for the removing of them.

And etc.

Jone Abram, wife of Henry Abram of St Martin in the Fields. WJ/SP/1645/017 (1645)

To the right worshipfull the Justices of Peace for the Citie and liberties of Westminster

The humble peticion of Jone Abram wife of Henry Abram of the parish of St. Martin in the Feildes.


That there being some differences in wordes betweene your petitioner and Jane Carvell the wife of Thomas Carvell of the said parish victualler: the said Carvell and his wife, onely for the said wordes, arrested your petitioners said husband three severall times, first into the Marshalles Court, secondly into the Court of Kings bench, and thirdly on Saterday last into the Marshalles Court againe, and yesterday (being the Lordes day) carryed her said husband to the Marshalsey prison, where he remayneth in great distresse and misery.

Forasmuch as your petitioners ssaid husband is a most miserable poore man, and hath no other meanes of livelyhood to maintaine him selfe and her, and their two poore children but by his hard labour with carrying water on his back, from the River of Thames So that hee being now in durance, hee and they are all like to perish and starve for want of sustenance being utterly unable, either to pay the fees of the prison for her husbandes enlargement or to releive their necessities, so that shee and her poore children must be burdensome to the parish.

Your petitioners humble suite therefore is. That your Worshipps wilbe pleased to send for the said Carvell and his wife before you and take such order with them for her said husbandes speedy enlargement as your Worships in your grave wisdomes shall think meete.

And shee, her husband and children shalbe ever bound to pray for your Worships eternall prosperities.


Ordered that Thomas Carvell to be sent for to attend the Court about this buisnes forthwith

John Evans, locksmith. WJ/SP/1645/018 (1645)

To the worshipfull the Bench of Justices for the Citty of Westminster.

The humble peticion of John Evans lockesmith an antiente housekeeper and inhabitante there.


That the petitioner takeing a shopp of Walter Powell at the Windmill in Peter streete in Westminster covenanted with him, that if hee would make your petitioner a convenient chamber over the said shopp, your petitioner would then give him 3li. per annum for the shopp and chamber, which the said Powell promised forthwith to doe as by sufficient wittnesses may appeare,

That the petitioner upon the said promise entred into the said shopp or shedd and there continued for the space of neere 6 yeeres duly paying the said rent of 3li. for the same untill Midsummer last past, notwithstanding hee could not obtaine his said bargaine from Powell in all that time, whereby your petitioner was enforced to lye at charge abroad at the said Powells and other victuallinge howses to his great prejudice and detrimente, And at Midsummer (as at divers other times before) your petitioner insisting upon his said bargaine, demanded the same of Powell who with much violence denyed the same, threatning (as still hee doth) to arrest and trouble your petitioner and warning him out of the shopp hath taken out writtes to arrest and trouble your petitioner with suites of lawe for pretended rent due, when as by the said bargaine hee ought to restore much of your petitioners moneyes (to him paid) backe againe, as hee hopeth this worshipfull Bench will conceive.

Hee humbly therefore craveth that this worshipfull bench would take the premisses into consideracion, and soe to order, that the petitioner maie have justice done him, and not to bee overswayed by his adversaryes violence

And the petitioner shall pray etc.

Leonard Roades, constable of Knightsbridge. WJ/SP/1645/019 (1645)

To the Right worshippfull Enball Thelwall Esquire Deputy Steward of the Citty and Liberties of Westminster and to the rest of his Majesties Justices of the Peace Assembled at this Quarter Sessions.

The humble peticion of Leonard Roades Constable of Knightsbridge

Humbly Sheweth

That wheareas your petitioner hath beene complayned on and feareth to be returned into the Crowne office for not presenting the repayre of the high waye at Knightsbridge which lyeth in twoe severall parishes, your petitioner being a man illerat and altogeither ignorant howe or which waye to present the said defect, by reason there hath beene noe Surveyours sworne for those partes these twoe yeares, whom your petitioner supposed to be only liable to be presented for the same defect. In consideracion of the premisses

Most humbly prayeth this honorable Bench to be pleased to order that there may be Surveyours sworne and to remitt to your petitioner his said neglect in respect of his weakness.

And your petitioner shall daylie praye etc.

Hanna Lovering, widow, on behalf of her daughter Elizabeth Lovering. WJ/SP/1646/001 (1646)

To the right worshipfull the Justices of Peace for the Citty and liberties of Westminster

The humble peticion of Hanna Lovering widdow in the behalfe of her daughter Elizabeth Lovering a poore fatherles childe


That in November 1644 the said Elizabeth was bound in the nature of an apprentice to one James Fuller and his wife for 3 yeares. Who were to teach her the art of a sempstresse and for which they had at the sealing of the indentures 40s:

That the said apprentice lived with the said Fuller and his wife about a yeare, and never taught in the said art, but used as a drudge to do the worke about the howse and fetch in water. And the said Fullers wife not therewith content, most cruelly abused the said apprentice and beate her with a candlestick about her shoulders, and made them black and blew, and so did divers times formerly. So that the said apprentice, being in feare of her life, or losse of her life limbs, was constrayned to leave her service, The said Fuller and his wife keeping her clothes from her, and xxs. of the said 40s. which they were engaged to repay upon any dislike: Which they denying to do, Mr. Justice Thelwall bound them over to answeare the same before this Worshipfull Bench.

Your petitioners humble suite therefore is. That Your Worships wilbe pleased to cause the said Fuller, and his wife to restore the said poore fatherles childe her clothes, and to repay the said 20s. according to their covenant in the said indenture

And your petitioner and her said childe shall daily pray etc.