STAC 5/A37/10

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Court of Star Chamber:

Almoner, Anthony Watson, Bishop of Chichester v George Hall, George Watkinson, George Rosse and Percyvall Levett, former Sheriffs of the City of York

Transcript: Dave King


Bill of Complaint, dated 16 November 41 Eliz:

[on reverse:]Venner decimo Sexto Novembris Anno xlj Elizabeth Regine Willm Mill


To the Queenes moste Excellent Maiestie

Humbly Complayning sheweth and enformeth to and for your Ma[jestie] your Ma[jesties] humble subiect Anthony Watson Busshopp of Chichester your Ma[jesties] Almoner That whereas one Willm Howlrigge late of Marston in your Ma[jesties] Countie of Yorke att the tyme of his death was possessed as of his owne righte of div[er]se goodes and chattells to the value of xxxviij li or thereaboutes and had div[er]se debtes owing to him att his said death by bills bonds and other specialties to some good value And so being possessed of the said goods and Chattells to the value aforesaid besides his said debtes then owing to him att his said death did about the xxviijth daye of June in the xxxixth yeare of your Ma[jesties] prosp[er]ous Raigne wilfully and desp[er]ately hange and destroye himself and so became Felo de se, By reason whereof his said goodes Chattells and debtes are forfeyted to your Ma[jestie] as belonging to your Ma[jesties] prerogatyve Royall and oughte to be att the disposicon of your Ma[jesties] said Almoner by vertue of your Ma[jesties] l[etters] pattentes under the greate Seale of England to your Ma[jesties] said Almoner in that behalf granted and made for and in the augmentacon of your Ma[jesties] moste gracious Almes As by the same l[etters] pattentes may appeare, And whereas also one Elizabeth Dighton late of Marston aforesaid in or about the xxjth daye of August in the xlth yeare of your Ma[jesties] said prosperous Raigne being in a Certeine Wayne and Foure Oxen and two horses drawing the same the said Wayne w[i]th the moving and stirring of the said Oxen and horses did overturne and Cast the said Elizabeth to the ground and so by that overthrowing of the said Wayne was slayne w[i]th the said Wayne and by that meanes Came to her Death, By reason whereof the said Oxen horses and their furniture w[i]th the wayne all moving and p[ro]curing her said death are forfeyted to your Ma[jestie] as A deodand and were of value the somme of xxtie markes or thereaboutes and oughte likewise to be att the disposicon of your Ma[jesties] said Almoner by vertue of his l[etters] pattentes from your Ma[jestie] as aforesaid, So it is and it maye please your moste Excellent Ma[jestie] that one George Hall and one George Watkinson that were Sheriffes of the Citie of York in the said xxxixth yeare of your Ma[jesties] prosp[er]ous Raigne did seaze and take into their possession and to their owne use and Comoditie the goodes of the said Willm Howlrigge who was Felo de se to the value abovesaid and likewise receaved Certeine debtes that belonged to the said Howlrigge att his said death but by what title and right they did so, your Ma[jesties] said Almoner knoweth not, And likewise one George Ross and one Percyvall Levett that were Sheriffes of the said Citie of York in the xlth yeare of your Ma[jesties] said prosp[er]ous Raigne did likewise seaze and take to their owne use and behouff the said Wayne Oxen and horses and their furnyture or the value of them being forfeyted to your Ma[jestie] as A deodand but by what title or Clayme they did so your Ma[jesties] said Almoner likewise knoweth not In tender Consideracon whereof, And for asmuch as the said George Hall and George Watkinson have byn required sundry tymes to deliv[er] to your Ma[jesties] said Almon[er] the said goodes or the value of them that were the said Willm Howlrigges that Came to their use and possession and likewise such debtes as they and eyther of them have receaved or disposed of since his said death w[hi]ch in lawe equitie and Conscience oughte to Come to your Ma[jesties] said Almoner to be distributed in your Ma[jesties] gracious Almes as aforesaid, And forasmuch also as the said George Rosse and Percyvall Levett have byn often tymes required to deliv[er] the said Wayne Oxen and horses or the value of them to your Ma[jesties] said Almoner for & to the use of your Ma[jesties] Almes as aforesaid, The w[hi]ch to doe all and ev[er]y the foresaid p[ar]ties have obstinately denyed and refused and still doe deny and refuse to deliv[er] to your Ma[jesties] said Almoner the said sev[er]all goodes or the value of them the w[hi]ch tendeth to the greate p[re]iudice of the poore people for their relief in respecte of your Ma[jesties] gracious Almes, And thereby gyveth further occasion to many others to doe and Comytt the like if speedy redresse and due Reformacon were not had and provided in these and the like Cases Maye it therefore please your moste Excellent Ma[jestie] (the p[re]misses Considered) To grannte your Ma[jesties] writtes of Subpena to be directed to the said George Hall George Watkinson George Rosse and Percyvall Levett Commanding them and ev[er]y of them thereby p[er]sonally to be and appeare before the Lords of your Ma[jesties] most honorable pryvie Counsell in your Ma[jesties] high Courte of Starre Chamber att A Certeyne daye and under A Certeine payne therein to be lymitted to Answere all and ev[er]y the p[re]misses as they are sev[er]ally Chardged w[i]th, And to abide such order therein as the said Lords upon the hearing of the Cause shall appoint and sett downe in that behalf, And your highnes said subiecte and Almoner according to his bounden duetie shall and will daily pray unto Almightie god for your Ma[jesties] prosp[er]ous estate in all health and felicitie over all your highnes Loving Subiectes longe to Rule and Raigne


Answers of George Hall & George Rosse, dated 20 November 42 Eliz:

Juv 20 Novembris Anno 42 Elizabeth Regine Willm Mill ....... Novembris Anno pred ut p[er] Georg.. Rosse Willm Mill

The Joynte and sev[er]all Annsweres of George Hall, and George Rosse two of the defendts to the bill of Complaynte & Informacon of Anthony Watson Bysshopp of Chychester her Ma[jesties] Almon[er] Complt

The sayd defendts savinge to themselves all advantage of excepcon to the uncertaynty and insufficiencye of the sayde Bill of Complaynt w[hi]ch .... theis defendts thincke is exhibyted against them of purpose rather to putt them unto greate and unnecessarye chardges in the Law, then upon anye iust cause of .... for annswere thereunto they saye upon there othes as followeth that the late Kinge of famous memorye Kinge Henrye the Sixte as theis defendts thincke dyd by his letters pattentes under the greate seale of England bearinge date the eleaventhe day of Februarye in the seaven and twentethe yeare of his highnes Reigne emongest dyvers other thinges grannt unto the then lo[rd] Maior and Cyttyzens of Yorke, and to there successors for the Reliefe of the sayde Cyttye, all and all manner of goods and Chattells of felons fugytyve men utlawes waved damned, felons of themselves deodands convicted forfat..es escheates p[ro]fyttes and revenewes w[hi]ch w[i]thin the sayde Countye of the Cyttye of Yorke should happen w[i]thoute any accompte to be therefore made as in and by the sayde letters pattentes remaynynge of Record whereunto theis defendts referr themselves may more playnly appeare, By vertue whereof the said Maior and the Cyttyzens of Yorke have ever Sythence as theis defendts thincke Lawfully hadd all the felons goodes, felons of themselves, and the deodantes happenynge w[i]thin the sayde Countye of the Cyttye of Yorke and have from tyme to tyme seised the same, and there sayde Charter hath as theis defendts thincke beine allowed in dyvers of her Ma[jesties] Courtes of Recorde att Westmynster And this defendt George Hall saythe That the sayd Willm Howlrigge of Marston in the bill menconed did as he thinketh handge and distroy himselfe att Marston w[hi]ch Marston is w[i]thin the Aynsty and w[i]thin the Countye of the Cyttie of Yorke, and he the sayde Willm Howlrigge was att that tyme possessed of dyvers goodes and Chattells att Marston in the Countye of the Cyttye of Yorke And this defendt sayth that he this defendt George Hall & George Watkinson named in the bill beinge Cyttyzens of the Cyttye of Yorke, and for that yeare Sherifes of the Cyttye of Yorke and of the Countie of the same, did in the right of the Lorde Maior and Cyttyzens of the Cyttye of Yorke sease and take some of the goodes and Chattells of the sayd Willm Howlrigge and tooke composytion and agreemente for the goods w[hi]ch Composicon and agrement did but amounte to the some of Thirtie poundes as this defendt remembrethe, w[hi]ch as this defendt thinckes was Lawfull for them to doe, the rather for that the Sherifes of the Cyttye of Yorke and of the Countye of the same [?have?] used in tight of the Maior and Cyttyzens to take and seise the goodes and Chattells of all felons of themselves and deodands happenynge that yeare in the sayde Cyttye and Countie, And this defendt George Rosse for himselfe sayth that he thinckethe yt to be true that one Elizabethye Dighton of Marston w[i]thin the Countye of the Cyttye of Yorke was kylled att M[ar]ston w[i]th a wayne as in the bill is menconed, and he this defendt and one P[er]cyvall Levett beinge Cyttyzens of the Citty of Yorke and for that yeare Sherifes of the Cyttye of Yorke, and of the Countye of the same did in the right of the lo[rd] Maior and Cyttyzens of the same Cyttye take composicon and agreem[en]t of the poore man to whom the sayd Oxen horses furnyture and wayne did belonge w[hi]ch this defendt thinketh was Lawfull for them to doe the rather for that the sherifes of the Cyttye of York and Countye of the same, have used in the right of the Maior and Cyttyzens to take and sease felons goodes deodands & other ..... happeninge ............ or to take Composicon for the same as they soe ....., w[i]thoute that that this defendt George Hall and George Watkinson beinge sherifes of the Cyttye of Yorke in the sayd xxxixth yeare of her Ma[jesties] Reigne did sease and take into there possessions and to there use and comodytie the goodes of the sayde Willm Howlrigg w[hi]ch were or ought to be in the disposicon of the said Complt or whereunto the sayd Complt hathe any Lawfull tytle or that the goodes w[hi]ch this defendt seased or had were of any such valew as in the byll is alledged Or that the sayde George Rosse and Percyvall Levett then sherifes of the sayd Cyttye of Yorke in the sayd forteth yeare of her Ma[jesties] Reigne did likewise sease and take the sayde wayne Oxen horses and furnyture beinge forfated to the Queenes Ma[jesty] and belonge to the Complt in manner and forme as in the sayd bill is likewise surmysed w[i]thoute that that the goodes of felons of them selves or the deodands w[hi]ch happen or fall within the Citty of Yorke or within the Countye of the Cittie of Yorke do belong to the Complaynant or ar or [?might?] be in his disposition and also w[i]thout that that any other matter or thinge in the sayd Bill menconed or conteyned materiall to be annswered unto and not herein by way of Annswer sufficiently confessed or avoyded trav[er]sed or denyed and Annswered unto is true all w[hi]ch matters the sayd defendts are reddy to averr and prove as this ho[norable] Court shall award and humbly praye to be dismyssed w[i]th there reasonable chardges herein wrongfully sustayned

Richard Hutton ...... [?1599?]