STAC 5/C20/9 - B A - 32 Eliz - Cheshire - Thomas Coller v Randall Brereton et Margaret uxor, Randall Janyn, Randall Bathowe, Hugh Probyn the elder, Hugh Probyn the younger, Owen Wilbraham STAC Coller
Transcribed by Helen Good
To the Queens most excellent Majesty
In most humble wise complaining showeth unto your highness your faithful subject Thomas Coller clerk parson of the Church of Malpas in your highness county of Chester That whereas divers lewd and disordered persons did assemble themselves together at Oldcastle Heath in Oldcastle in the said county of Chester within half a mile of the said church upon Sunday the 8th of June at at the time of divine service having a Lord of Misrule that is to say one Edward Ankers and diverse more dancers and such other lewd people in their company which occasion did withdraw many of the said parishioners then being in the said Church at godly exercise to run out to see their lewd disports and pastimes and albeit your subject caused his curate and the church wardens of the said parish to command them to leave off their said lewdness Yet they being countenanced and emboldened by one Rondle Brereton of Kiddington gentlemen, Hugh Probyn the Elder, Rondle Bathow, Rondle Janyn, Owen Wilbraham, Hugh Probyn the younger, and divers other parishioners of the said parish gave them very lewd opprobrious speeches and bobbed the Curate on the nose with their bable [bauble?] calling them fools and knaves besides divers abuses the manner whereof is not fit to be expressed and the next Sunday following being the 15th of June the said Lord of Mysrule and morris dancers coming to the said church in their playing apparel your said subject caused to be published in their hearing the effect of prohibition or commandment which was lately before that time set forth by the right honourable Henry Earl of Derby your majesty’s lieutenant of the said county against such lewd pastimes and exercises on the Saboth day which had been also openly and lately published at a Quarter Sessions in the said county yet nevertheless the said disordered persons being emboldened and encouraged as aforesaid not regarding any authority but rather utterly contempting the same and in despite thereof so soon as service was done began again their lewd and ungodly pastimes in more despiteful manner than before with many abuses to your said subject which disorders being complained upon by your said subject according to his duty to the reverend father in god the Bishop of Chester the said offenders were some what punished for the same and thereupon the said Rondle Brereton Hugh Probyn the elder Hugh Probyn the younger Rondle Jarmyn Randle Bathow Owen Wilbraham and many others of the said parish being very much offended with your subject for that he would not suffer the said profane pastimes on the Saboth day aforesaid complained upon it as aforesaid did greatly malice your said subject for the same and shortly after that is to say in June or July last promised one another that they would join together against your said subject to put him to some trouble and charge in the law and make a common purse and bear and contribute one with another against your said subject and likewise to use your subject hardly in the gathering of his tithes and hereupon the said Rondle Brereton and Margaret his wife Rondle Bathowe and divers other persons to your said subject unknown being armed and furnished with long pikes staves swords and daggers and divers other weapons as well invasive as defensive did riotously assemble themselves at Kyddingeton aforesaid the first day of September last past and then and there came to one William Leigh your subject’s servant whom they found loading corn and with force and arms did riotously assault and make affray upon the said William Leigh and the said Rondle Brereton gave him divers strokes with his dagger and drew blood upon him in divers places offering to have stabbed him in if the said William Leigh had not the better avoided it and whereas your subject was content to bear these abuses and to wink at them hoping the said Rondle Brereton and the rest of his complices would have reformed themselves but they contrarywise being emboldened thereby did procure and encourage one Davyd Brereton to abuse and disgrace your said subject in his sermon and for that purpose and intent your said subject making a sermon in the said church to his parishioners upon Sunday the 28th of September last past the said Daved Brereton by the means procurement and encouragement of the said Rondle Brereton Hugh Probyn the elder Hugh Probyn the younger Rondle Probyn Rondle Bathow Rondle Janyn Edward Ankers Owen Wilbraham and divers others whose names your subject as yet cannot learn coming into the said church about the middle of the said sermon did with a loud voice call your said subject down from his aid sermon saying with a loud voice come down come down wilt thou brabble there all day with such lewd outcries maliciously willingly and of purpose [ . . . ] disturbed vexed and disquieted your said subject in his said sermon and the whole congregation then present contrary to the statute in that case made and provided and the said Rondle Brereton Rondle Janyn Hugh Probyn the elder Hugh Probyn the younger Rondle Probyn and Rondle Bathowe albeit they were then present in the said church and saw and heard the said abuse yet they nor any of them neither yet John Gaunne and Richard Bickerstaff being then Church Wardens of the said church albeit they were required by your subject yet nevertheless they nor any of them did not now would apprehend the said David Brerton nor bring him before the next Justice of Peace according to the said statute in that case made and provided the effect of which statute your said subject did publish and make known to the said church wardens By reason whereof the said David Brerton was suffered to go away at his pleasure contrary to the statute in that case made and provided and yet further if it may please your majesty the said Rondle Brereton, Rondle Janyn, Rondle Bathowe, Hugh Probyn the elder, Hugh Probyn the younger, Owen Wilbraham and divers others of the said parish for the further vexation and molestation of your subject devising how to impoverish your subject by extraordinary charges of suits in law did for that purpose since June last past conspire together and have procured and caused one Thomas Beeching of Westminster to exhibit an untrue information before the barons of your majesty’s exchequer in the term of St Michael the Archangel last past against your said subject upon the Statute of Fermes made in the 21st year of the reign of our sovereign lord king Henry the 8th your majesty’s most dear father and the said Rondle Brereton, Rondle Janyn, Rondle Bathowe, Hugh Provyn the elder, Hugh Probyn the younger, Owen Wilbraham and the rest of their adherents do bear and contribute and have laid out and disbursed divers sums of money to the said Thomas Beechinge and other towards the maintenance of the said suit against your said subject and have taken the said Thomas Beechinge being bound to them or some of them in great bonds that he shall not agree in the said suit without the consent of them or some of them and that they or some of them shall have a share or great part of that which shall be recovered in the said suit against your said subject for the furtherance of their said unlawfull practices and purposes to effect the said Thomas Beechinge dwelling at Westminster they have [….ed] their own servants and confederates to serve your majesties process upon your said orator in the said county of Chester to appear in the said exchequer and the said Rondle Janyn did come up personally to London [ . . . . . ] serving thereof and have unlawfully maintained the said Thomas Beechinge in the said suit contrary to your majesty’s godly statutes made against champerty unlawful maintenance & embracery In consideration [where]of and for that the said confederacies conspiracies and conventicles are contrary to your majesty’s laws and the said riot and other the offences aforesaid are against the godly laws and statutes of this your majesty’s [realm] and to the intent the said offenders may receive due punishment to the example of others attempting the like it may please your majesty to grant unto your said subject your [ . . . . . ] writ of subpoena to be directed to the said Rondle Brereton, Margaret his wife, Rondle Bathowe, Rondle Janyn, Hugh Probyn the elder, Hugh Probyn the younger, [ . . . . . ] commanding them and every of them to appear personally before the lords of your majesty’s most honourable court of Star Chamber to answer the premisses and further [ . . . . . ] order and direction therein as to their lordships shall be thought meet and convenient And your subject shall daily pray to the almighty [ . . . . . . . . . ] long to reign over us.
The joint and several answer of Randall Brerton gentleman Randall Jennin Hughe Probyn the elder Hughe Probyn the younger and Owyne Wilbraham five of the defendants to the Bill of Complaint of Thomas Coller complainant
The said defendants not acknowledging anything material or effectual in the said bill of complaint material to be answered unto to be true, And saving to them all advantages to the faults untruths contrarieties and . . . of the same, for answer sayen, and further the said Randall Brerton for himself sayeth, that he and his wife with one Randall Batho walking abroad to view their corn found the said Willyam Leighe named in the said Bill of Complaint in his ground pasturing of oxen who had broken down the defendant’s hedges and was about to carry away the tithe corn out of the said defendant’s ground before the said defendant had carried away any of his own corn, At which time the said defendant after some hard speech offered him by the said Willyam Leighe, drew his dagger, the said defendants nor any of his company to his remembrance having any other weapon about them, And with the same break the said Willyam Leighe’s head which is the matter of the supposed riot complained of in the said bill of complaint, as the said defendant thinketh whereupon he this defendants was indicted at the great sessions holden for the county of Chester, and is there to find for the same as he is informed, And further the said Randall Brerton sayeth that the said complainant hath exhibited a Bill of Complainant against him this defendant for the same cause in the Exchequer of Chester, whereunto this defendant hath answered and hath been also examined upon interrogatories in the same court which yet there depends, upon all which the said defendants demurreth in law to so much of the said Bill of Complaint, And further the said defendant sayeth, that he verily thinketh that the complainants proceedings against him is only for that he this defendant caused Bills of Indictment to be preferred against him the said complainant for that he being parson of the parish church of Malpas mentioned in the said Bill of Complaint did not observe the orders in ministering the Sacraments according to the orders and rules prefixed in the book of Common Prayer established by the laws and statutes of this realm, And farther the said defendants sayeth that the said complainant refused to Christen the said defendants child according to the order likewise set down for the same in the book of Common Prayer, And that he left the said defendants child unchristened in quarter of a year or thereabouts, And the said Randall Brerton the other defendants say that they nor any of them is guilty of any of the offences or misdemeanours supposed by the said Bill of Complaint against them examinable in this honourable court in manner and form as in the said Bill of Complaint is supposed against them, And further say that the said David Brerton being a vacabond that travelleth the country and a very lewd disposed person did use some ill speech to the said complainant to the effect in the said Bill of Complaint, which was done without the procurement or abettment of the said defendants or of any of them, the which David Brerton hath or at the least is ordered to receive punishment for the same, as the said defendants are informed, And the said Randall Jennynge, Hughe Probyn the elder, and Hughe Probyn the younger and Owyne Wilbraham the other defendants sayen and every of them sayeth that they stood by and beheld the said morrish dances mentioned in the said Bill which is all the allowance that they gave to the said morrishe dance or dancers which was not at the time of divine service as in the said bill of Complaint is alleged, for which sight and for that they were not at evening prayer the same Sunday the said Hughe Probyn the elder and Owyne Wilbraham with others were convented before the bishop of Chester and have paid some fine for the same, (to wit twelve pence a piece) All which the said defendants are ready to aver and prove as this honourable Court shall award, And pray to be dismissed from the same with their reasonable costs and expenses wrongfully sustained in this behalf.
STAC 5/C76/20 has interrogatories and depositions, not yet transcribed.