STAC 5/D34/23r

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John Hawarde ed W P Baildon, Les Reportes del Cases in Camera Stellata 1593 to 1609. London, 1894 [pages 3-5]

The hearing of the case was continued between Thomas Deighton and Elin Deighton, plaintiffs, and Robert Thorpe, Sir John Munsen, deceased, and others, defendants. The matters of the bill were, 1. the forgery of a will; 2. publishing of two forged leases and procuring them to be antedated; 3. the forging of two assignments and a release, and other matters; 4. the suborning and maintenance of a juror by Sir [John] Munsen.

1. It was apparent that it was not a forged will; the plaintiff could not prove, as he endeavoured [to do], that his fathers will was of no profit in his lifetime and [that] no executors were named [in it]. For in the will produced to the Court, with a codicil to it, the Earl of Lincoln, Sir John Munsen, and others, were named executors; and the testator owed much more than he possessed, and therefore there was no cause to forge a will. It was held that in law a will is good notwithstanding no executor be named in it and to speak of hearesaye, and to swear, are two [different] things.

2. The leases were good notwithstanding the antedating, for a man may antedate a deed if it be not to any mans prejudice or to defeat any mans right: it was not proved to the Court that they were published with the knowledge of them being forged; for if any man publish a forged deed, pubucation, not knowing it to be forged, it is not punishable. It was held by the Lord Keeper that notwithstanding it did not appear who forged the deed, still this Court could proceed to punish those who knowingly published such forged deeds.

3 and 4. Nothing at all was proved at the last hearing proving soliciting in her own cause by Dame Munsen, and no other maintenance or subornation. [Page 4] And because it appeared to the Court that the plaintiff Deighton was guilty of many heinous offences, as detected of perjury in this Court, of the subornation of his own witnesses, of procuring one named William Heighton to be perjured in the Queens Bench, and another of his witnesses to be executed for murder, upon which an appeal was brought before in the Bench, being a Counsellor of Graies Inne, and he demurred on the appeal, and thereupon was executed, and he proceeding in malice, Touched his dead father for forging a deed, and joined his mother as plaintiff in the bill with him, when it appeared by a certificate in Court that she did not know of this, but was greatly offended with it, and so the suit was malicious, unnatural & wicked, not only against father and mother, brother and sister, uncle and friends, and to their slander.

For all these causes it was agreed by the Court, by Sir John Fortescue, the Chief Justice of the Bench, Lord Buckherst, the Archbishop and the Lord Keeper, that the defendants, as to all the causes mentioned in the bill, ought to be and should be in the fullest manner dismissed the Court, with their costs, according to the former precedents of Sir Yonge, Sir John Dauers, and others, and the plaintiff should pay a fine of £200, and be committed: against this were the Chief Baron, Sir Thomas Hennage and the Lord Admiral, alleging that the plaintiff was a gentleman, and had expended great sums in this suit, and not knowing his ability [to pay the fine] nor what his estate is, and being dubious of the precedent of the Court for fining or imprisoning in such a case. But the Lord Keeper proceeded with the sentence and gave this. For the Earl of Essexe and Sir Robert Cecill said nothing as they came late.

See also STAC Dighton