STAC 5/B73/34 - B A Dr C I D - 44 Eliz - Lincolnshire - Downhall Burgesse v William Brimeston, Robert Beaver see STAC Burgess
Transcribed by Krista Kesselring
‘In most humble wise complaining, showeth and informeth your most excellent Majesty your true and obedient subject Downhall Burgess of Moulton within the Parts of Holland and county of Lincoln, gent., that whereas your said subject hath always had a great care to live according to your highness’s most laudable laws in peace and quietness with all men, avoiding by all possible means that he could at all times, all occasions of quarrels and contentions, whereby any breach of your Majesty’s peace might. [sic] And whereas your said subject for the space of these three years now last past hath been and still is one of the chief constables of the hundred and wapentake of Elloe within the said Parts of Holland and county of Lincoln aforesaid, by reason whereof your said subject had ever since a more especial and respective care and regard unto the carrying of himself towards others according to his place and office to him in duty appertained.
Now, may it please your most excellent Majesty, so it is that upon Tuesday being the eight and twentieth day of April in the three and fortieth year of your Highness’s reign, very early in the morning about the dawning of the day one John Stubbes, Robert Nicholl, and Christopher Wilkinson, being fiddlers and strangers not inhabiting within the said town of Moulton, being accompanied with one William Brimston and Robert Beaver, men of disordered lives given to quarreling and dissention, to excess of drinking, and to other unlawful courses of life, especially the said William Brimstone, who is vehemently suspected to be an infamous and notorious bad liver and generally known to be an ordinary alehouse haunter early and late and commonly drunken, came unto the house of your said subject, being then in his bed and yet awaken, and there standing close under the eaves of the said house, hard by a parlour window where your said subject did lie, they did there whisper together for some little time, but so softly as that it could not be well understood what they said. But after further attention given unto their whispering, the voice and tongue of the said William Brimstone was very easily perceived and discerned. And he was plainly heard to speak these words following: ‘God’s life, I know he lies here. I know the house well enough’. After which whispering the said three fiddlers began to play and during all the time of their playing, the said William Brimstone was heard to talk and laugh with some other, but what he said or who the other was could not well be discerned. Afterwards the said three fiddlers having continued some reasonable time in playing left off, but your said subject gave them no reward at all, whereupon the said Robert Beaver, standing very close by the wall and putting his head and ear close to the window cried aloud with a feigned great voice, ‘Good morrow, Goodman Burgess, I thank you for your good will’. And so they departed thence and went to the house of one Thomas Chinocke, who keeps an alehouse there, from whence they came and where they had been the most part of the same night, making noise with hallowing, whooping, and dancing in their shirts, to the grievous disquieting of all the neighbours by them so as they could take very little rest that night.
Presently after your said subject arising out of his bed and having made himself ready went up into the town to find the said disordered fellows, meaning to have apprehended them all forthwith to have carried them before some justice of peace, for some correction and course to be taken with them. And coming into the said alehouse, there he found the said William Brimstone and Robert Beaver, with some others, and the said three fiddlers amongst them, who at the same time were playing upon their fiddles and singing a song befitting such a company. Your said subject first examined the said three fiddlers of whence they were from, whence they came, and what moved them to lead such a roguish life contrary to the laws of the realm, with some other questions to that effect. Whereunto the said Robert Nichol or one of the said three fiddlers answered, ‘I am no rogue, for my master serves a nobleman’. Then your said subject turning himself to the rest of the company to have requested their aid in the apprehending of the said rogues, one of the said company whose name your said subject knoweth not said unto him, ‘I know your grief well enough. It is because one called you Goodman Burgess at your window. Be not angry at that. Goodman is a good name’. Then the said William Brimstone rising from his chair said ‘God’s life, man, be not angry, as good men as you are called Goodman’. Then your said subject said, ‘I pray God make you all good men’ and asked them upon what occasion they did come to his window to scoff at him and to abuse him in that sort. To whom the said William Brimstone answered, ‘God’s life, man, if you take it so, a turd in your teeth. It was I that said it, and a fart for you. Do the worst you can, I hope we shall live in Moulton in despite of you’, iterating very often his former beastly terms. Then the said Robert Beaver, hearing the said William Brimstone to take that upon him which indeed he himself had spoken, rose up and said ‘It was I that spake those words at your window. If you can get any advantage at my hands take it, for I care not a fig for you’. Then the said William Brimstone said ‘It was I that spake the words’. ‘Naye’, said Beaver, ‘it was I that said it’. ‘Naye’, said the other, ‘It was I’. And so with great facing and outfacing of your said subject, they strove together who should have the credit of the speech. After which and many other disdainful and filthy speeches uttered by the said William Brimstone and Robert Beaver, your said subject hearing them and bearing them all with great patience and without any reply, he spake then again to the said three fiddlers, telling them that they should be well whipped for rogues according to their desserts, whereupon the said three fiddlers and the said William Brimstone and Robert Beaver gathered themselves about your said subject, which he seeing that he was so encompassed about by them and fearing some mischief would ensure for that he perceived that they were all agreed together to wrong him, said ‘My masters, I charge you all in the Queen’s Majesty’s name to keep the peace, and here I do arrest you all in the Queen’s Majesty’s name and I will have you before some of her Majesty’s justices to answer to these your misdemeanours.’ Then the said William Brimstone and Robert Beaver cried out, ‘A fart for you, a turd for you; do your worst.’ And with that they began to go all out of the doors.
Then your said subject, seeing them to disobey his arrest and begin to fly, called up the said Thomas Chinocke, the host of the house, and charged him in the Queen’s Majesty’s name to arise to see the peace kept in his house and to aid him against these his rude guests. And as the said William Brimstone and Robert Beaver were going out of the house your said subject arrested them again in the Queen’s Majesty’s name and did bid them yield themselves or else, he said, that he would raise the town upon them. Whereat they seemed to be somewhat daunted and began to stand still. Nevertheless, the said Robert Beaver shrunk away from his fellows and your said subject following him caught him by the jerkin and charged him in the Queen’s Majesty’s name to stand still and obey his arrest. But the said Robert Beaver resisted your said subject, bidding him lay his hands off him or else he would make him. ‘For’ (saith he) ‘you have nothing to do with me.’ And so struggled and strove and withal bent his fist to strike, whereupon your said subject did let the said Robert Beaver go from him and hastened to the next house to call up on Gregory Taylor, meaning then to have raised the town upon them. With divers and sundry other great and grievous misdemeanours then and there committed by the said William Brimstone and Robert Beaver in encouraging and maintaining the said rogues and in disgracing and deriding your said subject, being an officer of the peace and a chief constable within those parts.
In tender consideration whereof and forasmuch as the said route and misdemeanours do tend greatly to the dishonour of Almighty God and manifest contempt of your Highness’s most laudable laws and statutes in such cases provided and to the evil and pernicious example and encouraging of other evil disposed persons to commit the like, unless condign punishment be speedily inflicted upon them, it may therefore please your most excellent majesty, the premises considered, to grant to your said subject your Majesty’s most gracious writ of subpoena to be directed unto the said William Brimstone and Robert Beaver, thereby commanding them and every of them at a certain day and under a certain pain therein to be limited personally to appear before your Highness in your Majesty’s high Court of Star Chamber, then and there to answer the premises and further to stand to and abide such further order and censure therein as to your highness’s council of the said court shall be thought meet and convenient. And your said subject, as he is most bounden, shall daily pray to God for your most excellent Majesty in health and happiness long to rule and reign over us.’
[ -Beaver’s answer says the men termed themselves musicians and said they’d come from the nearby hamlet of Cowbit; they went about Moulton playing at the doors of houses. -one deponent, a Gregory Allen of Moulton, labourer, 27 years old, said that the three fiddlers were whipped as rogues at a sessions held at Moulton where the complainant, being one of the high constables of the wapentake, sat. ‘At which time he this deponent then heard the complaint as he sat (in his said office) derided and scoffed at by some of those which were taken to be actors in the said disorder, immediately upon the whipping the said rogues, saying it is no matter, he hath done his worst, if he could do as much to us he would, but the worst man in the company was as good a man as himself.’) -deponent John Newman, Moulton labourer, 60 years old or thereabouts: ‘ he saith that the complainant, as he sat keeping a statute sessions at Moulton aforesaid, was in the open assembly scoffed at, derided, by some which were in the company the said Monday at night, with the said defendant Brimstone and the three fiddlers (upon the whipping them for rogues) saying, now is our statute kept by a gent, and the worst man of our company thinks himself as good a man as he, but he would have done as much to us, if he could.’ ] [but Brimstone and Beaver had not been punished locally]