Cases of Interest

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Enter on this page only cases that are surprising, very unusual, or extremely good examples of phenomena that do not have their own theme elsewhere and that would interest a range of scholars or researchers.




H1291 A: malicious killing of swans [1] SB

E1295 A: transport of prisoner (feet bound under the belly of a horse) [2]SB



E1308 A: Simon de Parys v. Walter Page (bailiff of Robert Tony) et al. Assault and imprisonment. Simon who had lived in London for more than 30 years was taken on the king's highway at Necton, co. Norfolk, and imprisoned because he was a villein [3] SB. Law report and notes of the case in Selden Society vol. 17, pp. 11-13

P1308 B: Yorkshire. Malicious killing of sheep with dogs [4] SJ, see also T1308 Stafford. Malicious killing of a swine [5], T1308 Kent. Malicious killing of 4 breeding swans [6], malicious burning down of house [7] SJ

P1308 C: royal writ to justices regarding maintenance of lawsuit [8]; see also [9]; case in marshalsea court [10]; [11] SJ

P1308 D: Fraud and Malice alleged in debt according to statute merchant [12] SJ

P1308 E: Trespass involving taking of original writ [13] SJ

T1308 A: Writ quashed because abbreviation mark was missing ('heas' instead of 'habeas') [14] SJ

T1308 B: Entering of close described as malicious [15] SJ

T1308 C: unlawful detinue of a falcon [16] SJ

T1308 D: A fire (started with dung and straw) brought into his bedroom almost suffocate (extinctus fuit) a chaplain who was ill in bed [17]SJ

M1308 A: Tranfer of official custody of deeds [18] SJ

1309 A: Defamation: King and Walter de Bedewynde, King's Remembrancer v. Alice, daughter of Nicholas le Keu. Jury: Walter was called "prostipularius" by Alice & barons of the Exchequer supported (manutenere) Walter against Alice [19] SJ

H1310 A: Standard exception that king's courts have no jurisdiction in regard to contracts made outside of England is answered by invoking a mandate made in England requiring payment to be made under that contract. No decision taken [20] SJ

1311 A:Abjuration of the realm, recapture and kept in prison for 10 years, then released without warrant [21] SJ

M1311 A: Trespass on the Case (Freight Contract)? William de Rokelund v. John de Frenkissh, "quosdam pannos suos precii £100 prefato Johanni et quibusdam Nicholao Quyk et Johanni filii Roberti Karle apud Theford abinde usque Wysebech cariandos .... vi et armis in aqua inter Theford et Stantone maliciose projecerunt ita quod panni illi in multum deteriorati fuerunt, damages claimed £40 (transgressione vi et armis contra pacem). Defence: non debet ei ad tale breve respondere. Cloth was handed over voluntarily to carry, cannot have been trespass vi et armis. Retracts to get a new writ [22] SJ

H1314A: Thomas Algar left in charge of the king's sea-pigs, 200 of which were stolen [23] SJ

H1314 B: Yorkshire. King orders release of prisoner accused of rape on mainprise by privy seal writ to justices [24] SJ

H1314B:Example of correction of writing mistake [25] SJ

E1314 A: Rape. Defendant Henry Abbot argued that plaintiff Philipp de Steymur got his own name wrong because of variant of surname in count and writ (le Steymor/de Steymur) [26] SJ

E1314 B: malicious killing of a dog during a burglary at night. Defendant claims self-defence because he was 'crudeliter insultavit' by the dog which tried to kill him (mordisse voluit). Noticing this 'maliciam et feloniam' of the dog he killed it with a knife without entering the house [27] SJ

E1314 C: felonious and malicious arson attack by youngsters of part of the town of Lynn [28]and [29] SJ

E1314 D: Escape from Marshalsea prison at night [30] SJ; [31] SJ

T1314 A: 4 original writs were stolen from Agnes de Acre [32] SJ

T1314 B: William de Maydestan accused of falsifying the king's seal and using it to seal writs [33] SJ

M1314 A:Waterboarding and other torture applied by London sheriff Robert Burdeyn in order to obtain a confession from Thomas Cokerel and when that did not work torturing an approver from Newgate prison to accuse Thomas of robbery; the sheriff also placed unsuitable people (de pauperioribus et debilioribus homines) on the jury according to the claimant's version of events. He is awarded 100 marks in damages [34][35]SJ

M1314 B: Claimant asks for jury of 12 and the witnesses to a grant.Judgment by default [36] SJ

H1315 A: Relevant to scienter: Robert Pilat & Cristina his wife v. Benedict le Chapman de Buntingford. Without vi et armis: why he near the plaintiff's house on the royal highway untied a certain dog known to bite men and customarily tied up, so that the dog attacked Cristina. Note that this was a positive doing (he untied) instead of an inadvertent escape, but also that it did not have vi et armis. [37]

H1315 b: Outlaw offers to answer trespass suit - is committed to Newgate prison [38] SB

T1315 A: Robert de Swalclyve v. Joan Marmyon & Manswer Marmyon together with Thomas le Tanour of Lincoln and John de Morby. Trespass breach of close and taking of grain. Joan pleaded that Robert de Chame son of Thomas de Chame citizen of Lincoln had held a messuage and a contiguous piece of land. He granted the messuage to Master Robert Marmyon rector of Falstow together with the buildings thereon with clear lights entering without obstruction through the windows (evidenced by charter). That Robert Marmyon by custom of Lincoln devised to Joan. Robert de Chame seven years later granted the contiguous piece of land to Robert de Swalcliff. He built a wall in front of Joan's windows; Joan destroyed that wall as she was entitled to do. The plaintiff argued his right to build walls on his own land. Issue of law adjourned then repleatedly. [39]

M1317 A:Order to the justices to do justice regardless of any writs under the great or privy seal. [40]

T1318 A: William de Thorpe clerk of court v. Thomas Makerel chandler and John his brother: trespass for assault and throwing urine on the plaintiff at Fleetstreet on his way to court. Thomas convicted at damages of 100s. [41]

E1318 A: Ship was loaded at Little Yarmouth with goods worth 100 marks bound for London; defendants at Erith took some of the goods and sank the rest. William Lambyn of London merchant and Richard de Hodeston of London merchant v. Alan atte Forde of Faversham and Henry Aleynescosyn atte Ford. [42]. Verdict: William and Richard delivered herring to Alan to be carried to London at their peril. Alan put the herring in his ship, but the sailors were less wise. They went toward the Thames near Erith and there by negligence wrecked the ship. Some sailors in boats who were there then took six last of herrings, and those herrings afterwards went to the profit of William and Richard. The remainder (four and a half lasts) the ship's sailors took and sold for their own profit. Alan thereafter accepted what his sailors had done. The damages of William and Richard came to 70 marks. Plaintiffs recover. Enrollment indicates that the the wrong was not against the king's peace. [43]

H1319A: Derby. John Gernoun v. John Poynterel, Thomas de Holm, Peter le Fevere, Thomas Jeke, William de Sheledon, Ralph de Sheledon, John le Mouner, Philip de Weston and Henry le Hore. Malicious killing (maliciose interfecerunt) of a horse and 6 ox [44]SJ

T1319 A: London. King and Robert de Melburn v. John Warde de Hoo. Ripping off of seal from acquittance made in court (on Saturday, 11 Feb. 1318) in which was contained that John had received from Robert all the money owed to him 'racione quarte partis ballive clamatorum hic in banco'. John acknowledged that he was given the acquittance but denied taking it by force (rogando predictum Robertum quod ballivam predictam ei reddere recusavit juxta convencionem predictam sigillum predicti scripti in manu sua tunc existentis a scripto illo abstraxit). Roger de Stowe and John Aleyn, criers, are ordered to summon a jury of attorneys and apprentices. [45] SJ


M1326 A: London. King (by Geoffrey de Lenne) v. Roger de Kent and his wife Cecile (and their son Roger). Taking away of the king's goods worth £100 in the custody of the king's tailor Henry of Canterbury in the parish of St Botulph Algate, London, and assaulting the king's servants (John de Haselyngfeld and John de Staunton). Damages 1000 marks. Jury summoned. [46] SJ

M1332 A: Kent. Stephen de Wodhelle accused of having falsified a writ of covenant. Writ was suspicious because there was a mistake in the Latin (acris terris instead of acris terre) and because on the 10 April 6 Edw III the king was at Stamford and not at Grantham as the writ said. And Stephen when called disappears from the bar of the court [47] SB

H1339A: Presentment of William Maryoun and others for conspiring to sue appeals in the names of non-existent persons (numquam fuit in rerum natura). One instance involved prosecuting an appeal of robbery at the suit of a fictitious person. Another instance involved causing a wife to prosecute an appeal for the death of her fictitious husband. [48]JR

H1339B:: Richard le Walsh mesne process v. Michael Smith and others vi et armis for killing his camel worth 20 marks. [8]JR

T1342 A: Presentment for usury. [49] rcp

M1346 A: Related to Humber Ferryman case. Nottinghamshire. Richard son of Gerard de Lanum v. William son of Roger Botild de Lanum. Why, whereas the same William (took Richard with his horse loaded with merchandise into a certain boat at Lanam to be carried over the River Trent), (William with force and arms ejected the horse into the river) ... [50] rcp

M1348 A: Humber Ferryman Case. [51]

M1348 B: Yorkshire. Prior of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem v. Ralph de Bulmer chivaler and Alice his wife, and Adam de Horthewyke. Novel disseisin. A common law feoffment by a tenant in villeinage constitutes a disseisin to the lord committed even by the feoffees and all who were present at the feoffment. [52]

M1348 C: Rutland. John son of Hasculph de Whitewell (qui tam) v. Robert Fraunceys. The king ordered execution of the judgment lately rendered in the county court in the case by writ (John son of Hasculph v. Simon de Shepay cleric, Simon de Bekyngam cleric, Robert Fraunceys, Hugh de Medebourne, and Robert de Beverley executors of Robert de Wodehouse cleric) for 180 p.s. The sheriff arrested goods and chattels to that value at Keton and Exton, but Fraunceys took those goods. [53] rcp

M1349 A: London. habeas corpus cum causa. [54]


M1350 A: Lincolnshire. Very early scienter (first?). Robert de Ormesby and Joan his wife v. Alan prior of Ormesby. [55] rcp

H1351 A: London. Habeas corpus cum causa. [56]

H1352 A: London. Habeas corpus cum causa. [57]

M1353 A: Surrey. Presentment jury retails grant of fee simple subject to a condition subsequent; enforcement of pregogative wardship. [58] rcp

M1353 B: Middlesex. Confession of trespass brought by bill of Middlesex by Thomas de Thorp, clerk, against Miles de Stodham, who is committed to the Marshalsea prison [59] SJ

H1354 A:Hunt'. Seal ripped off writ of right in open court [60]SJ

P1354 A: Surrey. Approver told to withdraw his appeal and given help to escape by officials, but he fell to his death while trying to escape and the coroner recorded a natural death [61] SJ

P1354 B: Norffolk. Tearful pleas (ex lacrimosa querimonia) were made by many lawful men before the king 'in presenci consilio suo' in Westminster in regard to Richard de la Illeye, who had provided surety of good behaviour but had subsequently broken the peace frequently [62] SJ

T1354 A: Kent. Trespass vi et armis. Richard Stone of Dartford v. William de Hatfeld of London goldsmith Alleged taking vi et armis of gold and silver buckles and rings. Plea that he is a goldsmith and the buckles and rings were weak and delivered to him to repair according to his art, with special traverse he vi et armis took any buckles or rings, so that he asked judgment if he could be sued as an artisan for goods thus delivered. Without any recorded ruling, plaintiff and defendant joined issue on the taking of buckles and rings vi et armis and contra pacem. [63] rcp

T1354 B: Lincoln. Appeal brought by widow of victim is found insufficient because she initiated it before the coroner rather than the sheriff [64] SJ

T1354 C: London. Appeal of mayhem brought by Robert de Yakesle v Thomas de Ribbeford who asked the judges to decide by inspecting the alleged wounds whether it is mayhem or not. The justices summon two London doctors to do this for them. [65] SJ

M 1354 A: Sussex. John de Raynford v. Robert de Grykedene et al, felonious mayhem, £551 in damages awarded [66] SJ

H1355 A: Wiltshire. Trespass (although tongue was cut off during the assault). John Talbot v. Walter brother of William son of Walter Attemulle de Tronbrigge et al. [67] SJ

H1355 B: London. Henry de Lede and Emma, his wife v. William Omery. Felonious mayhem of Emma. Writ quashed because plaintiffs had brought a writ for the same mayhem in an earlier term and had abandoned that plea [68] SJ

M1357 A: Norfolk. Roger atte Cros v. Thomas Gibbes de Saxlingham. Trespass; breach of close. Plea allowed that a swarm of bees had flown from defendant's land onto plaintiff's and landed on some bark. Defendant took the bark with the swarm of bees. [69] rcp

H1358 A: Warwickshire. Indenture between William de Shareshull knight and William de Peyto. The indenture attests that, whereas Shareshull was held by an obligatory writing to pay Peyto 100 marks, Peyto granted that if Shareshull paid 40 marks within two years, the obligation would be null and void. [70]. Substance of a penal bond involving Shareshull. rcp

E1358 A: Hertfordshire. Nicholas Blithewyne jr late constable of Stortford castle and warden of the prison there v. Robet Luffe. Why, whereas plaintiff hired defendant to guard, defendant allowed three clerical convicted felons delivered to the bishop of London to escape. No vi et armis. [71] rcp

M1359 A: Middlesex. Stephen de Holbourn (qui tam) v. John de Drayton brewer. Death threats by him and others against Stephen for prosecuting a case under the Statute of Laborers. [72] rcp


H1361 A: Use of Domesday Book. [73] rcp

E1361 A: Habeas corpus cum causa for Thomas de Filby chaplain. [74] rcp

P1362 A: Estreat roll corrected because scribe made mistake in regard to the amount payable for licence to agree (licence concordance) [75] SJ

E1363 A: Delivery of writs. Thomas de Edwalton de Notingham and John Maunsy v. John de Beston and Thomas de Stafford late bailiffs of Nottingham. One Alice late wife of John Cupper appealed Edwalton and Maunsy concerning the death of John Cupper her husband. The appeal proceeded to the point that they were acquitted, so they had a writ to recover their goods that had been seized. They delivered the writ to the defendants, who neglected to return it to them and they still detain the goods and chattels. [76] rcp


H1377 A: Richard Sherrene found guilt of felony for having sex with Margery Sabyne after he killed her(et postquam predictus Ricardus predictam Margeriam occidisset cum ea concubuit) [77] SJ


P1394 A: prior of church founded as a hospital for paupers (St James of Derby) forbids paupers to enter the church or to attend service. Prior summoned to answer for this violation [78]SJ

  • P1394 B: Thomas Brode alias Talbot turns approver and appeals John Gargrave of stealing a horse and saddle from a foreigner. Later withdraws his appeal because it was made under duress (per duriciam prisone), explaining what kind of torture was used. Gargrave has to stand trial nevertheless but gets acquitted. Thomas and Robert Forde of London, who tortured Thomas Brode, stand trial but get acquitted, too. Fate of approver is unknown [79] [80] SJ


  • P1396 A: London. Adam Usk was bound by a bond to Edward Stoke, a clerk convicted of felony before Gaol Delivery Justices of Newgate Prison, to the sum of £20 which money was forfeited because of the felony committed by Stoke. Adam Usk appears before the exchequer by attorney (Thomas Bank) and declares that Edward Stokes on the day the bond was sealed (Friday after the feast of St Margarete 19 Rich II) and for a long time before this date had been his servant and chamberlain and had had Adam's seal in his possession and had sealed the two bonds with Adam's seal maliciously without Adam's knowledge.Jury confirms this. [81][82] [[83]] SJ


M1413 A: alleged that writ de morte hominis was brought too late. Widow says she went on 22 Jan 1413 (Sunday) and went into chancery the next day at 6 am to get a writ, which was issued on that day, returnable quindene of Easter, that is to say before the death of the king, but had to get a new writ on 12 July 1413 because of the death of Henry IV. This was still within the year and a day time limit for appeals (namely a year and 10 hours) [84] SJ

H1415 A: breach of prohibition to carry arms in the presence of the king (ordered by way of proclamation in the king's court on Friday before the feast of St Edmund 1 Henry V), arrest by marshal of the marshalsea [85] SJ


P1464 A: London. Jacobus Caton, civis et cissor London v Thomas Asstell, tailor of London, debt £103 6s 8d, based on bill of custody for debt of £100 heard in KB in Easter term 3 E4, m. 83. In this custodial bill Thomas was sentenced to pay the debt and damages, in total £103 6s 8d, which he refused to pay and for which James now sues in the Common Pleas. Record of KB case is brought into CP as proof. Thomas had taken sanctuary to avoid paying. Writ de elegit is issued as remedy.[86][87][88][89][90][91][92]SJ


P1453 A: Midd'. Feloniously assault with malice aforethought of pregnant woman leads to the death of her and her unborn child. One of the attackers was a heavily pregnant woman who also verbally abused the victim (What doos thow her strong hore) [93] SB


H1476 A: Warr'. William Huse, king's attorney, v Thomas Crone of Coghton, Warr', for rape on the basis of Statute of Westminster I.[94] SJ



H1530 A: John Turner of London stationer renounced any advantage from a judgment in his favor concerning a broken obligation in which Thomas Adyngton was obliged to Turner and one Joan Herte in a sum of 200 marks until he is so licensed by the court of chancery. [95] rcp

T1530 A: Premunire. Middlesex. The Premunire of Thomas Wolsey, archbishop of York. [96] rcp


H1563 A: Manumission. In consideration of a payment of 40 pounds, Thomas Dyer, knight, lord of the manor of Otherie, Soms, grants manumission to Thomas Parsons, of Path, and Nicholas Parsons, his son, villeins of the blood, and to Agnes, Isabel, Elizabeth and Margaret Parsons, daughters of Thomas Parsons, and to all their “brood” (sequela). [97] vm

H1563 B: Manumission. In consideration of a payment of 30 pounds, Thomas Dyer, knight, lord of the manor of Otherie, Soms, grants manumission to John Hobb, of Stath, Soms; Lawrence Hobb; Nicholas Hobbe; Joan Hobb, villeins by blood, and all their “brood” (sequela). [98] vm

T1565: Extraordinary list of well-described clothing. [99]


H1584: London, David Lewys, gent, v Rees Thomas Lloyd, of London, gent. Common Pleas. Debt on a bond, (spelling modernized). The condition of this obligation is such that whereas the above bound David ap Lewys hath given and granted unto the above bound Rees Thomas Lloyd one laboring mare of the value of 26 shillings 8 pence good and lawful money in consideration whereof the said bounden Rees Thomas Lloyd doth bind himself by the present obligation not only to omit, leave, give over & forsake all manner of unlawful games as playing at dice, cards, keyles or bowls, but also to hold, bet, take part or behalf with any man that use or practice of the said unlawful games for any sum or sums of money above the value of a pottle of ale or a quart of wine for and during the space and term of five whole years next ensuing the date of this present obligation, the which condition of the said bounden Rees Thomas Lloyd do well and truly observe, fulfil and keep during the term before specified in manner and form aforesaid, without any cavil, fraud, colour or excuses, that then this obligation to be void and of no effect, or else to stand in his full power, virtue and effect. [100]