STAC 5/A3/30 - B - - Dorset - AG v William Holnall, Richard Egerdon et al STAC Holnall
Transcribed by Helen Good
To the Queen's most excellent Majesty
Enformeth unto your Majesty Gilbert Gerrard your Attorney General, That whereas Thomas Hoodye gentleman notoriously known to be a thief and to have committed many and great robberies upon your Majesty's true Subjects in your Majesty's highways as well within the County of Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire as elsewhere. And among other his robberies in your Majesty's highway at Beamyster within the said County of Dorset the eighteenth day of February in the seventeenth yeare of your Majesty's reigne, alighting of his horse with his sword drawn feloniously did make assault upon one William Bragge your Majesty's subject, a substantiall honest Clothier (setting many of your poor subjects on work in those parts) to the intent to rob him demanding his purse. And for that the said William Bragge would not yeild his purse, the said Hoodye then and there fought and would have killed and murdred the said William Bragge, insomuch after sundry strokes and fighting in the same high way between them, and each of them well knowing the other /\ and calling one another /\ by their names. In end the said William Bragge by his sword thrust on the body of the said Hoodye perceived that the same Hoodye had on his body a privy coat which kept him from hurt, to the great disadvantage and danger of the said William Bragge, by reason wherof upon the continuance of Hoddyes demand to have the purse of the said William Bragge, threatening that otherwise he the said Hoddye would not leave till he had killed the said William Bragge, the said William Bragge for fear of his life did caste his purse to the said Hoodye who took it up and asked what money was in it. And the said Bragge told him it was about five pounds and the said Hoodye said said that should not serve him, but taking and carrying it away for that time said that another time he and his company would handle him the said Bragge otherwise or to such like effect. And after great threat the said Hoodye gat upon his horse and so with the said purse and money departed from the said Bragge, So it is most gracious sovereign that at the general gaol delivery in the time of the Assizes holden at Dorchester in your Majesty's said County of Dorset on Monday the third week of Lent in the eighteenth year of your Majesty's reign, the said Thomas Hoodye being indicted for the robbing of the said Bragge of four pounds in the said high way and after his arrainment (for his trial upon life and death, amonge other felons) a Jury of 12 persons according to the Order of the Law were impanelled, viz. William Holwall gentleman, Richard Egerdon, Hugh Browne, Thomas Forde, Robert Ryves alias Symes, Henry Darbye, John Wryxon, Walter Chalcott, William Farr, William Welsted, Robert Good, and Walter Edmondes and for evidence to the said Jury (against the said Thomas Hoodye) The said William Bragge then being personally present was sworne before the said Jury in open Court and gave evidence that in fight with the said Hoodye at the said robbery, such scarf or other covering as the said Hoodye had over his face fell down so that the said Bragge did perfectly know and see the face of the said Hoodye and in the tyme of the said fight each of them did speak to the other. And that after the said Bragge was much wearied with long and sundry fights and perceyved the said Hoodye had a privy coat, at last for fear of his life the said Bragge did caste his purse and money to the said Hoodye who took it and with threats as aforesaid did carry it with him and rode away with other more circumstances whereby the said robbery appeared to be most evidently true unto all persons hearing the said evidence. And so the Jury (after evidence given) in usuall manner did sequester them selves from the rest of the Assembly of the people to consider upon the evidence and prisoners committed to their Charge, and after divers hours consultation did come to yeild their verdict in the open court. And touching all the prisoners in there Chardge, (Except the said Hoodye only) they all agreed and gave verdict, But touching the said Hoodye they find they were not all agreed because William Farre one of the said Jury would not agree. And then being asked by the Court what was the Cause that Farre did stick and would not agree, the said Farre answered that because of the said Hoodye did not take from the said Bragge his purse and money, but the said Bragge did cast it to the said Hoodye. Therefore the other eleven of the Jury would have it to be no felony but a gift of the said Bragge. And because the said Bragge was but one man (though he were known to be a very honest substantial house holder) yet because there were no more witnesses, then eleven of the of the Jury deemed one man without a more number to be of sufficient proof or evidence. And the said Farre said that he thought otherwise, wherupon the Court asking the said eleven whether the same were the only two things /\ that they doubted of /\ and they answered Yea. Whereupon the Justice of Assize openly declared to the said Jury in open Court that concerning the first point not withstanding the casting of the purse and money to the said Hoddye (by such fear and danger as aforesaid) the said Hoodies taking up and carrying away of the said purse and money was in law felony. And concerning the second point that the oath and declaration of the said said Bragge of his own sight and perfect knowledge in fight with the said Hoodye, although he were but one person, if they did know him to be a very substantial honest and creditable person and no malice between him and the said Hoodye nor other just exception against the credit and indifferency of the said Bragge, that then his oath was in Law sufficient evidence and proof without need of any more witnesses. And thereupon the Court asked the Jury whether they doubted of the honesty and truth of the said Bragge or of any malice between him and the said Hoddys or of any matter of exception against the said Bragge. And they answered No. Then the Justice willed them all 12 to go together and agree upon their verdict, sithence [since] that they were instructed of the law in their former doubts. All the premisses notwithstanding the said Jury would not agree but repaired to the church there and tarried all that night, and in the morning of the next day came and gave verdict that the said Hoodye was not guilty of the said felony wherein the said Jury committed most willful and corrupt perjury. In manifest contempt of your Majesty and of your Laws and Justice to the great encouraging and emboldening of all malefactors and and to the dread and terror of your Majestes good subjects and to the most perilous example of other by like, if condign punishment be not herein speedily and severelie executed. For reformation whereof may it please your Majesty to grant that every of the said Jurors by virtue of their bond already taken by recognizance before the said Justice of Assize personally appearing in your Majesty's Court of Star Chamber may be compelled to make answer and to be examined concerning the premisses. And upon the hearing of the same cause to abide such Order and receive such [punishment as] to your Majesty's Honorable Council of the said court shall be thought meet for their desert and for the due administration of Justice amongst your subjects.