STAC 5/A4/2 - B A - 16 Eliz - Bedford - Almoner v Margery Cooper, William Cooper Sr, William Cooper Jr see STAC Cooper
Transcribed by Helen Good
To the Quenes moste Exelent Majestie
In most humble wyse sheweth and complayneth unto your Highnes your faythfull and obedyente Subjecte, Edmunde Freake Bishop of Rochester, Highe Almonor unto your Majestie, That where one James Cowper Late of Donstable, in the Countie of Bedff, the viij th day of September, in the xvj th yeare of your moste gracious Reigne at Donstable aforesaid Fealonyouslye, as a Fealon of Hymself in A Certain well at Donstable, Aforsaid dyd drowne Hymself as by an Inquysyscion, taken at Donstable, Aforsaid, before, Richard Sampson Gent one of the Coroners in the said Countie upon the Syght of the bodye of the said James by the othes of xij men according to your Majesties Lawes of this your Realm more at Lardge it dothe and maye Appeare by reason wherof all suche goodes Cattalles and Debtes as the said James or any other to his use had and was possessyd of the Daye of his said Deathe doo belonge and Apperteine unto your Highnes and so to the onlye order and distrybution of your said Almonor in Augmentacion of your moste gracious Almes by force of your most gracious Letters patentes unto him in that behalfe granted and made as by the same Letters Patentes more at Lardge it dothe and maye Appeare, And wher the said James the day of his said Death was possessyd of Certeine Somes of money and Certeine Specialties, viz Oblygacions by the debte, and A shoppe booke wherein Certeine persons were severallye endebtyd unto the said James for the payement of Certeine Severall Small Somes of money, And of other Goodes and Chattles and of Certeine Impulementes of Houshoulde viz Napery, bedding, brasse, Pewter and other goodes, Amounting to the value of CC li or there abouts the verie Certeintie wherof unto your said Almonor ar unknowen, So it is moste gracious Sovereigne Ladye that Margerye Cowper of Donstable in the said Countie wydowe Late wyfe of the said James and Wyllm Cowper the yonger his Sonne Imedyatlye after the death of the said James came into the house of the same James and craftylie gotte into their possessions all suche Somes of money and others the premysses as the said James was possessyd of and the same have and Doo converte unto their owne proper uses and Comodyties without leaving any ryghte or tyttell therunto, And althoughe your said Almonor by wylliam Ottye his Attorney and Deputie in the same Countie hathe dyvers and Sundrye times equyeryd and Instantlye Desyeryd the saide Margerye and Wylliam the younger and eyther of them to deliver unto hym to the use above said all the said Somes of money Specyalties and other the premisses amounting to the said Some or their Abowtes, but that to Doo the said Margerye and Wyllm and every one of theym have hytherto refuesed and denyed and yet done, not onlye in contempt of your moste gracious Letters Patentes in that behalf unto your said Almonor grauntyd and made as is aforesaid but also to the Lette and Hynderance of your most gracious Almes which shoulde have ben mynystred by your said Almonor unto your poore and Impotent Subjects, and to the Perellous and Evell exampull of suche Lyke offendors yf Condingne Punyshement and spedye remedye by your Majestie be not shortly had and provyded for in this behalf In Concyderacion wherof maye it please your Majestie to graunte your moste gracious wrytt of Subpena to be Dyrectyd unto the said Margerye and Wylliam the yonger and to every one of them Comaunding theym and every one of them by the same personallye to Apeare before your Majestie and the Lordes of your most Honorable Councell in your most Honorable Courte of the Star Chamber at westminster at A Certeine Daye and upon A Certeine paine therin to be Lymyted then and ther to Answer to the premysses And your said Almonor according to his moste bounden Dutie shall Daylie praye to Almyghtie god for the prossperous estate of your Majestie in moste Highe Honor and Felysscitie Longe to Reigne over us
The Answer of William Cowper the younger to the Bill of Complt of Edmond Freke Bishop of Rochester & High Almnor to the Quenes Majestie Complt
The said Defendant saythe that the sayd Bill of Complt nowe in this Honorable /\ Court /\ exhibited is only as he thinkethe of Malyce towardes him wrought by some senister Frend of his unto the sayd highe Almnor to theinde to put the sayd Def to charges to his Impoverishment & the matters therin conteyned divised & Imagined, for he sayth & true yt is that the sayd Defendant before this tyme had declared & shewed the truth in the matters in this bill exhibited to the sayd highe Almnor beinge ther uppon by him before this examined, uppon which his Answere this Def was by him promised spare of troble & also spare for his apparance uppon the like sute in this honorable Courte by him then exhibited. Neverthelesse the sayd Almnor (beinge Col in charitie) & his unmyndfull of his promise enforcethe the sayd Def beinge A very poore man to his further chargis and to answere to the same matters ageynst him in this Court by the sayd Almnor exhibited, wherunto allreddy he hathe answered fully / yet notwithstandinge ys by this honorable Court he shalbe enforced to answere, the advantage of the Insuffitiencie of the sayd Bill & the matters theirin conteyned to him allweys reserved. For Answere saythe that the sayd Jeames Couper father to this Def in the sayd Bill named came to his soden Deathe, as he thinckethe accordinge as in the sayd bill is specified to the great greaffe & losse of the Def, after whose Deathe the sayd Richard Sampson as Coroner enquired therof by the othes of xij men as also what goodes & Cattells with other suche like the sayd Jeames his late Father or eny other to his use had or were possessed of at the tyme of his sayd Deathe as in the sayd bill is likewise conteyned, which Coroner uppon his discression called this Deft as others before him, whom he [comsed] to take a corporall othe before him in the presens of the sayd xij men to answere to certeyne articles then by him to this Def exhibited concerninge his knowledge of suche goodes & dettes as were his Fathers at the tyme of his Deathe who then to his knowledge truly advertised the sayd Coroner & Jurie uppon which Information the Jury as he hathe hard fownd divers goodes of his sayd Fathers to the value of vij or & viij li as he hathe had understandinge of any other his goodes synce the same Inquisition fownd he hathe faythfully advertised William Ottey Attorney to the sayd Complt therof fro tyme to tyme, hopinge that his goodwill therin would have bene recompensed with some other favor then nowe is shewed & which the charitable Devotion by the said Almenor of some of those goodes of his sayd Fathers towardes the Releasse of him & his great charge of children Withowt that that the sayd William Cowper together with Margery his mother in lawe or otherwise by himselfe alone did enter Imediatly after the deathe of the sayd Jeames his Father and did take or carry away eny mony napery or bedding or other his goodes whatsoever other then suche as he the sayd Def hathe truly advertised the sayd Coroner this Complt or William Oftey his attorney of / And withowt that that day other matter or cause in this Bill conteyned materiall or effectuall to be answered unto & not by the sayd Def answered traversed or avoydid is effectuall all which the sayd Def is reddy to averr & prove as this honorable Court shall requere and prayeth to be dismissed with his resonable costes and chargis in this behalfe susteyned as to this honorable Court shall seme good.
. . . . Answer of Margerye Coowper widow . . .
. . . James Coowper her late husband did feloniously drown himself and so it was found by Inquisition in such manner and form as in the said Bill is declare. and true it is that the said James was possessed of divers goods and chattles money debtes and other things at the time of his death part thereof being in his own house when he died and part thereof in other mens hands since which inquisition found one William Coowper the elder son of the said James as next heir unto him entered into the house late of the said James and upon all goods chattles specialties and household stuff in the same and expelled and put this defendant from the same and so keepeth her out still and will not suffer her to have any part thereof nor take any of her own raiment out of the said house, and thereby she is compelled to borrow part of her raiment that she now weareth of others and therefore this is a needless suit unfit to be exhibited against her who nothing hath to answer the said Complaint nor to releive herself, but is holpen by her good neighbors and releved of Charity, without that that this defendant hath any of the goods or chattles late her said husbands in her custody or in the custody of any other to her use Or that she eyther hath the shoppebooke specialties or obligations mentioned in the said Bill . . .