Chancery Depositions (PRO C2/01/58 Hen earl of Oxford v Rich and Thos Harlakenden)

30.5.1608 (Monday 30 May 1608)

document 16000005

(very frayed and torn) complaint of the right honourable Hen earl of Oxford Hen earl of Oxford appears by Eliz countess dowager of Oxford widow and sir Francis Vere knight his guardians that where Edw late earl of Oxford father of the earl (torn) to become surveyor of the honours and manors lordships and hereditaments of the earl and receiver of his rents and revenues issues and profits whereupon such means were made to the earl that he upon the faithful promises of the said Roger Harlakenden (torn) truly with the earl the earl granted him a patent of the offices of surveyor of his honours lands tenements and hereditaments receivership of his rents which offices the said Harlakenden by the force of the patent after (torn) truly with the earl the earl after that time that is to say about one year then next following the said earl Edw having occasion to use certain sums of money acquainted the said Harlakenden that he would depart and sell away the manor of Colne Priory (torn) and Balingden the mill called Chalkney Mill and Colneford Mill the parsonages of Earls Colne White Colne Belchamp Bently and Messing a farm or tenement called Plaistowe in Halsted two farms in Sible Hedingham (torn) portions of tithes in Sible Hedingham Stansted Maplested Aldham Eythorpe Roding and Buers in Essex the parsonage of Wickham in the county of Cambridge and divers portions of tithes in Lavenham and Aldham in county (torn) the possession of the late dissolved monasteries or priory of Colne in Essex and that he conferred with Harlakenden for the sale thereof and required Harlakenden to make diligent survey of the premises and to examine (torn) as also that Harlakenden should treat and deal with the copyholders and several terre tenants of the premises for the purchasing of the several lands and tenements in their several occupations and should otherwise do his best endeavour to (torn) tenements and portions of tithe to the most and best value thereof and so gave warrant under his hand and seal to Harlakenden to bargain and sell the said manor lands tenements and other the premises to the best value thereof showing (torn) Harlakenden having received the said colour and authority from the earl to survey bargain and sell the manors lands tenements and other the premises of a fraudulent covetous and greedy intention touching himself (torn) trust and confidence as the earl reposed in him and deceiving the earl not only gave out divers speeches to discredit the title of the earl and so to withdraw such persons as were not likely to be desirous to purchase (torn) contrary to the commission of the earl and contrary to his solemn promises and protestations never gave notice to the copyholders and terre tenants of the premises or any of them of the earl's intention to sell the premises (torn) the earl that the said copyholders and terre tenants would not purchase the land in their possession where in truth he never offered the same to any of them in sale and further the said Roger Harlakenden (torn) dissembling making show of great faith and services to the earl offered that if the earl were disposed to depart with the land he would for his own part purchase and buy the site of the (torn) Earls Colne and the manor of Colne Priory and parsonage of Colne Priory being as he alleges of the yearly value of 35li a year alleging that he would give the earl for the same (torn) which he alleged was the full value thereof and Harlakenden fearing through the guilt of his own conscience that the earl would make further enquiry of the value of the lands (torn) earl's servants that was near about him and in whom the earl reposed also his trust by reason of his long service with a bribe of the sum of 200li or thereabouts that he should also concur in (torn) and the said Harlakenden at the site manor and parsonage were of no further or other value than Harlakenden had formerly reported and that the said servant so corrupted should report to the earl that the said (torn) man of honesty and such a one as endeavoured in duty and service the profit and benefit of the earl simply and sincerely which according to the plot corruption and bribery was thoroughly effected (torn) and the earl being thus by the fraud practise and deceit by Harlakenden deluded and abused assented to pass the manor and parsonage to Harlakenden in the rate of twenty years purchase as the said (torn) pretended which by Harlakenden's account amounted to 700li which Harlakenden answered in reckoning and accounts howbeit he nevertheless doubting to take the same in his own name in (torn) said frauds and practices lest the same the same coming to light he might be called in question to answer for his said fraud and practices and confederated with Rich Harlakenden his son and that the (torn) assurance to be drawn and passed to Rich Harlakenden and his heirs were indeed the said site manor and parsonage are of the yearly value of 400li above all charges and reparations and were then in (torn) few years to come and that upon the same leases there was reserved the yearly rent of 40li and that in very truth the site manor and parsonage were then clearly worth to be sold (torn) 3000li and above and furthermore the said earl Edw did set forth by his bill that Harlakenden not satisfied with this extreme gain on the said earl acquired through his fraud practice and deceit (torn) caused the parsonage of White Colne the parsonages of Belcham Bently and Messing and the farm called Plaistowe in Halsted and the said two farms in Sible Hedingham the parsonage of Wickham in Cambridge and (torn) divers other messuages land and tenements hereditaments and apportions of tithe in Essex Cambridge and Suffolk of the clear yearly value of 400li above all charges were in truth none of the said manor lands tenements and parsonages or tithes were ever mentioned to the earl to be conveyed to Harlakenden nor were ever meant or intended to be conveyed or assured unto him and that Harlakenden still meaning for his (torn) the further hindrance of the earl contracted with divers other persons for divers other parcels of the said manor lands tenements and hereditaments not meant or intended in the said bargain with (torn) and therein abusing the earl to believe that the manor lands and tenements were of very small value caused the earl to bargain and sell divers of the same manors lands and tenements to divers persons for very small sums of money not amounting to a quarter of the value thereof and in truth the same were formerly contained within the assurance made by the earl to Rich Harlakenden cunningly and craftily inserted in the general words not understood by the earl and his counsel and by reason of the said scandalous devices the earl was like to (torn) incurring his bonds and warranty made for the assurance of the manors lands and tenements besides the importable loss and hindrance which he endured by the deceit aforesaid and that thereupon the earl prayed the ordinary process of the court to be directed to Roger Harlakenden and Rich Harlakenden to appear in the court and answer to the premises and to (torn) order therein as by the court should be thought to stand with equity and good conscience which process being served upon Roger and Rich Harlakenden they appeared and answered (torn) and the earl replied and Roger and Rich Harlakenden rejoined and so the matter was at issue and witnesses were examined on every part and were published and the cause came to hearing in the said court in the term of holy trinity on saturday 23.6.41Eliz1 before your lordship and forasmuch as upon the opening of the cause (torn) your lordship that a promise made by Roger Harlakenden for the reassuring of the land sold by the earl to Roger Harlakenden was not contained in the bill exhibited by the said (torn) by reason thereof that no order could be had or made for the earl thereupon therefore it was ordered among other things ordered that the earl Edw might exhibit a (torn) the same premises and call the same defendants to answer thereunto and where the earl according to the order did thereupon exhibit a bill of complaint into the court of chancery (torn) Roger and Rich Harlakenden showing by the bill the covenous and fraudulent dealing and practices mentioned and set forth in the former bill of complaint and did (torn) latterly allege and set forth that Roger Harlakenden divers and sundry times did promise to the earl that upon the repayment of such money that he the earl (torn) to the earl for the same with some reasonable consideration for the forbearing of the money if the profits of the lands did not in the meantime commit (torn) Harlakenden would recover and reassure or cause to be reconveyed or reassured the site manor and parsonage and premises to the earl and his heirs whereupon (torn) at twenty years purchase after the rate of such yearly valuation for premises as Harlakenden had made as aforesaid which by Harlakenden's account amounted to (torn) Harlakenden answered in reckoning and accounts to the earl showing further that yet nevertheless Harlakenden intending in truth utterly to defraud the earl and (torn) and cause the assurance to be drawn and passed to Rich Harlakenden and his heirs showing further that the site manor and parsonage then were of the full yearly value (torn) pounds at the least over and above all the charges and reprisals and were then in of lease but for twenty years to come upon which leases was reserved the yearly rent of (torn) manor and parsonage are not less worth to be sold than 6000li and further shows that Roger and Rich Harlakenden supposing that the earl was not (torn) proof of the said promise of reassurance made by Roger Harlakenden to the earl did utterly deny that Roger had made any such promise to the earl (torn) use and benefit of his father and that Roger Harlakenden did by bribes and rewards given to such as could terrify Roger Harlakenden promise of (torn) in sort as aforesaid and sought to obscure and withdraw from testifying the truth of their knowledge of the same and that Roger and Rich (torn) did intend by those and the like covenous and fraudulent practices to defeat the earl of the site manor and parsonage to gain the same to (torn) part of the value thereof as by the bill in this court filed and remaining as more at large may appear whereupon the said Roger and Rich upon process of the court (torn) appeared and answered and so agree to a full and perfect issue and witnesses being examined thereupon between the parties publication thereof was by order (torn) a day for the hearing of the cause in question between the parties was afterward appointed by the court at which day the parties by their counsel heard (torn) and agreed amongst other things that the earl his heirs and assigns should and might from thenceforth have hold and quietly enjoy the said farm (torn) tithes of the said seven towns without let or in the occupation of the defendants or either of them or any claim from by or under them or either of them as by the order and decree more at large (torn) touching the reassurance and recompense which the earl demanded in respect of the promise of Roger Harlakenden for he was by the deceit and fraudulent (torn) and the confederacy with one Kelton and others drawn to sell and convey the said lands to Rich his son for less value by a great deal than the lands (torn) did not then think fit to proceed to the hearing and ordering of that point but did order that either of the parties should make true breviots touching their (torn) also touching the promise of reassurance made by Roger to the earl as aforesaid then the briefs should be delivered to your lordship who would be pleased (torn) opinion of some of the lord chief justices how far forth the said court might give relief to the earl Edw touching his demand by the decree and order (torn) that it may please your lordship that since and not long after the making of the said decree the earl Edw and Roger Harlakenden both died by (torn) bills of complaint were discontinued and abated and so do now remain may it please his lordship that both the said bills together with all and every other depositions orders (torn) revived and may be pursued and prosecuted by the now earl and by the countess and sir Francis Vere as his guardians against Rich Harlakenden being first purchaser of the (torn) son and heir to Roger and being one of the defendants in the former suit and also against Thos Harlakenden brother of Rich as (torn) then Thos Harlakenden being tenant in possession of some part of the premises and further that whereas Rich Harlakenden has by (torn) contained in the said conveyance and assurance made by the late earl to Rich Harlakenden notwithstanding that the late earl and Roger Harlakenden (torn) or intention to contract for any other lands tenements or hereditaments but only the site of the priory and manor of Colne Priory and the parsonage of Earls Colne into and taken the issues and profits and divers parcels of lands meadows pastures rents tenements and hereditaments lying in Earls Colne Colne Engaine White Colne Wakes Colne (torn) Middleton Sible Hedingham Castle Hedingham Halsted Gestingthorpe Twinsted Alphamston Tey Magna Markshall Pattiswick Stisted Buers ad Montem Buers St Mary Wormingford and Aldham and (torn) in the counties of Suffolk and Essex and in divers other towns (torn) and counties of (torn) Essex which were not any part parcel nor member of the said site and manor of Colne Priory and parsonage of (torn) or any of them and Rich Harlakenden and Thos Harlakenden had also got into his or their possession the ledger and register books manifesting and mentioning the lands tenements and hereditaments (torn) belonging (torn) said manor of Colne Priory and which do not belong unto the same manor of Colne Priory and do obscure the title of the earl thinking and supposing (torn) he cannot be able to prove the same by any witnesses now living and so thereby most unconscionably and wrongfully seeks to disinherit the now earl (torn) please his lordship to grant to Hen writ of subpoena