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Chancery Depositions (PRO C2 Chas1 H.4/1 Rich Harlakenden v Ambrose Coppinger and Francis Harrison)

16.5.1628 (Friday 16 May 1628)

document 16400780

the right honourable Thos lord Coventry lord keeper of the great seal of England complaining showeth your good lord your orator Rich Harlakenden of Earls Colne esq that whereas the right honourable Edw de Vere late earl of Oxford deceased was in his lifetime lawfully seised of and in the manor of Colne Priory in the county of Essex and of a certain portion of tithes in Lavenham in the county of Suffolk the said portion of tithes being of the yearly value of 30li or thereabouts and of one other portion of tithes in Aldham in the said county of Suffolk of the yearly value of 20li or thereabouts and also of the rectory and parsonage of Earls Colne all which premises at the time of the said disillusion of the late priory or monastery of the blessed virgin mary and st john the evangelist of Earls Colne aforesaid that is to say in or about 26Hen8 and long before were parcel of the possessions of the said priory and the said portions of tithes at and before at the times aforesaid and until now of late years were letten occupied and enjoyed with the said manor of Colne Priory and were generally reputed to be part thereof and the said late earl so being seised of the said manor portions of tithes and rectory for great and valuable considerations to him paid and given by Roger Harlakenden esq your orator's late father since deceased and your orator did by his deed indented and enrolled bearing date 7.2.34Eliz1 and by other good and lawful assurances thereupon and shortly after ensuing bargain and sell and convey unto your orator and his heirs amongst other things the said manor portion of tithes and rectory with the appurtenances according to which said conveyance your orator and his father by the space of divers years next ensuing did receive and take the rents reserved upon several leases then being of the said several portions of tithes not long after which said purchase so made by your orator and his said father the said late earl did then by the misinformation and instigation of some maliciously bent against your said orator and his father exhibit a bill in this honourable court against your orator's late father and your orator thereby suggesting that the said Roger Harlakenden your orator's father contrary to the intention of the said earl had by practise procured to be inserted into the said conveyance made to your orator certain general words whereby not only the said portion of tithes but also divers lands manors and tenements of great yearly value were conveyed to your orator which were not intended by the said earl to be conveyed nor were contracted nor bargained for with him by the said Roger Harlakenden and your orator and containing also divers other suggestions tending to avoid the said purchase made by your orator and his father unto which bill the said Roger Harlakenden and your orator being served with process did put in their answers and denied all and every the practises and undue courses therein surmised and the said cause coming afterwards to issue proofs and publications the same in the 41Eliz1 was at several times heard in court and upon hearing thereof it appearing to the then lord keeper that the said portions of tithes were not particularly granted but were claimed by your orator by virtue of a general clause or grant contained in the said conveyance of all portions of tithes in Aldham and Lavenham in the county of Suffolk to the said manor of Colne Priory and the rectory of Earls Colne or either of them belonging or in anywise appertaining or were then or either of them or any parcel thereof usually let or occupied or accepted taken reputed or known as any part or member of them or every of them did thereupon interrogating the said Roger Harlakenden whether the said portion of tithes were parcel of the said rectory or no who answered he could not tell whether they were parcel of the said rectory or not his lordship thereupon for that also as he conceived the then defendants seemed to pretend that the said portion of tithes were parcel of the said rectory and yet had made no proof thereof did order the said tithes to the said earl and his heirs and assigns until the then defendants should upon a new bill exhibited upon new matter show and prove the court good cause to the contrary and a course was also directed by his lordship for the said earl's further proceeding upon the other matters of his said bill as by the orders of the said court then remaining upon record may appear but the said earl being as it seems advised by his counsel that there was no likelihood of good success therein did desist from any further prosecution upon any the other matters of his said bill and only took out the decree under seal for his enjoying of the said portions of tithes whereupon your said orator and his father intending to exhibit their bill touching the said portion of tithes they were advised by their counsel upon instructions given to that purpose that although it was true as they conceived that your orator and his father had very good grounds for their said suit touching the said portion of tithes yet seeing the said earl desisted from any further prosecution of the other matters in his said bill against them which although for the matter thereof they could be of no danger yet might be very chargeable unto them it was in that respect no policy or good discretion for them to awake and stir up so powerful an adversary by so petty a demand as those portions of tithes which were then thought both by your orator and his father in regard of the small rents then paid for the same and being strangers to the place where the same were and trusting to the misinformation of others to be of little value although since upon better enquiry they have found them to be of such values as before is set forth according to which advice your orator and his father did refrain to exhibit their said bill so as there was a mutual silence and cessation of suits on either part so long as the said earl and your orator's father lived and for a long time after their deaths until the same suit was again revived by the right honourable Eliz late countess dowager of Oxford deceased late mother and guardian of the right honourable Hen late earl of Oxford since likewise deceased son and heir of the late earl Edw in the name and right of the said earl Hen which said suit so revived against your orator continuing many years very chargeable and troublesome both to the said earl and your orator and yet the said earl nothing prevailing therein the same was about six years now last past by consent of both parties dismissed as by order of this court appeareth yet so it is may it please your good lordship that Ambrose Coppinger clerk about nine years now last past being then and yet parson of Lavenham aforesaid and then and yet well knowing of the said conveyances made by the said late earl Edw to your orator and also of the said suit commenced by the said late earl against your orator and his father and the said orders and decrees thereupon made and knowing also that it was then questionable as yet it is whether divers tithes growing and renewing in divers places in Lavenham aforesaid were and are belonging to the parsonage of Lavenham or to the said portions of tithes above mentioned to belong to the said priory and to be granted to your orator and his heirs and intending as is very probable to advance and enlarge the said portions of tithes in Lavenham aforesaid to the benefit and behalf of him and his heirs against the right of the said parsonage and by encroachment thereupon which he might the more easily compass if he were both parson of the parsonage of Lavenham aforesaid and also proprietor of the said portion of tithes in Lavenham aforesaid he the said Ambrose Coppinger upon such grounds and reason and upon such notice and to such intents aforesaid about the time aforesaid for very little or no consideration did purchase of the said earl Hen the said portion of tithes of Lavenham aforesaid which the said earl accordingly so far as in him lay the premises considered did grant unto the said Coppinger and his heirs or to some other to the behalf and benefit of the said Coppinger and his heirs or for some other estate yet long to continue and also Francis Harrison clerk about eight or nine years now last past then and yet parson of Aldham aforesaid and well knowing of the said conveyance suit and orders above mentioned and also that it then was and yet is questionable whether divers tithes renewing and growing in Aldham aforesaid then were and are belonging to the parsonage of Aldham aforesaid or the said portion of tithes above mentioned to belong to the said priory and to be granted to your orator and his heirs and intending as is probable to benefit himself his heirs and assigns by colour of the said portion of tithes and by enlarging the same against the right of the parsonage of Aldham did upon such notice and to such intent as aforesaid and for small considerations and at his own peril purchase of the said earl so far as in the said earl lay the said portion of tithes in Aldham aforesaid and the said Ambrose Coppinger and Francis Harrison so having obtained several conveyances of the said portion of tithes and having by casual means gotten into their hands divers evidences and writings setting forth the values and extents of the said several portions of tithes and also proving your orator's title thereunto and also divers other conveyances writings and evidences of and concerning the said manor and divers rents thereunto belonging all said conveyances writings and evidences of right and equity belonging to your orator have by colour thereof respectively claimed and do claim the said portions of tithes to be their own and have for divers years taken and received the same and do also claim and challenge divers lands and rents belonging to the said manor or priory having in law nor equity no good title thereunto for your orator in all humbleness to satisfy this honourable court of the justice and equity of his demand of the said portions of tithes appearing upon and for further and other matters and circumstances not proved nor in question at the hearing of the said cause and in pursuit and agreeing with the said clause of the said decree concerning further and other matter do the further show unto your good lordship that the said priory and manor were in truth and reputation one and the same which appears both by the style of the court of the said manor and by divers accounts and rentals and other records and writings not heretofore produced nor then in your orator's hands and therefore the said portions of tithes in truth did belong thereunto and were reputed parcel thereof and were from time to time and at the time of your orator's said purchase let and occupied with the said manor as parcel thereof or belonging thereunto and your orator also showeth that the said several portions of tithes were set down and valued in the particular whereby your orator and his father did purchase both them and the other premises above mentioned of the said earl Edw and were agreed to be parcel of the said purchase so made by your orator and his said father and that they did in the same purchase give full valuable and proportionable consideration for the same tithes amongst the said other things purchased and the said earl Edw did levy a fine of the said portions of tithes in particular and by themselves to your orator and his heirs and according to the tenor and true meaning of the said conveyances your orator and his said father did for many years after their said purchase quietly take receive and enjoy the several rents reserved for the said portions being then in lease which said matters and circumstances mentioned proving your said orator's right to the tithes both in law and equity not being proved or in question in particular and the hearing of the said cause the court then upon since such grounds and reasons as aforesaid did order the said tithes to the said earl Edw his heirs and assigns in such manner as is before set forth wherein your orator prayeth the considerations and relief of this honourable court the premises considered and the rather for that the said Coppinger and Harrison at the times of their purchase of the said portions of tithes respectively did and yet do know all and every the premises above mentioned to be true and although the said Coppinger and Harrison and either of them have been in friendly manner required by your orator to deliver unto him all and every the said evidences and writings yet they and either of them have denied and still do deny to deliver up the same or any of them but do still detain them from your orator contrary to equity and good conscience and to your orator's damage and hindrance for recovery whereof he is without remedy by law for that he knoweth not the certain dates or contents thereof nor wherein the same or any of them are contained and although your orator desirous of quiet for prevention of suits hath often offered unto the said Coppinger and Harrison respectively to refer the present differences touching the premises to the arbitrament of indifferent arbitrators which offers some others in the like case have accepted and thereupon come to friendly ends whereby your orator hath had some competent satisfaction yet the said Coppinger and Harrison and either of them have from time to time refused to refer the same and wished your orator to take his course in law against them may it therefore please your lordship the premises considered to grant your orator his majesties gracious writ of subpoena to be directed etc