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

20.6.1628 (Friday 20 June 1628)

document 16500005

the joint and several answers of Ambrose Coppinger clerk and Francis Harrison clerk defendants to the bill of complaint of Rich Harlakenden esq complainant all advantages of exception to the many insufficiencies and incertainties of the said bill of complaint unto the said defendants and either of them etc the said defendants jointly and respectively say they verily believe that the said bill of complaint is exhibited against them for mere vexation and without any good or just cause of suit only to put these defendants to unnecessary charges and expenses and to compel and enforce them being men unwilling to contend in suits of law to give some composition rather than trouble themselves in the defence of so chargeable a suit and these defendants do jointly and severally also say they verily believe the said Edw de Vere late earl of Oxenford deceased in the bill named was in his lifetime lawfully seised in fee simple of and in the said manor of Colne Priory in the county of Essex and of and in the said portion of tithes in Lavenham and Aldham in the county of Suffolk aforesaid and of and in the said rectory and parsonage of Earls Colne as in the said bill is alleged but whether the said premises at the time of the disillusion of the said late priory or monastery of the blessed virgin mary and st john the evangelist of Earls Colne aforesaid were parcel of the possession of the said priory or whether the said portion of tithes at or before 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 these defendants know not and the said earl so being seised of the said manor portions of tithes and rectory as aforesaid these defendants say that they have heard that the said earl about the time in the said bill mentioned did convey and assure to the complainant and his father or one of them or some other to their use or the use of one of them by such assurance and conveyance as was then devised the particular manner whereof is unknown to these defendants who are strangers to the same of the manor and rectory in the bill mentioned and the said defendants have likewise heard that the said conveyance was made for small consideration of about two years value and upon special trust and confidence reposed by the said earl in the said complainant and Roger Harlakenden the complainant's father who was then servant and much employed and trusted in the business of the said earl without any exact enquiry made either into the value or the particulars intended to be conveyed as aforesaid by force of which conveyance the complainant at this day doth enjoy about 800li by the year which was the said earl's and these defendants do not know or believe that ever the portions of tithes in the bill mentioned were conveyed or intended to be conveyed by the said earl to the said Roger or the complainant but have heard that the said Roger and the plaintiff did in the lifetime of the said Edw earl of Oxford claim to have the said portion of tithes by colour of some general words in the said conveyances whereupon the said Edw or earl Edw as these defendants have heard did proffer into this honourable court the said bill in the plaintiff's bill mentioned showing that the complainant and his father did by colour of general words claim that which was not intended to them nor did in truth pass and that the conveyance was made upon trust and confidence for reassurance of the said premises unto the said earl and his heirs upon repayment of the money that was disbursed unto him by the said complainant and his father and other matter whereupon there was prayed reconveyance upon which suit proceeding was had as in the plaintiff's bill and upon the full hearing and long debate of the cause before the then lord keeper in or about 42Eliz1 the possession of the said portion of tithes was deemed in this court to the said earl Oxenford and his heirs and assigns as the plaintiff in his bill doth confess saving only that these defendants do deny that they do know that the complainant and his father were or are left at large by the said decree to prosecute in this court any title to the said portions of tithes on new and better matter by them to be discovered as the said complainant in his said bill hath suggested and these defendants do say that the said earl being seised of the said portions of tithes as aforesaid having his possession quieted by the decree as aforesaid shortly after died thereof so seised after whose decease the said portion of tithes lawfully descended and came as of right they ought to descend and come unto the right honourable Hen de Vere late earl of Oxenford deceased son and heir apparent of the said earl Edw and the said earl Hen from and after the death of the said earl Edw being seised of the said portion of tithes as of fee and right quietly and peacefully held and enjoyed the same by the space of twenty years and upwards or thereabouts from and after the death of the said earl Edw and the said Ambrose Coppinger one of these defendants severally for himself saith that some differences having formerly arisen betwixt the said earl and Hen Coppinger this defendant's father then parson of the parish church of Lavenham aforesaid concerning the gathering and dividing of the said portion of tithes in Lavenham aforesaid from the tithes belonging unto the rectory of Lavenham the said Hen Coppinger for the avoiding all further strife between the said earl Hen and him after the said earl Edw during his lifetime and the said earl Hen by the space of twenty years or thereabouts after his death had quietly and peacefully enjoyed the said portion of tithes in Lavenham as their inheritance did in or upon 10.6.17Jas1 for full and valuable consideration viz for 80li in hand paid purchase a lease from the said earl Hen by indenture upon the hand and seal bearing date the said day and year of all the said day and year of all the said portions of tithes in Lavenham with the appurtenances to have hold and perceive and enjoy the said portion of tithes with appurtenances unto the said Hen Coppinger his executors administrators and assigns from the annunciation last past before the date of the said indenture unto the full end and term of ninety nine years from thence next ensuing by virtue of which said demise the said Hen Coppinger was possessed of the said portion of tithes in Lavenham with appurtenances and did gather the same after his said purchase by the space of four years being all the lifetime of the said Hen Coppinger and the said Hen Coppinger so being possessed thereof in or about 31.12.1621 made his last will and testament in writing and by the same did give and bequeath the said portion of tithes in Lavenham aforesaid and all the right title interest and term of years of the said Hen Coppinger of and in the same unto this defendant Ambrose Coppinger paying 70li unto divers of the brothers of the said Ambrose and did constitute and appoint the said Ambrose sole executor of that his last will and testament as by the same more at large appeareth and the said Hen shortly after that is to say about 21.12.1622 at Lavenham aforesaid died after whose decease the said defendant Ambrose Coppinger took upon him the charge of the said will and proved the same in due form of law and was and is possessed of the said portion of tithes in Lavenham aforesaid and did and doth still gather the same by virtue of the said will and bequest as aforesaid as this defendant hopeth by the favour of this honourable court was and in lawful for him to do and the said defendant Francis Harrison for himself severally saith that he being parson of the parish church of Aldham in the bill named upon 1.5.17Jas1 aforesaid for a full and valuable consideration viz for 120li14s8d purchased the lease of the said portion of tithes in Aldham with appurtenances in the bill mentioned to and to hold and perceive unto the said Francis his executors and assigns from annunciation last past before the date of the indenture of lease unto the full end and term of ninety nine years from thence next ensuing as by the counterpane of the said indenture of lease bearing date the day and year last above said remaining with this defendant ready to be shown forth may appear by virtue of which lease the said Francis Harrison was and is possessed of the said portion of tithes in Aldham with appurtenances and did and doth gather the same as under favour of this honourable court is lawful for him to do and these defendants do further jointly and respectively say that the suit of the complainant in his bill is to evict the inheritance of the said portion of tithes and is grounded upon a clause of a decree of this honourable court whereunto these defendants are no parties and therefore these defendants cannot take notice upon what ground the then decree of this court was made or whether the matter in the plaintiff's bill be such as was not then produced neither can these defendants being only lessees for years defend the inheritance of the said portion of tithes without the aid and assistance of the owners of the inheritance who have the evidence that do concern the title to the inheritance of the said portions whereupon these defendants coming by way of purchase unto the said portions of tithes from the said earls for full and valuable consideration after almost thirty years possession of the same in the said earls and their assigns according to the said decree without any notice of the plaintiff's pretended title unto them until long after their estates began do hope that this honourable court will not now question their title nor put them to defend the right of inheritance of the said portion of tithes without the aid of the owners of the inheritance to whom the reversion upon these defendants leases is descended and come after the death of the said earl Hen or under favour of this honourable court ought as these defendants do conceive to have been made parties to the plainant's bill as well as these defendants and these defendants do deny that the said portions of tithes are worth so much as in the said bill is alleged for the defendant Francis Harrison saith that the portion in Aldham is communibus annis not worth much more than 10li and some years falleth out to be less worth and the defendant Ambrose Coppinger doth say that he cannot set down any certain value of the portion in Lavenham in regard it is not nor hath ever been in his remembrance certainly distinguished from the parsonage tithes in Lavenham and was purchased by this defendant's father only to accord suits and controversies between the farmers of the said portion and himself being parson there which did and were likely daily to arise about the tithing within the town of Lavenham but he doth conceive it much less worth than as set forth in the plaintiff's bill and these defendants do deny that to their knowledge the plaintiff and his father did take the rents reserved upon the leases for years of the said portions divers years after the purchase of the plaintiff and his father and the defendant Ambrose Coppinger doth deny that he did purchase the portion of tithes in Lavenham from the said earl Hen or that he knew of any conveyance of the said portion to the plaintiff or his father at the time of the purchase or since or ever heard of any till he heard the plaintiff about a year since make claim to the said portion and pretend such a conveyance or that he at the time of the purchase knew of any suits commenced against the plaintiff and his father by the said earl Edw or of the orders and decrees in the bill mentioned saving that he hath sometime heard that the portion of tithes in the bill mentioned were decreed to the said earl Edw absolutely or that ever he had any intent to advance himself being parson of Lavenham or his heirs by encroaching on the tithes of the parsonage of Lavenham by colour of being proprietor to the said portion of tithes and parsonage of Lavenham in such sort as is most maliciously and slanderously in the plaintiff's bill laid down and this defendant saith that he is and will be ever ready rather to lose his own right in the said portion to the church than any way to give from the church any right thereof and the said Francis Harrison for himself doth deny that at the time of the purchase by him made he did know of any title that the plaintiff had to the said portion in Aldham or that the same was to the plaintiff conveyed or that there is or ever was any controversy about the certainty of the said portion of tithes in Aldham this defendant saith that the same was ever known certainly out of what lands it did issue and the said Francis Harrison doth deny that he did intend to benefit himself by enlarging the said portion against the parsonage of Aldham as in the said bill is maliciously and slanderously set forth or that he did purchase it for small consideration at his own peril and only so far as in the earl lay but saith that the title of the said earl by continuance of possession was taken to be good at the time of the purchase and that the said portion was then known certainly and thereupon he paid full as much as the portion was worth for ninety nine years and was then ordinarily conceived by such as had judgement in such purchase and the said defendants do deny that they or either of them have any manner of writings or evidences concerning the manor in the plaintiff's bill mentioned or any manner of writing or evidences concerning the said portions of tithes other than the indentures of lease of the said portions of tithes severally to these defendants belonging these defendants do say that they do not know that the priory and manor in the bill mentioned are all one or whether the plaintiff hath any such matter by him lately discovered to prove the same so to be and they do not believe that the said portions of tithes were or were ever reputed to be parcel of the manor in the bill mentioned and if anything in the plaintiff's bill be further material to evict the said portion of tithes to the plaintiff these defendants do conceive that it is proper matter to be tried between the plaintiff and the owners of the inheritance of the same who have the decree of this court for them which cannot as these defendants are advised by their counsel be avoided except the said owners to whom the inheritance was decreed were made parties to the suit without that any other matter or thing etc the defendants abovesaid sworn at Lavenham Suffolk 13.6.4Chas1 before us Andrew Hayward P Powle (inserted)