Chancery Depositions (PRO C5/439/13 Hen and Abigail Abbott v Jn Goodwin)

25.1.1685 (Sunday 25 January 1685)

document 17100209

answer of Jn Goodwin cleric defendant to the bill of complaint of Hen Abbott and Abigail his wife says he believes it to be true that the complainant Abigail about the time in the bill for that purpose mentioned or some short time before was seised in fee to her and her heirs of some estate of inheritance of and in lands tenements and premises mentioned and that she did intermarry as in the bill but he believes that some time before the complainant's intermarriage with Hen Abbott Abigail by the name of Abigail Park did surrender into the hands of the lords and ladies of the respective manors where the premises are held by copy of court roll to the use of such person or persons in such estate and such sort that she Abigail in and by any writing under her hand and seal to be by her sealed and published in the presence of two or more credible witnesses should be limited appointed or declared and for want of such limitation or appointment then to the use of her the complainant Abigail and her right heirs forever and does likewise believe it to be true that a child is since born to the complainant and is yet living and the defendant confesses it to be true that Abigail on or about 2.8.last in the presence of him and Sam Ellis Solomon Stebbing and Robt Townsend who subscribed their names as witnesses sign seal and as her act and deed deliver one deed poll dated 2.8. thereby reciting that she had surrendered the premises as above to the uses aforesaid she did thereby declare that the premises and the surrender thereof to be to the use of herself for life and after her decease to the defendant and his heirs on trust therein limited and declared viz for the only benefit and behoof of the first child she should have in case such child should marry or live to the age of twenty one years then in trust or benefit for the heirs of such children but in case she Abigail died without any children which she should have or any child she have die unmarried before the age of twenty one years then the defendant and his heirs to stand seised of the premises viz of the part thereof for the sole benefit and behoof of the complainant's sister Frances Clark and her heirs forever and the other part for the sole benefit and behoof of the complainant's sister Eliz Clark and her heirs for ever and other part to benefit of sister Mary Clark and her heirs forever and the remaining part to sister Martha Clark and her heirs forever by the deed poll remaining in this defendant's custody and ready to be produced in this court and he refers himself for more certainty it does more fully appear and the defendant denies all and all manner of unlawful combination and confederacy charged upon him by the bill or that he took any advantage of the complainant's ignorance or did request or desire her the complainant or was in any ways instrumental in persuading or procuring her to sign and seal the deed mentioned or any other deed or writing whatsoever save as is hereinafter mentioned or that he did pretend or affirm that the contents thereof were otherwise than before recited or did use any subtle means or suggestions unto her the complainant either of them in or about the premises but the whole truth of the matter inquired of in about the complainant's bill as far as this defendant is concerned circumspection thereof is as follows he says that on or about 1.8.last as he remembers he was sent for by the complainant Abigail as he supposes at Coggeshall Magna about ten miles distant from his habitation and he was willing and did agree to go to Coggeshall to the complainant the next day and went accordingly and the forenoon of the same day before he set out the deed herein before recited was produced unto him by one mr Ellis which was the first time he ever saw or knew or heard anything of the said deed or anything relating thereto for he perused the same and knoweth that it would if he would consent thereto by taking upon him and the trust as this deponent supposes the intent to be but he does not remember the words that were then said to him and the complainant Abigail being his relation he was willing to accept the trust and accordingly did go to Coggeshall where Abigail did at the house of Robt Townsend grocer execute the deed and delivered it to him to be by him kept and preserved upon the trust and to for the several uses therein mentioned and expressed and he did receive the same and undertake the trust and has had the deed ever since in his custody and power and still has the same and says that he does not remember that the deed was read over to the complainant Abigail at the time of her execution thereof but verily believes that she was fully informed of the contents and that she had the same by her for some time before and the defendant does rather believe the same for that the complainant her husband has since confessed to the defendant that she had before that time read over the same and he says that she executed the deed voluntarily and of her own accord and not at the import unity or request of him or any other person to his knowledge so far was the same from being unduly gained or extorted from her and he says he is wholly ignorant by whom the deed was drawn up or prepared or the motives or considerations for the complainant executing thereof unless the same were a contrivance between the complainants themselves on purpose to put the defendant and his relations to trouble and charge which he unwillingly believes for the reasons herein after mentioned and the defendant further says that about the latter end of .9.last he the defendant received a letter from the complainant Abigail which was penned by her husband as he afterwards confessed to the defendant thereby desiring the defendant to send to her the deed to be cancelled for that her husband did threaten to give the complainant trouble therein if he the defendant did not send the same and further added that the deed was of no significance for that she had before that time made over the lands and premises by some other deed or writing whereunto this defendant did return an answer in writing by the same bearer that brought the complainant's letter to him that he this defendant would discourse his relations touching the same and that if he found the matter of his letter to be true and that her relations were willing and consenting thereto he would deliver up the deed and the defendant says that soon after he did repair to the house of the complainant's mother and enquired of her the truth of the matter who sent immediately as she informed this defendant to the steward of the court whereof the premises were held who was then at home as the messenger then informed the defendant whereupon the complainant's mother did promise him to make an enquiry the next court day and to send him account thereof but he never received any account from her and afterwards about .10.last she the complainant sent the defendant another letter demanding the delivery of the deed whereto he returned answer in writing and did wonder that the complainants should trouble themselves about that which they themselves knew was of no avail and he wrote no other answer but sent them word by the bearer that he had been with the complainant's mother as aforesaid and she had not then given him any account and that so soon as he could be satisfied that the complainant had made such other deed as she pretended and that the deed aforesaid was of no effect he should be ready and willing to deliver up the same before the defendant was or could be satisfied thereof he was served with a subpoena at the complainant's suit to appear in this court whereupon he being afterwards informed and believing that the complainant Abigail had before the sealing and delivery of the deed to this defendant had made some other deed of the premises and thereby fully satisfied and fulfilled the power reserved on the surrender this defendant did believe and was advised that he might safely deliver up the deed and thereupon to avoid all further charge and trouble he did on or about 16.1. instant repair to Kersey where he found the complainant Abbott and he did then and there in the presence of divers credible witnesses tender to the complainant the deed herein before set forth and was very willing to deliver up the same but the complainant positively refused to receive the same saying that he did not know whether it was the same deed executed by the complainant or not so the defendant then endeavoured to give him all the satisfaction that might be and particularly showed him the persons names subscribed therein as witnesses whom the complainant did then own and acknowledge were witnesses to the deed by him enquired after however he the complainant absolutely refused to receive the same saying that the defendant should answer it upon oath whereupon the defendant proceeded to argue with the complainant since he acknowledged the invalidity thereof he should made both for himself and the defendant trouble touching the same but he the defendant could not imagine any reason for it unless it were one upon occasion of some words form erly said between them he the complainant thereupon said that you meaning the defendant may see it once in seven years I can be even with you and added as a reason why he did not to this defendant and one Sam Ellis against whom he likewise exhibited a bill last term as defendant is informed and believes to the same effect with that against this defendant both in one bill to the intent that should not both join together and should be put to double charges in answering the same and the defendant says he does not know of any other deed or writing sealed or executed by the complainant Abigail touching or concerning the premises or any part thereof other than is afore set forth nor has any deed or writing in his power custody or in the power or custody of any other person or persons to his use or by his order privity delivery knowledge or consent relating thereunto neither does the defendant know whether the complainant Hen Abbott was privy to the complainant Abigail's executing the deed herein before recited and believes the complainant was not wholly ignorant thereof which this defendant is induced to believe for reasons shown and before set forth neither is the same material as he conceives and is advised neither did the defendant ever refuse to acquaint the complainant or either of them of the contents of the deeds and he says he is still ready and willing to deliver up the deed to the complainant to be cancelled they paying him the costs and charges of the suit which he is unjustly put unto as he conceives therefore he humbly offers the matters to the court and hopes the bill will be dismissed and his cost paid he denies that he ever gave out or pretended that the contents of the deed were other than is aforesaid or that the complainant ever executed any other deed or writing touching the premises than aforesaid and knows nothing of the complainant Hen's difficulties in the bill mentioned and his father refuses to make a settlement upon him ill he be informed of the contents of the deed but believes that this is a mere pretence for he is credibly informed that the complainant's father is well satisfied of the invalidity thereof and that by the steward of the manor whereof the land and premises are held asks to be dismissed with costs