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Chancery Decrees and Orders (PRO C78/104/17 decree roll countess of Oxford v: Rich Harlakenden)

10.2.42Eliz1 (Sunday 10 February 1600)

document 18400331

where the right honourable Edw earl of Oxford heretofore did exhibit his bill of complaint into this most high court of chancery against Roger Harlakenden and Rich Harlakenden the said earl by his said bill declaring that the said Roger Harlakenden being farmer to the said earl of divers lands belonging to the earl in Earls Colne Essex made means to serve the said earl and to be his officer of surveyor of the honours manors lordships lands tenements and hereditaments of the said earl and receiver of his rents issues and profits and that upon the faithful promise of the said Harlakenden to deal justly and truly with the said earl he the said earl granted unto him the patent of the office of surveyor and receivership and that shortly after the earl being moved or minded to sell the manors of Colne Priory Barwick Hall Inglestorpe and Ballingdon with the milnes called Chalkney Milne and Colneford Milne the parsonage of Earls Colne White Colne Belchamp Bentley and Messing a farm or tenement called Plaistow two tenements or farms lying in Sible Henningham and Castle Henningham and certain portions of tithes lying in Sible Henningham Stanstead Mount Fitchet Maplestead Aldham Eythorp Reding and Bures in the county of Essex the parsonage of Wickham in county of Cambridge and divers portions of tithes in Lavenham and Aldham in the county of Suffolk all which premises were parcel of the possessions of the late dissolved monastery or priory of Colne in the county of Essex and that thereupon the said earl conferring with the said Harlakenden required him to survey the premises and to examine the true value thereof and to deal with the copyholders and several terre tenants of the premises for purchasing of the lands in their occupations and to sell the said manors and lands to the best value and gave his warrant under his hand and seal declaring further that the said Harlakenden contrary to the trust in him reposed not offering the same to the copyholders and tenants according to his commission but giving out speeches to discredit the complainant's title informed the earl that the copyholders and tenants would not purchase the lands in their possessions and thereupon offered to buy for himself the site of the monastery of Earls Colne the manor of Colne Priory and the parsonage of Colne Priory being of the only yearly value as he alleged of 35li by year for which he offered twenty years purchase affirming the same to be the full value and that the said Harlakenden doubting the earl would make further enquiry of the value corrupted one of the said earl's servants with a bribe of 200li to concur with him in the report of the value and to persuade the earl of the honesty and dutiful service of the said Harlakenden and that the said earl being thereby abused assented to pass the said site manor and parsonage to the said Harlakenden at the rate of twenty years purchase which according to Harlakenden's account amounted to 700li which the said Harlakenden answered in reckoning and account and that to cover his practise caused the assurance to be drawn and passed to the said Rich Harlakenden his son declaring further that the said manor and parsonage are of the yearly value of 400li and in leases for few years for 60li and worth to be sold 3000li and that the said Roger Harlakenden having inserted in the conveyance general ways whereby there is passed the manors of Barwick Hall Inglestorpe and Ballingdon the milnes called Chalkney Milne and Colneford Milne the parsonage of White Colne the parsonage of Belchamp Bentley and Messing the farm called Plaistow in Halstead the said two farms in Sible Heddingham and Castle Heddingham the parsonage of Wickam in the county of Cambridge and divers portions of tithes in the counties of Essex Cambridge and Suffolk of the yearly value of 400li by year which were never meant to be conveyed and that the said Harlakenden afterward compounding with other persons for divers other particular parts of the lands not meant to be assured affirming the same to be of small value caused the earl to sell divers of them under the value with bond for enjoying of them and warranties greatly to the earl's prejudice and loss being formerly assured to the said Rich Harlakenden and therein prayed relief as by the said bill remaining of record in this most honourable court more at large doth and may appear unto which bill the said defendants making their joint and several answers the said Roger Harlakenden by his several answers confessed that he had a patent from the earl of the surveyorship and receivership and that afterward a warrant was granted unto him for the sale of the premises and that thereupon he had conference with some bailiffs or farmers thereof and with others which was the manner of his survey and that he measured not the same but made the sales known to divers and sought to advance the price and that aversion was made that the lands were charged with a tenth of 66li per annum the reversion being in her majesty which afterward was purchased from the queen and that the defendant offered to buy to himself the monastery and manors and parsonage and certain pensions and portions of tithes in the bill mentioned and all other things mentioned in the indenture of bargain and sale to the said Rich his son and the parsonage of Wickham in the county of Cambridge for one Stubbing and that he being sick and not able to travel to the earl having paid beforehand 300li and fearing least he might be prevented used the travail of one Felton servant to the earl and did give him 20li for his pains and that he paid for the land conveyed to his son about 900li the land being then chargeable with great sums of money for arrearages due to her majesty for the tenths and that all things contained in the indenture of sale to his son were meant to be sold and that he knew not that the general words contain anything which was not truly meant to be sold and the said Rich Harlakenden for himself by his answer declaring that the said Roger his father caused the land which he bought of earl to be passed in the name of the said Rich partly because his father had a lease for years of the same or some part thereof and partly for other good considerations that the earl levied a fine and suffered a recovery thereof for his further assurance and that since the said Rich hath conveyed the lands to himself and the heirs males of his body on the body of Margt his wife begotten the remainder to the heirs males of his body the remainder to Thos his brother and the heirs males of his body with several remainders over as by the said several answers likewise remaining of record in this court more at large doth and may appear whereunto the said earl replying averred that before the said bargain the said Roger Harlakenden promised the earl that if he would pass the land to him at twenty years purchase he would upon repayment of the money reassure the lands to the earl and that thereupon the said defendants recovering the parties give to a full and perfect issue and witnesses being examined thereupon between the said parties publication thereof was by order of this court granted and a day for the hearing ordering and adjudging the said cause in question between the said parties was afterwards by this court appointed at which day the parties by their counsel learned on both sides in open court appearing for as much as upon hearing of the matter for and touching certain lands tenements and tithes which the plaintiff by his bill seeketh to have the defendants to reassure in respect that the defendants have by general words in a conveyance made unto him the said Rich Harlakenden gotten the same lands tenements and tithes contrary to the true meaning of the said plaintiff and also for and touching the reassurance or recompense which the plaintiff demandeth by his said bill and replication in respect the said Roger Harlakenden being servant unto the said plaintiff in the offices of surveyor of his lands and receiver of his rents and being put in trust by special commission to sell certain land being the land in question for the plaintiff procured the same to be conveyed to the said Rich Harlakenden his son for a lesser value by a great deal than the said lands were worth confederating with Felton and Drawater two of the plaintiff's servants to persuade the plaintiff that the lands were no more worth than the said defendant offered and promised to reassure the same upon repayment of the money which he should pay for the same as was alleged on the part of the said complainant it appeared unto this court upon the reading of the said indenture of purchase which passed from the plaintiff to the said Rich Harlakenden that the said plaintiff having an intent to pass and sell to the said Rich Harlakenden but only the site and demesne of the monastery of Earls Colne the manor of Colne Priory and the parsonage of Colne Priory yet as the same indenture is drawn and made viz by the general words of all lands belonging to the same priory within and without the sale thereof there are divers lands to the value of 400li by year which the said plaintiff did afterwards sell or convey unto other persons are conveyed unto the said Rich Harlakenden contrary to the intents and meaning of the said plaintiff which indenture so drawn by the means of the said Roger Harlakenden to his said son this court was of opinion was contrived naughtily and fraudulently albeit the said defendants do now offer to make recovery thereof to those persons to whom the same have been since conveyed by the plaintiff or which have since bought the same of the plaintiff it is therefore this present term of hilary that is today on saturday 10.2.41Eliz1 etc by the right honourable sir Thos Egerton knight lord keeper of the great seal of England and the court of chancery ordered adjudged and decreed that the said defendants shall reconvey all the said lands to the same persons accordingly discharged of all encumbrance done by them or either of them and as touching the farm of Plaistow which the defendants pretended to be parcel of the demesne of the manor of Colne Priory and touching the tithe of the seven towns viz of the town of Sible Hedingham Stansted Maplestead Aldham Bures Essex Lavenham and Aldham Suffolk which the defendant Roger Harlakenden then present in court being interrogated by the lord keeper whether the same tithes were parcel or belonging to the said rectory or not affirmed that he knew not whether the same tithes were parcel of the same rectory or parsonage or not therefore and for as much also as the said defendants have not now made any proof either that the said farm of Plaistoe is parcel of the demesne of the said manor of Colne Priory or that the tithes of the said seven towns are parcel of the said rectory of Colne Priory as they seem to pretend and yet by general words in their conveyance the same are passed unto them it is therefore likewise by the said lord keeper and court of chancery ordered adjudged and decreed that the said plaintiff his heirs and assigns shall and may from henceforth have hold and quietly enjoy the said farm of Plaistow and the tithe of the said seven towns without let or interruption of the defendants or either of them or any claiming from by or under them or either of them or by their or either of their means or procurement until they shall show and prove in this court better matter to the contrary and as touching the re assurance or recompense which the plaintiff demandeth in respect of the premises of the said Roger Harlakenden and for that he was by the deceit and fraud of the said Roger Harlakenden and the confederacy aforesaid with Felton and Drawater as he supposeth drawn to sell and convey the said lands to his the said Rich his son at a less value by a great deal than the same lands were worth this court thinks not fit not to proceed to the hearing and ordering of that point but doth order that either of the said parties shall make true brevet touching their proofs of that point as also touching the promises of reassurance made by the defendant Roger to the plaintiff as he supposeth and that either part shall see the briefs of the other to the end that nothing shall be inserted therein but that which is true as it stands proved in court and then the same briefs shall be delivered to the lord keeper who will please to have the opinion of some of the lord chief justice's how far forth this court may give relief to the plaintiff touching his said demand