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Chancery Decrees and Orders (PRO C78/230/4 Rose Partridge widow v Rich Harlakenden)

23.6.20Jas1 (Sunday 23 June 1622)

document 18500228

whereas heretofore that is to say in or about 10.5.1622 Rose Partridge of Earls Colne in the county of Essex widow complainant proffered her bill of complaint into this honourable court of chancery against Rich Harlakenden esq defendant pretending thereby that about 27Eliz1 one Jeff Cuckoke deceased the complainant's late husband being lawfully seised in fee at the will of the lord according to the customs of the several manors of Earls Colne and Earls Colne Priory of and in certain copyhold and customary lands and tenements holden of the said several manors by copy of the rolls of the courts of the said manors of the yearly value of 30li viz of the said manor of Earls Colne one messuage or tenement and 26a of land and 3a1r of meadow called Curdes and one wood or grove containing by estimation 16a then divided into three closes and of three closes of land containing by estimation 15a the one called Barmans Field and the other called Rounces and the third called Pellsland lying in Barmans Field and of the said manor called Earls Colne Priory certain lands and tenements called by the names of one garden and three crofts of land containing by estimation 6a and called Wrongs and one parcel of land called Cogges Grove containing by estimation 2a in Earls Colne aforesaid did by his last will and testament in writing will bequeath and devise all the said lands and tenements to the complainant his then wife and to her heirs forever and then did then also according to the custom of the said several manors respectively surrender the premises into the hands of the then lord or lords of the said several manors to the uses mentioned in his said last will and shortly after died and that after his decease the said surrenders were at the next court holden for the said several manors duly presented and the complainant paid her fines and was unto all the said lands and tenements lawfully admitted according to the purport of the said last will and surrenders and by force thereof entered into the said premises and was thereof lawfully seised in fee a the will of the lord according to the customs of the said several manors and received the rents issues and profits thereof and that she being so seised about a year after the death of the said Cuckoke took to husband one Robt Partridge since deceased upon which marriage one Robt Partridge her husband's father entered into a bond of great penalty to certain of her friends to assure her certain lands for her jointure of the yearly value of 20li which after the marriage he refused to perform unless the complainant would assure her said copyhold lands called Curds and other premises holden of the said manor of Earls Colne to her said husband and his heirs which notwithstanding many protestations and threatenings she utterly refused to do whereupon her said husband acquainted her that he intended to procure a formal copy to be made purporting that she had surrendered the said lands called Curdes and other the premises holden of the said manor of Earls Colne to the use of her said husband and his heirs to the end that his father might be thereby drawn to make her jointure according to his said agreement and bond which otherwise without extremity which he was loath to use against his father could not be gotten pretending that no further use should be made thereof and that afterwards the said Robt Partridge the complainant's then husband acquainted Roger Harlakenden esq then lord of the said manor of Earls Colne with his intent and entreated him that his clerk might draw and engross in parchment a formal copy purporting the surrender from the complainant of the premises holden of the said manor to the use of her said husband and his heirs which he assented unto and was done accordingly as though it had been duly surrendered and the complainant's husband showed the same to his said father who for that there was neither the hand of the lord nor steward misliked the same and would do nothing upon sight thereof unless the hand of the lord or steward could be gotten thereto wherewith the said Roger Harlakenden being again acquainted and his hand desired he refused to set his hand unless the complainant would indeed make such surrender into some of the tenants hands that might justify his doing which the complainant likewise refused to do unless she might be sure that the same might at the next court after be duly surrendered back to her and her heirs and the complainant reposing a special trust in the said Roger Harlakenden entreated him to advise her therein who taking the case upon him encouraged the complainant to make such a surrender to some of the tenants promising that he would take such course as all things should be performed again to her according to true meaning and in show of performance thereof took a bond of 300li or thereabouts of the complainant's said husband accordingly in confidence whereof the complainant did surrender the same out the complainant's into some of the tenants hands to be presented at the next court to the use of her husband and his heirs which was presented and her said husband admitted accordingly and then or shortly after surrendered the premises by way of mortgage to one Gurling and Salter which the said Roger Harlakenden gave way to and contrary to the said trust admitted them thereunto after which the money was not paid whereby the premises became forfeited to the said Gurling and Salter and so continued three or four years who notwithstanding were never in possession for finding that the complainant had made no surrender of the premises but the surrender in trust which she being a feme covert could not be good in law to bind her inheritance caused by confederacy with the said Roger Harlakenden and his servant and steward for the time being divers untrue entries to be made in the court rolls of both the said manors by some of which entries was supposed that the complainant had surrendered the premises to the use of her husband and his heirs and by some others that she had surrendered only to the use of him and of her heirs but in the end after two or three years they were glad to get as much of their money again as they could and surrendered the premises back to the complainant's said husband and his heirs and divers courts after holden for the said manors proclamation was made that the complainant's said husband should come and be admitted and pay his fine or that the same should be seized into the lord's hands which notwithstanding her said husband refused to do affirming he never had other estate therein than for his life only whereupon the said Roger Harlakenden then lord of the said manor seized the premises and made a lease thereof to one of his servants or friends to try the title and ejection firme and an action likewise upon the said bond of 300li were brought against the said complainant's said husband without her privity by the said Roger Harlakenden and by the same forced her husband to a composition and drew from him a great sum of money and 6a of wood ground parcel of the grove called Curdes Grove to be conveyed to the use of him the said Roger Harlakenden and his heirs and without her privity delivered up the said bonds of 300li to be cancelled and to colour his proceeding granted all the premises except the said 6a to the complainant for her life with the remainders over to divers of her children by her former husband Cuckoke and thereas which notwithstanding the complainant continued the possession of all the premises and set workmen to fell the wood upon the said 6a whom the said mr Harlakenden arrested whereupon the complainant being a feme covert and not able to sue procured a petition to the then lord chancellor to be relieved touching the premises who was pleased to direct his letters to sir Wm Walgrave knight and Edw Grimston esq to hear and determine the cause if they could or else to certify which mr Harlakenden understanding of presented his petition to his lordship desiring that sir Jn Tindall knight and Wm Wiseman esq might be joined with them which being granted the matter was heard before them who advised the complaint to be just and that ever after she and her husband quietly enjoyed as well the said 6a as the rest of the premises so long as the said mr Harlakenden lived until the defendant his son and heir now lord of the said several manors knowing the premises to be true compounded with the complainant for the said 6a and took from her a surrender thereof to him and his heirs which by virtue thereof he has ever since quietly enjoyed and notwithstanding the complainant did never make any surrender whereby to pass away the inheritance of any the premises except the said 6a save only the said surrender made out of court upon trust wherein she was never examined yet she was informed that the defendant of purpose to discredit her title to the premises to make it seem litigious had published that she had no good estate to the premises or the greatest part of them for that he has a found a court roll made about .9.31Eliz1 which testify that the complainant together with the said Robt Partridge her said husband did in open court she being then and there solely examined accordingly to the custom surrender the premises or a great part thereof to the use of her said husband and his heirs and the lord at the said court granted the same accordingly which entry was altogether false and counterfeit and therefore the said complainant prayed to be relieved in this court and that process of subpoena might be awarded against the said defendant for which bill the defendant being served with the said process appealed and answered as by the said bill and answer remaining of record in this honourable court more at large it doth and may appear and whereas soon after viz on monday 3.6. upon opening of the matter unto this court by master recorder of London being of the defendant's counsel that the plaintiff had exhibited a bill into this court against the defendant thereby showing that her said former husband Cuckocke being seised of certain copyhold lands parcel of the defendant's manor of Earls Colne in the said county of Essex did surrender the same to the use his will by which he gave the same to her and her heirs and died and that after she took a second husband Partridge since also deceased and pretended that there were false entries made in the lord's rolls as if she had surrendered to the use of Partridge and his heirs having been sole and secretly examined whereas she confessed she made a surrender out of court to the use of Partridge but says she was never examined nevertheless by colour of that surrender the said lands were seized as forfeited for some act done by the said Partridge and were all except 6a granted by the defendant's father then lord of the manor to the plaintiff for life with the remainder over to divers of her first husband's children and their heirs and confess that herself surrendered those 6a to the use of the defendant and his heirs and that the defendant slanders her title to the rest of the copyhold land to which bill the defendant to preserve the reputation of his father made answer by which he maintained these entries made in his father's time which were about thirty years past nevertheless for as much as the bill no ways concerned the defendant saving in the points of the said 6a which herself confessed she surrendered to the defendant and which surrender was in trust made about twelve years since but without making her said husband's children whom is concerned parties to the bill upon a presence that the defendant seeks to slander her title would call in question their remainder which the defendant's father then lord of the manor di d out of conscience restore to the right line it was therefore ordered that sir Jn Mitchell knight one of the masters of this court should take consideration of the bill and answer and if he should find and report that the said defendant were no otherwise charged thereby than was before expressed the plaintiff's bill should be clearly dismissed out of this court now for as much as the said sir Jn Mitchell hath accordingly made his report to this court the tenor whereof followeth in these words viz 7.6.1622 between Rose Partridge widow querent and Rich Harlakenden defendant according to an order of 3.6. I have considered of the plaintiff's bill and defendant's answer in the presence of the defendant's counsel none attending for the plaintiff though they were summoned and do find the charge in the bill to be truly expressed in the said order and that none of them do charge the now defendant except the charges that the defendant compounded with the plaintiff for the 6a and took a surrender thereof from her as lawful owner thereof and that the defendant had discredited the plaintiffs title yet the defendant in his care to defend the reputation and credit of his father hath answered that he knoweth nothing of his own knowledge of the matters contained in the bill but only of those that hath been done since the defendant came to be lord of the said manor of Earls Colne which was about nineteen or twenty years since the illegible text wherewith his father is charged being about thirty years since which in his conscience he thinketh were just and honest and as to the charge against the now defendant that the first doth answer itself the plaintiff counselling her composition with the defendant for the said 6a about twelve years since and her surrender thereof to the defendant accordingly and as to the late surrender to the plaintiff for life with remainder to her children by her first husband Cuckoke after the said copyhold lands were forfeited to the defendant's father as alleged the defendant confesseth the same accordingly and as the charge of the scandaling the plaintiff's title by procuring a court roll in the bill mentioned he denieth that he ever published any such court roll in any other manner than he thinketh was fit for him being lord of the manor to do by which roll the defendant saith in his answer it appeareth that the surrender so made to the said Partridge her husband and his heirs was taken in open court and that she was duly examined upon the same and so the plaintiff's title in no sorts scandalized by the defendant so as I find the defendant not otherwise in substance charged by the said bill by the said order is expressed which being the full scope of the power to me thereby given I most humbly leave the further consideration thereof to the grave judgement of this honourable court Jn Mitchell it is therefore this saturday 15.6.20Jas1 by the right reverend father in god the right honourable Jn lord bishop of Lincoln lord keeper of the great seal of England and the authority of the said high court or chancery ordered adjudged and decreed that the matter of the plaintiff's bill be from henceforth clearly and absolutely dismissed out of this court