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Star Chamber (PRO STAC8/289/30 Eliz and Francis Veer v Rich Harlakenden)

25.11.4Jas1 (Tuesday 25 November 1606)

document 19201042

answer of Sam Diglett elder a defendant of the bill of complaint of right honourable Eliz dowager countess of Oxford and sir Francis Veer knight committees of the body and lands of the right honourable Hen de Veer now earl of Oxford your majesty's ward (formula of protestation) Diglett says that he has heard and believes that Edw de Veer late earl of Oxford deceased was in his lifetime lawfully seised in his demesne as of fee or fee tail of the water mill mentioned in the bill commonly called Colneford Mill and also of and in that garden called Small Quillett sometime a garden lying on the north side of the mill and parcel of Fyrmarie Garden with buildings edifices water courses pastures meadows feedings fishings etc profits and emoluments to the same and the earl as Diglett has heard by an indenture of lease dated about 17.5.27Eliz1 made by him and Hen Pullen did devise and grant that mill and also Small Quillett and also all lands and rights as one Thos Pullen lately had and occupied the earl reserved half the fish taken in the river lease for twenty one years at a rent of 40s4d at michaelmas and annunciation paid with proviso of reentry for non payment as by lease as will appear to the court by relation to it Pullen as Diglett heard entered and was possessed according to the reversion and inheritance expectant the said earl as in the bill is alleged whether the mill was parcel of Colne Priory as is alleged in the bill Diglett does not know he says that it is true that Hen Pullen was possessed of the mill by virtue of the demise as above and the earl then by lawful conveyance about 7.2.34Eliz1 as he heard amongst other lands and grant and convey to Rich Harlakenden the reversion of the mill and premises and appurtenances to him his heirs and assigns forever by this Harlakenden gained the reversion of the mill and did from time to time after this receive the rent of 40s4d from Hen Pullen Pullen died possessed and the mill came to Wm Edes but whether this was by bequest in the last will of Pullen Diglett does not know he does not even know if Hen Pullen made a will or died intestate says that shortly after Pullen's death Edes entered into the mill and premises and was possessed by what right or title and by what manner of conveyance he held the mill he does not know Wm Edes being in good conscience possessed of the mill did in 23.1.44Eliz1 bargain sell and make over to Wm Strutt both the indenture of lease made by the earl of Oxford to Hen Pullen with all rights titles interest and possession for the term of years in the lease and Strutt entered and was possessed accordingly the reversion expectant to Rich Harlakenden Strutt became bound to Edes for 40li to keep the possession of the mill unless evicted by law but whether the condition of the bond was that possession should be kept for Wm Edes Diglett does not know says he has not seen the bond nor had it read to him but if any condition of such bond were that Wm Strutt should keep the possession of the premises to the use of him Wm Edes except he were evicted by law Diglett says that the bond was credibly made as he heard for at that time some controversy touching the interest of the lease between Wm Edes and Mary his wife on the one part and Wm Clarke and Jane his wife on the other occurred and not for any scruple or ambiguity by Edes or Strutt about the title or interest which Rich Harlakenden had unto the reversion of the mill Diglett says that after the conveyance of the mill by the earl to Harlakenden Hen Pullen did attorn tenant to Rich Harlakenden and after Pullen Edes and Strutt did pay Harlakenden the rent as by indenture and acknowledged Harlakenden to be their landlord he says that Wm Strutt being possessed did by deed of indenture between him Strutt and the defendant Diglett bearing date 12.11.44Eliz1 let the mill and appurtenances to Sam Diglett from 15.11.1602 for three and a half years paying 20li per annum to Wm Strutt at 15.5. and 15.11. in two parts or within fourteen days except last rent of the year which was to be paid on the day for non payment Strutt could reenter and by this deed Diglett granted by this that he would pay one peck wheat a week to Wm Edes and that he would keep the possession of the mill for Wm Strutt the court can see this document Diglett entered lawfully but whether the reversion is due to Hen de Veer earl of Oxford as the bill maintains Diglett does not know but thinks but the reversion does not as by the inquisition after the late earl's death there is no mention that he died seised of the mill says that Rich Harlakenden he thinks is lawful owner with right to make conveyance of the mill and not knowing that the late earl had made any indenture to Hen Pullen and Mary daughter to begin 1.5.1606 as the bill claims he treated with Rich Harlakenden for a new lease to be made with him Diglett for twenty one years to start at the end of Pullen's lease with the late earl they agreed for a new lease and by deed 12.4.2Jas1 they made it as by previous terms he was to pay 24li per annum at michaelmas and annunciation reentry for non payment as they can see by document says that he Diglett granted to Sam Diglett younger and Jn Diglett all his title and term of years in the mill as by his three and a half year lease from Strutt and they entered until about 14.5.last then Sam Diglett younger and Jn Diglett hearing that Edes intended to set afoot the pretended new lease to Hen Pullen deceased and Mary his wife and knowing that Diglett had got a new lease from Rich Harlakenden and entered into covenant to keep possession except if evicted Jn Diglett one of his brothers on about 12.5.last came to him at his house at Halsted and reported to him in these or like words brother Diglett I understand that Edes meaneth if he can to put you by the possession of Colneford Mill and will if by any means he can get the possession thereof he will drive you to leave the same I pray you come over unto Colne as speedily as you may for my brother and myself are contented to regrant and assign all our interests in the mill and then you may be in possession yourself and so no blame shall then be imputed unto us if the said Edes should get the possession thereof thereupon Diglett senior shortly after in about thursday following being 15.5. repaired to Colneford Mill alone nor armed and thereupon with the permission of Sam Diglett younger and Jn Diglett he took possession of the mill he continued for that day without interruption except that Wm Strutt came as mentioned in the bill and made several demands viz on thursday friday and saturday 15.5. 16.5. 17.5. of the rent reserved for the last half year which Diglette had long since paid Diglett says Strutt did not continue demanding the rent any of the days until the sun was setting as in the bill is set forth but whether Sam Diglett the younger and Jn Diglett did will the said Wm Strutt Wm Edes or Mary his wife to enter the mill and take possession according to their several interests as in the bill set forth he does not know he says that Strutt on saturday 17.5. repaired to the mill accompanied by Robt Peartree constable of Earls Colne and made demand of the last half years rent and willed Diglett to avoid possession and thereupon made an entry and put down with foot of Strutt the shett of the mill and claimed possession Digglett prayed Strutt to depart saying that he had nothing to do there for his term was not yet ended Strutt refusing Diglett took him gently by the shoulder to have put him out Peartree then with one Edw Smith violently took hold of Diglett and held him and Strutt then went into the mansion of the mill and then he and Edes breaking open the entry door of the millhouse came into the millhouse and Mary coming in on the other side of the mill demanded her half bushel of wheat due for two weeks past which he delivered then neither Wm Edes or Mary challenging any interest in the mill or millhouse Diglett willed Mary to depart which she refused giving him no reason and when he perceived this he gently entreated her to depart and offered to take her by the arm and lead her out but she snatching away her arm from him voluntarily willingly and of her own accord shrunk down upon the ground sill of the door of the mill crying "murder murder" whereas in very truth Mary had no manner of hurt at all as he is persuaded neither did Edes come into the mill upon the entry and asked "who hath spoiled my wife " or used to his knowledge any speeches to that effect as in the bill denies Thos Anderson Guy Grome and Robt Cobbe or any of them were in the mill or millhouse on the 16.5.last but if they were they did not make any stand to his knowledge but departed presently back again neither had Diglett any weapons except a crow of iron and a pitchfork which he uses about the mill nor any fierce mastiffs but only one small mastiff of his own and a hound of mr Tiffin's which he kept of courtesy for mr Tiffin neither did Diglett offer to strike at Wm Strutt with the crow of iron as in the bill alleged if he had had it been possible for Peartree to stave the blow Peartree being without the door of the mill as in the bill denies that he struck up the heels or legs of Mary Edes or use any violence to her but she did fall down of herself of her own accord denies that the child she held was laid for dead or had any manner of hurt whatsoever to his knowledge he says Wm Edes having got possession of the mill and millhouse in the way he has set forth and having no purpose to depart and having gotten unto him Wm Strutt Edw Smith Jn Sillitoe Dan Rand Francis Wright and divers other unknown to him meaning to hold possession by violence Diglett was advised to complain to the justice of the peace for redress and so on 18.5. repaired to mr Waldgrave a justice of the peace of Essex at his house and made complaint and told him the particulars and told him how he by possession and Harlakenden by reversion had for three years past held peaceable possession mr Waldgrave accompanied by mr Tiffin esq Thos Harlakenden gentleman Thos Plumb servant to mr Waldgrave and Robt Cobbe servant to Harlakenden and Diglett on the 19.5. repaired to the mill and millhouse the doors being fast shut and Edes being in the house he mr Waldgrave bade Edes open the doors and let him in to see if Edes kept it by force or not which Edes refused though he was often informed by mr Waldgrave what the damage of the law was mr Waldgrave then commanded the constable to go and fetch some more aid from Earls Colne which is not far off minding as he thought seeing that he could by no other means be persuaded to execute his office Robt Peartree then repaired to Earls Colne to execute this command but before Peartree returned or any other company came Edes of his own consent yielded the possession to Diglett of the mill without further trouble then mr Waldgrave mr Tiffin Nich Leffingwell Robt Cobb Guy Groom Thos Anderson and Jn Cooper quickly departed Diglett entered as he thought was lawful and all the above went to Harlakenden's house for dinner as he thinks and is in the bill but as soon as they had gone Edes entered into the mill and he and Mary shut the door of the mansion house of the mill and refused to give over possession Diglett then went again to mr Waldgrave and told him that Edes and Mary his wife were again in the mill and kept him out with force so after dinner on 19.5. mr Waldgrave repaired again to the millhouse where Edes met him and of his own accord offered to leave so as he might be paid for one glass window which he pretended belonged to him Diglett then satisfied Edes for the window and entered into possession of the mill and so continues as he hopes is lawful says that he does not believe that the lease made in the bill with Hen Pullen and Mary his daughter is a true and good lease or was ensealed and delivered by the earl of Oxford deceased as in the bill and as touching the riots and misdemeanours mentioned in the bill Diglett says that he is not guilty ready to prove Jn Josselyn