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

27.11.4Jas1 (Thursday 27 November 1606)

document 19201884

answers of Thos Waldgrave esq and Thos Plumbe (usual formula) say first Waldgrave by himself that at the time of the bringing of the bill into this court he was a commissioner of the peace and because of this he on 18.5.last past being at his home in the hamlet of Buer St Mary in Essex adjacent to Earls Colne there came to him Robt Cobb servant of Rich Harlakenden and also Sam Diglett they complained that Wm Edes and five or six others were assembled together in riotous and unlawful manner in Colneford Mill Edes and the others by force and strong means expulsed out of the millhouse Sam Diglett the elder farmer of Rich Harlakenden and in riotous and forcible manner held the mill they required of Waldgrave to take some course according to law for suppressing of the riots and force and he being unwilling to perform such a service alone and wanting the aid of some other commissioner of the peace of Essex acquainted one Thos Gardiner knight being a commissioner of the peace for Essex about the substance of the complaint and entreated him to accompany him on the duty he had appointed to meet with sir Thos Gardiner for that purpose on the 19.5.last but Gardiner said that he could not accompany him at that time and for that purpose because he felt himself ill at ease and had determined and been prescribed to take physic that very day and it might be a danger to his health therefore Waldgrave not wanting to do anything but by the warrant of law requested Cobb servant of Rich Harlakenden to repair to Wm Tiffin esq whom he knew to be an utter barrister in house of court a man learned in law and required his company at the above time and place so that if in the service there should arise any point of law mr Tiffin could give him his opinion and direction Cobb went to mr Tiffin who accompanied him and with Nich Leffingwell his servant and Waldgrave went with Thos Plumbe his servant they met at Earls Colne on 18.5. according to Waldgrave's request and appointment and after their meeting Waldgrave sent for one of the constables of Earls Colne then Waldgrave and Tiffin with their servants and Thos Harlakenden gentleman and one of the constables and none other to his remembrance went to the mill and millhouse Cobb and Diglett being sent ahead when Waldgrave came to the millhouse he found the doors fast shut or locked and he then called to know what persons were in the millhouse and then Edes put his head out of the window Waldgrave then declared the cause of his coming namely that there had been complaints that Edes with others had expulsed Rich Harlakenden's farmer out of the mill and millhouse and kept it with strong hand and force and gathered divers others together in riotous and forcible manner and so detained the mill or words to that effect he said that he had come to see if the complaint was true and requested Edes to open the door of the mill and let him Waldgrave in for that purpose but Edes still kept the door shut so then Waldgrave and mr Tiffin told Edes that he was in danger to incur punishment if he did not let him in to see if there were any inside detaining it by force he said he would not meddle with the possession of the premises unless it was kept by force but after half an hour of trying to persuade Edes to open the door by gentle and peaceable means Edes kept it shut so he then commanded the constable to go to Earls Colne which was nearby and to get a dozen or so of the inhabitants charging them in his majesty's name to go to the mill to aid him in the breaking open of the door so that he might go in and do his office to view if there were any force or riot the constable went to Earls Colne but before he returned Edes came out of the millhouse and used these speeches that he would suffer Waldgrave to go into the mill or millhouse or words to that effect Waldgrave replied that in the execution of his office he would not be capitulated with or indented with or words to that effect he saying this because he doubted in truth whether he should go into the mill or millhouse having no convenient company with him in case Edes or some other in his company did him some mischief Waldgrave says it is true that after he sent the constable to Earls Colne and before his return Edes showed to him a lease or writing in parchment purporting to be the lease of the millhouse and lands by which writing the said Edes had an interest in the property through Mary his wife for some years yet then Cobb in the absence of his master Rich Harlakenden offered Edes that if he would go up to London and produce the persons whose names were subscribed as witnesses to the writing and if they would affirm that it was sealed and delivered by Edw de Veer late earl of Oxford Edes should enjoy the same without further trouble suit or expense Thos Harlakenden on behalf of his brother Rich would undertake that the same would be performed which offer Edes accepted Waldgrave then after much persuasion and often entreaty went to Rich Harlakenden's house to dinner and being there Sam Diglett the elder again repaired to him and told him that Edes and his wife Mary contrary to the agreement had made a second entry into the mill and in forcible manner had ousted Diglett from the possession Diglett required him to exercise his lawful duty again so he and mr Tiffin accompanied as he remembers only by their servants and Thos Harlakenden and Cobb and Diglett repaired to the millhouse in peaceable and quiet manner and finding the door open as he remembers he Waldgrave proceeding no further but he denies that he had any purpose to wrong or grieve Wm Edes or Mary his wife nor to pleasure mr Harlakenden as in the bill alleged Waldgrave protests that whatever was done by him was to discharge his duty and office on complaint of the riot and for no other sinister respect whatsoever and he says that it is true that sir Thos Gardiner being one of the justices of the peace who with Waldgrave they were the two dwelling nearest Earls Colne did in the performance of their duty on 7.6.last past direct their warrant or precept to the sheriff of the county of Essex for the returning of riot rout and forcible entry which warrant was sent to the sheriff on 8.6. returnable at Halsted in Essex on 12.6. accordingly on 12.6. the sheriff returned two juries at Halsted to enquire of the riots etc and sir Thos Gardiner and Waldgrave called upon the juries to be empanelled and sworn and two indictments one of riot and one of forcible entry were preferred by Rich Harlakenden against Wm Strutt Robt Peartree Edw Smith Wm Edes and Mary his wife Dan Rand and Jn Sillitoe and upon a full hearing they were found guilty of the riot certified in form of law on the indictment of that date but the above people were discharged and an ignoramus found on the bill of indictment for the force and he says that if the juries were summoned at midnight or in secret or private manner as is alleged this is altogether unknown to him says that sir Thos Gardiner and he directed the warrant to the sheriff of the county and also Waldgrave sent word to Edes two or three days before the day of the inquisition of their purpose by one of Earls Colne who delivered the message to Edes and this was more than by law he was compelled to do says that if he used any such speeches to the jury as is in the bill alleged viz that the number of three men entering into a house without weapon or blows because only they were about two was in the understanding of the law a riot as is alleged in the bill he does not now remember nor does he think he used any such speeches says that his speeches were that if three were assembled together to do an unlawful act and did the same though they were not armed or weaponed the same might be a riot in the understanding of the law or such words Thos Plumbe the other defendant says that he attending mr Waldgrave then and now his master to the mill and millhouse for the performance of his duty as to the riots routs misdemeanours he says that neither of them were guilty of them both ready to prove etc Jn Josselyn