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

27.11.4Jas1 (Thursday 27 November 1606)

document 19202544

complaint of Eliz countess dowager of Oxford and sir Francis Veer knight committees of the body and lands of the right honourable Hen de Veer earl of Oxford ward of court say that the right honourable Edw de Veer late earl was in his lifetime lawfully seised in his demesne as of fee or fee tail in the late Priory of Earls Colne and all appurtenances belonging and by lease dated 17.5.27Eliz1 demised to let to Hen Pullen deceased late of Colne Engaine watermill Colneford Mill in Earls Colne and appurtenances being parcel of the late Priory for twenty one years from 17.5.27Eliz1 paying the old accustomed 40s4d rent per annum and Hen entered the late earl about 1.5.28Eliz1 demised the reversion of the mill with other properties belonging to Hen Pullen and his daughter Mary for twenty one years beginning on 1.5.1606 for the same rent Hen Pullen was possessed and by will and testament bequeathed the first lease to Wm Edes who married Mary and afterwards died Edes lawfully entered with his wife and held in right of his wife and held the reversion and by indenture of 23.1.44Eliz1 demised to Wm Strutt for five and a half years reserving yearly rent of 20li during the term and a peck of wheat a year and Strutt was bound to Edes in 40li to keep the possession of the mill to Edes Strutt entered and by indenture of 12.11.44Eliz1 demised the mill to Sam Diglett of Halsted miller from 15.11 .44Eliz1 following for three and a half years paying 20li per annum at 15.5. and 15.11. or within fourteen days the last years rent to be paid on the day with a clause of reentry for failure to pay Diglett promised Wm Strutt to keep in repair and at the end to deliver the same paying Edes his peck of wheat and to keep and maintain the mill to Strutt and Sam Diglett the elder assigned his interest to Sam Diglett the younger and Jn Diglett who entered reversion belonging to the right honourable Hen now earl of Oxford ward of court and 14.5.last past was a day before the expiration of the lease Sam Diglett the younger and Jn Diglett directed Wm Edes on that day to enter and take possession with his wife to the use of themselves and Strutt according to their several interests Strutt according to the covenants and agreements of the indenture made with Diglett came on thursday 15.5.last to demand the rent payable and the same not being paid he departed peaceably coming again the next day quietly to demand the rent and to reenter whom the said Sam Diglett the elder although he had assigned his interest as aforesaid Diglett determining to continue the possession of the said mill for the use of Rich Harlakenden gentleman who pretended some title by confederacy and procurement of Harlakenden did on 16.5.last assemble himself one Jn Cooper servant to Harlakenden Thos Anderson Guy Groom Robt Cobb servants also of Rich Harlakenden and divers others not known to him six persons four of them armed with swords daggers long pikes forestbills pitchforks and other warlike weapons and having with them two fierce mastiff dogs or bandogs riotously and unlawfully to abuse wound and beat Strutt Wm Edes and his wife or any other who claimed under any of the former leases and riotously and forcibly to keep the mill against them then Strutt on 17.5.last went in peaceable manner again to the mill mr Edm Smith being with him and Sam Diglett the elder being then leaning over the hatch of the millhouse and the other riotous persons being in the mill and expecting the coming of Strutt which purpose better to abuse him Strutt opened the hatch Strutt and Smith entered the mill quietly without suspicion of evil to abuse them they being quietly in possession for a good space Strutt put down the gate of the mill through which the water passed to drive the mill withal claiming possession according to the agreements with Diglett the elder Diglett the elder then in a great rage and fury and contrary to law aided abetted and animated by the rest of the rioters who were secretly placed in the mill took up a crow of iron and very riotously and unlawfully struck at Strutt and would have killed Strutt had not Peartree constable of Earls Colne being near the door of the mill speedily entered the millhouse and stayed the blow he charged everyone there to keep the peace and the fray was stayed and Strutt and Diglett remained in the millhouse during which time Mary wife of Edes being great with child and having a child in her arms she entered into the mill the door being open and courteously demanded of Diglett the elder the half bushel of wheat due to her husband as rent whereupon Diglett unlawfully and unmannerly and aided and abetted riotously struck up the heels of Mary in a malicious and violent manner and she and the child in her arms fell to the ground and she was grievously hurt and bruised and the child and she has since miscarried the child in her arms was by the violence of the fall laid for dead and continued a long space and Diglett the elder fled away for fear of the child's death the child languished for reason of the hurt received and is in great danger of death by it Mary cried "murder" and her cry was heard in the street and came to the hearing of Edes her husband and he affrighted came running to the mill with no manner of weapon about him the mill being shut he quietly entered and being entered into the millhouse asked who had in that outrageous manner molested his wife and child Jn Cooper Harlakenden's servant being sent there by Harlakenden on purpose to commit some notable outrage being aided and assisted by others in the mill riotously assaulted Edes with a pitchfork which he had brought with him on purpose Edes being without a weapon with the pitchfork he thrust at the body of Edes meaning as it seemed to have killed him and so had done if Edes had not cast up his hand to put by the thrust and Edes was thrust through the hand by the pitchfork at which time Cooper set the two mastiff dogs upon Edes who fiercely ran upon Edes and assaulted him who hardly escaped without being spoiled by the dogs after which the same day saturday 17.5. Edes and his wife remained in the mill that night by the consent of Strutt and the appointment of Sam Diglett the younger and Jn Diglett continuing quietly there by force of the lease in reversion made to Pullen and Mary his daughter by the earl they stayed till monday 19.5. on which day Robt Cobb servant to Rich Harlakenden a lewd and evil disposed person came towards the mill and Sam Diglett the elder with him on purpose to thrust Edes and his wife out of their quiet possession whom as soon as Edes espied he shut the doors of the millhouse and Cobb and Diglett the elder came at the doors intending to break them open after at the unlawful procurement of Rich Harlakenden there came to the millhouse soon Thos Waldgrave esq justice of the peace for Essex Wm Tiffin esq Thos Harlakenden gentleman Thos Plumbe Nich Leffingwell Thos Anderson alias Crowche aforesaid Jn Cooper Jn Ward Jn Stockbridge Robt Cobbe Guy Groom Sam Diglett and Jas Pennock most of them servants to Rich Harlakenden all arrayed in warlike manner with bills long piked staves swords daggers and other weapons as well invasive as defensive and in most riotous manner came to the mill commanding Edes to open the doors then in quiet possession threatening that if he did not open the doors they would break them in and beat down the millhouse upon him then Edes presently offered mr Waldgrave that he should come in with mr Tiffin and the constable alleging as was true that there was nobody with him in the mill except himself his wife and children they kept their possession peaceably without any weapons or force and he entreated them to come in and see if this was not true which mr Waldgrave utterly refused to do threatening to force out Edes and his wife before and continued before the mill in outrageous and unlawful manner further in his unlawful enterprise he commanded the constable to fetch twenty armed men more to beat down the millhouse on Edes his wife and children which the constable did and presently brought there Jas Potter Israel Ennowes Thos Baylief alias Smith Hen Morley Jn Sillitoe Rich Allen Robt Polley Albert Luckyn Edw Newton Robt Crow Jn Reed and divers others forty persons unknown to them arrayed and weaponed with swords bills staves corselets headpieces and other weapons at their coming Edes his wife and children being greatly terrified that mr Waldgrave and the rest would accomplish their unlawful exercise of taking away their lives being in lawful possession Edes to prevent so great an evil though it was to his extreme loss and prejudice gave over his quiet possession and opened the doors of the millhouse and came forth he told mr Waldgrave that he and his under tenants had for divers years been in quiet possession of the mill by force of the leases made by the late Edw earl of Oxford he showed the lease which had been made to Hen Pullen and his daughter and mr Waldgrave and the others read it and allowed it to be a good lease in their judgement nevertheless mr Waldgrave not regarding Edes right title nor his lamentable and poor estate in order to pleasure mr Harlakenden and knowing Edes to be a poor man without means of redress told Edes by colour of his office as justice of the peace that he would send him to gaol if he would not yield possession of the mill to Rich Harlakenden Edes being so terrified by the threatening speeches of mr Waldgrave and fearing to go to gaol promised for his part to leave the possession of the mill whereupon mr Waldgrave and mr Tiffin and all the other riotous persons departed to dinner at the house of Rich Harlakenden and Edes went back to the mill to his wife and children and persuaded them to leave saying that he hoped that god would raise him friends and according to his promise to mr Waldgrave he departed out of the millhouse leaving only his wife and three children in the mill notice being given to mr Waldgrave mr Tiffin and the other riotous persons they with many other persons unknown to him to the number of one hundred came in a riotous and forcible manner to the mill and called the wife of Edes to the window of the millhouse threatening her that if she would not yield the possession mr Waldgrave would send her to gaol in the meantime Sam Diglett Robt Rand and Jn Cooper three of the riotous persons went into the backside of the millhouse and with axes and other engines which they had brought with them for that purpose break down the wall of the millhouse and entered it and carried away the doors and threw the woman and her children into the streets then mr Waldgrave and the other riotous persons entered forcibly onto the quiet possession of Edes and Mary his wife and forced them out of their possession without any right or title and well knowing that there was no lawful or forcible possession kept by the said Mary delivered the possession to Rich Harlakenden and suffered Mary to go at large without committing her to gaol as he ought to have done if she had forcibly and unlawfully kept possession of the mill mr Waldgrave still not satisfied but persevering still to accumulate wrong upon wrong and injustice upon injustice fearing that he and other riotous persons would be called into the court of star chamber to receive punishment for his misdemeanours to colour his unlawful and heinous misdemeanours directed his warrant to the sheriff for the county of Essex to order two juries to appear the 16.6. next at eight in the morning in Halsted in Essex to enquire about the forcible entry of the mill and the riots supposed to have been committed by Edes and Mary his wife Wm Strutt Edw Smith Robt Peartree Dan Rand and Jn Sillitoe on the 17.5. and 18.5.last past and the said Thos Waldgrave Rich Harlakenden and Robt Cobbe unlawfully solicited and instructed Sam Diglett the elder and Jn Cooper on their corporal oaths to give evidence that Strutt Wm Edes and Mary his wife Edw Smith Robt Peartree Dan Rand and Jn Sillitoe did enter the millhouse and held it by force which matter was secretly handled by Waldgrave Harlakenden and Cobbe that the juries were called at about midnight and Edes and the others had no knowledge of it otherwise they could have showed forth such evidence and proof as would have cleared them of the charges of forcible entry and detaining the mill so by the sinister practices of mr Waldgrave Harlakenden and Cobbe and through the corrupt and false oath of Sam Diglett the elder and Jn Cooper two of the principal rioters persuaded thereunto by mr Waldgrave Rich Harlakenden Thos Harlakenden Robt Cobbe to cloak and colour their own riotous demeanours they did as much as in them lay to procure the said Strutt Edes and Mary his wife Edw Smith Robt Peartree Dan Rand and Jn Sillitoe to be indicted of the forcible entry and detaining of the mill but the jury well knowing the innocency of the above persons and the usual corrupt course of Rich Harlakenden and Robt Cobbe did not find the said force but being justled and misled by the false evidence of Diglett the elder and Cooper and the importunate persuasions of Waldgrave being for that purpose several times together after they would have found an ignoramus did yet in the end find a riot to be committed by the said Wm Strutt Wm Edes Mary his wife Edw Smith Robt Peartree Dan Rand and Jn Sillitoe the 17.5.last and 18.5.last (text worn at this point and about six words are missing) upon faithful assurance given by Thos Waldgrave that three men entering into a house without weapons or blows because only they were above two was in the understanding of the laws a riot yet your majesty's subjects hope to make plain to this court that they and those in peace without any manner of weapons or resistance and that the suggestion to the jury as aforesaid was most false and untrue only a lewd and sinister devise of mr Waldgrave Rich Harlakenden Robt Cobbe Sam Diglett the elder and Jn Cooper the principal rioters to colour their unlawful dealings and riots which indictments so cautiously secretly and unduly procured the said Edes and the rest have traversed whereas the late Edw de Veer earl of Oxford was in his lifetime seised in his demesne as of fee of the mill Chalkney Mill and divers lands pertaining in Earls Colne and by his indenture devised the same to Thos Cock for twenty one years paying 4li per annum and Thos Cock entered and was possessed and continued in peaceable possession for divers years and then died after his death the interest came to Florence his wife who afterwards took to husband Wm Forde and they paid the rent to the earl in his lifetime and since his decease to them on behalf of Hen earl of Oxford whereas Rich Harlakenden pretends some title to the reversion of Chalkney Mill at the end of the lease and he and Robt Cobbe did unlawfully to compass possession of the mill the better to strengthen his pretended title against them and the ward of court about .9.3Jas1 or .10.3Jas1 most unlawfully forge and write an indenture purporting to be between the late earl of Oxford and Thos Cock and did falsely put thereunto a seal as the seal of Thos Cock and did also falsely forge and put into the said writings the name of Thos Cock and showed forth and published the same to be the counterpart of the lease made by the late earl of Oxford and Thos Cock and that the same was sealed and delivered by Thos Cock as his deed Rich Harlakenden and Robt Cobbe having so forged and counterfeited the writing did presently after show forth the forged writings to Wm Ford at the mill claiming possession of Chalkney Mill and other premises saying that the deed between the earl and Thos Cock was ended at michaelmas.3Jas1 and Wm Ford affirming that the lease was not ended Rich Harlakenden and Robt Cobbe showed Ford the forged lease claiming that it was the counterpart of the lease made by the late earl of Oxford and Thos Cock and that the same was sealed and delivered by Thos Cock as his deed they well knowing the same to be a false and forged deed and did read the same to Wm Ford by the purport of which the term expired at michaelmas.3Jas1 in truth the lease had much longer continuance and notwithstanding by colour of the forged counterpart Rich Harlakenden did enter upon Wm Ford and did put his cattle into the demised ground and took possession to the great wrong of Ford and the earl the ward moreover since then Robt Cobb any general pardon pardoning forgeries falsely and unlawfully forged divers other writings of court rolls and deeds to the prejudice of divers other subjects in Essex forasmuch as the said riots routs unlawful assemblies forgeries and wrongs were committed and done they ask for writ of subpoena to be directed to Thos Waldgrave Wm Tiffin Rich Harlakenden Thos Harlakenden Robt Cobb Thos Anderson alias Crouch Jn Cooper Jn Ward Jn Stockbridge Robt Rand Guy Groom Sam Diglett senior Sam Diglett junior Jn Diglett Thos Plumb Nich Leffingwell and Jas Pennock to appear under pain etc