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

19.1.1607 (Monday 19 January 1607)

document 19203866

complainants Eliz countess dowager of Oxford and sir Francis Veer knight committees of the body and lands of the right honourable Hen de Veer now earl of Oxford ward the right honourable earl of Oxford deceased was in his lifetime seised as of fee or fee tail in the Priory of Earls Colne in Essex plus appurtenances and by his indenture or lease bearing date 17.5.27Eliz1 demised to farm let to Hen Pullen of Colne Engaine deceased a watermill Colneford Mill in Earls Colne plus appurtenances parcel of the possession of the late prior of Earls Colne for twenty one years old and accustomed yearly rent 40s4d and Hen was possessed the earl of Oxford had the reversion about 1.5.28Eliz1 demised the mill formerly demised to Hen Pullen and Mary his daughter to him for twenty one years to begin 1.5.1606 rent 40s4d Hen Pullen by his last will bequeathed the first lease to Wm Edes who married Mary and afterwards died and Wm Edes lawfully entered and Wm in the right of his wife were interest in the said term of reversion after the expiration of the former lease being so possessed Wm Edes by indenture bearing date 23.1.44Eliz1 demised the mill to Wm Strutt for five and a half years 20li per annum and every week a peck of wheat to Edes Strutt became bound to Edes in 30li to keep the possession of the mill for Edes and entered Wm Strutt by an indenture of 12.11.44Eliz1 demised and let to Sam Diglett of Halsted Essex miller from 15.11. for three and a half years paying 20li per annum in two parts 15.5. and 15.11. or within fourteen days except last half years rent which was to be paid on the very day without further liberty with clause of reentry for non payment Sam Diglett covenanted and promised Wm Strutt to keep the mill and millhouse in such reparation it was at the time of the indenture and so to leave it at the end and to pay to Wm Edes one peck of wheat every week if demanded and to keep the possession of the mill to Strutt afterwards Sam Diglett the elder assigned all his interest to Sam Diglett the younger and Jn Diglett who were possessed the reversion of the mill being expectant and belonging to the right honourable Hen now earl of Oxford ward Sam Diglett the younger and Jn Diglett were possessed on the 14.5.last the day before the expiration of their lease did will Wm Edes and Mary his wife to enter at their pleasure and take possession of the premises to the use of Strutt and themselves according to their several interests whereas Wm Strutt according to the reservations and agreements specified in the indenture of lease to Sam Diglett the elder came on thursday 15.5.last at the last instant of the day to demand the rent due for the lease to him Strutt and there and then did demand according to the reversion of the lease the same being not paid Wm Strutt departed quietly away and came in peaceable manner again the next day to demand his rent and to reenter Sam Diglett the elder although he had assigned his interest did withstand and Diglett determining to continue possession of the mill for and to the use of Rich Harlakenden gentleman who pretended some title to the premises by the confederacy and procurement of Rich Harlakenden did the 16.5. assemble unto himself one Jn Cooper servant to Harlakenden Thos Anderson Guy Groom and Robt Cobbe also servants to Rich Harlakenden and divers other unknown to them there were six persons all armed with swords daggers long pikes forest bills pitchforks and other warlike weapons and having with them two great and fierce mastiff dogs riotously and unlawfully to abuse beat and wound Strutt Wm Edes and Mary his wife or any other that should claim under the former lease or any of them and riotously and forcibly to keep and maintain possession of the mill and premises against them whereupon Strutt on 17.5.last in peaceable manner went again to the mill together with mr Edm Smith and 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 with purpose the better to abuse him opened the hatch and so Strutt and Smyth quietly and without any suspicion to hurt them entered into the mill and being in quiet possession a good space Strutt put down the gate of the mill where through the water did pass to drive about the mill therewith claiming his possession according to the covenant and reservations and agreements made between Strutt and Diglett the elder thereupon Diglett the elder in great rage and fury contrary to law and statute aided and abetted by the rest of the rioters secretly assembled took up a crow of iron and very riotously and unlawfully struck at Strutt had not one Robt Peartree constable of Earls Colne been near the door and espied the same speedily entered into the millhouse and stayed the blow of Diglett and charged everyone there to keep his majesty's peace by reason whereof the affray was stayed and the peace was no further broken Strutt and Diglett the elder remaining still in the millhouse during which time thither came Mary wife of Edes being with child and with a child in her arms and quietly entered into the mill the door being open and courteously demanded of Diglett the elder half a bushel of wheat then due to Edes her husband for rent whereupon Diglett the elder unlawfully and inhumanely and without reasonable to her demands aided and abetted as above did riotously strike up at the heels of Mary in a most malicious and violent manner whereby she and the child in her arms fell to the ground and Mary was grievously hurt and bruised and the child wherewith she went hath since thereby miscarried and Mary is thereby since grievously hurt and spoiled and the child which she carried in her arms was with the violence of the fall laid for dead and so continued a long time Diglett the elder fled away for fear of the child's death which child does yet languish of the hurt then received and is in great danger of death thereby Mary did cry out "murder" the cry being heard in the street and came to the hearing of Edes her husband at hearing whereof Edes affrighted with the report came running to the mill having no manner of weapon about him and the door of the millhouse being shut he quietly opened the same and being entered asked who had in that outrageous manner misused his wife and his child whereupon Jn Cooper servant to Rich Harlakenden being sent there by Harlakenden on purpose to commit some notable outrage and misdemeanour aided and assisted by the other rioters riotously and in most violent manner assaulted Edes with a pitchfork which he had brought here of purpose Edes being without any weapon at all and with the pitchfork thrust at the body of Edes meaning as it seemed to have killed Edes and so had done if Edes had not put up his hand to put by the said thrust and so by means thereof thrust Edes through the hand at which time also Cooper set the two mastiff dogs upon Edes who fiercely came upon him and assaulted him who hardly escaped being spoilt by the dogs after which the same day saturday 17.5. Edes and his wife remained in possession of the mill and the same night by the commandment of Strutt and the appointment of Sam Diglett the younger and Jn Diglett continuing their quiet and lawful possession by force of the lease in reversion made by the earl to Pullen and Mary his daughter as was lawful to do until 19.5. on that day Robt Cobbe servant to Rich Harlakenden a very lewd and evil disposed person came towards the mill and Sam Diglett the elder with him with purpose to have thrust Edes and his wife out of their lawful possession which they lawfully held without any force as soon as Edes saw them he shut the door of the millhouse and Sam Diglett the elder ran at the doors intending to have broken them open after whom by unlawful means and procurement of Rich Harlakenden there came presently to the millhouse Thos Waldgrave esq justice of the peace Wm Tiffin esq Thos Harlakenden gentleman Thos Plumb Nich Leffingwell Thos Anderson alias Crouch the foresaid Jn Couper Jn Ward Jn Stockbridge Robt Rand Guy Groom Sam Diglett and Jas Pennock most of them servants to Rich Harlakenden being arrayed in warlike manner with bills long piked staves swords daggers and other weapons as well invasive as defensive and in most riotous and unlawful manner came to the mill commanding Edes to open the doors being in quiet and lawful possession threatening him that if he did not open the doors they would break down the doors and beat down the millhouse upon him Edes presently offered mr Waldgrave that he should come in with mr Tiffin and the constable alleging as true it was that there was nobody in the mill but himself his wife and children all little ones and that they kept it peaceably without any weapons or force and entreated them to come in and see if this information were not true mr Waldgrave utterly refused to do this and threatened to force out Edes and his wife by force and continued still before the mill in most riotous and unlawful manner and further in his unlawful enterprise commanded the constable to fetch twenty men more to beat down the millhouse upon the heads of Edes his wife and children which the constable by mr Waldgrave's commandment did execute and presently brought thither Jas Potter Israel Ennowes Thos Bailiff alias Smith Hen Morley Jn Sillitoe Rich Allen Robt Polly Albert Luckin Edw Newton Robt Crow Jn Reade and divers others to the number of forty persons unknown to them being arrayed and weaponed with swords bills staves corselets headpieces and other weapons at whose coming Edes and his wife being greatly terrified fearing that mr Waldgrave and the rest would accomplish their unlawful enterprise to the taking away of their lives being there in lawful and quiet possession Edes that he might prevent so great an evil threatened by mr Waldgrave and company though it was to his extreme loss and prejudice gave up his quiet possession and opened the doors of the millhouse and came forth bemoaning himself to mr Waldgrave and signifying that he and his undertenants had for divers years been in quiet and lawful possession by force of the before recited lease made by Edw earl of Oxford and showed him this lease made to Hen Pullen and Mary his daughter wife of Edes mr Waldgrave and others there read it and allowed it to be a good lease yet notwithstanding mr Waldgrave not regarding the just right title and possession of Edes or his lamentable and poor state but being wholly bent to commit any riot or misdemeanour whereby he thought he might pleasure mr Harlakenden and grieve Edes and his wife knowing Edes to be a poor man and without the ability to redress such enormous wrong threatened Edes by colour of his office of justice of the peace that he would sent him to gaol of he would not yield possession to Rich Harlakenden Edes being terrified at the threatening speeches of mr Waldgrave being a poor man for fear of imprisonment rather than he should go to the gaol promised for his part to leave the possession of the mill and did so accordingly then mr Waldgrave mr Tiffin and the rest of the riotous persons departed and went to dinner at the house of mr Rich Harlakenden after which Edes went back into the mill and to his wife and children and persuaded his wife to leave the possession saying he hoped that god would raise him friends to recover his possession Edes wife having no other matter of maintenance would not be persuaded to yield and so Edes according to his promise to mr Waldgrave departed and left only his wife and children in the mill notice being given to mr Waldgrave and mr Tiffin and the rest of the riotous and disorderly persons they with many other persons unknown to them to the number of one hundred came in most riotous manner to the mill and called the wife of Edes to the window of the millhouse threatening her that if she would not yield possession to Rich Harlakenden mr Waldgrave would send her to gaol meantime Sam Diglett the elder Robt Rand Jn Cooper three of the riotous persons went on the backside of the millhouse with axes and other engines which they had brought thither for that purpose broke down the walls of the millhouse and entered the house and carried away the doors and threw the woman and her children into the street and so did mr Waldgrave and the other riotous persons enter unlawfully riotously and forcibly enter upon the quiet and lawful possession of Edes and Mary his wife and forced them out of their possession without lawful authority right or title and having obtained possession and well knowing that there was no lawful possession kept by Mary delivered the possession to Rich Harlakenden and suffered Mary to go at large without committing her to the 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 injustice upon injustice fearing that the residue of the riotous persons should be called into the court of star chamber there to receive condign punishment for their riots to colour his and their most unlawful and heinous misdemeanours by a new practice by colour of his office directed his warrant to the sheriff of Essex to summon two juries to appear 16.6. next at eight of the clock in the morning at Halsted in Essex and then and there to enquire of the forcible entry and detainer of the mill and of the riot supposed to be committed by Wm Edes and Mary his wife Wm Strutt Edw Smyth Robt Peartree Dan Rand and Jn Sillitoe 17.5.last and 18.5.last Thos Waldgrave Rich Harlakenden and Robt Cobbe unlawfully solicited and instructed Sam Diglett the elder and Jn Cooper upon their corporal oaths to give evidence that Strutt Wm Edes and Mary his wife Edw Smyth Dan Rand Robt Peartree and Jn Sillitoe did enter the millhouse with force and forcibly detain it these matters were so secretly handled by Thos Waldgrave Harlakenden and Cobbe that the juries were summoned about midnight before so as Edes and the residue would have no knowledge thereof if they had had knowledge they could have showed forth the evidence and made forth such proofs as would have cleared them from forcible entry detainer with force or riot and so by the sinister practices of mr Waldgrave Harlakenden and Cobbe and through the corrupt and false oaths of Sam Diglett senior and Jn Cooper two of the principal rioters who were persuaded by Waldgrave Rich Harlakenden and Cobbe to cloak and colour their own riotous misdemeanours with as much as in them lay to procure Strutt Edes and Mary his wife Edw Smyth Robt Peartree Dan Rand and Jn Sillitoe to be indicted on forcible entry of the mill and forcible detainer but the jury well knowing the innocency of the persons and the usual corrupt course of Rich Harlakenden and Robt Cobbe could not find the said force but being misled by the false evidence of Diglett the elder and Cooper and the importunate persuasions and unjust threatenings of mr Waldgrave were for that purpose several times sent together after they would have found an ignoramus yet in the end found a riot to be committed by Wm Edes and his wife Wm Strutt Edw Smyth Robt Peartree Dan Rand and Jn Sillitoe to 17.5.last and 18.5.last they were faithfully given assurance by Thos Waldgrave that three men entering into a house without weapons or blows because that only they were above two was in the understanding of the law a riot but the complainants hope to make plain to the court that they entered only with two and those in peace without any manner of resistance and that the suggestions to the jury is most untrue and only a lewd and sinister devise of mr Waldgrave Rich Harlakenden Robt Cobbe Sam Diglett the elder Jn Cooper the chief and principal rioters to colour their own misdemeanours and riots the indictment so cautiously secretly and unduly procured Edes and the rest have traversed whereas the earl of Oxford was in his lifetime seised of a mill called Chalkinge Hay Mill plus appurtenances and did by indenture demise the same to one Thos Cock for term of twenty one years 4li per annum rent Cock was possessed and remained for divers years and after died after his death the interest came to Florence his wife who afterwards took to husband Wm Ford they continued in possession and paid the rent to the earl in his lifetime and since his decease to the complainants on behalf of Hen now earl of Oxford whereas Rich Harlakenden pretends some title to the reversion of Chalking Hay Mill after the expiration of the lease he Harlakenden and Robt Cobbe unlawfully to compass the possession of the mill the better to strengthen his pretended title against the earl his majesty's ward did about .9.3Jas1 or .10.3Jas1 did most unlawfully contrive write in parchment and forge a writing purporting to be an indenture made between Edw late earl of Oxford on the one part and the late Thos Cock on the other part and did falsely put thereunto a seal as the seal of Thos Cock and also falsely forge and put to the writing the name of Thos Cock and did show forth and publish the same to be the counterpart of the lease made by Edw late earl of Oxford to Thos Cock and that the same was sealed and delivered by mr Thos Cock as his deed Rich Harlakenden and Robt Cobbe having forged and counterfeited the writing did presently show forth the writing unto Wm Forde and the mill and premises claiming possession of Chalking Hay Mill for that the lease made by the late earl of Oxford was fully ended and determined at michaelmas.3Jas1 Wm Forde affirming that the lease was not ended they Rich Harlakenden and Robt Cobbe did then and there publish and show the forged writing to Wm Ford and did affirm it to be the true counterpart of the lease made between Edw late earl of Oxford and Thos Cock and that it was sealed and delivered by Thos Cock as his deed though they well knowing the same to be a false and a forged deed and did read it to Wm Forde by the purport whereof the term was to expire at michaelmas.3Jas1 whereas in truth the lease had a longer continuance notwithstanding by colour of the forged counterpart Rich Harlakenden did enter upon Wm Forde and put his cattle into the demised ground and kept the possession against Forde to the great wrong of Forde and of the earl your majesty's ward moreover Robt Cobbe has since any general par don pardoning forgery has falsely forged divers other writings and court rolls and deeds to the prejudice of divers other of his majesty's faithful subjects in Essex in consideration of this and forasmuch as the riots routs unlawful assemblies forgeries and wrongs were committed and done and do disservice to the great and condign punishment it may his gracious majesty issue his writ of subpoena against Thos Waldgrave Wm Tiffin Rich Harlakenden Robt Cobbe Thos Anderson alias Crouch Jn Cooper Jn Ward Jn Stockbridge Robt Rand Guy Groom Sam Diglett senior Sam Diglett junior Thos Plumb Nich Leffingwell and Jas Pennock