mb 2 (Bill of complaint)
To the Kinges most excellent Maiestie
In all humblenes Complayninge sheweth vnto your most excellent Maiestie your highnes loyall faithfull and obedient Subiecte Anthonye Kynnersley of Loxley in your highnes Countie of Stafford Esquier That where your Subiecte for many yeares past hathe been and yet is lawfully seised in his demeasne as of ffee (amongest other thinges) of and in the mannor or Lordshippe of Loxley aforesaide, with the rightes members and appurtenaunces thereof And of and in Certeyne waste groundes Commons and Heathes apperteyninge and belonginge to the same mannor or Lordshipp and parcell thereof. (vpon parte of which saide Common and waste groundes your saide Subiecte divers yeares paste had caused one hansome dwellinge howse fytt for habitacion conteyninge att the leaste twoe bayes and a barne therevnto neare adioyninge conteyninge also twoe bayes or more to be erected and builded att his your saide Subiectes owne proper Costes and Charges. and had made the same howse fytt for an habitacion and dwellinge for an honest workeman whome he entended to haue placed and sett therein). and had like wise made readie the saide barne fitt to laye in haye or Corne of the Tenaunte that should haue inhabited or dwelte therein. But soe it is (if it maie please your most excellent maiestie) That william Tyxall of Lees Hill in the saide Countie of Staffordshire gentleman, Godfrey Tyxall his brother, and divers other riotous and disordered persons to your said Subiecte as yet vnknowne to the number of twelue persons att the leaste (whose names your saide Subiecte humbly praieth libertie to inserte into this Bill, when theire names shalbe discovered and knowne) about three yeares nowe last past and sythence your maiestes last most gracious generall and free pardon did riotously routously and vnlawfully assemble themselues and meete together att or neare vnto the saide howse and Barne, And then and there beinge soe vnlawfully assembled and mette together and everie of them beinge in warlike and vnlawfull mannere armed weaponed prepared arrayed and furnished with divers sortes of vnlawfull warlike and vnvsuall weapons, (as namely swoordes and daggers longe piked staves forrest Bills welshe hooke Crowes and barres of Iron and such other like Instrumentes tooles and engynes fytt for vnlawfull purposes and enterprises did then and there in the night tyme riotously routously and vnlawfully pull downe, overthrowse, and whollye deface the said howse and barne dispersing and Castinge the tymber thereof into severall places. one peece from another, And the saide riotous and disordered persons aforenamed armed weaponed prepared and arrayed (as is aforesaide) did in like riotous routous and vnlawfull manner in or about the moneth of Iuly last was three yeares, or there aboutes riotously routously and vnlawfully enter into one parcell of grounde of your said Subiectes within the mannor or Lordshipp of Loxley aforesaide called Little Heately wherein att that tyme your saide Subiecte had divers loades of haye readie made into Cockes to be Carried home for his owne proper vse, And did then and there with a draught or teame of oxen of the saide william Tixall which they then brought thither with them for that purpose) vnlawfully riotously and routously then and there take Carrie and drive awaye three wayne loades of your saide Subiectes haye then and there beinge readie made into Cockes for your saide Subiectes owne proper vse (as is aforesaid) and the same haye did leade and Carrie home to the dwellinge howse of the saide william Tyxall (where the same was converted vsed and imployed to the sole proper vse and benefitt of the saide william Tyxall). And yett they the saide riotous and disordered persons not soe Contented, but to the further wronge and damage of your saide Subiecte, he the saide william Tyxall, Godfrey Tyxall his brother and the other persons to your said Subiecte as yet vnknowne in or neare about the moneth of August then next followinge, (all of them beinge vnlawfully armed weaponed prepared and arraied (as is aforesaide) with warlike and vnlawfull weapons ‸⸢did⸣ againe riotously routously and vnlawfully enter into one other parcell of lande then and yett beinge in your said Subiectes possession, and beinge your maiestes enheritaunce), wherein your saide Subiecte had att that tyme divers loades of wynter Corne readie reaped, shocked and mowed, to haue beene Carried home to your saide Subiectes vse, and then and there the said william Tyxall, Godfrey Tyxall, and the other riotous persons yet vnknowne with the Teame or draught of oxen and wayne of the saide william Tyxall, brought with them thither for that purpose in like riotous routous and vnlawfull manner did thence take, loade and Carrie awaie with them one ‸⸢wayne⸣ loade of your said Subiectes saide wynter Corne home to the howse of the said william Tyxall where the same was imployed Converted vsed and spente to the proper vse and benefitt of the saide william Tyxall. And moreover sheweth vnto your most excellent maiestie your saide Subiecte That where he ‸⸢ys⸣ likewise lawfully seised in his demeasne as of ffee of and in one Parke and grounde inclosed with pales and Rayles called Loxley Parke within the saide mannor or Lordshipp of Loxley aforesaide (which Parke and inclosed grounde is, and for many yeares past hathe beene well stoared and replenished with a faire game of fallowe deare, and foure redd deere, which your saide Subiecte hathe kepte and preserved carefully aswell for your maiesties pleasure (in Case your highnes should be pleased to take your Roiall progresse into these partes), as for other his freindes. But soo it is further (Maie it please your most excellent maieste) That they the said william Tyxall Godfrey Tyxall ‸⸢and one⸣ Iohn Everett and the rest of the ‸⸢vnruly⸣ persons to your saide Subiecte as yet vnknowne not contentinge them selues with the former wronges and outrages done and Committed against your saide Subiecte and vpon his saide landes But in further spleene and Causeles malice and evill will borne and conceaved against him your saide Subiecte havinge vnlawfully armed prepared furnished and arrayed them selues with warlike and vnlawfull weapons (as aforesaide) and with Crossbowes gunnes or fowlinge peeces charged with powder and bullettes greyhoundes and other vnlawfull tooles, instrumentes and engynes fytt for the huntynge chasinge killinge takinge or destroying of deere did att divers and sundrye tymes within three yeares nowe last past, (aswell by daye as by night) riotously routously and vnlawfully with their saide weapons Crosbowes gunnes or fowlinge peeces and greyhoundes enter into your saide Subiectes Parke called Loxley Parke and into his severall groundes neare therevnto adioyninge, and then and there did in like riotous routous and vnlawfull manner hunte Course take kill and destroye divers of your saide Subiectes deere in the same Parke and groundes then and there beinge and depasturinge, (divers of the same deere beinge att that tyme vnseasonable deere) which they the said William Tyxall and Godfrey Tyxall his brother and the other riotous persons yet vnknowne vnlawfully tooke and Carried awaie with them to the then dwellinge howse of the saide william Tyxall (first carrieinge them secretly into his Barne neare the same howse and after wardes brought them into his saide howse, where the same deere and everie of them were in like riotous and vnlawfull manner eaten spente and consumed: and the said Godfrey Tyxall william Tyxall and the rest of the saide riotous hunters aforenamed did againe riotously and vnlawfully hunte in your Subiectes saide Parke and in his saide groundes neare therevnto adioyninge in the moneth of December nowe last past, and then and there he the saide Godfrey Tyxall with a gunne or fowlinge peece charged with powder and shotte killed one doe of your said Subiectes, and the same doe in like vnlawfull manner tooke and Carried awaie with them to the howse of the saide william Tyxall where the same Doe was likewise eaten and spente to the damage of your saide Subiecte and the vtter spoylinge and destroyeinge of his saide game of deere) And moreover your said Subiecte sheweth vnto your moste excellent maiestie That where for many yeares past, aswell in the tyme of the Raigne of the late Queene Elizabeth of famous memorie your maiesties noble Predecessor, as also ever. synce your maiestes most happie and prosperous Raigne over this Realme of England hathe beene and Contynued in your highnes Commission of the peace, a Iustice of peace and Quorum for the saide Countie of Staffordshire and hathe beene lawfully and duely sworne for the execucion of the saide place and office according to his best skill and knowledge, as others haue beene, and as is vsuall in like Cases: in which place your saide Subiecte (to the vttermost of his best endeavoures) hathe been ever willinge and readie to doe and perfourme all thinges that to Iustice and a Iustice of the peace apperteyneth, aswell for the suppressinge of the vnreasonable number of Alehowses, and Alehowse keepers, who Contemptuously and against the lawes and ordynaunces of this your highnes Realme of England take vpon them, and doe brew bothe ale and beere without licence, as also all other disorders misdemeanors Contempes and offences Committed and done in Alehowses Innes and other places of vnlawfull resorte and Companie, bothe in the saide Alehowse keepers them selues and in the Companyes that haunte and frequent the same; whereof much good and quiett hathe ensued in those partes where your Subiecte liveth) yet soe it is if it maie please your most excellent maiestie That the saide William Tyxall Godfrey Tyxall Iohn Everett and divers others ‸⸢there being Complices and Adherentes to your said Subiecte as yet vnknowne⸣ beinge desordered Contemptuous and tumultuous persons apte and readie to dispise all aucthoritie and to make libells rymes or verses in scorne Contempte and disgrace of Iustice and of Iustices of peace synce the moneth of November nowe last past which was in the thirteenth yeare of your maiesties saide most happie and prosperous Raigne over this Realme of England wickedly falsely maliciously and vnlawfully plotted Conspired confederated and Consulted together howe or by what meanes they might traduce slaunder or disgrace your saide Subiecte and to bringe his name Creditt and the aucthoritie of a Iustice of peace given vnto him by your most excellent maiestie by Commission vnder your Highnes greate Seale of England into Contempte scorne and disgrace for perfourmaunce and In execucion whereof they the saide William Tyxall Godfrey Tyxall Iohn Everett and the other disorderd persons to your saide Subiecte as yet vnknowne maliciously and falsely devised contrived framed and made a false and slaunderous libell and Ryme in verse against your saide Subiecte in theis wordes followinge (videlicet) The Iustice vniust and Iacob his man, oppresse the poore alewives with an vnreasonable Can: which libell and Ryme they also ‸⸢haue sithence⸣ putt in wrytinge and att divers and sundrie tymes published songe repeated and declared the same in the Towne of Vttoxeter in the saide Countie of Stafford (where your saide Subiecte for the most parte of wynter liveth and remayneth) ‸⸢it⸣ beinge a greate markett Towne: and alsoe dispersed and scattered divers Copies thereof aswell in the Streetes of the said Towne of Vttoxeter, as also in Common Innes Tavernes alehowses and other places of publique resorte and meetinges And yet not soe Contented, but the saide disordered persons aforenamed, and the others yet vnknowne caused the same ⸢Libyll Ryme & verses⸣ to be publiquely ‸⸢and openly⸣ songe in Ryme by Players att a publique stage playe or Comedie which was publiquely acted and played in the saide Towne of Vttoxeter ‸⸢in december yeare last past⸣ by certayne disordered persons takinge vpon them to be Comon and publique stage players By which wordes of the saide libell (vizt.) the vniuste Iustice they meante and entended your saide Subiecte, and by Iacob his man they ⸢also⸣ meante and entended a servant of your saide Subiectes whose Christen name is Iacob which was to your saide Subiectes greate disgrace slaunder and reproache, and in scorne contempte and derision of Iustice: All which Riottes Routes vnlawfull assemblies riotous and vnlawfull huntinges and Killinge and destroyeinge your saide Subiectes deere, Contrivinge makinge, devisinge publishinge and dispersinge of Libells Rymes and verses against any of your maiesties good and lovinge Subiectes and all and everie the misdemeanors and offences aforemencioned, are not only greate and haynous and verie dangerous and pernicious in example to the encouragement of others if the offenders therein should escape with impunitie for the same But also are against the most holesome and godly lawes Statutes and ordynaunces of this your highnes Realme of England, and were all done and Committed synce your maiesties last most gracious generall and free pardon and are also to the greate damage wronge and preiudice of your saide Subiecte. Maie it herefore please your most excellent Maiestie the premisses Considered to graunte vnto your said Subiecte your highnes most gracious writtes of Subpena to be directed to the saide William Tyxall, Godfrey Tyxall, Iohn Everett. and to the other persons to your saide Subiecte as yet vnknowne when theire names shalbe discovered and knowne Commaundinge them and everie of them thereby att a certeyne daye and vnder a certayne payne therein to be lymitted personally to be and apeare before your most excellent maiestie and your highnes most honorable Counsell in your maiesties most highe Courte of Starre Chamber...
It is difficult to determine the underlying issues in this complex case, but one can suggest a reason why it was brought before Star Chamber. The complainant, Anthony Kynnersley, a justice of peace and quorum, alleges that the defendants, William Tyxall, Godfrey Tyxall his brother, and ten or more other unknown persons, had committed a series of offences against him, including several felonies such as tearing down the complainant's house and barn, stealing three loads of hay, stealing three wagon loads of winter corn, and poaching his deer. One may wonder why Kynnersley did not have the malefactors dealt with by the quarter sessions and the assizes? Presumably he must have felt that local grand and petty juries could not be depended upon to judge the case impartially, either because of prejudice against himself or as a result of bribery or threats. The libel (of which we have presumably only got the title or opening lines) gave Kynnersley the option of making a 'star chamber matter of the case, although it appears to be the least of his complaints. This explains why Kynnersley, having swallowed the camel of these various felonies, here goes to Star Chamber to strain at an apparent gnat (his final charge, the libellous rhyme quoted in the bill). John Everett is mentioned in the bill only in connection with the complaint about poaching and the libel, so probably he was implicated only in those offences. In the only surviving answer to the bill, Godfrey Tyxall alleges that malice between Kynnersley and his brother had existed for three or four years because of a dispute over a piece of land (implying that matters ran more deeply between them than the bill of complaint states). Beyond this, Godfrey Tyxall merely denied any guilt, and his response adds nothing to the facts alleged in the bill of complaint.
Record title: Kynnersley v. Tyxall et al
Shelfmark: STAC 8/192/12
Repository location: Kew
Anthony Kynnersley, farmer, of Loxley, brings a complaint against William Tyxall of Lees Hill.
1616; English; parchment; 2 membranes; 160mm x 260mm and 475mm x 675mm; modern numbering in pencil at bottom right of mbs.