Bill of Complaint in Bourne v. Cole et al

TNA: STAC 8/67/11

mb 2

To the Kinges most excellent Maiestie

Humbly complayninge sheweth vnto your excellent Maiestie your faithfull and obedient subiect Elizabeth Bourne of Shareshull in your heighnes County of Stafford singlewoman daughter of william Bourne yeoman deceased, and of Margaret his wyfe. That wheareas your said Subiect by all the time of her life hath lived duetifully and obediently ⸢virgin⸣ and in good <...> and conuersacion accordinge to your Maiesties lawes free from any crime of lewdnes or incontinency, and by such her behavior obteyned the loue and affeccion of her said parentes and had A good name report and reputacion amongst all your Maiesties good Subiectes thereaboutes and others that knewe her conuersacion, and your Subiectes said parentes had out of their loue and affeccion provided A good porcion for your Subiecte to preferr her in marriage with some honest man accordinge to her degree and desert. But nowe soe yt is may yt please your Maiestie that Richard Cole single-man Thomas Wright of Shareshull aforesaid yeoman ‸⸢& Iane his wife⸣ and William Challoner of Shareshull aforesaid Clerke ‸⸢william Thurstons of the same towne yeoman⸣ William ‸⸢wright of Sharesull aforesaid yeoman & Dorothye his wife IohnN<.>cken the yonger of Hatherton in the County aforesaid yeoman, Iohn Bate of Essington in the same County yeoman and Iohn Stokes of Essington aforesaid yeoman, and others of their Complices yet to your subiect vnknowen whose names your subiect humbly prayeth may be inserted in this bill and added as they shall be discouered malicinge and envying the foresaid good fame and prosperity of your said Subiect did maliciousely wickedlye and vnlawfully complott combine and confederate themselves to discredit your subiect, & to cast an aspercion of infamy vpon your Subiect and bring her into dislike and discredit of her parentes and all others of your Maiesties honest and good Subiectes. and the better to accomplish the same their vngodly wicked maliciouse and vnlawfull practise and purpose, and to bringe it to their intended desire they did raise devise frame and invent sundry vntrue reportes and infamouse and scandalouse Rimes and libelles of your Subiect, and the same Rimes and libells they vnlawfully wickedly and maliciousely putt into writinge and not soe contented. They moreover vnlawfully wickedly and maliciousely did Copy forth divulge abroade publish chaunt and singe the same libells and Rimes in Common Alehowses and in greate assemblyes of your Maiesties Subiectes both at Shareshull aforesaid in your heighnes said County of Stafford and at diuerse other places, And to the intent that your Subiect might the better take notice of the person soe defamed, and to giue the greater Credit to the infamouse matters conteyned in the said Rimes and libells. The said Richard Cole by reason of the Commbynacion and practice of the parties aforesaid intruded himselfe to be A sewter vnto your Subiect for marriage as he pretended settinge forth himselfe to be A man of good estate and reputacion which also was seconded by diuerse of the foresaid disordered persons, and by that meanes had accesse to come talke with your said Subiect and to be in her company, but your Subiect perceivinge the wicked pretence of the said Cole and of his said confederates and abettors and vtterly dislikinge thereof and of his Carriage and behavior therevpon refused eyther to come in his presence any more or to talk with him at all to avoide the occasion of scandall. but such was the height of the malice and wicked preposes of the said Richard Cole Thomas Wright and Iane his wyfe William Challanor William Wright and ‸⸢dorothy⸣ his wyfe william Thurstones Iohn Nicken Iohn Bate Iohn Stookes and the rest of thier Complicees, that therevpon that is to saie in the moneth of Maie in the ffowerteenth yeare of your Maiesties Raigne over this your heighnes Realme of England they framed made and put into writinge one of the said infamouse and scandalouse ‸⸢Rymes or⸣ libells soe made of your said Subiecte and procured and plotted that the said Richard Cole as the first author thereof should first spreade abroade publish and singe the said last mencioned libell and scandalouse matter therein conteyned which last mencioned libel and scandalouse matters therein conteyned ‸⸢was written diuulged song & published as⸣ followeth. That is to saie Besse Bourne (meaninge your said Subiecte) did goe in Venus feildes with Cole (meaninge the said Richard Cole) to trye A Battell. she had prepared A rushlinge sheild, and she ment to trye his mettle, then marke your ward looke to your gard for feare least you be spoyled. Loe where shee lyes with open thyes, wherein she must be foyled, see howe she yarkes, and finely Iurkes and playes the woman manfully and takes delight to followe the feight till that shee brought me on my knee, with that I flonge her on her backe, soe that I will victor be Quoth she your launce I meane to crack before that you doe conquer me. But I againe laide on amayne and chardged her most gallantly, my launce was longe and wonderouse stronge and I crased her Buckler pitteousely, yet she not cryed but did abide and held yt out most gallantly though I did strick with all my might vpon the Targett eagerly, did I desire then back to retire and fine would haue abeare then tyme. Noe noe quoth <...> that may not be for the conquest nowe it standes for mine. Loe here is the sheild that wonne the feild although yt bore the greater Care then had your launce eare you advanst againe to feight in Venus warres. And further for to trye my might she gaue me leaue my launce to mende then freshly I began to feight, and she as stoutely did defende till shee did lye with twinclinge eye as though she had bene in A traunce, then did shee saie thankes while you may whoe gaue you leaue to mende your launce, but I did feele the head of steele which pearst me to the very heart O would I might alwyse dye with such sweete strokes of dick Cooles dart/. which said last mencioned Rime and infamouse libell soe made of your said subiect, they the said Richard Cole Thomas Wright and Iane his wyfe William wright and dorothy his wyfe william Thurstones William Challener Iohn Nicken Iohn Bate and Iohn Stockes and the rest of their said Complicees yet to your subiect vnknowen, did make contriue Copye out singe Chaunt divulge and spreade abroade to discredit and overthrowe the reputacion good fame name and credit of your Subiect contrary to your Maiesties lawes. In tender Consideracion whereof and for soe much as the foresaid Combinacions and practises and the foresaid makinge contriveinge publishinge divulginge chauntinge singinge and spreadinge abroade of the foresaid last mencioned infamouse libell soe made of your said Subiect and other the aboue mencioned libells and Rimes, Soe as aforesaid made diuulged chaunted and songe of your said Subiecte are very preiudiciall to your Subiect and tende to the breach of your Maiesties peace and the subvercion and overthrowe of your subiecte and her good name Credit and preferment and are done to the very perniciouse example ‸⸢of others And are repugnant & contrarye to the good & wholesome lawes & the peaceable governement of⸣ of this Realme. and yt is fitt that the said offences & the offendors in that behalfe should be punished accordinge to their demerites. And for that also all the foresaid misdemeanors and offences weare practised acted and donne since your Maiesties last generall and free pardon or any pardon at alle of the same or like offences. May yt therefore please your Maiestie to graunt vnto your said Subiect your Maiesties writtes of Subpena to be directed to the said Richard Cole Thomas wright and Iane his wyfe william wright and dorothy his wyfe william Challoner william Thurstones ‸⸢Iohn Nicken⸣ Iohn Bate Iohn Stokes and others their Complicees and Confederates yet to your Subiect vnknowen humbly prayeng that ‸⸢they maie be⸣ herevnto added Commaundinge them ‸⸢and every of them therebye⸣ at A certeyne daie and vnder A certeyne payne therein to be limitted personally to be and appeare before your Maiestie and ‸⸢the lordes and others of⸣ your heignes Counsell in your most honnorable Cort of Starchamber then and there to make direct Aunsweare to the premisses. And to stande to and abide such further order direccion and Censure therein for your Subiectes releife and reformacion of the said Misdemeanors, and punishment of the offendors accordinge to their demerites as to your Maiestie and the same Cort shall seeme to stande and agree with Iustice and equity. and your said Subiect shall daly pray for your heighnes in health peace and prosperity longe to Raigne over vs

(signed) Iohn Wakering

  • Footnotes
    • did :preceded by 30mm blank covered with later line-filler
    • Subiect: for Subiectes; mark of abbreviation missing
    • Commbynacion: byn written over other letters
    • preposes: for purposes
    • to: preceded by 29mm blank covered with later line- filler
    • for: preceded by 47mm blank covered with later line- filler
    • libell: crossed out in> MS, probably accidentally
  • Glossed Terms
    • shareshull n Shareshill; sharesull
    • iurke v inf to jerk; to thrust, push, pull, or twist with sudden movements [OEDO jerk v.1 2.a]; iurkes pr
    • fling v inf to fling; flonge pa
  • Endnote

    Mb 1 contains the answer of William Wright and John Bate, sworn 4 November 1616. They simply denied the charges of Elizabeth Bourne that they were part of 'the Combinacions and practizes and the makeinge contriveinge publishinge divulginge Chanting singinge and spreadinge abroad of the Infamous Libell and other the misdemeanors' alleged in the bill of complaint. Their answer is not transcribed here because it adds nothing to the facts outlined and alleged in the bill.

  • Document Description

    Record title: Bill of Complaint in Bourne v. Cole et al
    Repository: TNA
    Shelfmark: STAC 8/67/11
    Repository location: Kew

    1616; English; parchment; 2 membranes; 170mm x 440mm and 453mm x 500mm; modern numbering in pencil on lower right corner but not in logical order (mb 2 contains a bill of complaint and mb 1 the defendants' answer); mb 1 has an uneven top edge along which can be seen descenders from a line of text, from which it has been cut away, mb 2 is slightly stained and has 5 worm holes (2 repaired).

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