Bill of Complaint in Gillam v. Church

TNA: STAC 8/20/24

mb [2] (25 April) (Bill of complaint)

To the kinges most excellent Maiestie

Most humblie enformeth your most excellent Maiestie Sir ffrauncis Bacon Knight your Maiesties Attorney generall and one of your highnes privie Councell That whereas by the happie and blessed peace which the vnspeakable goodnes of god hath ordayned to attend your royall person and scepter your Maiesties Realmes and dominions do enioy the benefitt of peace and iustice free from riottes forces and abvses of iustice which the ancient authoritie of your Maiesties high and honorable Court of Star Chamber as against a deadly and most pestiferous infection is and hath bene ever a most speciall and soveraigne preservative not suffering any gatheringes or assemblinges of people in tumultuous or outragious manner to passe vnpunished and more yf they be Cloked with abvse of authoritie or men in office or place of iustice, which ought not by any meanes to be perverted to iniurie or disorder. And whereas also one William Gillam and Alice his wiffe of Almington within the parish of Drayton in your Countie of Stafford were vpon or about the xxvth day of Aprill in the Tenth yeare of your Maiesties most happie raigne over this your Kingdome of England lawfullie and quietlie possessed of and in one messuage or Tenemente in Almington aforesayd for divers yeares then to Come and vnexpired; and were so possessed of the same for the space of twelue yeares before, And whereas also the sayd William Gillam was then also lawefullie possessed to his owne proper vse and behoofe of and in divers and sundry goodes Chattells and vtensills of houshold then remayninge in the sayd messuage or dwelling house to the value of twentie powndes or theiraboutes. But so it is yf it please your excellent Maiestie that one William Church of Betton in the Countie of Salopia gentleman then one of the high Constables of the hundred of Bradford in the sayd Countie of Salopia and a sworne officer of your Maiesties, and Lord and owner of the Mannor of Almington aforesayd, nothing regarding the dutie of his place or his oath, and presuming on his power and authoritie by reason he was Lord of the Mannor and Township aforesayd did in or about the sayd xxvth day of Aprill in the sayd tenth yeare of your Maiesties raigne practise Combine and confederate himselfe togither with one Richard Wade then pettie Constable of the sayd Township of Almington Robert Poole Richard Hurbutt Agnes Wade Roger Wright William Astley Iohn Hurdman Robert Creswall William Creswall Iohn Preston Thomas Poole ffrauncis Robinson ‸⸢and⸣ William Wade all of them of Almington in the sayd parish of drayton aforesayd being all of them tenantes ‸⸢servantes⸣ and wellwillers vnto the sayd William Church and persons of very riotous lewd and evill behaviour and divers and sundry others evill disposed persons to the number of thirtie persons or theiraboutes whose names are yet vnknowne to your Maiesties sayd Attorney but humblie prayeth they may be inserted into this Informacion when they shalbe discovered; and did then also most vnlawfullie riotouslie rowtouslie and in warlike and disorderlie manner assemble themselves togither at Almington aforesayd; and for that purpose all of them being armed arrayed and weaponed in most riotous rowtous and warlike manner with long piked staves pitchforkes welsh hookes gvns pistolls Chardged with powder and shott swoordes daggers bills and other weapons aswell invasive defensive which sayd riotous and disordered persons by the procurement instigacion and abettment of the sayd William Church being so assembled armed arrayed and weaponed as aforesayd did on or aboutes the sayd xxv⸢th⸣ day of Aprill in the tenth yeare of your Maiesties raigne over this your Realme of England at Almington aforesayd in most riotous rowtous forcible and vnlawfull manner enter into and breake open the doores of the sayd dwelling howse of the sayd William Gillam, and pull downe the walles of the sayd howse; and in most violent riotous and outragious manner layd violent handes vpon the sayd Gillam and wiffe and sore beate and wownded them and gave them divers blowes on their bodies and broke the rime of the sayd William Gillams bellie; and in most barbarous and inhumane manner broke the bones of their armes and wownded both him and his wiffe in most cruell and barbarous manner in divers partes of their bodies to the effusion of their blood and the great daunger of their lives, whereby the sayd Gillam being a poore horner by his trade hath lost the vse of his limmes and so is destitute of the ‸⸢all⸣ meanes or helpe to gett his living, and dragged drew and haled them out of their sayd dwelling howse by the heeles and knocked their heades to the growndsills of the sayd house and so drew them into the streetes, and then shutt the doores of the sayd howse vnto them with great noise and Clamor to the great terror and astonishment of all the inhabitantes theiraboutes they the said William Gillam and Alice his wiffe being then in godes peace and your Maiesties quietlie remayninge and dwelling in the sayd house. And they the said Riotous and disordered persons not herewith Contented did the same day at night againe assemble themselves togither at the sayd dwelling howse in like riotous and vnlawfull manner with musicke playing before them and dawncing, and in most scornefull and deriding manner did vpbraide and revile the sayd poore people, and eate and drinke vp their victualls then in the sayd house; and remayned there all that night revelling and Carowsing. And the sayd Riotors did further plott and practise togither thereby to enrich themselves by the ruine and spoile of the sayd Gillam and his wiffe; and for the better effecting of their wicked purpose, he the sayd William Church being Lord of the Mannor aforesayd and pretending that the sayd Gillam and his wiffe did hold the sayd messuage or dwelling house by meane conveyances from him, and that divers arrerages of rent were behind and vnpayed for the sayd howse; and having contracted for the same house with Roger Wright one of the defendantes for a somme of money and not well knowing how to gett the possession of the same, vnder collour thereof did then and there in like riotous rowtous forcible and vnlawfull manner enter and breake open the lockes of the doores in the sayd house and chestes of the sayd Gillam and his wiffe in the sayd house being fast locked wherein their goodes Chattells evidences and writinges then were; and vnder collour aforesayd in like riotous forcible and vnlawfull manner did seise take and Carry away and throw out of the doores into the streetes all or the greatest parte of the sayd goodes and some parte of them did sett on fire to the great losse and vtter vndoing of the sayd Gillam his poore wiffe and Children; and have sithence shared spoiled and devided the sayd goodes amongst them or some of them pretending title therevnto, and thereof vtterlie defrawded the sayd Gillam to the value of twentie powndes at the least. And did also take and Carry away divers evidences and writinges of the sayd Gillams which then were remayning in the chestes in the sayd howse whereby he is deprived of the meanes recoverie of the sayd messuage and house by the course of the Comon law and also did then and there take and Carry away a proces or writt out of your Maiesties Court of kinges bench which he ‸⸢the⸣ sayd William Gillam had sued forth against Roger Wright and Richard Hurdman two of the defendentes ‸⸢and principall agentes in the sayd pr<.....>el and outrage⸣ thinking thereby to hinder the sayd Gillam of the due and ordinarie proceedinges of law. And further sheweth and enformeth your most excellent Maiestie that they the sayd Richard Wade Robert Poole Richard Hurbutt Agnes Wade Roger Wright William Astley Iohn Hurdman Robert Creswall William Creswall Iohn Preston Thomas Poole ffrauncis Robinson William Wade and the other vnknowne riotous and disordered persons by the abettment procurement and instigacion of the sayd William Church having so vnlawfullie and in riotous manner entred into and gotten the possession of the dwelling howse of the sayd William Gillam and throwen him his wiffe and Children out of the same into the streetes the day and yeare aforesayd in like riotous forcible and vnlawfull manner did keepe and hold the possession of the sayd howse with strong hand and force; whereby the sayd Gillam and his wiffe and children were enforced to lye in the streetes and like there to have perished yf they had not bene by some charitable people releived; and further also the sayd William Church in execucion of his wicked and devilish purpose did then and there Command and threaten the neighbors that they should not harbor the sayd Gillam or his wiffe or Children or give them any meate or drinke so that they were almost famished and like to perish for want of foode And the sayd Gillams wiffe immediatlie after comming to the doores of the sayd house and thinking to have gone in to have succored herselfe was not permitted or suffered by the sayd riotous and disordered persons to Come into the sayd house; but some of the sayd Riotors videlicet Robert Poole and Richard Wade thrust their pitchforkes through the doore of the sayd house at the sayd Gillams wiffe and thrust her into the legg and gave her a grevous wound on the same. And the sayd William Church then and there also in very inhumane and Cruell manner violentlie and forciblie toke hale and pulled the sayd Gillams wiffe from the doore of the sayd house; and in most violent forcible and barbarous manner threw her downe into a hallow Cart way and sore brused and hurt her so that she escaped with with great danger of her life; and they both long languished of the woundes hurtes and bruses they then receaved to their greate impoverishing and vtter overthrow. In tender consideracion whereof and forasmuch as the sayd riottes rowtes forcible entries beatinges woundinges combinaciions Confederacies practises and forcible keeping of possession and other the misdemeanors and offences aforesayd are Contrarie to your Maiesties lawes and statutes of this your Realme of England and do tend to the evill example and encouragement of other like evill disposed persons to perpetrate and Committ the like outrages and misdemeanors yf the same should escape vnpunished; and were by the sayd riotous and evill disposed persons done and Committed since your Maiesties last most gracious generall and free pardon May it therefore please your most excellent Maiestie to grant vnto your sayd Attorney your Maiesties most gracious writtes of subpoena to be directed vnto the sayd William Church Richard Wade Robert Poole Richard Hurbutt Agnes Wade Roger Wright William Astley Iohn Hurdman Robert Creswall William Creswall Iohn Preston Thomas Poole ffrauncis Robinson William Wade and the sayd other Riotors as yet vnknowne to your Maiesties sayd Attorney whose names your sayd Attorney prayeth may be inserted into this informacion as they shalbe made knowne and discovered, thereby Commanding them and every of them at a Certayne day and vnder a Certayne paine therein to be limitted personallie to be and appeare before your Maiestie and your most honorable privie Counsell in your Maiesties high Court of Star Chamber then and there to answere the premisses and to abide such further order and censure therein as to your Maiesties sayd honorable Councell shalbe thought fitt and most agreable with Iustice And your sayd Attorney shall dailie pray for your Maiesties long and prosperous Raigne over vs./

(signed) Frauncis Bacon

(signed) Robert Faldo

  • Footnotes
    • >Hurbutt: second u smudged
  • Glossed Terms
    • salopia n in phr countie of salopia Shropshire
    • rime n in phr rime of the ... bellie the peritoneum [OEDO rim n.2 1.b]
    • hale n in phr toke hale took hold
    • hallow adj hollow, empty
  • Endnote

    The answer to this bill, not printed here, is by William Church and Robert Poole. It adds nothing about the complaint concerning music and dancing in the house under dispute, and alleges that the house was held by Gillam as a tenant at will or sufferance, and that Gillam had neglected or refused to pay his rent for diverse years to the owner, William Church.

  • Document Description

    Record title: Bill of Complaint in Gillam v. Church
    Repository: TNA
    Shelfmark: STAC 8/20/24
    Repository location: Kew

    1616; English; parchment; 2 membranes stitched together at top left; unnumbered; mb [1] (Answer): 320mm x 545mm, mb 2 (Bill): 350mm x 690mm; written on 1 side; mb 1 is damaged at top right edge, mb [2] is endorsed: 'Veneris octauo die Nouembris Anno xiiijo Iacobis Regis,' and (written other way) 'Attorneus Regis versus Churche et alios.'

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