STAC 5/W6/18 - B A - Mich 35/36 Eliz - Somerset - Nicholas Wadham v John Bonvile, John Hoskins, Roger Foxill alias Foxwell, James Fitzjames, Arthur Sydenham see STAC Wadham
Transcribed by Helen Good
To the Queens most excellent Majesty
In most humble wise complaining sheweth unto your most excellent majesty your highness true faithful loyal and obedient subject Nicolas Wadham esquire That whereas your highness said subject now is and of long time hath been seized in his demesne as of fee of and in one park or enclosed ground commonly called or known by the name of Meryfield Park situate lying and being in your highness county of Somerset, which park is and time out of mind hath been impaled and furnished with a game of fallow deer whereof your said subject and his ancestors time out of mind have been seized and your said subject so being thereof seized. So it is if it made please your most excellent Majesty That is certain riotous dissolute and disordered persons To wit one John Bonville gentleman John Hoskins late Schoolmaster of Ileminster in your Highness county of aforesaid Roger Foxill alias Foxwell clerk James FitzJames Arthur Sydenham [blank] Sydenham [blank] and diverse and sundry other like evil disposed persons to your said subject as yet unknown to the number of ten or twelve persons or thereabouts being weaponed with “Crossbows Goones Pistolles longe pyked staves walshe hookes forrest billes swordes bucklers and other like warlike weapons aswell invasive as defensive” in or about the Twelfth day of September last past in the night of the same day did in very riotous routous and unlawful manner assemble themselves together at the said park and being assembled then and there in like riotous routous and unlawful manner weaponed as aforesaid and having with them divers grey hounds did enter into your said subjects said park and enclosed grounds and did hunt chase and kill diverse of your said subjects deer then and there in the same park being And also did then and there in riotous and forcible manner with their said crossbows and weapons assault and shoot at your said subject’s keeper of his said park then and there in God's peace and your majesty’s being and him did beat wound and ill entreat to the great terror of the said keeper and other servants and neighbours of your said subject there near adjoining and contrary to diverse your majesties laws and statutes in that case made and provided. In tender consideration whereof and forasmuch as riots routs forces unlawfully assemblies riotous huntings and such like are contrary to diverse your Majesty's laws and statutes in such cases made and provided and tend to the evil example of other like lewd and evil disposed persons And to the end the said riotous and disordered persons may receive condign punishment for their said offences according to justice and there demerits in that behalf May it please your most excellent Majesty to grant unto your said subject your highness most gracious writ of Subpoena to be directed unto the said John Bonvile, John Hoskins, Roger Foxill alias Foxwell, James Fitzjames, Arthur Sydenham, (blank) and other the riotous persons aforesaid commanding them and every of them thereby at a certain day and under a certain pain therin to be limited to be and personally to appear before your most excellent majesty in your most high court of Star Chamber then and there to answer the premises And further to stand to abide receive and suffer such order direction and punishment for the same as to your highness and your most honourable council of the same court shall seem best to award with equity and justice. And your said subject according to his most bounden duty shall daily pray to god for your most excellent majesty in all peace and tranquillity long to reign over us.
The joint and several answers of John Bonvile gentleman and Roger Foxill clerk two of the defendants to the Bill of Complaint of Nicholas Wadham esquire complainant This said defendants and every of them saving unto him and themselves all and all manner of advantages and benefits of exception to the incertainties and imperfections of the said Bill of Complaint for answer and plain declaration of truth touching as much of the contents of the same Bill of Complaint as concerning them these defendants or either of them examinable in this honourable court and material or effectual by them or either of them to be answered unto they say That it is indeed very true that they these defendants and some others about the time in this said Bill mentioned did hunt in the said complainants park or inclosed ground in the Bill mentioned and there without any intent to make such great spoil and havoc of the game as in the Bill is set forth with their dogs or greyhounds did chase certain deer and of which deer the same dogs or greyhounds did indeed single out and pulled him down but whether the same deer was then killed or no these defendants do not know And these defendants further say that in the said hunting there came certain keepers of the said park, and as these defendants think rescued the killing of the said deer, And as soon as these defendants and the rest of their company did see the keepers not to minding any resistance or to use any force or violence in with standing them or any of them they, all presently departed and went away and continued no further hunting which was also they did without further proffer, and the weapons which these defendants they had were hunting staves and but one bow and arrows amongst them but short not at all and as they remember one servingman had sword and dagger and another a sword and buckler without that these defendants or either of them did assault and shoot at the said complainants keeper or did beat wound or evil entreat them in such sort and manner as in the said Bill of Complaint is mentioned or did or performed any other thing or in any other manner or form touching the killing hunting or chasing of the said deer, then as it is before set down expressed and declared, Without that any other thing or matter in the said Bill of Complaint contained material or effectual by these defendants or either of them to be answered unto and examinable in this honourable court and not herein either sufficiently answered confessed and avoided [ . . .sed] or denied is true. Also which matters these defendants and either of them are ready to answer and prove as this Honourable Court shall award and pray and either of them prayeth to be dismissed out of the same Court with his and their reasonable costs and expenses in this behalf wrongfully sustained.