Edward Atslowe, D.M. [=Doctor of Medicine] vs. Thomas Grover, Richard Grover, Richard Gate, John Turnor and others; cutting down trees, &c., contrary to manorial custom.

PRO C2/Eliz/A6/36 (6 November 1574)

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PRO summary: Manors of Chesham-Higham and Chesham-Bury, in co. Bucks, - custom for the lord to have all the oak, ash, and elm trees; tenants felling them to forfeit their estates. Edw. de Vere, Earl of Oxford, seised of said manor (Ao 1574), demised the same to one Luke Atslowe for years, who assigned to complainant.

NB: PRO incorrectly identifies complainant as Robert Atslowe.

PRO C2/Eliz/A6/36/1 (complaint)

To the Right Honorable S{i}r Nicholas Bacon knighte Lorde Keep{er} of the great Seale of Inglond

Complayninge sheweth vnto yo{u}r good Lordshippe yo{u}r dailie Orato{u}r Edward Atslowe of London docto{u}r of Physick That wheras the Righte Honorable Edward de Veer Earle of Oxford was seised in his demeane as of fee of and in the Manno{u}rs of Chesham Higha{m} and Chesham Bury in the County of Bucks w{i}thin w{hi}ch Manno{u}rs the Cusome is and alwaies tyme oute of mynde hathe benne that the Lordes of the said Manno{u}rs oughte to have and alwaies have hadd all the Okes Ashes Elmes and other trees growinge vppon any landes or ten{emen}t{es} holden by Copie of Courte Roll of any the said Manno{u}r{es} And that no ten{nan}te by Copie of courte Roll of anye of the said Mannours ought or may fell cut downe or take any of the said Okes Ashes Elmes or other trees growinge vppon anye of the said Coppie holdes And if any suche ten{au}nte doo fell or cutt downe any suche trees as is aforsaid: That suche his fellinge and Cuttinge downe is and alwaies hathe benne a forfeiture of all the Copiehold landes and tenem{en}t{es} whervppon any suche trees so felled or cutt downe did growe. And that it shalbe and alwaies hathe benne lawfull to and for eu{er}y lorde and lordes of the said manno{u}rs or of any of them i{m}mediatly after the fellinge of any suche trees. And after p{re}sentm{en}t therof by the ten{au}nt{es} of the said Manno{u}r at a Courte holden w{i}thin the same to enter into any suche Copie holdes and the same to sease and take as forfeited by the custome aforesaid. And the said Earle so being seised by an Indenture of lease beringe date the (blank) daie of (blank) in (blank) yere of the Raigne of o{u}r Sou{er}aigne Ladie Quene Elizabethe demised the said Mannors to one Luke Atslowe brother of the said Complayn{au}nte for the terme of diu{er}s yeres yeate to come and vnexpired / And farther by the said Indenture Coven{au}nted and gr{a}unted to & w{i}th the said Luke and his assignes that it shold and mighte be lawfull to and for the said Luke and his assignes to have take fall cut downe and Carrie Awaye to his and their owne p{ro}p{er} vse all the said woodes at all tymes seasonable duringe the terme aforsaid by force wher of the said Luke Atslowe was of the said Manno{u}rs lawfully possessed: And so possessed by his sufficient dede graunted and assigned all his said terme of and in the said Manno{u}rs and other the p{re}miss{es} to yo{u}r said Orato{u}r By force wherof yo{u}r said orator was and is of the said Mannor{es} lawfully possessed and so oughte as tenante and farmo{u}r of the said M[[annor]] to the said Earle by the Custome and Coven{au}nte aforesaid to have and enioye all the said trees so growinge vppon any of the said Copie holde land{es} or ten{emen}t{es} of any of the said Manno{u}rs / But so it is if it lyke yo{u}r good Lordshippe that Thom{a}s Grover Richard Grover Richard Gate Iohn Tornor Richard Woodhouse Rob{er}te Bennynge Thom{a}s Lovett Richard Birche Richarde Hardinge Iohn Birche Thom{a}s Twichell & Iohn Baldwin of Chesham magna in the said Countie of Buck yeomen and diu{er}s other Copie holde ten{au}nt{es} of the saied Manno{u}rs have co{n}federated and conspired to geather to defraude bothe the said Earle and your said orator his said fermo{u}r of all the said woodes so of Righte belonginge vnto them affirminge that them selfes may lawfully cut downe the same woodes. And that the lorde oughte to have nothinge to do w{i}th the same And thervppon daily cuttinge & spoilinge the said woods tothe disinheritance of the said Earle and to the losse & domage [=damage] of yo{u}r said orator of all the said woodes contrary to all Righte equytie & good consicence. In co{n}siderac{i}on wherof and for as miche as yo{u}r said Orato{u}r can have no knoledge nor vnderstandinge who cuttethe downe any of the said woodes (albeit much hathe benne felled) for so miche as all the said ten{au}nt{es} are confederate & linked to geather agaynst yo{u}r said Orato{u}r as is aforesaid. And for as muche also as yo{u}r said Orato{u}r dothe charge the said ten{au}nt{es} at any Court{es} of any of the said Manno{u}rs to enquire of any of the said offenc{es} thei will make no suche inquirie not w{i}thstandinge there Othe affirminge that the said matter is no offence at all. And if yo{u}r said Orato{u}r shoulde seise there said Copie holdes the said seisure were doubtfull to be maynteyned by the co{m}mon lawe before p{re}sentment of the said effect{es} in the said court{es} w{hi}ch yo{u}r said Orato{u}r cannot obteine as is aforsaid. And for as miche also as yo{u}r said Orato{u}r can ne maye have any action of waste by the due course of the co{m}mon lawe. And if he might have the said action or any other yeate yo{u}r said Orato{u}r therin shold deale w{i}t{h} a multitude and so what tumulte or inco{n}venience might ensue vppon suche sute is muche to be do^\\u//bted. And so is yo{u}r said Orato{u}r w{i}thout any convenient Remedie by the Course of the co{m}mon lawe for the obetininge and enoiyinge of his said woodes agaynst yo{u}r sayd defend nether can he have any orderly and peaceable Remedy therfore, notw{i}thstandinge that the said Thom{a}s Grover and the said other offenders do contynually waste & spoile the said woodes to the great disinheritance of the said Earle and to the greate harme of yo{u}r said Orato{u}r Excepte yo{u}r Lordshipps favorable and accustomed goodnes be vnto yo{u}r said Orato{u}r in this behalfe extended / May it therfore yo{u}r good Lordshipp the p{re}misses considered to graunte vnto yo{u}r said Orato{u}r the Quenes Ma{ies}t{es} most gracious seu{er}all writes of Iniunction to be derected to the said Thom{a}s Grover Richard Grover Richard Gate Iohn Torno{u}r Richard Woodhouse Rob{er}te Bennynge Thom{a}s Lovett Richard Birche Richarde Hardinge Iohn Birche Thom{a}s Twichell & Iohn Baldwin co{m}maundinge and inioyninge them and eu{er}y of them ther and eu{er}y of ther ten{au}nt{es} s{er}vant{es} deputies and assignes whatsoeu{er} That thei or any of them or any other by there or any of there p{ro}curement practise or consent shall not at any tyme hereafter (vntill farther order shalbe taken to allowe them so to doe in this honorable courte) fell or cut downe any of the said woodes or trees or any p{ar}te therof vnder a certen payne in the said iniunction to be co{n}teined. And also the Quenes M{aies}t{ies} most gracious seu{er}all writes of sub pena to be derected vnto the said Thom{a}s Grover Richard Grover Richard Gate Iohn Torno{u}r Richard Woodhouse Rob{er}t Bennyng Thom{a}s Lovett Richard Birche Richarde Hardinge Iohn Birche Thom{a}s Twichell & Iohn Baldwin com{m}aundinge them and eu{er}y of them therby to be and p{er}sonally appeare before yo{u}r good Lordshipp in the Quenes Ma{ies}t{ies} most hon{ur}able Courte of Chauncerie at a certeine day and vnder a [[certein]]e payne therein by yo{u}r good Lordship to be lymited and appointed Then and there to aunswer the p{re}miss{es} and farther to stand to & [[...]] suche further order and direction as to yo{u}r good lordship shall seme most to stand w{i}t{h} Right equyty and good co{n}science And yo[[{u}r said Orato]]{u}r shall not cease daylie to pray to god for yo{u}r good Lordshippe

PRO C2/Eliz/A6/36/4 (answer)

The answeare of Thom{a}s Grover, Richard Grover, Richard Gate, Iohn Tornor, Richard Woodhouse, Rob{er}te Bennynge, Thom{a}s Lovett, Richard Biyche, Richard Hardinge, Iohn Byrche, Thom{a}s Twichell and Iohn Baldwin defend{an}t{es} to the byll of complaynt of Edward Atslowe doctor of Physyck complayn{au}nt.

The sayed defend{antes} for answere sayen, and everye of them sayeth that the sayed Byll of complaynte againste them into this honorable courte exhibyted is vncertaine, vntrue (and as they suppose) insuffycient in the Lawe to be Answered vnto, and the matters therin conteyned, devysed and ymagyned to putt the sayed defend{antes} to wrongfull cost{es}, and charg{es}. Thadvauntage of exception to the insufficyencye wherof vnto the sayed defend{antes} nowe, and alwayes hereafter saved, the sayed defend{antes} for farther answere thervnto sayen, and eu{er}ye of them for a full declarac{i}on of the verye truthe of the cause sayeth That true yt ys, that the sayed defend{antes}, and theyre Auncesto{u}rs, and theye from whome they clayme are, and have bene tyme oute of mynde Coppyehoulders ^\\either// of the sayed mann{ou}r of Chesham Higham, [and] ^\\or// Chesham burye in the sayed countye of Buckihgh{a}m by Coppies made to them, and theyre heyres accordinge to the Custome of the sayed mano{u}r and that the custome of the sayed mano{u}r have bene tyme oute of mynde of man (to these defend{antes} knowledge) that the Coppyehoulders of the sayed mann{ou}rs mighte lawfullye fell, and cutt downe all maner of okes, ashes, elmes, and other trees, growinge in and vpon theyre sayed Coppyehould{es}, when, and, as often as they would at seasonable tymes, and converte them to they[[re]] owne proper vses and behoofes, and that vsage hathe by lyke tyme runne accordinglye wythoute interupc{i}on (to theyre knowledge). Whervpon the sayed defend{antes} havinge as large Coppies, and lyb{er}ties, as theyre Auncesto{u}rs, and those frome whome theye clayme afore tyme have had (to theyre vnderstandinges) in as ample maner, together with all proffytt{es}, and co{m}modyties thervnto belonginge, have accordinge to theyre Custome of late tyme in very trothe felled, and cutt downe dyvers trees, growinge in, and vppon the sayed Coppiehould land{es}, accordinge to the suggestyon of the sayed Complainant, as well, and Lawfull is for them to doe (as they verelye thynke.) Withoute that, that the custome of the sayed mano{u}r of Chessham, is and alwaies hathe bene tyme oute of mynde, that the Lord{es} of the same mano{u}rs oughte to have, and alwayes have had all the Ok{es} ashes, elmes, and other trees growinge vppon anye land{es}, or tenem{en}t{es} houlden by coppie of Co{ur}te rolle of anye of the sayed mano{u}rs (to theyre knoweldge). And withoute that that noe tennaunt by coppye of Co{ur}te rolle of the sayed mano{u}r oughte, or maye fell, or cutt downe, or carrye awaye anye okes, elmes, and other trees growinge vpon anye of the sayed coppyehould{es} (to theyre vnderstanding{es}). And without that anye suche fellinge, and cuttinge downe is, and hathe bene a forfeycture of all the coppiehoulde land{es}, and tenement{es}, whervpon anye suche trees soe felled and cutt downe did growe (that they ev{er} knewe, or credyblye harde): And without that that yt hathe bene alwayes Lawfull to and for everye Lorde, and Lord{es} of the sayed mano{u}rs, or of anye of them, i{m}medyatlye after the fellinge of anye suche trees, and after p{re}sentment therof by the tenaunt{es} of the sayed mano{u}r, at a Co{ur}te holden within the same to enter into anye suche coppyehould{es}, and the same to sease; and take as forfeycte by the custome aforesayed. And without that, that the saied defend{antes} have conspyred & confederated together to defraude the Lorde of the sayed mano{u}r of all his sayed woodd{es}, or demeaned them selves anye other waye, or in anye other sorte then they maye lawfullye doe (as they thynke) [[And]] without that, that anye other matter, or thinge in the sayed byll conteyned, materyall or effectuall to be answered vnto and herein not sufficyentlye resisted, or avoyded, denyed or trav{er}sed is true. All whiche matters the sayed defend{antes} are readye to averr and prove vnto this honorable co{ur}te shall award) and prayen to be dysmyssed oute of the same withe theyre reasonable cost{es} and charg{es} in that behalfe moste wrongfullye by them susteyned.

PRO C2/Eliz/A6/36/2 (reply)

The Replicac{i}on of Edward Atslowe Doctor of Physick Compl{ainant} to the Awnswere of Thom{a}s Grover Richard Grover Richard Gate Iohn Torno{u}r Richard Woodhouse Rob{er}te Bennynge Thom{a}s Lovet Richard birche Richarde hardinge Iohn Birche Thom{a}s Twichell & Iohn baldwin def{endants}

The said Compl{ainant} saithe that the said Awnswere of the said def{endant} and the Matters therin conteyned are vncerten and insufficiente in the lawe to be Repled [=replied] vnto and that the said bill of complainte and the matters therin conteined are true certen and sufficient in the lawe to be Awnswered vnto the insufficiencie of w{hi}ch ^\\said// awnswere to this compl{ainant} at all tymes hereafter saved for Replicac{i}on he dothe and will Averre and mainteine his said bill of Complainte and eu{er}y Clause article and sentence therin conteyned to be Iuste sufficiente and true in mann{er} and forme as in the same is truly alledged / W{i}thout that that the Custome of the manno{u}r of Chesham higham and Chesham Bury in the Countie of buck' have bene tyme oute of minde of man that the Copieholders of the said manno{u}r might lawfully cutt downe & fell all mann{er} of Okes Ashes Elmes and other trees growinge in and [[v]]pon the said Copyholderes when & as often as thei wolde at seasonable tymes and converte them to ther owne p{ro}p{er} vses and behoufes And \\without that// that vsage hathe by like tyme Ru{n}ne accordingly w{i}thoute interuptio[[n]] And if any suche custome were yeat is the same against the lawe and could neu{er} have a good or Reasonable begynnyng for that y{a}t if any copeholder do co{m}mytt waste the same is ^\\in law// a forfeiture / And witheout that y{a}t there is any other matter mencioned in the said Awnswere materiall to be awnswered vnto and not herin sufficiently awnswered trau{er}sed confessed deneyed or Avoyded all w{hi}ch matters &c

PRO C2/Eliz/A6/36/3 (rejoinder)

The Reioynd{er} of Thom{a}s Grover Richard Grover Richard Gate Iohn Torner Richard Woodhouse Rob{er}te Bennynge Thom{a}s Lovett Richard Byrche Richarde Hardinge Iohn Byrche Thom{a}s Twychell and Iohn Baldwin defendaunt{es} to the Replicac{i}on of Edwarde Atslowe doctor of Physicke

The saied defendaunt{es} saye that the sayed Replicacion, and the matters therin conteyned, are insuffycient in the Lawe to be [replied] \\reioyned// vnto And that the sayed Answere is certayne and suffycient in the Lawe to be replyed vnto, and the matters therin conteyned true in suche sorte, manner and forme as they bee therin expressed. And doe and will averr and prove all and everye thinge, and thing{es} in the sayed Aunswere expressed, and sett forthe To be good, and true in suche ma{n}ner and fourme, as they bene within the same conteyned. With that the sayed defend{an}t{es} are reddye to Averr and mayntayne that tyme wherof there is noe memorye of man to the contrarye, It is, and hath bene the vse, and Custome within the mano{u}r of Chessham Highham, and Chessham burye in the sayed countye of Buckingh{a}m that the Coppyehould{er}s of the sayed manno{u}r myghte cutt downe, and fell the woodd{es}, and trees growinge in and vppon the sayed Coppyehould{es} at theyre pleasure at convenyent & Seasonable tymes. And that the sayed Coppyehould{er}[[s]] tyme oute of mynde have cutt, solde, and converted the woodd{es}, and trees growing vpon the sayed Coppyehould{es} vnto theyre owne vse. And that the vsage hath runn accordynglye withoute Interupc{i}on, that can be hard or knowne. And further that the s[[a]]yed custome is a good vsage, and custome in Lawe, and myghte haue a good and reasonable begynninge for that, that herein is to appeere, that no p{ar}cell of the sayed Coppyehould{es} there is, and can be taken noe other proffytt or co{m}modytye in or of the same saue onlye woodd{es} Withoute that, that anye other matter or thinge in the saied Replycac{i}on conteyned, and here in this Reioynd{er} not suffycientlye confessed, or avoyded, denyed, or traversed is true. All whiche matters the sayed defend{an}t{es} are readye to averr and prove as this hon{or}able Co{ur}te shall award, and prayen as before in theyre Aunswere theye haue prayed.

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