Henry Atslowe vs. Francis Attslowe and Edw. Frauncis; fraudulent administration.

PRO C2/Eliz/A2/56

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Manor of Downham; Ed. Attlowe M.S. held a lease thereof by grant of Edw. de Vere, Earl of Oxford, E. A. afterwards purchased the manor, and died intestate.

PRO C2/Eliz/A2/56/1 (complaint)

xxj die Ianuarij 1598 [=1599]

To the Right honorable S{i}r Thomas Egerton Knight Lord Keeper of the great Seale of England

Moste humblie Complayninge shewethe vnto your good Lordshipp your Daylie Orator Henrie Atslowe of London gentleman. That wheras one Edward Attslowe doctor of Phisicke and ffather vnto the said Henrie nowe deceased was in his lyfe tyme possessed of a lease of the Mannor of Downeham withe the appurten{au}nces in Downeham in the Countie of Essex for manie yeares yett enduringe by the demyse and gravnt of the Right honorable Edward de Veere Earle of Oxenforde, Vppon w{hi}ch foresaid Demyse and gravnt there was Thirtie pound{es} p{er} annu{m} reserved and yearelie payable vnto the said Earle and his heyres, And whereas allso afterward{es} the said Edward Attslowe havinge an intention to buye the enheritance of the said Mannor w{hi}ch as he then feared was subiect to some encombrances whiche was worthe two hundred Markes by yeare over and above the Rent Reserved, for savinge the said Lease from drownynge and for more suretye that the said lease might still Contynue to his posteritie and for the better p{re}servation of the estate of himself and his heyres did assigne and set over in truste the said lease and Terme of yeares without anie Considerac{i}on taken vnto the right honorable Ambrose late Earle of Warwicke and dame Margarett his wife for suche intents and purposes as before are rehearsed or to the same in effect and substance And whereas allso afterward{es} the said Edward your Orators ffather havinge bought the said Mannor in the name of Henrie his sonne and beinge possessed of diverse other leases for manie yeares yet enduringe worthe over and above the yearelie Rent{es} he paide for them sixescore pound{es} by the yeare duringe the Contynuance of the said Termes. And wheras allso he was possessed of diverse other good{es} to the full value of sixe hundred ^\\pound{es}// or thereabout{es} and beinge soe possessed of the foresaid leases and good{es} dyed w{i}thout anie will makinge and leavinge sixe Children behinde him vnprovided for. Nowe may it please your good Lordshipp, ffrancis the wife of the said Edward and mother vnto your said Orator, by the instigation and p{ro}curment of one Edwarde ffrauncis dothe not onelie seeke to take out a letter of administrac{i}on in her owne name w{i}thout ioyninge your said Orator or anie other of his brothers and sisters w{i}th her But allso the said Edward ffrauncis hathe Caused her to get into her handes and to her vse the foresaid Lease of the Mannor of Downeham, whiche after your Lordshipps Orator his father had purchased, the Mannor was allwayes entended by him and ment to the vse of your said Orato{ur} albeit remayninge still assigned to the honorable p{er}sonages w{hi}ch are before named And yett may it please your good Lordshipp the said Edward not Contented herewithall but still seekinge howe in the end the said Lease of the Mannor of Downeham might Come vnto his owne handes and possession hathe manie wayes abused the good nature of youre Orators said Mother, by p{ro}curinge her to fall out (without iust Cause[)] withe youre said Orator whom before she entirelie loved, and by manie othe{r} cunninge shift{es} and subtill devises hathe practized and p{er}swaded her to lett him have her Interest therein, w{hi}ch if he sholde obteyne by Coulour of that p{re}tended tytle in the said lease, and by Reason allso that he knoweth that your said Orator hathe but this Thirtie pound{es} by the yeare, being the Auncient Rent of the Mannor of Downeham to maynetayne himself his wife and famylie w{i}thall, he hopethe in the end to the vtter overthrowe of your poore Orator eyther to make him leade a needie and penurious lyfe or else to enforce him to sell the Inheritance of his landes for suche rates and pryses as in manner shall stand w{i}th the good likinge of the said Edward ffrauncis to sett downe. And for the better Compassinge allso of these his sinister devises agaynst all lawe and good Conscience he hathe p{er}swaded your Orators said Mother to keepe from him the Evidences and Wrytinges whiche Concerne the said Mannor of Downeham to the great p{re}iudice and hinderance of the Inheritance of your said Orator ffor the avoydinge of all whiche mischeifes that otherwise are like to fall vppon him, and for the good of his mother, whose wellfare withe his hart he tenderethe, and whose favour vppon is knees he desirethe, and for the better provision allso of his brothers and sisters whom he hartelie lovethe, his most humble suite vnto your good Lordshipp is that [bothe he himself and] the saide ffrauncis his mother may be Convented before your good Lordshipp and that his said mother may be suffitientlie provided for, and that his brothers and sisters whoe now stande alltogither vppon vncertaine Termes maye be assured of somethinge, And that lastlie himself his name and famylie for the Contynuance whereof your Orators said ffather traveyled and tooke great paynes in suche manner and sorte may be vpholden and releived as by your honors great wisedome and indifferencie shalbe sett downe and thought Convenient. And for the more speedie and better effectinge hereof and for the Cuttinge of all suites and vnkindenesses whiche are allreadye growen, or whiche may heereafter growe betwene his mother and himself and the rest of his brothers and sisters, And for that allso by the ordinarie Course of the Common lawes of this Realme he hathe no other remedie to come by his saide Wrytinges neyther yet to settle these thinges in a good and godlie Course but is dryven to appeale vnto your good Lordshipp for iustice and indifferencie in this case, And because the true intention of the ffather of your Orator to what ende he first assigned the said lease of Downeham as aforesaid and to what purpose he did leave the same after the purchase of the Mannor is well knowen to your Orators said mother, and he hopethe that your Lordshipps said Orator his mother will answere truelie her knowledge Concerninge the same vppon her oathe, and if anie reassignement were thereof made at anie tyme to his said ffather deceased, or anie other to the vse of him or to your Orator, or in whom the interest of the nowe lease remaynethe, whiche to compell her vntom your Orator hathe no Remedie by ordinarie Course of the Comon Lawe. And hathe no remedie for the Wrytinges and evidences for that the said Wrytinges and evidences are neyther in boxe sealed or Chest loked, neyther dothe he knowe the dates of the same, May it therefore please your good Lordshipp to gravnt vnto your Orator her Ma{ies}ties most grac{i}ous Writt of Subpena to the said ffrauncis Attslowe and Edward ffrauncis to be Directed thereby comaundinge them and eyther of them ^\\at a certeine day and vnder a certeine payne by your lo{rdship} to be appointed// p{er}sonallie to be and appeare before your Lordshipp in her Ma{ies}ties most highe Courte of Chauncerie then and there to Answere the p{re}misses. And further to stand to and abide suche order and direcction therein as to your Lordshopp shall seme best to stande withe equitie and good Conscience And your Orator as is his Bounden duetie shall daylie pray to God for your good Lordshipp in muche healthe and honor longe to contynue.

PRO C2/Eliz/A2/56/2 (answer)

Iurati xxixo Ianuarij 1598

The ioint and seu{er}all aunsweres of ffrauncis Atslowe widowe, and Edward ffrauncis Esqui{er} defendant{es} to the bill of Complaint of Henrie Atslowe gent{leman} Complaynaunt./

The said defendaunt{es} by protestac{i}on not confessinge any of the Matters of the said bill of Complaynt to be true, otherwise then is heareafter confessed, saie that the said bill of Complaint is, (as they are informed by their Councell,) insufficient in lawe to be aunswered vnto, for manie and sondry imp{er}fecc{i}ons, therin vppon the Complaynaunt{es} owne shewinge mainfestly appearinge, as namelie for that the greatest parte of the said bill, conteyneth in yt self, matter not properlie or aptlie determinable in this most honorable Courte. And also for that such matters as are determinable and examinable in this honorable Courte, and wherew{i}th the said defendaunt{es} are chargid in the same, are vncertaynlie and insufficientlie laid and alledged, the benefite and advantage of excepc{i}on therunto nowe and at all tymes heareafter, to these defendant{es} and eyther of them saved and reserved, ffor aunswere they saien, And first the said defendant ffrauncis Atslowe for so much of the said bill, as in any sort concerneth her saith, That true yt is, that the said Edward Astlowe named in the said bill this defendaunt{es} late husband, was in his lief tyme, possessed of the mannor of Downam in the said bill of Complaint specified ### by vertue of a lease and demise therof made by the said Earle of Oxford in the said bill named, vppon w{hi}ch said leas or demise there was reserved yearlie thirtie two pound{es}, And the said Edward Atslowe beinge of the said premisses so possessed, did for the better maintenaunce and p{re}ferment of this defendant ffrauncis Atslowe, and to the end and purpose to contynue the said tearme for the vse and behoof of him the said Edward Atslowe and this defendant her execators and assignes if happelie she survived her husband, The said leas beinge graunted to the said Edward the rather in regard of his mariage, w{i}th this defendaunt w{hi}ch was cosen Ierman to the said Earle, did by good conveyance and assurance in the Lawe, as this defendant thinketh, sufficientlie graunt and convey, vnto the right honorable Ambros Earle of Warwicke, and the right honorable the Lady Anne his wief Countes of Warwicke, all his estate interest and right, in the said premisses, w{hi}ch conveyance was made vpon trust & confidence, and ment and intended, to be to the vse and behofe of the said Edward and this defend{an}t his then wief & to their executors and assignes & the survivor of them, By force whereof, the said Earle and Countes were thereof possessed accordinglie, and beinge therof so possessed, the said Earle died, and the said Countes him survived, and was therof solie possessed, And she the said Countes beinge so therof possessed in p{er}formance of the said trust and confidence did about November last past, giue graunt and assigne all her interest and title, in the said Leas and premisses vnto this defendaunt ffrauncis Atslowe. By force of w{hi}ch graunt and assignment, she the said defendaunt ffrauncis is therof possessed accordinglie, and taketh and receaveth the proffit{es} thereof to her owne vse, and doth iustifie the havinge and deteyninge of the said Leas, as Lawfull (as she taketh yt,) is for her to doe, And this defendaunt sayth, that to her knowledge there was no maner of Assignment of the said Leas, made, by the said Earle of Warwicke or Countes to the said Edward Atslowe in his lief tyme, or to any other to his vse, nor to the said Complaynaunt, nor to any [and] other vse then is before declared, And as concerninge the said l{ett}res of Administrac{i}on menc{i}oned in the said bill of Complaint, w{hi}ch the said Complaynaunt chargeth this defendaunt to haue sought or procured in her owne name, This defendaunt ffrauncis Atslowe saith, that after the decease of the said Edward Atslowe, this defendant did take l{ett}res of administrac{i}on of the good{es} and chattles of the said Edward, w{i}thin the Dioces of London, beinge an inferior Courte, by the advise and assent of the said Complaynaunt, for and in the behalf of this defendaunt, [wherin the state of the said Edward Atslowe is conteyned] whereunto this defendaunt referreth herself. By vertue and reason of w{hi}ch said l{ett}res of administrac{i}on she this defendant did administer the good{es} and Chattles of the said Edward Astlowe, for the space of foure yeares, after the death of the said Edward her husband, and accompted for the same, accordinge to the order of the ecclesiasticall lawes of this Realme, in such case provided, And whereas the said Complaynaunt in his said bill of Complaint, semeth to haue some care, for providinge of some convenient stay of lyvinge for his brothers and sisters, and by the pretence of the said bill would therby inforce this defendaunt, to set downe in certenty, what each of them should haue at the hand{es} of this defendaunt, This defendaunt saith that her care is verie greate for them, and for their advauncement, and she assureth her self, that they are so farre from any opinion or intent of complayninge against this defendaunt, that they will acknowledge her loue and regard to them / to be verie tender and motherlie, and that she hath maynteyned them to her greate charge since the death of her husband accordinge to her estate and abilitie and that they will by no meanes be at the direcc{i}on or provision of the said Complaynaunt, whose purpose and onlie drifte (as yt semeth) is to get or procure into his owne handes such somes of money, as this defendant, out of the proporc{i}on of her smale estate should be able to bestowe vpon them / And yet for the satisfienge of this Court herein, and that the intent of the said Edward Atslowe, towchinge the said leas, and the disposic{i}on of his good{es} and chattles may appeare, this defendaunt saith, that the said Edward Atslowe, not longe before his death, did tell this defendaunt, that the said Leas of Downam was hers this defendaunt{es}, that his care was onlie to provide for her, and that he would leaue the disposic{i}on of all his leases and good{es} vnto her, and the bridall [=wedding] in her owne handes or word{es} to the like effect, the said Edward havinge then left the said Complaynaunt in certeintie thyrtie two poundes p{er} annu{m} in possession, reserved vppon the said leas, and the reu{er}c{i}on of the whole Mannor of Downam, w{hi}ch was more then he lefte for all the rest of his children, And towchinge the said writinges and evidences menc{i}oned in the said bill of Complaint, this defendaunt saith, that ^\\by// the said bill of Compl{aynan}t this defendaunt is not directlie charged as she is informed by her councell to haue the keepinge of any such writinges, Neu{er}theles for the satisfieinge this honorable Court towchinge the truth therof, this defendant saith that she hath some writinges and Evidenc{es} concerninge the said Mannor of Downam, w{hi}ch this defendaunt is carefull to keepe and preserue, for the good and behof of the said Complaynaunt, and is the more willinge to retayne them still in her handes, in respect the said Complaynaunt hath himself acquainted this defendaunt, that his purpose was to sell away the reu{er}c{i}on of the said Mannor wherein this defendaunt would be glad by any meanes to restreyne the said Complaynaunt. By all w{hi}ch premisses yt may appeare to this honorable Court howe vnnaturally & vnduetifully the said Complaynaunt dealeth w{i}th this defendaunt, to sue & implead her w{i}thout any iust cause, (as she taketh yt) although in word{es} in the said bill he make shew of duetie toward{es} his said mother, all w{hi}ch this defendaunt referreth to the considerac{i}on of this most honorable Court,

And the said defendaunt Edward ffrauncis for answere to so much of the said bill as concerneth him saith, that yt is true that he advised the other defendaunt ffrauncis Atslowe, to procure an assignment of the said leas of the said Mannor of Downam, from the right honorable the said Countes of Warwicke, in regard of the trobles and incombraunces w{hi}ch might haue happened if the same were not assigned in the lief tyme of the said Countes. Wherevnto the said Countes willinglie and honorablie yelded, as this defendaunt hath credeblie hard, in p{er}formance of the said trust, and the rather for that the said Complaynaunt (as this defendaunt hath hard) did indevoure and goe about by seu{er}all meanes and devises to wrest from the said defendaunt ffrauncis Astlowe the whole interest of the said leas, and hath sought & vsed sondry meanes for the cancellinge or overthrowe of the said Leas, w{hi}ch, when the said defendaunt Edward ffrauncis p{er}ceaved, and beinge maried to one of the daughters of the said other defendaunt, in the care he had toward{es} his mother in lawe, brothers, and sisters, he did avise [for advise] his said Mother [i.e. mother in law] to procure the assignment aforesaid from the said right honorable Ladie, all w{hi}ch was lawfull for him to doe, as he taketh yt, And this defendaunt ffrauncis Atslowe further saith, w{i}thout that there was but thirtie poundes onlie reserved vpon the said demise and graunt of the said Mannor of Downam made by the said Earle of Oxford, vnto the said Edward Atslowe aforesaid And w{i}thout that that the said Edward Atslowe did assigne the said Lease vnto the said Earle of Warwick & his wief for such intent{es} purposes vses respect{es} or considerac{i}ons as in the said bill is vntrulie alledged ^\\or for any other purpose or vpon any other trust then is before in this answere truly alledged// And without that the said Edward Atslowe was possessed of Leases for yeares, and good{es} of that value as in the said bill is alledged, or that it is any thinge materiall against these defendaunt{es}. But for the satisfieinge of this Court towchinge the estate of the said Edward Atslowe at the tyme of his death this defendaunt ffrauncis Atslowe saith, that the debt{es} ### & funerall charges of the said Edward Atslowe, beinge deceased, allowed and payed there remayneth for the preferment of fyve Children of the same Edward{es} ^\\about// the some of two hundred nyntie sixe poundes foure shilling{es} and seaven pence or verie nere ther about{es}, as by the Inventory and accompt therof remayninge of record in the spirituall Court vnto w{hi}ch for the more certentie therof this defendaunt referreth her self more playnlie may appeare, And both these defendaunt{es} saie, without that the said ffrauncis Astlowe, by the instigac{i}on and procurement of the other defendaunt Edward ffrauncis, procured the administrac{i}on in the said bill menc{i}oned as in the said bill is most vntrulie suggested, And w{i}thout that that the said Leas menc{i}oned in the said bill, was intended and ment to the vse of the said Complaynaunt as in the said bill is alledged, And w{i}thout that that this defend{an}t Edward ffrauncis seeketh howe to haue the said Leas of the said Mannor of Downam, into his owne handes, or abuseth the good nature of his mother, or causeth her to fall out w{i}th the said Complaynaunt or by subtill devises p{er}swades her to let him haue the interest therin, or that he hopeth to make the said Complaynaunt to sell his landes, as in the said bill is most sclanderowslie and vntrulie suggested And w{i}thout that the said Edward ffrauncis hath p{er}swaded the other defendaunt to keepe from the said Complaynaunt, the Evidenc{es} and writinges concerninge the said Mannor of Downam as in the said bill is most vntrulie pretended . And w{i}thout that that any other matter or thinge in the said Bill of Complaynt conteined materiall or effectuall for these defendaunt{es} or eyther of them to aunswere vnto, and herein not sufficiently aunswered vnto confessed and avoided trau{er}sed or denied is true. All w{hi}ch matters these defendaunt{es} are readie to au{er}re and proue as yt shall please this honorable Court to award And pray to be dismissed out of the same w{i}th their cost{es} and charges herein wrongfull [for wrongfully] susteyned /

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