Judith Ruswell's Complaint

PRO C2/ELIZ/R8/29

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[1] Vicesimo primo Maij 1598

To the Right Honorable S{i}r Thomas Egerton Knight Lo{rd} Keep{er} of the great Seale of England

Humbly Complayninge sheweth vnto yo{u}r good Lordeshipp yo{u}r Oratrix Iudith Ruswell wydowe the late wife and admynistratrixe of the good{es} and chattells of Will{ia}m Ruswell Taylor her last husband deceased That wheras yo{u}r oratrix late husband was in his lyfe tyme servant and taylor to the Righe Ho{nourable} Edward nowe Earle of Oxon, and by reason therof dyd by his Ho{nourable} appoyntm{en}t and to his Lordeshipps vse take vp in London vppon his owne credit at soundrye tymes as neede required, diu{er}s and sundrye p{ar}cells of silke silver and gould lace, silkes and other stuffes for the garm{en}t{es} aswell of the said Erle as of his servant{es} to his vse w{hi}ch amounted w{i}th the workemanshipp therof nere the some of one thousande powndes as may appere by the seu{er}all Book{es} of accompt of her said late husband{es} deceased late come to your said oratrix her possessyon wherof ther ys allowed in one of the said three bookes for good and dew debt vnder the hande of one of the said Earles officers the some of five hundred and eight powndes and vpwardes, w{hi}ch said debt of one thousande powndes or theraboutes hath bene due vnto your oratrix her husband aboue the space of this twelve yeres or theraboutes, and afterruswel yo{u}r oratrix said husbande dyed intestate the said debte nor any pennye therof beinge satysfyed or payd vnto hym in his lyfe tyme sythence whose decease the admynistrac{i}on of all the goods chattells and debt{es} of her late husband{es} deceased wer graunted vnto yo{u}r said oratrix out of the prerogatiue Courte of Canterbury, by force of w{hi}ch said letters of admynistracion yo{u}r said oratrix is and ought to haue the said debte of the said Earle of Oxon' as aforesayd w{hi}ch he the sayd Earle was and stood indebted vnto yo{u}r oratrix said husband deceased at the tyme of his death as aforesayd But now soe yt ys Right Honorable That albeyt the said Erle well knoweth that he was soe much indebted vnto your oratrix said late husband deceased and that your oratrix hath bene a Contynuall sutor vnto his Ho{nour} by seuerall petic{i}ons deliu{er}ed vnto his Lordeshipp by your poore oratrix for payment of the said debte to thende [=the end] yo{u}r oratrix might in some small manner make some satisfacc{i}on to her said husbandes creditors and might haue somethinge to releave her your said oratrix and her poore children being infantes whoe haue euer since the death of her said husband lyved and bene maynteyned by the devotion of good people not haueinge any thinge at all otherwise to releiue them w{i}thall. yet the said Earle hethero hath not payd nor satisfyed the said debte vnto your said oratrix nor any p{ar}te therof, but hetherto refused to pay or satisfye the same Contrary to all right equitye and good Conscience And thervppon your sayd oratrix about Aprill last =[April 1598] delyvered a petycion vnto the Queenes most excellent ma{ies}tie declaring her poore estate & her case, and most humbly craved leave of her highnes to sue the said Earle for the recouerye of the said debt And thervppon yt pleased her sayd ma{ies}tie of her gratious goodnes to vouchsafe to referr yo{u}r s{ub}pe{na}to sue before your Lordeshipp in her highnes Courte of Chauncery the sayd Earle for the sayd debt In forma pauperis In tender consyderacion of all the sayd premysses and for that your sayd oratrix in respecte of her great pouertye is not able by the strict rules and course of the Common Lawes of this Realme to compell the said Earle to satisfye and paye vnto her the sayd debte of one thousande powndes or theraboutes due vnto her as admynistratrix vnto her sayd late husband deceased and for that your sayd oratrix hath not such suffycient proffe in wryting vnder the hande and seale of the sayd Earle as by the sayd strict rules of the Comon lawes of this Realme ys reuqired to testefye the same to be a trew and a iust debt May yt therfore please your good Lordeshipp the premysses consydered and for the cawses aforerecyted [=afore-recited] and for the spedy releife of your oratrix and her poore Children herin to graunte vnto your sayd oratrix her Ma{ies}t{es} most gratious write of S{ub}p{o}e{na} to be derected to the sayd Right honorable Earle of Oxon' Commaunding hym therby p{er}sonallye to appere before your good Lordship in her Ma{ies}t{es} highe Courte of Chauncerye then and ther to aunswere the premysses and to stande to and abyde such further order and derection therin as to your good Lordeshipp shall seme to agre w{i}th right equitye and good Conscience and your sayd poore orator shall daylye pray for the preservation of your good Lordeshipp in health longe to continewe.

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