Open a form to report problems or contribute information

 
1 Introduction 2 Message details 3 Upload file 4 Submitted
Page 1 of 4

Help and advice for Chancery Court, Bishop v Docken (1622)

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

If you wish to report a problem, or contribute information, then do use the following form to tell us about it. We have a number of people each maintaining different sections of the web site, so it is important to submit information via a link on the relevant page otherwise it is likely to go to the wrong person and may not be acted upon.

Chancery Court case pleadings: 1622

Bishop v Docken. Plaintiffs: John Bishop. Defendants: Thomas Docken alias Thomas Docton and others (undertenants).

Document Title: Lands etc, in Appledore and Irsha in the parish of Northam, Devon,
demised to the plaintiff by John Docken alias John Docton of Hartland,
the inheritance in fee of which he devised by his will to the defendant Thomas Docken.

National Archives ref: C2/Jas I-B31/37

Transcribed by David Carter

For a summary of these documents and background information: see Appendix.

[Punctuation, line-spaces and implied letters in brackets have been added by the transcriber. Spelling remains verbatim]

 

Document 1 – John Bishop – the Complainant’s Statement:

23 May 1622 Nuelyn.

To the right Honorable and right reverend John Lord Bishop of Lincolne – Lord keeper of the great seale of England.

Most humbly complayninge therweth to yo[u]r good Lord[shi]pp yo[u]r daylie Orator John Bishop of Northam in the countie of Devon yeoman that whereas John Docken als Docton of Hartland in the countie aforesaid squire was in his life time seised in his demesne as of fee of and in div[er]s mannors lands tenements and hereditaments to greate vallewe amongst w[hi]ch was seised of in fee of and in certein lands tenements and hereditaments in Appledore and Irsha situate lyinge and beeinge w[i]thin the p[ar]ishe of Northam aforesaide some p[ar]te whereof was in demesne and other p[ar]tes in lease and beeinge soe seised of the premisses levied and suffered one or more fines or recoveries of all his saide lands w[hi]ch were lymited by certein indentures to the use and for establishinge of his estate in the same to such uses as he hould after that lymite by anie conveyance or will futurely to bee by him made and beeinge a man of greate wealth and estate and havinge noe issue or neere kindered and beeinge desirous and willing to advance or prefere yo[u]r saide orator in some p[ar]te of his estate beeinge his kinsman and havinge beene his faithfull servant both then and longe before that time hee the said Thomas Docken als Docton not longe before his desesse did by his indenture under his hand and seale dated the thirteenth day of November in the yeare of our Lord god accordinge to the computation of the Church of England 1618 demise lease grante confirme and to firme let unto yo[u]r said orator all those severall houses messuages lands tenements rents comons and hereditaments w[i]th th[e] appurtenances situate lying and beeinge in Appledore w[i]thin the saide p[ar]ishe of Northam then or late in the severall tenures or occupations or Thomas Mayne, James Cock, Walter Sampson, Judeth Clerke, Leonard Shibbeare, John Westcombe, Richard Frenche, Philip Strange, John Shorte, John Nichole their or either of their assignee or assignes and alsoe all that newe erected house of the said Thomas Docken als Thomas Docton w[i]th th[e] appurtenances in Appledore aforesaid.

And alsoe all that othere howse and courtlege w[i]th th[e] appurtenances thereunto belonging in Appledore aforesaid some time in the tenure or occupation of Thomas Heywoode of Northam aforesaid, and alsoe all and singular the messuages or lands tenements rents comons & hereditaments of him the said Thomas Docton situate lyinge and beeinge in Irsha aforesaid, To have and to hould unto yo[u]r saide orator and his assignes imediately from and after the decesse of the said Thomas Docken and Alice his wife for and during the full and whole terme of nyntie nyne yeares if yo[u]r orator should soe longe live, yeldinge and payinge therefore yearly unto the said Thomas Docken his heires and assignes sixe shillings and eight pence all w[i]th & by the said indenture, more at large may appeare of w[hi]ch said conveyances and lease soe made to yo[u]r orator as aforesaid one Thomas Docken the yonger since adopted heire unto the said Thomas Docken als Docton, Henry Brayley, William Penhorwood, William Bennett senior, William Bennett junior, Cherity Binmore, Nicholas Jersie, Richard Bennet, Mathew Halswell, John Vorland, John Barnehowse, William Bowden, Phillip Goodchild, Thomas Browne, Pressilly Berriman, William Whistone, Phillip Coman, Mary Hortope, Edith Burges, John Davie, Sipprian Lodge, Thomas Leach, John Skingland, Johane Brocke, John Shurte, Richard Webber, Johane Roggers, John Goode, Thomas Meane, James Cock, Walter Sampson, Judeth Clarke, Johane Sheebeere, Nicholas Garland, Richard French, Phillip Strange, John Shurte and John Nichole, beeinge at the time of the making of the saide conveyance and lease tenants of the said lands and tenements lyinge in Appledore and Irsha in the p[ar]ishe of Northame aforesaide and before the death of the said Thomas Docken had notice and did agree and were contented that they and every of them should and would accordinge to the purporte and true meaninge of the same lease pay their severall rents reserved uppon such leases or estate w[hi]ch they had and claymed unto yo[u]r said orator after the decesse of the saide Thomas Docken and his said wife, Shortly after hee the said Thomas Docken th[e] elder made his last will and testament and died and hereby devised the inheritance of the said lands and tenements in Appledore and Irsha amongst other things to Alice his wife for the terme of her life the remeander had reversion of all his said lands and tenements whatsoever unto the said Thomas Docken the younger beeinge then but a very meane man w[i]th the said Thomas Docken th[e] elder as was conceived soe did for name sake rather then for anie neerenes of kin by and after whose decesse the rev[er]tion of the premises in Appledore and Irsha did first belonge unto the wife of the said Thomas Docken the deviser whoe by all the time of her life received the rents issues and p[ro]fits of the same lands and tenements by the hands of yo[u]r orator and his said father whoe collected and received the same rents for her the rather for that the rev[er]tion and rents thereof were to accrewe and growe unto yo[u]r said orator after her decesse by vertue of the said lease aforesaid w[hi]ch was from time to time by occasion thereof made knowen and published by yo[u]r said orator unto the said tenants and to the said Thomas Docken the yonger whoe alwaies gave their consents and allowance therto uppon their p[ro]mise and agreemente that yo[u]r said orator should have receive and taken the rents issues and profits of the said lands & tenements in Appledore and Irsha accordginge to the [i]ntent and true meaning of the aforesaide lease after the death of the Alice the wife of the said Thomas Docken decessed shortly after w[hi]ch the said Alice died alsoe by and after whose decesse the said Thomas Docken and the said tenants pr[e]tending noe otherwise then the p[er]formance of their former p[re]misses and agreements made w[i]th yo[u]r said orator as aforesaide suffered yo[u]r said orator for a yeare after the desesse of the said Alice or thereabouts quietly to have p[er]ceive and take the rents issues and p[ro]fits of the same land according to yentent and true meaninge of the said lease.

But soe it is may it please yo[u]r good Lo[rdshi]pp that after that sublet(?) about two yeares figers or thereabouts the said Thomas Docken the yonger conbyninge himself w[i]the the said Henry Brayley sometimes Baylie to the said Thomas Docken desessed as well as to himself whoe drewe yo[u]r orators said lease and w[hi]ch the said William Penorwood, William Bennett sen[io]r, William Bennett ju[nio]r, Cherity Binmore, Nicholas Jersie, Richard Bennett, Mathew Halswell, John Vorland, John Barnehowse, William Bowden, Phillip Goodchild, Thomas Browne, Pressilly Berriman, William Whistone, Phillip Coman, Mary Hortope, Edith Burges, John Davie, Sipprian Lodge, Thomas Leach, John Skingland, Johane Brocke, John Shurte, Richard Webber, Johane Roggers, John Goode, Thomas Meane, James Cock, Walter Sampson, Judeth Clarke, Johane Sheebeere, Nicholas Garland, Richard French, Phillip Strange, John Shurte and John Nicholl howe and w[hi]ch wait to oute throwe yo[u]r said orator’s lease and to w[hi]ch drawe from him the rents issues and p[ro]fitts of the said lands and tenements contrary to the true entent and meaning hereof notw[i]thstandinge all the former passages as aforesaid doe now give forth in speeches that the said tenants and others before named had longe leases to them made before yo[u]r said orator’s lease as aforesaid by the said Thomas Docton decessed referring severall and respective rents out of the said lands and tenements in Irsha Appledore or some p[ar]te hereof before yo[u]r said orators lease made and that they did never attorne or quit consent to the said lease made to yo[u]r said orator and soe consequently to ought to pay their rents unto the said Thomas Docken the yonger.

And that the said Thomas Docken decessed never levied anie such fine or recovery or by anie indenture expressed anie such uses of anie his lands to such effort and purpose as aforesaid, and havinge gotten into their hands and custodie the evidences and writinges of all the said lands of the saide Thomas Docken decessed doe thinke by that meanes and concealement thereof to suppresse yo[u]r said orators right and title in the presmisses in Appledore and Irsha as aforesaid, and not content herew[i]th doe now w[i]thdrawe deteyne and take from yo[u]r said orators the rents issues and profile thereof contrary to all right equitye and good conscience, And have made and contrived amongst themselves divers secret estate and conveyance thereof and of divers plea thereof purposely to defeat yo[u]r said orator of his just and lawfull interest herein, and thereuppon have comenced and doe threaten to comence suite at the comon lawe against yo[u]r orator.

And for that yo[u]r said orator by the strict rules and cause of the comon laws of this realme cannot have such remeadies as is fittinge for want of such conveyance as aforesaid made by the said Thomas Docken th[e] elder and for wante of the knowledge of what estate and estates the said grante of the said lands in Irsha and Appledore claime and from whome and for wante of prosse of attornements agreement and consents of the said tenents and of the said Thomas Docken the yonger to yo[u]r orators said lease neither whether the same writings leases or eithere of them be or ever were in the custodie and possession of the said Thomas Docken, Henry Brayley, William Penorwood, William Bennett sen[io]r, William Bennett ju[nio]r, Cherity Binmore, Nicholas Jersie, Richard Bennett, Mathew Halswell, John Vorland, John Barnehowse, William Bowden, Phillip Goodchild, Thomas Browne, Pressilly Berriman, William Whistone, Phillip Coman, Mary Hortope, Edith Burges, John Davie, Sipprian Lodge, Thomas Leach, John Skingland, Johane Brocke, John Shurte, Richard Webber, Johane Roggers, John Goode, Thomas Meane, James Cock, Walter Sampson, Judeth Clarke, Johane Sheebeere, Nicholas Garland, Richard French, Phillip Strange, John Shurte, John Nicholl or either of them for that alsoe they or either of them cannot denie the premisses uppon their corprall other to bee in substance true and to the end that yo[u]r said orator may have and enjoy the rents issues and proffitts of the said lands and tenements in Appledore and Irsha accordinge to the intent and true meaninge of the said lease.

May it therefore please your good Lo[rdshi]pp to grante unto yo[u]r orator his Ma[jes]t[ie]s most gratious grant of subpena to be directed unto the said Thomas Docken, Henry Brayley, William Penorwood, William Bennett sen[io]r, William Bennett ju[nio]r, Cherity Binmore, Nicholas Jersie, Richard Bennett, Mathew Halswell, John Vorland, John Barnehowse, William Bowden, Phillip Goodchilde, Thomas Browne, Pressilly Berriman, William Whistone, Phillip Coman, Mary Hortope, Edith Burges, John Davie, Sipprian Lodge, Thomas Leach, John Skingland, Johane Brocke, John Shurte, Richard Webber, Johane Roggers, John Goode, Thomas Meane, James Cock, Walter Sampson, Judeth Clarke, Johane Sheebeere, Nicholas Garland, Richard French, Phillip Strange, John Shurte, and John Nicholl comandinge they and every of them at a certain day and under a certain paine therein to be lymited and prefixed to be and p[er]sonally to appeare before yo[u]r good Lo[rdshi]pp in his Ma[jes]t[ie]s High Court of Chancery and theire upon their and every of their corporall othes to answere the premises and alsoe to grant his Ma[jes]t[ie]s most gratious writ of minaction against then and every of them enjoying them and every of them to p[er]mit and suffer yo[u]r orator and his assignes quietly and peaceably to have sole and every(?) the rents issues and p[ro]fitts of the said lands according to th[e] entent and true meaninge of this said lease and for stay of suite at the comon lawe comenced or to be comenced against yo[u]r orator as aforesaid and to hand(?) to such further order and direction therein as to yo[u]r good Lo[rdshi]pp shall seeme to stand w[i]th right equity and good conscience and yo[u]r orator shall daylie pray fore yo[u]r good Lo[rdshi]pp in health and honor longe to continewe.

 

Document 2:

Small document, not fully transcribed (in Latin).

Doesn’t tell us anything much, except to give a date for further proceedings.

 

Document 3 – Thomas Docton – the Defendant’s Statement:

The severall answers of Thomas Docton gent defend[an]t to the Bill of Complaint of John Bishopp complyainante.

All benefitt and advantage of exception unto the untrue this incerteintie & insufficienc[e]s of the saide Bill of Complaint unto the saide defend[an]t now call all tymes here after saved and reserved the said defend[an]t sayeth That he verily beleeveth that Thomas Docton late of Docton w[i]thin the p[ar]ishe of Hartland in the countie of Devon esquire deceased was in his life tyme lawfullie seised of divers lands tenements & heredit[a]m[en]ts in ffee whereof the saide lands tenem[en]ts & hereditam[en]ts in the Bill mentioned in Appledore & Irsha sittuate lyeing & beeing w[i]thin the p[ar]ishe of Northam in the countie of Devon were and be p[ar]cell & that same p[ar]te of the saide lands in Appledore & Irsha att the tyme of the decease of the saide Thomas Docton esquire, were in demesne and some other p[ar]te thereof were then in lease.

But this defend[an]t utterly denyeth that John Docken als Docton esquire in the Bill named to the knowledge or thinking of this defend[an]t was ever seised of the said lands in Appledore & Irsha p[ar]te or p[ar]cell thereof, And this defend[an]t sayeth That the saide Thomas Docton esquire deceased being of all ye saide in(?)vestenem[e]nts & hereditam[en]ts seised as is aforesaid.

He the saide Thomas Docton in or about the month of November in the yeare of o[u]r Lord god one thousand sixe hundred and eighteen made his last will and testam[en]t in writing whereby he devised all his messuages lands tenem[en]ts & hereditam[en]ts together w[i]the the rents rev[er]tions & service thereof except c[er]taine messuages lands tenem[en]ts & hereditam[en]ts w[i]th th[e] app[ur]tenancies in or called Chrineham in Hartland aforesaid unto Alice Docton his wife for terme of her life and after her decease he did thereby devise unto this defend[en]t amongst other lands, the saide lands and tenem[en]ts in Apledore and Irsha and the rents rev[er]tions and service thereof. To have the same unto this defend[an]t and to his heires for ever, As in & by the saide will due reference being there unto had whereunto for more certeintie this defend[an]ts referreth himself also appeareth.

And this defend[an]t sayeth That the saide Thomas Docton deceased made the saide Alice his wife his sole executrix of the saide will and this defen[dan]t hath credibly heard and verely beleeveth it to be true that the saide Alice did in due forme of lawe prove the saide will in the prerogative Court and tooke uppon her the execution thereof and that after that is to saye, in or about the month of August in the yeare of our Lord god one thousand sixe hundred & nyneteene she the saide Alice died.

By and after whose decease All the saide lands tenem[en]ts & hereditam[en]ts in Apledore & Irsha wherein the said Thomas Docton deceased had any estate of inheritance and all the rents yssues and proffitts of the same except onely such lands & rents thereof as the saide Thomas Docton deceased had lawfully grannted or conveyed away by act executed in his life tyme should and of right ought, as this defend[an]t is advised to remayne to me And by that defend[an]t and to his heires for ever, by force and vertue of the saide last will and testament of him the saide Thomas Docton deceased.

And his defend[an]t sayeth that he verely beleeveth that the said Thomas Docton deceased had by his saide last will and testament devise the saide lands tenem[en]ts and hereditam[en]ts in the same mentioned to be devised unto this defend[an]t and to his heires, As well in respect of the love & good will w[hi]ch he have to this defend[an]t and the good opinnion w[hi]ch he conceived of him he having been verye well acquainted w[i]th him and lyvinge in house w[i]th him about twentie yeares and dwelling neere unto him for the space of other twentie yeeres togeather or there abouts.

As allso regard that he this defend[an]t was not only of his name as in the Bill is pretended but was allso of his kyn and bloud, That is to saye sonne of Richard Docton brother of John Docton father of the saide Thomas Docton deceased.

And this defend[an]t sayeth that he verely believeth that the mynde and intention of him the saide Thomas Docton deceased as well in the tyme of his last sicknes where of he dyed as allso formerly in tyme of his healthe allways was that some one of his name kyn and blood should after his decease have and injoye the inheritance of the most p[ar]te of his lands tenem[en]ts and hereditem[en]ts.

And this defend[an]t sayeth and confesseth that synce the decease of the saide Alice Docton he hath taken the moste p[ar]te of the rents of the ten[a]nts of the saide lands in Apledore and Irsha by force of the said last will of the saide Thomas Docton deceased.

As this defend[an]t hopeth by and w[i]th the favo[u]r of this Ho[noura]ble Court lawfull was & is for him to doe And sayeth farther That the compl[ainan]t himself did goe w[i]th him this defend[an]t unto divers of the ten[e]nts of the said lands and in this defend[an]ts presence did will them to paye there yearly rents reserved uppon there leases unto him this defend[an]t and therefore this defend[an]t mervayleth why the said compl[ainant] dooth varie & alter from his worde therein & will now com[m]ence suite herein this ho[noura]ble Court for the same.

And this defend[ant] sayeth That he knoweth not of any such lease as in the Bill mentioned to be graunted by the said Thomas Docton deceased unto him the said compla[inant] of the saide lands & premises in Apledore & Irsha but hath heard the comp[lainan]t & others allsoe to mention & speake of such a pretended lease but this defend[an]t hath not nor ever had any counterp[ar]te thereof.

And this defend[an]t sayeth that he hath requested the compl[ainant] to have a copy of the saide pretended lease that he might thereby be informed what dyd rightfully belonge to the said compl[ainant] and dyd offer him that whatsoever did of right lawfully belong to him by the saide pretended lease that he should have and injoy the same w[i]thout suite in law [inserted: or ~?~rd by that effect] & this defend[an]t denyth that he ever consented or agreed that he the saide compl[ainant] should taken or injoy any of the rents of the saide lands unles the same did of right app[ur]ten[a]nce unto him w[hi]ch if it doe this defend[an]t is now still redye to parforme the w[i]thout any farther suite soe that the saide compl[ainant] will paye to this defend[an]t the costs w[hi]ch he hath now already put him unto here in this ho[noura]ble Co[ur]t concerning the same.

And this defend[ant] sayeth that he verely believeth that the sayde compla[inan]t did not paye unto the said Thomas Docton deceased any good or valuable consideration for the saide pretended lease of the saide lands & premises and this defend[an]t allso denyeth that the [blot]or ever was to thie best knowledge or thinking any ffyne or recovery levied or suffered of the saide lands & tenem[en]ts in Apledore & Irsha or any p[ar]te thereof by the saide Thomas Docton deceased or any indenture by him made to the [blot]st or for the establishing of his estate in the same to such uses as he should after that lymitt by any conveyance or will futurely to be by him thereof or of or any p[ar]te thereof made.

And he allso denyeth that the saide compl[ainant] to this defend[an]t knowledge or thinking was of plyn(?) to the saide Thomas Docton deceased or was at any tyme his servant as in the saide Bill is suggested.

And this defend[an]t sayeth That if the saide compl[ainan]t have taken & received the rents of the tenants of the saide lands and premises in Apledore & Irsha or of either of them for the space of one yeare as in & by the saide Bill is expressed the same was w[i]thout the consent of this defend[an]t that that he should soe doe (and therefore hopeth that of the same rents doe not rightfully belong to him the saide compla[inant] but of right ought to be payed unto this defend[an]t that then this ho[noura]ble Co[u]rt will order the compl[ainant] to repaye the same to him this defend[an]t accordingly.

And that the defend[an]t utterly denyeth any combynation by himself w[hi]ch the saide defendant Henry Brayley or w[i]th any other defendants in the Bill named to overthrowe the saide compl[ainan]t’s pretended lease or to w[i]thdrawe from him the rents yssues or proffitts of the saide lands and tenem[en]ts or that he this defend[an]t hath given fourth in speeches that the saide tenants and others had long leases to them made before the saide compla[inant]s p[re]tended lease by the saide Thomas Docton deceased reserving severall & respective rents.

But this defend[an]t conffesseth that he hath sayde that the tenants of the saide lands in Apledore & Irsha had severall leases made unto them by the saide Thomas Docton deceased or by some others before the pretended lease of the saide compla[inant] whereby there was referred severall rents w[hi]ch rents this defend[an]t hath sayde & still dothe saye that he verely beleeveth that the same did & doe rightfully belong & appertaine unto him by vertue of the last will and testament of him the saide Thomas Docton deceased as is aforesaid.

And this defend[an]t alsoe saith that he verely beleeveth That not any one of the tenants of the said lands did (in the life tyme of the saide Thomas Docton deceased attourne or give consent to the compla[inant]’s saide pretended lease Neither dyd any of the saide tenants (to this defend[an]ts knowledge ever synce the death of the saide Thomas Docton deceased attourne or give consent to the compla[inant]s pretended lease.

And this defend[an]t saith expresly that he hath not nor ever had in his hands or custodye any such ffyne recoverye indenture or any other writting or conveyance of the saide lands in Apledore & Irsha of any p[ar]t thereof levye suffered or made by the saide Thomas Docton deceased to any such use or uses as in the saide Bill is sett forthe suggested.

But this defend[an]t sayeth That he beleeveth that he hath certeine other writting & ~?~ concernyng the saide lands where by it doth appeere how & of whome and for what considerations the saide Thomas Docton deceased did buy & purchase the same as allso the counterp[ar]te of leases made by the saide Thomas Docton deceased & by some others before the compla[inan]ts lease unto the tenants of the saide lands & premises which writtings as this defend[an]t is advised doe wholy belonge & apprteneine to this defendant for the better preservation & mainteynance of his right and title in and to the same.

And this defend[an]t denyeth that he hath or dothe goe about to suppresse the compla[inant]s right and tytle in the saide p[re]misses in Apledore & Irsha or in either of them yf he have any therein, And denyeth alsoe that he hath made or contrived any secrett estate or conveynannce thereof or any p[ar]te thereof.

But this defend[an]t confesseth that publykly he hath made one lease to William Bowden, Marke Bowden & Robert Tooker of one messuage and courtelidge in Irsha for a certen nomber of yeares determynable severally uppon there severall deathes by waye of remaynder to ech of them after the decease of Margaret wife of The saide William Bowden or determynation of the estate of the saide Margaret thereof or to the lyke effect And denyeth that he hath commenced any suite at the common lawe or otherwise against the saide compla[inant] concerning the same.

But the Defend[an]t thinketh that he hath sayde to the compla[inant] that yf he would not w[i]thout suite in lawe shewe to this defend[an]t his saide pretended lease and give him a true copy thereof he must & would by course of lawe seeke remedye for the same and that then he doubled not but he would thereby be informed soe to doe to shewe the same and to give unto this defend[an]t a true copye thereof or words to that effect.

And w[i]thout that any other matter or thinge in the saide Bill of complaint mentioned materyall or effecte all to be annswered unto by this defend[an]t and not heerein sufficiently annswered unto confessed and avoyded traversed or denyed to the knowledge of this defend[an]t is true.

All w[hi]ch matter and thinge this defend[an]t will be readye to ap[pea]r and prove as this ho[noura]ble court shall award. And humbly prayeth out of the same to be dismissed w[i]th his reasonable costs and charged in this behalfe moste wrongfully sustayned.

Signed: Thomas Docton.

 

Document 4 – the Tenants’ Statement:

The joynt & severall annsweres of Will[ia]m Whitson, Mathew Halswell, Will[ia]m Penhorwood, amd Will[ia]m Bowden fower of the defend[an]ts to the Bill of Complaint of John Bushopp complaynante:

All benefitt and advantage of exception unto the untruthes uncertenties & insufficiency of the said Bill of Complaint unto the saide defend[an]te and to every of them nowe & att all times hereafter saved referred the said defend[an]ts saie and every of them for himself severally & exepertently saide that they have heard by report of the compl[ainan]t, that he had a lease of the landes howses & grownds that were the lands of the saide Thomas Docton esquire deceassed in Irsha & Apledore for tearme of his life, but whether the said compl[ainan]t gave such a lease of the said Thomas Docton esq[uir]e deceassed as is mentioned in the said Bill of Compaint the said defend[an]ts knowe not.

And the said defend[an]ts severally & respectively doe utterly deny that they or any of them had any notice or were made privy or acquainted w[i]th the compl[ainan]ts said lease, if any were in the liffe time of the said Thomas Docton deceassed, or did atturne or quit consent unto the same lease, or did agree to paye the compl[ainan]t any rent in the liffe of the saide Thomas Docton deceased.

But the said defend[an]ts severally & respectively confesse & saie, that they were (as they beleeve) tenants to some p[ar]t of the landes & premisses in the compl[ainan]ts pretended lease contayned before & at the time of the making hereof by vertue of severall leases unto them hereof made, but the said defend[an]ts severally & respectively doe utterly deny any combination by them or any of them w[i]th the said defend[an]t Thomas Docton or w[i]th any other of the defend[an]ts in the bill named, to overthrowe the said compl[ainan]ts pretended lease, or to w[i]thdrawe from them the rents issues or p[ro]fitts of the said lands & tenem[en]ts, saving that the said defend[an]ts severally & respectively doe acknowledge & confess that they have paide unto the said defend[an]t Docton their severall rents upon their severall leases reserved, as well for that the said compl[ainan]t willed these defend[an]ts to paye the same their rents unto the said defend[an]t Thomas Docton, as also in respect that the same rents are due unto the said defend[an]t Docton as they beleeve & have bin soe advised, and for that the defend[an]t hath alwaies p[ro]mised to discharge the saide defend[an]t against the saide compla[inan]t concerning the said rents jist in case the said rents should not fall out to be due or payable to him the said defend[an]t Docton.

And the saide defend[an]t Will[ia]m Whitson saith that as he is informed he hath a lease bearing date the second daye of March in the twelvth yeare of the raigne of o[u]r sov[e]raigne lord James the kinge Ma[jes]ty that nowe is of England, & of Scotland the first & fortieth by w[hi]ch the said Thomas Docton esquire deceassed did demise grannt & to ffarme lett unto this defend[an]t Whitson Margery his wife & Rob[er]t their sone, one tenem[en]t w[i]th th[e] appurtenances situate lying & being att Irsha in the bill named To have & to holde the said tenem[en]t & garden w[i]th th[e] appurtenances unto his defend[an]t & Margery his wife for & during the tearme of fowerscore & nineteene years fully to be compleat & ended, if this defend[an]t & the said Margery his wife or either of them soe longe shall happen to live, the said tearme to com[m]ence & begin ymediatly after the death surrendre forfeiture or other lawfull determination of the estates termes & interests of Alexander Madox Johan his wife & Margarett their daughter of & in the same, w[i]th remayndre thereof to the said Rob[er]te Whitson for & during the tearme of other fowerscore & nineteene yeares fully to be compleatt & ended, if the said Rob[er]te no longer should happen to live, yelding yeerely after the comencement of the said tearme sixteene pence att the feast of th[e] annunciation of o[u]r blessed lady Mary the virgin, St John Baptist, St Michaell th[e] archangell, and the birth of o[u]r lord god by even portions, and twelve pence after the decease of every of the said Margery & Rob[er]te being tenants in possession of the p[re]misses in the name of a hariote or farliue, as in & by the said lease unto w[hi]ch for more certenty thereof this defend[an]t referreth himself, maye appeere to this hono[ur]able co[u]rt.

And the saide defend[an]t William Bowden confesseth & saith that he hath in his custody one lease bearing date (as he is informed) the twent[i]eth daye of January in the two & twent[i]eth yeere of the raigne of o[u]r late sov[e]raigne lady Queene Elizabeth, by w[hi]ch as in right of Margarett his wife, he holdeth & claymeth to holde, one messuage & courtlege hereunto belonging and one plott or p[ar]cell of ground in Irsha in the saide Bill named for the terme of fowerscore and nineteene yeeres if the said Margarett shall soe longe live yelding yeerely for the same tenn shillings (att the feast of th[e] annunciation of o[u]r blessed lady Mary the virgin, Nativytye of St John Baptist, St Michaell th[e] archangle and the birth of o[u]r lord god by even portions As in & by the same lease unto w[hi]ch for the more certenty hereof this defend[an]t referreth himself also appeereth.

And the s[ai]d defend[an]t Will[ia]m Bowden also confesseth & saithe that the defend[an]t Thomas Docton hath made a lease of the said tenem[en]t & courtledge unto this defend[an]t Marcke Bowden & Rob[er]te Tooker severally for a certen number of yeeres determinable upon every of their sev[er]all deaths by way of remayndre to each of them after the decease of the said Margarett this defend[an]ts s[ai]d wife or determination of her estate herein, yelding after the comencem[en]t of the s[ai]d lease tenn shillings, at the ffeests of the Natyvitie of St John Baptist St Michaell th[e] archangle, the birth of o[u]r lord god, & th[e] annunciation of o[u]r blessed lady Mary the virgin by even portions during the said severall tearmes the first paym[en]t hereof to be made in the first feast of the said feasts that shall first happen to come next after the death or lawfull determination of th[e] estate & tearme of the said Margarett of & in the same as in & by the said lease unto w[hi]ch for more certenty thereof this defend[an]t referreth himself maye likewise appeere.

And the said defend[an]t Will[ia]m Penhorwoode saith that the said Thomas Docton esq deceased by this indenture of lease made the last daye of maye in the yeere of the raigne of o[u]r sov[er]aigne lord James the kings ma[jest]y that now is of England or(?) the thirteenth and of Scotland the eight & fortey Betweene him the said Thomas Docton of one p[ar]tye & Edeth Burges then wife of John Burges since deceased & now wife to this defend[an]t, Ann Burges & Joseph Burges daughter & sone of the said John & Edeth of the other p[ar]tye hath demised grannted & to farme lett unto the said Edeth Ann & Joseph Burges all that easter howse newly erected or then about to be erected for a dwelling howse soe lying & being at Irsha in the said Bill names, And also the Easter p[ar]te of the moytye or halfp[ar]te of all that peece or p[ar]cell of land lately inclosed & p[ar]cell of a certen close of land called the Cleeve P[ar]ke(?) lying in Irsha aforesaid. To have & hold the same unto thef[oresai]d Edeth this defend[an]ts said wife for & during the tearme of her naturall life, the ray[mai]ndre therof to the said Ann Burges for & during the term of her naturall life The remayndre over of all the same unto the said Joseph Burges for & during the tearme of his naturall life, yelding & payinge therefore yeerely fower shillings at the feast of the Natyvitie of St John Baptist St Michaell th[e] archangle the birth of o[u]r lord god & th[e] annunciation of o[u]r blessed lady Mary the virgin by even portions & twelve pence in the name of a hariote or farliue after the death of every the said Edeth, Ann & Joseph dying terme in possession of the premisses, As in & by the said lease unto w[hi]ch for more certenty thereof this defend[an]t refereth himself also may appear.

And this defend[an]t farther saith that as he hath bin informed one George Willett deceased & John Bennett by their deede indented bearing date the twent[i]eth daye of March in the fower & fort[i]eth yeare of the raigne of o[u]r late deceased sov[er]aigne lady Queene Elizabeth did demise unto the saide John Burges & to his assignes, all that plot of ground in Irsha containing in breadth threescore & eight foote or thereabouts w[hi]ch then were or reputed to have bin in the tenure of the said John Burges To have & to holde the said plot of grownd & p[re]misses unto the said John Burges for & during the terme of fowerscore & nineteene yeares fully to be compleat & ended, if the said John Burges Edeth his then wife now the wife of this defend[an]t and John Burges their sone soe longe should happen to live yelding ther[e]fore yeerely twelve shillings at the feaste of the Natyvitye of St John Baptist, St Michaell th[e] archangle the birth of o[u]r lord god and th[e] annunciation of o[u]r blessed virgin Marye by equall portions. And in & by the said indenture unto w[hi]ch his defend[an]t for more certenty thereof refereth himself doth & maye also appeare.

And this defend[an]t Mathew Halswell saith that he in the right of Wilmote his wife daughter of Thomas Gourden deceassed nowe hath & claymeth to holde during the naturall life of the said Willmote One messuage wherein he now dwelleth in Irsha in the bill named by force of a lease thereof made to her (as his defend[an]t is informed) bearing date the twent[i]eth date of March in the fower & fort[i]eth yeere of the raigne of the late deceased sov[er]aigne lady Queene Elizabeth by George Willett deceased and Johan Bennett likewise deceased yelding therefore yerely tenn shillings at the feast of the Natyvitye of St John Baptist, St Michaell th[e] archangle, the birth of o[u]r lord god, and th[e] annunciation of the blessed virgin Marye by even portions And yelding twelve pence after the [four words lost in crease] of a hariote or farliue As in & by the said lease whereunto relation being had for neere certenty thereof this defend[an]t referreth himself appeareth.

And the said defend[an]te sev[er]ally & respectively doe also utterly deny that they or any of them have made any secret estate or conveyance of the said lands and p[re]misses in Apledore & Irsha or of any p[ar]t thereof, or have or any of them hath comenced or thretined to com[m]ence any sute at the comon lawe or otherwise against the said compl[ainan]t concerning the same. Or that the said Thomas Docton deceased to the knowledg or thinkinge of the said defend[an]t, or of any of them did ever leavy any ffine or suffered any recovery or made any indenture of any p[ar]t of the said lands in Apledore & Irsha or in either of them to any such use or uses as in the said bill is set foorth & suggested And the said defend[an]ts severally and Respectively saye that they have not now any of them hath in their or any of their hands or custody any evidence or writings concerning the said lands & p[re]misses or any p[ar]t thereof saving their foresaid severall leases before in their annsweres fo[r]mally set downe & expressed.

And w[i]thout that that any other matter or thinge the said bill of complaint mentioned materiall or effectuall to be annswered unto by the said defend[an]t or by any of them, and not before in this their annsweres sufficiently annswered unto confessed & avoyded tran[?]sed or denyed to the knowledge of the said defend[an]ts or any of them as true, All w[hi]ch matters the said defend[an]ts are & willbe reddy to averr maintaine and prove as this ho[noura]ble court shall award and humbly praye oute of the same to be dismissed w[i]th their reasonable costs & charges in this behalf most wrongfully sustained.

 

At base of document – in Latin:
Capt fipnd Hlirton/Tyverton(?) in Coun Devon a vicesimo secundo die
Junii Anno Regin din ine Jacobi dei eyed Ang’d ffrannc et Hibn Regis fibri
defendptw et vicesimo et siicie ob’te corune nobis.
William Hooper
Thomas Cholwill
Charles Yeo
 

Signed:
William Whitsone (his mark: ‘XXX’)
William Bowden (his mark: ‘WB’)
William Penhorwood (signed)
Mathew Halswill (his mark: ‘M’)

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Appendix

a) Summary of documents:

John Bishop’s statement:

John Bishop a yeoman of Northam said that he was legally allowed to collect rent from the Irsha Street properties, because he had an agreement to this effect from Thomas Docton before he died. John Bishop’s case is set out as follows:
Thomas Docton esquire of Hartland was 'seised of in fee' of lands in Irsha and Appledore. Some of these were in demesne and others in lease. Other lands were limited by existing indentures.
John Bishop was Thomas Docton's 'kinsman and servant' and on 13th Nov 1618 Thomas Docton granted a lease or letting of 10 of the Irsha properties to John Bishop for 99 years after the death of Thomas Docton, for the annual payment of 6s.8d. Also on a house in Appledore late occupied by Thomas Heywood. A further group of named tenants agreed to pay rent to John Bishop.
Thomas Docton junr, then asked for the rent money to come to him, back-dated from the time of Alice's death, because he said that some of the tenants had long leases which were drawn up long before the lease of Nov 1618, and that this sub-lease shouldn't apply to these, so they should be paying him the rent, not John Bishop.
John Bishop requested a subpoena (writ) to be issued to Thomas Docton junr and 37 named tenants, requesting them to testify in the High Court.

Thomas Docton's statement:

Some of the lands were in demesne and some others were in lease.
It was previously suggested that John Docton (presumably Thomas's brother who died in 1594) had owned these lands, but this was refuted by Thomas. [We do know that John did own land in Northam parish, but not these Irsha lands. It was Thomas Docton senior who owned these lands, and who willed them to his wife Alice, and then to Thomas Docton junior].
Since Alice Docton's death, Thomas junr had taken most of the rents from these properties.
Thomas Docton said that he accompanied John Bishop to many of the tenants, and all agreed that rents should be paid to Thomas Docton. He had heard people talk about this supposed lease granting rights to John Bishop, but no-one had shown him a copy despite asking to see it.

He did make a lease on one property for lives to William Bowden, Marke Bowden & Robert Tooker, the details of which are included in this statement.

Apart from that, he denies any of the complainant’s claims.

The tenants’ statement:

William Whitson, Mathew Halswell, William Penhorwood, and William Bowden said they did not know that John Bishop had a lease, and that their rents were being paid to Thomas Docton.

William Whitson said he had a 99-year lease dated 2nd March 1614/15, for a house and garden in Irsha on the lives of himself, his wife Margery and his son Robert, payment of 16-pence per year. This lease to commence after the life-lease belonging to Alexander Maddox, his wife Johan and daughter Margaret had ended.

William Bowden said that he had a 99-year lease dated 20th January 1579/80, for himself and his wife Margaret, payment 10-shillings per year. Upon termination of this lease, the property had already been let to Mark Bowden and Robert Tooker.

William Penhorwood said that he had a lease dated 31st May 1615(?) for a newly erected house on land called Cleeve Park in Irsha. Payment 4-shillings per year. This lease was to John Burges (now deceased), his wife Edith (now William Penhorwood's wife) and their children Ann Burges & Joseph Burges. William Penhorwood also said that George Willett and John Bennett made a deed on 20th March 1601/02 for a lease to John Burges for 99-years of a plot of ground 68 feet wide in Irsha for 12 shillings per year.

Mathew Halswell said he had a lease for lives of his wife Wilmote (dau of Thomas Gourden, to whom the lease was originally made), dated 20th March 1601/02 of a house in Irsha for 10 shillings per year.

b) Background information:

In 1612, George Willett of Bideford sold 12 acres of land at Irsha (part of Appledore) to Thomas Docton of Hartland, for the sum of £550.0s.0d. This document listed the names of 29 tenants.
(ref: Devon Record Office QS/47, enrolled deeds No.1498)

Thomas Docton died on 15th November 1618, without issue.

In his will, his extensive landholdings were given to his wife Alice during her life, and were then to pass to the following:

  • Lands in the Borough of Hartland given to kinsman John Baggelhole.
  • Lands at Bursdon and Dipford in Hartland to cousin Francis Rowe.
  • Lands at Galsham and Tosbery in Hartland given to cousin John Cooke.
  • Lands at Philham and Trelake in Hartland to tenant Henry Keine.
  • Lands at Crineham in Hartland to cousin William Docton.
  • Lands at Braunton to kinsman John Docton.
  • Lands at Manor of Stoke in Hartland to kinsman Thomas Docton of Wellesford.
  • Lands at Docton (capital messuage) and remaining lands in Hartland to kinsman Thomas Docton of Wellesford.
  • Lands at Northam, Bideford, Abbotsham, Parkham, Woolfardisworthy, Welcombe, Inwardley, Ashwater and Halwell to kinsman Thomas Docton.

The will was proved on 6th March 1619.
(PCC Will ref: PROB11/133, proved 6th March 1618/19)

In June 1619 a challenge was made to Thomas Docton’s will (this is a Latin document, which has not yet been translated or transcribed).
(PCC Sentence ref: PROB11/134/604)

According to his Inquisition Post Mortem, Thomas Docton died on 15th Nov 1618. He was buried on the 18th November 1618. However, his will said that it was written on the "thirtith" (30th?) day of November 1618. This can't be correct - maybe the PCC will clerk misread thirtenth for thirtith?
The Inquisition Post Mortem for Thomas Docton also named his sister Elizabeth Docton and Thomas Heard as also being co-heirs, although they are not mentioned in his will.
(Devon & Cornwall Rec.Soc, C, Vol.418, 60; and Wards & Liveries, Bundle.73, 127)

Thomas’s wife Alice Docton (nee Atkin) was buried in September 1619. In her will she disposed of farm animals and all household furniture and effects, but no lands as these were only held in trust for her lifetime. All the lands then passed to their intended new owners. Her nephew William Atkin was made sole executor.
(PCC Will ref: PROB11/134/419, proved 21st November 1619)

The Irsha lands then passed fully to another Thomas Docton (1564-1638) who was the cousin of Thomas Docton senior (1548-1618).

In Feb 1621/22, a hearing took place in London where a challenge was made on Alice’s will by Nicholas and William Velley.
Another group of litigants were Degory and Arthur Seccombe, and Jane Randall, but they failed to appear or be represented, and were found in contempt of court by their absence. The judge found for the executor William Atkin. (Latin document, not fully transcribed).
(PCC Sentence ref: PROB11/134/604)

The Chancery document transcribed here refers to ‘John Bishop and his father’ collecting these rents. In the Northam parish burials, a John Bishop was buried in April 1622 (possibly John Bishop’s father?). Did the notification of his death to Thomas Docton junior start the process of this dispute? Maybe Thomas Docton had ‘overlooked’ these Irsha lands until that point? In 1601, there is a baptism in Northam for a John Bishop son of John who is possibly this person, therefore John junr was only aged 21 at the time of this dispute.

The result of the case here is not recorded.

= = = = = = = = = = = =