The Stonor letters and papers, 1290-1483; ed. for the Royal historical society, from the origial documents in the Public record office, by Charles Lethbridge Kingsford.
Kingsford, Charles Lethbridge, editor. 1862-1926.


Though these documents do not form part of the Stonor Papers they are important for the history of the dispute at Ermington. The date is fixed by the proceedings in the King's Bench, where it appears that the date of the assault on Frende was in December, 1465. The appearance of Stonor and Thomas Mulle (who no doubt represented Richard Drayton) shows that "plegii de prosequendo" were in some cases at all events genuine persons, although it has been argued that the pledges were usually fictitious persons (like John Doe and Richard Roe); the Richard Gryme and William Lyme of p. 79 below may be such a fictitious instance. From Early Chancery Proceedings, 31/34-36.

To the right reverend ffader in God, tharchebusshop of Yorke and Chaunceller of Engelond.

Mekely besecheth and peteously complayneth your poor and con|tinuell Oratour, John Frende, graciously to concydre that Richard Fortescu of Ermynton in the Counte of Devonshir, squyer, with other riotus persones to hym assembled to the nombre of iiijxx persones and moo, ryotously arrayed in fourme of warre, that is to sey with Jackys, Bowes, Arrowes, Swerdes, Gleyves, and other defencible wepyns, the xij day of Decembre laste passed ayenste the pees of our sovereign lord Page  75, vol. 1 the Kynge at Ermynton aforsaid ryotusly and ayenste the lawe come and tooke your seid Oratour oute of his hows as his prisoner, and hym ladd unto the hows of the seyd Richard Fortescue, and ther hym in pryson kepte by the space of iiij dayes unto the tyme your seid Oratour had payed for the delyveraunce and raunsom to the seid Richard Fortescue v. marc. And gracyous lord, your seid Oratour is in such poverte that he is not of power to sue for his remedy accordyng to the cours of the comone lawe of the londe, and so standyth as withowte remedy withowte your good grace be shewed to hym in this behalf. Wherfore, plese it your good lordeship gracyusly to concydre the pre|misses, and ther uppon to graunte a writte sub pena to be directed to the seid Richard Fortescue, commaundyng hym by the same to appere before the Kynge in Chauncerye at a certene day and under a certene peyne by you to be lymytyd ther to answer to the premisses, and to do and resceyve as concyence askyth and requyreth, and this for the love of god and in the wey of charyte.

Plegii de prosequendo; Thomas Stonour de London, armig.; Thomas Mulle de London, gent.

This is the answere of Richard Fortescue to the bill putt ageynst hym by John Frende.

Fyrst, the seid Richard seith bi protestacion that the mater conteyned in the seid bill is mater determinable by the comon lawe of the land and noght in this Courte: bott for his answer and pleyn declaracion of the same he seith that he longe tyme before the seid arrest had a Wryte of Supplicavit oute of this Courte ageynst the seid John, directed to the Shyrryf of Devonshyr, the which Shyrryf made a Warraunte uppon the same Wryte to John Hillyour, John Saundre, William Screch, and Thomas Horne, jointly and severally to tak and arrest the seid John accordyng to the content of the seid Wryte: bi vertue of which Warraunte the seid John, John, William and Thomas arrestyd þe seid John in pesible wyse at Ermyngton, beyng oute of his hows, and hym from thens had toward the Kynges comon Jale by the howse of the seid Richard, and thair taried with hym bi the space of half an houre: and the same John so beyng in the howse of the seid Richard, the same Richard fortunyd to come home fyndyng the seid John in his howse undre arrest as is afforseid, withoute that the seid Richard in riotous wyse or in such fourme tok and imprisonyd the seid John in Page  76, vol. 1 maner and fourme as he hath allegyd, and withoute that þe seid Richard tok or made to be takyn the seid John or hym kepyd in prison in house langer or in eny othere maner and fourme than the seid Richard hath before rehersyd &c. Moreover, the seid Richard seith that the seid John hath an accion of faux imprisonment hangyng ageynst þe seid Richard in the Comon place,

* The record of this action appears in Hilary Term 1466, in Placita de Banco, Roll, 818, m. 251: Devon. Johannes Frende per attornatum suum optulit se iiijto die versus Ricardum Fortescu de Ermyngton in comitatu predicto, gentilman, Thomam Horne de Ermyngton in comitatu predicto, husbondman, Willelmum Screche nuper de Ermyngton in comitatu predicto, grome, et Johannem Saunder de Ermyngton in comitatu predicto, souter, de placito quare vi et armis in ipsum Johannem Frende apud Ermyngton insultum fecerunt et ipsum verberaverunt, vulneraverunt, imprisonaverunt et male tractaverunt, et ipsum ibidem sic in prisona contra legem et consuetudinem regni Regis Anglie diu detinuerunt, et alia enormia &c., ad grave dampnum &c, et contra pacem Regis &c. Et ipsi non venerunt, et preceptum fuit Vicecomiti quod attachiet eos &c. Et de prefato Ricardo mandat Vicecomes'quod attachiatus est per plegia Johannis Lok et Ricardi Cok. Ideo ipsi in manu &c. Et distringatur quod sit hic a die Pasche in xv dies &c. Et de prefatis Thoma, Willelmo, et Johanne Saunder mandat Vicecomes quod nichil habent &c. Ideo capiantur quod sint hic ad prefatum terminum &c. Ad quem diem Vicecomes non misit breve. Ideo tam predictus Ricardus sicut prius dis|tringatur, quam predicti alii defendentes capiantur quod sint hic in crastino Sancti Johannis Baptiste.

There appears to be no entry in the Roll for Trinity Term, and the proceedings in the Common Pleas were presumably dropped.

bi reason the seid arrest, which is ageynst all consciens he to be vexed here and in the Comon place and all for on thyng. All which maters the seid Richard is redy to profe as this Courte will reule hym, and prayeth þat he may be dismissed out of this Courte with his costes and damages for his wrongfull vexacion.

This is the Replicacion of John Frende unto the aunswere of Richard Fortescu.

The seid John Frende by protestacion nat knowyng ony writte of Supplicavit had ageyn hym nor ony warant made be the seid Shyryve to John Saundre and other to arreste the seid John Frende in maner and fourme as ys supposed by the seid aunswere: but for aunswere the said John Frende seith in dede that he was arested and taken in riotous wise by the said Richard Fortescu and other, and lad to the hous of the same Richard and as a prisoner kept in maner and fourme specified in the seid bill: and over that he seith that he was atte that tyme ther putte in dures in to Stokkes and gretly manassed and thretenyd and put in fere of bodily harme: and many tymes sithen the seid em|prisonement Page  77, vol. 1 the seid Richard Fortescu hath thretened the seid John Frend and putte hym in greate feere boith of his persone and losse of his goodis, so that he thurst nat attend his husbondrye, to his import|able losse, hurte, and greff, havyng in his hand as moche land in ferme as he paiethe therfor xl. li.; withoute that atte the tyme of the seid takyng, arestynge or imprisonement of the seid John Frend ony warant from the seid Shirive to him was shewed: which mater the seid John Frend is redy to prove like as the Courte will award: and prayeth that the seid Richard for the seid riote may be commytted to ward, and that he may be compellid to yeld to the seid John Frend reson|able damages for his seid grete hurtys and wrongefulle vexacion, and also the costys of his suyte.