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No. l. 24 Nov. 1597. Powley. To the right honable Si Thomas Egerton Knighte
Lorde Keper of the greate seale of Englande. In most humblewise complayninge sheweth unto your good Lordshipp, your dailye orators, John Shakespere of Stratford upon Avon in the county of Warwicke and Mary his wief, That whereas your same orators were lawfully seized in theire demesne as of fee as in the ryghte of the saide Mary, of and in one messuage and one yarde lande with thappurtenauncs lyinge and beinge in Wylnecote in the saide county, And they beinge thereof so seised for and in consideracon of the some of fowerty pounds to them by one Edmounde Lamberte of Barton on the Heath in the saide countie payde your sayde orators were content that the saide Edmounde Lamberte should have and enjoye the same premisses untill such tyme as your sayde orators did repaye unto him the saide sõme of fowertie pounds; By reason whereof the saide Edmounde did enter into the premisses, and did enjoye the same for the space of three or fower yeares, and thissues and profytts thereof did receyve and take. After which your saide orators did tender unto the saide Edmounde the sayde sõme of fowertie pounds, and desired that they mighte have agayne the sayd premisses accordinge to theire agreement, which money he the sayde Edmounde then refused to receyve, sayinge that he would not receyve the same, nor suffer your sayd orators to have the saide premisses agayne, unlesse they woulde paye unto him certayne, other money which they did owe unto him
for other matters: All which not withstandinge now 80 yt is and yt maye please your good Loppe that shortelie after the tendringe of the sayde fowertie pounds to the saide Edmounde, and the desyre of your sayde orators to have theire lande agayne from him, he the saide Edmounde at Barton aforesayde dyed ; after whose deathe one John Lamberte as sonne and heire of the saide Edmounde entred into the same premisses, and occupied the same: after which entrie of the sayde John your sayde orators came to him and tendred the saide money unto him, and likewise requested him that he woulde suffer them to have and enjoye the sayde premisses accordinge to theire righte and tytle therein, and the promise of his saide father to your saide orators made, which he the saide John denyed in all things, and did withstande' them for entringe into the premisses, and as yet doeth so continew still; And by reason that certaine deeds and other evydences concerninge the premisses and that of righte belonge to your saide orators are comme to the hands and possession of the sayde John, he wrongfully still keepeth and detayneth the possession of the saide premisses from your saide orators, and will in no wise permytt and suffer them to have and enjoye the sayde premisses accordinge to theire righte in and to the same. And he the saide John Lamberte hathe of late made sondrie secreate estates of the premisses to dyvers persons to your saide orators unknowen, whereby your saide orators cannot tell againste whome to bringe their accons at the comen lawe, for the recovery of the premisses. In tender consideracon whereof, and for so muche as your saide orators knowe not the certaine date nor contents of the saide wrytings, nor whether the same be contayned in bagge, boxe, or cheste, sealed, locked or noe, and therefore have no remedye to recover the same evydencs and wrytings by the due course of the comen laws of this realme; and for that also by reasone of the saide secreate estates so made by the sąide John Lamberte as aforesaide, and want of your saide orators havinge of the evidencs and wrytings as aforesaide, your saide orators cannot tell what accons or agaynst whome or in what manner to bring theire accon for the recovery of the premisses at the comen lawe : And for that also the sayde John Lamberte ys of greate wealth and abilitie and well frended and alied amongest gentlemen and freeholders of the countrey in the saide countie of Warwicke, where he dwelleth, and your saide orators are of small wealthe and verey fewe frends and alyance in the saide countie, may yt therefore please your good Loppe to graunt unto your saide orators the Queenes Maties most gracyous writte of Subpæna to be directed to the saide John Lamberte comandinge him thereby at a certaine daie and under a certaine payne therein to be lymytted personally to appeare before your good Loppe in her maties highnes corte of Chauncerie, then and there to answer the premisses, and further to stande to and abyde suche order and direction therein as to your good Loppe shall seeme best to stande with righte, equitie and good conscyence. And your sayde orators shall daylie praye to God for the prosperous healthe of your good Loppe with increase of honor long to contynewe.
No. II. Juratus coram me Thoma Legge, 24 November, 1597. The Answeare of John Lamberte defendte to the Byll of
Compite of John Shakspeere and Mary his wief, Complts.
The said defendte (savinge to him selfe both nowe and at all tymes hereafter all advantage of excepcon to the uncertentie and insufficiencie of the said Complts byll, and also savinge to this defendte suche advantage as by the order of this honorable courte he shalbe adjudged to have for that the like byll in effecte conteyninge the selfę
same matter hath byne heretofore exhibited into this honorable courte againste this defendte, 'wherunto this defendte hath made a full and direct answeare, wherin the said complte hath not proceeded to hearinge,) for a seconde full and directe answeare unto the said Complts byll, sayeth, That true yt is (as this defendte verylie thinkethe) that the said complts were or one of them was lawfully seized in theire or one of theire demeasne as 'of fee of and in one messuage and one yearde and fower acres of lande with thappurtenauncs lyeinge and beinge in Wylmecott in the parishe of Aston Cauntlowe in the countie of Warwicke, and that they or one of them soe beinge thereof seized, the said complte John Shakspeere by indenture- beringe date uppon or aboute the fowertenth daie of November in the twenteth yeare of the raigne of our sovereigne lady the Queenes Matie that now ys, for and in consideracon of the some of fortie pounds of lawfull English monney, unto the said complte paide by Edmunde Lamberte this defendts father in the said byll named, did give, graunte, bargaine, and sell the said messuage and one yearde and fower acres of lande with theappurtenauncs unto the said Edmunde Lamberte and his heires and assignes ; to have and to holde the said messuage one yearde and fower acres of lande with thappurtenauncs unto the saide Edmunde Lamberte his heires and assignes for ever. In which indenture there is a condicónall provisoʻconteyned that if the said complte did paye unto the said Edmunde Lamberte the sūme of fortie pownds uppon the feast of S. Michell tharchangell which shoulde be in the yeare of our Lorde God one thousande fyve hundred and eightie at the dwellinge house of the said Edmunde Lamberte in Barton on the heath in the said countie of Warwicke, that then the said graunte bargaine and sale and all the covenaunts, graunts and agreements therein conteyned shoulde cease and be vöyde; As by the said Indenture wherunto this defendte for his better certentie doth
referre him selfe maye appeare. And afterwards the saide Complte John Shakspeere by his deede pole and liverie theruppon made did infeoffe the said Edmunde Lamberte of the said premisses, to have and to holde unto him the said Edmunde Lamberte and his heires for ever. After all which in the terme of Ester in the one and twenteth yeare of the Queenes Ma.ies raigne that nowe ys, the said compltes in due forme of lawe did levye a fyne of the said messuage and yearde lande and other the premisses before the Queenes Mates Justics of the comon plees at Westmi unto the saide Edmunde Lamberte and his heires sur conuzance de droyt as that which the said Edmunde had of the gifte of the said John Shakspeere; as by the said pole deede and the chirographe of the said fine wherunto this defendte for his better certentie referreth him selfe yt doth and maye appeare. And this defendte further sayeth that the said complte did not tender or paye the said sūme of fortie pownds unto the said Edmunde Lamberte this defendts father uppon the said feaste daye which was in the yeare of our Lord God one thowsande fyve hundred and eightie, according to the said provisoe in the said Indenture expressed : By reason whereof this defendts said father was lawfully and absolutely seized of the said premisses in his demeasne as of fee; and aboute eleven years last paste thereof dyed seized. By and after whose decease the said messuage and premisses with thappurtenauncs descended and came as of righte the same oughte to descende and come unto this defendte as sonne and next heire of the said Edmunde. By vertue whereof this defendte was and yet is of the said messuage, yearde lande, and premisses, lawfully seized in his demeasne as of fee; which this defendte hopeth he oughte both by lawe and equitie to enjoye accordinge to his lawfull righte and tytle therin. And this defendte further sayeth that the said messuage yearde lande and other the said premisses or the moste parte thereof have,