Ref: EDC 5/5/1

Catalogue Entry:

1544? Coddington tithe cause paper.


John Fellowe, rector of Coddington, contra Jane Brereton

This document, concerning the tithes of Coddington, is badly damaged and about half is very difficult or impossible to make out so has been supplied from common form, where possible. In particular the type of tithe involved and the calculation of the amount unpaid is not entirely clear.



Type of Cause:

Tithes – other

Cause Papers:


Libel (image 1)

Original Document

Click to view fullscreen


[5/5/1 image 1]

In the name of God, Amen: before you, venerable Master George Wilmesley, Bachelor of Laws, by the authority of the most illustrious Prince in Christ and our master, Henry the eighth, by the grace of God King of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith and on earth supreme head under Christ over the English and Irish church, by the reverend in Christ […] vicar general in spirituals […] by divine permission bishop of Chester to hear and determine ecclesiastical causes and lawfully deputed official principal of his consistory or any other judge whomsoever competent in that behalf; the party of the venerable John Fellowe, rector of the parish church of Coddington against Jane Brereton of Chester diocese and its archdeaconry and of your jurisdiction and also against any other whomsoever lawfully intervening before you in judgement for the same says, alleges and propounds in these writings in law jointly and severally and in articles in the manner which follows:

Firstly, […] John Fellowe, rector of Coddington abovesaid, was and is canonically instituted to the same rectory of Coddington with its universal and singular rights and appurtenances, and has possessed it peacefully and quietly for some time just as (saving what will be said below) he thus also possesses it at present and also was and is commonly called, held, had and reputed openly, publicly and notoriously as true rector and occupier of the same rectory of Coddington […].

Also, that as well by the common law as by ancient and laudable, lawful and prescribed custom hitherto from time and throughout time immemorial, and often upheld in judgment in a contested cause, the right of receiving and having all and all types of tithes, as well greater as lesser […] of grazing and pastures commonly called ‘teythar bage’[1] within the bounds and limits of the said parish of Coddington however proceeding, belonged to the said John Fellowe, present rector there, and to all and singular his precursors and predecessors, and should have belonged and should also in future; and he propounds jointly, severally and concerning any of these points.

Also, that the present rector of the parish church of Coddington and all and singular his precursors and predecessors for the time being were and are in peaceful possession, or quasi-possession, of the right of taking and having all and all types of tithes proceeding and arising within the parish aforesaid and the bounds and limits and tithable places of the same rectory in the manner and form specified and recited above for 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years past and before and since [and also from the time] to the contrary of which does not exist in the memory of man, and for the same time also peacefully and quietly took and had them himself or by his men and freely disposed of and with them at his own will and pleasure until the time of the trouble set out above; and he propounds as before.

Also, that all and singular parishioners of the said parish of Coddington as well as others from elsewhere who may hold or occupy any grazing or pastures within the bounds and limits of the same parish […] have continually paid, rendered and satisfied, or at least ought to have caused to be paid, rendered and satisfied to the above-mentioned rector and all and singular his precursors and predecessors from the time and throughout the time the contrary of which does not exist in the memory of men 8d of lawful money for the tithes of his grazing or pasture commonly called ‘teythar bage’ in any year in keeping with the annual rent of 6s 8d for the same grazing, as trustworthy and […] witnesses will sufficiently clarify and will appear in the settlement of this suit; and he propounds as before.

Also, that […] subordinates and subjects of our realm who maliciously presume to deprive […] the church […] or persons […] due by law are, by that fact, culpably […] in major excommunication […] punished and corrected according to the due requirement of law; and he propounds as before.

Also, that […] June, July, August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March or April, or in any of the same months, in one or several, in the present and current one thousand five hundred and forty […] year of our lord, the aforesaid Jane Brereton held, had and occupied a pasture called ‘the masons fyld’ at an annual rent of 40s […] 26s 8d being and lying within the bounds and limits of the said parish of Coddington, or of such a […] or intermediate of annual rent for the aforesaid pastures or grazing down to the sum of 20 shillings, and of such and so great a sum or value of such and so much […] as will become more clear and appear in the outcome of this suit; and as before.

[1] This is how the name of the land appears, supposedly in English, but it seems unusual. ‘Teythar’ may be ‘thether’ (OED) so this may be a generic term for a type of pasture. It may also perhaps be a corruption of ‘the herbage’, meaning here grass used for pasture. The name of the field in question (‘the masons fyld’) occurs later.


[5/5/1 image 1]

In dei nomine amen coram vobis venerabili viro Magistro georgio Wylmysley in legibus baccallario auctoritate illustrissimi in Christo principis et domini
[nostri Henrici octaui dei gracia Anglie Francie et Hibernie Regis fidei defensoris] et in terris Ecclesie Anglicane et hibernie sub Christo capitis supremis per Reuerendi In Christo
[… permissione diuina] cestrensis episcopi ad causas ecclesiasticas decidendum et terminandum vicario in spritualibus generali Ac eius Consistorij Officiali
[principali … legitime deputato vel] Alio Judice in hac parte competenti quocunque Pars venerabilis viri Johannis felo Rectoris Ecclesie parochialis
[de Codyngton contra et aduersus Johannam Brereton] cestrensis diocesis ac Archidiaconatus eius et vestre Jurisdictionis Necnon contra quemcunque alium
[coram vobis pro eidem in Judicio legitime interuenientem] dicit allegat et in his scriptis
in Jure proponit coniunctim et diuisim Atque Articulatim modo pro vt sequitur

[Imprimis …Johannis felo] Rector de Codyngton supradicta fuit et est ipsamque Rectoriam de Codyngton canonice assecutus
[cum suis juribus et pertinentiis vniuersis et singulis] per nonulla tempora possedit pacifice et quiete provt Saluo infra scriptis sic etiam
[possidet in presenti necnon pro vero rectore et possessore] eidem Rectorie de Codyngton  fuit et est communiter dictus tentus habitus et reputatus palam publice

[Item quod tam de Jure communi] quam de antiqua et laudabili consuetudine legitima et prescripta hactenus a tempore et per tempus
[immemorato et in contradictorio] Judicio sepius obtenta : Jus percipiendi et habendi omnies et omnimodas decimas tam maiores            [quam minores …] pascurarum et pasturarum vulgo vocatarum teythanbage? infra fines et limites dicte parochie de Codyngton
[qualitercunque provenientes ad dictum Johannem] felo Rectorem ibidem modernum suos que precessores et predecessores omnies et singulos pertinvit ac pertinere
[debuit et debet etiam in futurum Et ponit coniunctim diuisim et] de quolibet

[Item quod rector ecclesie parochialis de Coddington modernus suisque precessores et] predecessores omnies et singuli per temporibus suis successiuis fuerunt et sunt in pacifica possessione
[seu quasi Juris percipiendi et habendi omnies et omnimodas decimas sub modo et] forma superius specificata et recitata infra parochiam predictam finesque et limites ac
[loca decimabilia eiusdem Rectorie provenientas contingentas] a x ‧ xx ‧ xxx ‧ xlta et lta  annis elapsis ultraque et citra cuius contrarij in memoria hominum non existit
[easque per se et suos per idem tempus perceperunt et habuerunt atque de et cum] eisdem pro ipsorum libitis et voluntatis libere disposuerunt etiam pacifice et quiete vsque ad tempus
[gravaminis infrascriptum et ponit vt supra]

[Item quod omnies et singuli parochiani dicte parochie de Codyngton quam alij extran]ei qui infra fines et limites eiusdem parochie aliquas pascuasve pasturas habuerint vel
[occupauerunt … soluerunt redderunt et satisfece]runt seu saltem fit soluisse reddidisse et satisfecisse debuerunt rectori perpetuo supradictus
[et precessoribus ac predecessoribus suis omnibus et singulis a tempore et per tempus cuius] contrarium in memoria hominum non existit pro decimis pascurarum seu pasturarum suarum
[vulgo vocatarum teythanbage anno quolibet vjs viijd secundum] annuales redditu eadem siue eiusdem pascuarum siue pascue viijd legalis monete provt testes fide-
[dignos et … sufficienter in fine huius litis liquidabitur et apparebit] et ponit vt supra

[Item quod … Regni nostro subditi et subiecti qui ecclesias …] ve personas suo Jure debito maliciose priuare presumunt et sunt ipso facto in maioris
[excommunicationis dampnabiliter … Juxta Juris debitam exigentiam] puniendum et corrigendum et ponit vt supra

 [Item quod … Junij Julij Augusti Septembris Octobris Novembris]  Decembris Januarij Februarij Martij seu Aprilis eorundemve mensium vno siue pluribus
[presenti et currenti Anno domini Millesimo quingentesimo quadragesimo  … prefata Johanna Brereton] tenvit habuit et occupauit vnam pascuam vocatam the masons fyld annvalis
[redditu xls … ] xxvjs viijd infra fines et limites dictam parochiam de Codyngton existentam et
[jacentam …vel intermedia] annvalis redditus predictarum pascuarum vel pascurarum vsque ad summam xxs ac de tali et tanta
[summa ve valore quali et quanta …] in eventu huius litis plenius liquidabitur et apparebit et vt supra

Libel (image 2)

Original Document

Click to view fullscreen


[5/5/1 image 2]

Also, that the aforesaid Jane Brereton, who had or has nothing of right in the said rectory of Coddington in any way, heedless of the health of her soul and not fearing to fall under penalty of the law […]  field or grazing land being and lying within the bounds and limits of the said parish of Coddington commonly called […] belonging and appertaining […] in the name of his rectory aforesaid contrary to and against the will of the same present rector […] subtracted and occupied for herself and retained and had and converted, ordered and acquired to her criminal use […] to the distinguished rector […] and he propounds as before.

Also, that […] of the abovesaid field or grazing land, commonly called ‘teythar bache’, as is thus aforesaid taken and […] by the aforesaid Jane Brereton in the present year aforesaid, according to the annual rate of rent of the aforesaid pastures and the custom of the said parish […] to the sum or value of 6s 8d; and this party claims and libels of such […] up to the sum of twelve pence, and of such and so great a sum of such and so much […] through trustworthy and […] witnesses sufficiently in the outcome of this suit; and he propounds as before.

Also, that and although the aforesaid Jane Brereton aforesaid on several occasions was duly requested and asked rightly and in due form of law, to give, pay, provide or deliver to the distinguished John Fellow, rector […] these said tithes of the aforesaid close, pasture or grazing as thus aforesaid taken and […] by the same Jane Brereton or to duly compound with him in that respect, yet she, Jane Brereton, has not wished to do so, but has wickedly and […] refused […] defers and refuses at present to no small and serious prejudice of the said present rector and his rectory; and […] example of other Christian faithful […] and involving himself; and he propounds jointly and severally.

Also, that […] of Chester diocese and notoriously subordinate and subject to your jurisdiction in that respect.

Also, that it was and is on the part and behalf of the abovesaid rector of Coddington that complaint is rightly and lawfully made to you and to Chester your consistory court.

Also, that all and singular matters were and are true, public, notorious, manifest and well-known, and public voice and fame are circulating about the same […] in the said parish of Coddington and other places surrounding the same.

Whereupon, due proof being made as is required by law in this regard, the party of the said rector of Coddington on behalf of his right, title and […] the tithes of the pasture, close or grazing aforesaid maliciously and unjustly had and subtracted by the said Jane Brereton in her […] by the aforesaid Jane Brereton belonging and appertaining to the said present rector by right and in the name of his rectory of Coddington […] and thus should be decreed and declared so to belong and appertain and the same Jane Brereton […] of the said pasture or grazing aforesaid specified in the manner as is aforesaid commonly called ‘teythar bage’ […] of Coddington judicially obliged and compelled and […] condemned in the lawful expenses incurred on behalf of the aforesaid rector of Coddington by reason of this suit, and he protests those to be incurred, and, having been condemned that she is canonically obliged and compelled to the real payment of the same and in the said sentence of major excommunication culpably incurred by occasion of the premisses […] by you and passing your definitive sentence or final decree in this respect, distinguished judge aforesaid; and otherwise, that what will have been of right and reason in the premises and anything concerning them may be done, established […]; which the party of the said rector of Coddington propounds jointly and severally, not obliging himself to prove all and singular the premises, nor to the burden of superfluous proof, concerning which he protests, but so far as he will have proved in the premises, thus far may he obtain in the petitions, always reserving the benefit of law in all things, humbly imploring your office in the premises and matters concerning them, lord judge aforesaid […] of amending […] and correcting this libel at a suitable and opportune time and place.


[5/5/1 image 2]

[Item quod prefata Joanna Brereton qui nihil Juris in dicta rectoria de Cod]yngton habuit aut habet aliqualiter animæ suæ salutis immemor in penam Juris cadere
[non formidans … pascuram ve pascurarum] infra fines et limites dicte parochie de Codyngton excistentium et Jacentium vulgo vocatarum
[…nomine] rectorie sue antedicte pertinentium et spectantium preter et contra voluntatem eiusdem Rectoris presenti
[…subtraxit et occupauit ac penes se] retinvit et habuit ac in vsum suum nepharium convertit mandauit et fecit dicto discreto
[rectori …] et ponit vt supra

[Item quod … supradictarum pascuram et pascurarum vulgo] vocatarum teythar betge sic vt prefertur predicta Johanna Brereton presenti anno predicto percepit et
[…secundum Ratus annualis redditus predictarum pascuarum] et consuetudinem dicte parochie ad summam siue valorem vjs viijd ac dat et libellat pars ista de quolibet
[… vsque ad summam duodecimi denariorum ac de tali] et tanta summa quali et quanta per testes fidedignos et […] sufficienter in eventu huius
[litis … et ponit vt supra]

[Item quod licet prefata Johanna Brereton antedicta ad ] dictarum decimarum cla<v>surarum pascuarum siue pascurarum sic vt prefertur per ipsam Johannam Brereton
[perceptarum et …ac iteratis temporibus] debite requisata et interpellata fuit ipse tamen Johanna Bereton dictas huiusmodi decimas
[dicto discreto Johnne felo Rectore … iuste et] indebite Juris forma traddere soluere prestare seu liberare aut cum eo in hac parte debite componere noluit
[sed nequiter et … recusauit … difert et recusat in presenti] dicto Rectoro moderno ac eius Rectorie preiudicium non modicum et graumen ac aliorum
[christifidelium exemplum … ] et se ipsum involuendum et ponit coniunctim et diuisim

[Item quod … cestrensis diocesis ac vestre] Jurisdictionis et in ea parte notorie subdita et subiecta

[Item quod fuit et est ex parte et per partem supradicti] Rectoris de Codyngton ad vos et Curiam vestram cestrensem rite et legitime querelatum

 [Item Quod omnia et singula fuerunt et sunt vera publica] notoria manifesta et famosa ac in dicta parochia de Codyngton et locis alijs eidem circumvicinis de et
[super eisdem … laborant publica vox et fama]

Vnde facta fide in hac parte de Jure requisitur petit pars dicti Rectoris de Codyngton pro Jure titulo et
[…] decimas pascuarum clausurarum seu pascurarum predictarum per dictam Johannam Brereton in sua
[… per predictam Johannam] Brereton maliciose et iniuste habitas et subtractas ad dictum Rectorem modernum Jure et nomine
[rectorie sue de Codyngton … spectauisse et] pertinuisse ac sic spectare et pertinere debere decerni et declarari ipsamque Johannam
[Brereton … dictarum  pascuarum] siue pascurarum predictarum modo vt prefertur specificatarum vulgo vocatarum teythar bage dicto
[… de Codyngton Judicaliter cogi et compelli et … in expensis legitimis] per partem predicti Rectoris de Codyngton occatione huius litis factis et protestatur
[de faciendis condemnari condemnatamque ad Realem solutionem earundem] canonice cogi et compelli ac in dictam maioris excommunicacionis sententiam premissis occatione damnabiliter incidisse
[… per vos et vestram] sentenciam diffinitiuam seu finale decretum in hac parte ferendam Judex egregie antedicte Vlteriusque fieri statui
[…quod Juris fuerit et rationis premissa] proponit et fieri petit pars dicti Rectoris de Codyngton coniunctim et diuisim
[non arctans se ad omnia et singula premissa probanda nec ad onus superflue] probationis de quo protestatur sed quatenus probauerit in premissis
[eatenus obtineat in petitis Juris beneficio in omnibus semper saluo vestrum] officium in premissis et ea concernentibus humiliter implorando
[…] domine Judex antedicte
[… de addendo … et corrigendo] hunc libellum pro loco et tempore congruis et oportunis

Libel (image 3)

Original Document

Click to view fullscreen


[5/5/1 image 3] 


Libel of the rector of Coddington in a cause of tithes […]. 

[…] Jane Brereton in a cause of subtraction of tithes.

[in pencil in a different hand]


[Produced with the permission of the Chester Diocesan Board of Finance.]

Translation copyright ©2023 P J Cox All Rights Reserved



[5/5/1 image 3]


Libellus Rectoris
de Coddington
in causa decimarum

[…] Janam Brereton in causa subtractionis decimarum

 [in pencil in a different hand]


[Produced with the permission of the Chester Diocesan Board of Finance.]

Transcript copyright ©2023 P J Cox All Rights Reserved



John Fellowe, rector of Coddington – plaintiff

Jane Brereton– defendant


George Wilmesley – official principal






Field names (Cheshire) – The masons fyld



This dispute seems to concern an ‘agistment tithe’ which was a tithe levied on the owner of land which was let out for grazing cattle. This type of tithe was chargeable at the rate of one tenth of the rent for the pasture land. Of the figures which are clear in this cause, the amount of 8d represents one tenth of 6s 8d (80d) which is the rental mentioned. However, the extensive damage to the document makes it difficult to decipher.