Ref: EDC 5/8/1

Catalogue Entry:

EDC 5/8/1 – Libel in tithe cause: Richard Smyth LL. B. rector of Bury co. L. v. Arthur Caye of Bury 1547.

Summary:

Richard Smyth, rector of Bury, contra Arthur Cay

Although the libel specifies that Richard Smyth, as rector of Bury, was entitled to all the tithes of the parish, this cause seems to concern both personal tithes and offerings allegedly due from a man who had built a new dwelling house in the parish, although he attended a church in a different parish. The unpaid taxes comprised ‘offryng dayes, house peny, plough peny, hay’ 1d ‘wax’ halfpenny and ‘hene’ halfpenny’. Several of these items comprised fixed amounts and were, in effect modus payments in lieu of tithes. For example, the ‘hen halfpenny’ was presumably a tithe on eggs and chickens.

Year

1547

Type of Cause:

Tithes – other

Cause Papers:

Libel

Libel (image 1)

Original Document

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Translation

[5/8/1 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, Edward the sixth, by the grace of God King of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith and on earth supreme head of the English and Irish church; by the same immutable authority vicar general in spirituals and lawfully appointed by the right reverend father in Christ, John, by divine permission bishop of Chester, official principal of his consistory to determine spiritual and ecclesiastical causes in the diocese of Chester or any other lawfully deputed competent judge; the party of the venerable Master Richard Smyth, Bachelor in Laww, rector of the parish church of Bury against Arthur Caye of the parish of Bury, of the archdeaconry of Chester and of Chester diocese 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 as follows:

Firstly, that the said Master Richard Smyth, present rector of the parish church of Bury, is canonically instituted to the same rectory and, the same having been thus attained, with its universal and singular rights and appurtenances, he has possessed peacefully and quietly for some time just as (saving what will be written below) he thus also possesses it at present and also was and is commonly called, held, had, named and reputed openly, publicly and notoriously as perpetual rector and canonical possessor of the same rectory; and he propounds jointly and severally and concerning any of these points.

Also, that as well by law, foundation, ordinance and endowment of the same rectory of Bury  as by ancient, laudable and lawful prescribed custom, hitherto from the time and throughout time of the beginning or to the contrary of which there exists no memory of men, and often upheld in judgment in a contested cause, the right of receiving and having all and all types of tithes, both greater and lesser, personal, mixed and minute and especially tithes of offerings and the Easter roll within the bounds and limits of the parish of Bury however proceeding and arising, belonged and belongs to the said Master Richard Smyth, present rector there, and to all and singular his precursors and predecessors, and should have belonged and should also belong in future; and he propounds as before.

Also, that the said Master Richard Smyth, present rector aforesaid, 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 singular 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, 50 and 60 years and before and since and also from the time and throughout the time of the beginning or 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 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 the said Arthur Cay recently caused to be built, erected and constructed newly a certain new dwelling house on his tenement called ‘Cobholes’ in a certain field or close called ‘Creye’ otherwise ‘Cragh’, which house, as thus aforesaid, newly built, erected and constructed in the aforesaid field or close called ‘Cray’ otherwise ‘Cragh’ is situated and lies within the limits, neighbourhood, precinct and surrounds of the said parish of Bury and the tithable places of the same; and he propounds jointly and severally and concerning any of these points.

Transcript

[5/8/1 image 1] 

In dei nomine amen Coram vobis venerabili viro Magistro Georgio Wilmysley in legibus baccallario auctoritate
Illustrissimi in Christo principis et domini nostri Edwardi sexti dei gracia Anglie Fransie et Hibernie
Regis fidei defensoris et in terra ecclesie Anglicane et Hibernice supremi capitis ad causas spirituales et ecclesiasticas
decidendum diocesi Cestrensi per Reuerendum in Christo patrem et dominum dominum Johannem permissione diuina Cestrensis Episcopi eadem auctoritate
immutabile vicario in spritualibus generali ac eius Consistorij Officiali principali
legitime fulcito seu alio Judice in hac parte
competenti legitime deputato Pars venerabilis viri Magistri Ricardi Smyth in Jure Baccallarij Rectoris ecclesie parochialis
de Bury contra et aduersus Arthurum Caye parochie de Bury Archidiaconatus Cestrie Cestrensis diocesis et vestre Jurisdictionis Necnon contra
quemcunque alium coram vobis in Judicio legitime intervenientem pro eodem dicit allegat et in hijs scriptis in Jure
proponit coniunctim et diuisim Atque Articulatim prout sequitur

In primis quod dictus Magister Ricardus Smyth rector ecclesie parochialis de Bury modernus eandem Rectoriam canonice est assecutus
ipsamque sic assecutam cum suis Juribus et pertinentiis vniuersis et singulis per nonnulla tempora possedit pacifice et quiete
prout eciam saluus infrascriptis sic possidet in presenti Necnon pro perpetuo Rectore et canonico possessore eiusdem Rectorie fuit
et est communiter dictus tentus habitus nominatus et reputatus palam publice et notorie Et ponit coniunctim et diuisim ac de quolibet

Item quod tam de Jure fundacione <ordinacione> et dotacione eiusdem Rectorie de Bury quam de antiqua laudabili legitimaque prescripta consue-
tudine hactenus a tempore et per tempus cuius Inicij siue contrarij memoria hominum non existit ac in contradictorio Judicio
sepius obtenta Jus percipiendi et habendi omnes et omnimodas decimas tam maiores
quam minores <personales> mixtas et minutas et precipue decimas
oblacionium et Rotule pascalis infra fines et limites parochie de Bury qualitercunque provenientes et contingentes ad dictum
Magistrum Ricardum Smyth Rectorem ibidem modernum suosque precessores et predecessores omnes et singulos pertinuit et pertinet ac pertinere
debuit et debet eciam in futurum Et ponit ut supra

Item quod dictus Magister Ricardus Smyth Rector modernus supradictus suisque precessores et predecessores omnes et singuli per eorum temporibus
successiuis fuerunt et sunt in pacifica possessione seu quasi Juris percipiendi et habendi omnes et singulas decimas modo et forma
superius specificata et recitata infra parochiam predictam ac fines et limites locaque decimabilia eiusdem Rectorie provenientas
et contingentas a x ‧ xx ‧ xxx ‧ xl ‧ l et lx  annis anteaque et citra necnon a tempore et per tempus cuius inicij siue contrarij
in memoria hominum non existit easque per se et suos per idem tempus perceperunt et habuerunt ac de <et> cum eisdem pro ipsorum
libitis et voluntatis libere disposuerunt pacifice et quiete vsque ad tempus grauaminis infrascriptum Et ponit vt supra

Item quod dictus Arthurus Cay quadam <nouam> domum habitacionis tenamento suo vocato Cobholes in quodam
campo siue clausura vocato Creye alias Cragh nuper de nouo fabracari fecit erexit et
construxit que quidem domus sic ut prefertur de nouo fabricatam erectam et constructam in prefato Campo siue
clausura vocata Cray alias Cragh infra limites ambitam precinctam et circuitam dicto parochie de Bury
ac loca decimabilia eiusdem cituatur et Jacet Et ponit coniunctim et diuisim ac de quolibet

Libel (image 2)

Original Document

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Translation

[5/8/1 image 2]

Also, that in the said parish of Bury, concerning the custom of paying tithes, both greater and lesser, mixed, personal and minute within the bounds and limits and tithable places of the same a method and custom have grown up for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 years and before and since and also from the time and throughout the time of the beginning or to the contrary of which the memory of man does not reach such that all and singular inhabitants (called ‘householders’) within the bounds and limits of the aforesaid parish of Bury pay, or cause to be paid, to the rector or his deputy year by year, according to the most excellent royal statutes, either at the feast of Easter or at Easter time for his offerings  3d and at the same feast or time for lesser, mixed, personal or minute tithes namely ‘for offyng dayes’ 3d, ‘a house’ 1d, ‘a plough peny’, ‘a hay’ 1d, ‘a wax’ a halfpenny, and ‘a hene’ a halfpenny according to the laudable use and custom and lawful usage of the said parish used and observed from time immemorial, as will become clear and plainly appear in the outcome of this suit; and he propounds jointly and severally and concerning any of these points.

Also, that the aforesaid Arthur Cay, layman, who had or has nothing of right in the said parish church of Bury or the tithes aforesaid in any way or, indeed, to them, but in contravention of that did nor tithe, pay or satisfy any tithes belonging or appertaining and which ought to belong and appertain to the rector of the said parish by right and in the name of his rectory, either greater or lesser, personal, mixed or minute coming or arising within the bounds and limits and tithable places of the said parish in the months of March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, January or February in the one thousand five hundred and forty fifth year of our Lord, nor in the months aforesaid in the 1546th year of our Lord, or not even in the months of March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, January or February in the present and current one thousand five hundred and forty seventh year of our Lord, nor in any one of those months and years whatsoever, in one or another or any other, against the will of the said venerable present rector, although bound by right he did not tithe, pay or satisfy namely ‘for offryng dayes’ 3d ‘a house peny a plough’ 1d ‘a haye’ 1d ‘a waxe’ halfpenny, and a hene’ halfpenny in the months and years aforesaid or in any of those months and years whatever, in one or another, subtracted, took and had them against the authority of the law to the grave danger of his soul, to no small prejudice and damage to the said rector and to the pernicious example of other Christian faithful; and also in addition because the said Arthur Cray takes and receives his Eucharist and other sacraments and rites in another church or parish; and he propounds jointly and severally and concerning any of these points.

Transcript

[5/8/1 image 2]

Item quod in dicta parochia de Bury circa modum et consuetudinem soluendi decimas tam maiores quam minores mixtas personales
et minutas infra fines et limites ac loca decimabilia eiusdem talis inoleuit mos and consuetudo a x ‧ xx ‧ xxx
xl ‧ l ‧  lx  annis anteaque et citra necnon a tempore et per tempus cuius Inicij siue contrarij memoria hominum
non tenet quod omnes et singuli habitantes <vocati householders> infra fines et limites parochie predicte de Bury soluant seu solui faciant
Rectori vel eius vicem gerentem singulis annis iuxta Regia excellentissima statuta seu saltem in festo paschali seu
tempore pashatis pro oblacionibus suis  iijd et in eodem festo seu tempore pro decimis minoribus mixtis personalibus
siue minutis videlicet <for offyng dayes iijd> a house jd, a plough peny, a hay jd, a wax obolus, et a hene obolus, iuxta moremque et consuetu-
dinem laudabilemque et legitimum vsum dicte parochie a tempore Immemorato vsitata et obseruata prout per probaciones
legitimas in eventu huius litis liquidabitur et plene apparebit Et ponit coniunctim et diuisim ac de quolibet

Item quod prefatus Arthurus <Cay> laicus qui nihil Juris in dicta ecclesia parochialis de Bury decimis ve predictis habuit aut habet
aliqualiter ve ad eas ipsis quoque non obstantibus sed post et contra ea nonnullas decimas tam maiores quam
minores personales mixtas et minutas infra fines et limites ac loca decimabilia dicte parochie provenientes et
contingentes Mensibus Marcij Aprilis Maij Junij Julij Augusti Septembris octobris Novembris  Decembris
Januarij seu Februarij Anno domini Millesimo quingentesimo quadragesimo quinto Necnon mensibus predictis anno domini
1546o seu saltem mensibus Marcij Aprilis Maij Junij Julij Augusti Septembris octobris Novembris
Decembris Januarij seu Februarij presenti et currenti anno domini Millesimo quingentesimo quadragesimo septimo eorundem
ve mensium et annorum quolibet vno aliquo siue altero ad Rectorem dicte parochie Jure et nomine sue rectorie spectantes
et pertinentes ac spectare et pertinere debentes preter et contra voluntatem dicti venerabilis viri rectoris moderni
prout de Jure tenetur non decimauit soluit aut satisfecit videlicet for offryng dayes iijd/ a house peny, a plough
jd, a haye jd, a waxe obolus, and a hene obolus, mensibus et annis predictis eorundemve mensium et annorum quolibet
vno aliquo siue altero contra Jurem disposicionem subtraxit percepit et habuit in anime sue graue periculum dictique rectoris
preiudicium nonmodicum et grauamen aliorumque Christifidelium perniciosum exemplum Necnon tam dictus Arthurus Cay quia
sui Eucharistam et alia sacramenta et sacramentalia in alia ecclesia siue parochia perceperunt et receperunt Et
ponit coniunctim et diuisim ac de quolibet

Libel (image 3)

Original Document

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Translation

[5/8/1 image 3]

Also, that the true value or valuation of these tithes subtracted, taken and had by the aforesaid Arthur Cay and his men in his name in the months and years recited above, or in any of those months and years whatever, in one or another (as aforesaid), notoriously amounted to the sum or value of ten shillings; and the party of the above-mentioned venerable Richard Smyth, rector aforesaid, asserts a claim to any other intermediate sum or lesser value to the sum or value of 4d, and of such and so great a sum of what kind and amount in the common estimation of men notoriously extends by lawful proofs in the outcome of this suit will come to be declared or proved; and he propounds jointly and severally and concerning any of these points.

Also, that the said Arthur Cay, layman has been requested and asked to tithe, pay, give and deliver the tithes aforesaid by the aforesaid Master Richard Smith, present rector, or his deputy subtracted, taken and had in the manner aforesaid with the precincts of the said parish or tithable places of the same or otherwise to compound with the same in the months and years recited above, or in any one of those months and years whatsoever on the part and behalf of the aforenamed Master Richard Smith; and he propounds jointly and severally and concerning any of these points.

Also, that the said Arthur Cay, thus aforesaid asked and requested to do as in the premises or in any of them, he has not troubled but in the months and years specified above, or in any one of those months and years whatsoever, in one or another or any other (as aforesaid) he has expressly declined and refused or at least unduly delayed and delays at present, to no small prejudice and grievance of the aforesaid Master Richard Smyth, present rector; and he propounds jointly and severally and concerning any of these points.

Also, that all and singular the premises were and are true, public, notorious, manifest and well-known, and public voice and fame were circulating regarding and concerning it, just as they are at present, in the said parish of Bury and in other surrounding parishes, townships and places.

Transcript

[5/8/1 image 3] 

Item quod verus valor siue estimacio huiusmodi decimarum per prefatum Arthurus Cay et suos eius nomine mensibus et annis superius
recitatis eorundem ve mensis et annorum quolibet vno aliquo siue Altero (ut prefertur) subtractarum perceptarum et
habitarum ad summam siue valorem <decem> solidorum notorie se extenduit Et protestatur pars prelibati venerabilis viri
Richardi Smyth rectoris antedicti de qualibet summa inter media siue valore minori vsque ad summam siue valorem
iiijd deque tali et tanta summa et qualis et quanta per probaciones legitimas in eventu litis huiusmodi veniet declarandum
siue comprobandum Communi hominium estimacio notorie se extendunt Et ponit coniunctim et diuisim et dequolibet

Item quod dictus Arthurus Cay laicus ad decimandum soluendum tradendum et liberandum antefato Magistro Ricardo Smyth rectori
moderno siue eius <vicem> vigerentem decimas supradictas modo quo prefertur per ipsum et suos subtractas perceptas et habitas seu ad
aliter componendum cum eodem mensibus et annis superius recitatis eorundem ve mensis et annorum
quolibet vno aliquo siue altero ex parte et partem prelibati Magistri Ricardi Smyth infra precinctium dicte parochie vel loca
decimabilia eiusdem requisitas sunt et interpellatas Et ponit coniunctim et diuisim et dequolibet

Item quod dictus Arthurus Cay sic ut premittitur requitus et interpellatus premissa seu eorum aliquod facere non curauit
sed mensibus et annis superius specificatis eorundem ve mensis et annorum quolibet vno aliquo siue altero (ut prefertur)
renuit expresse et recusauit seu saltem plus debite distulit et differt in presenti in prenominati Magistri Ricardi Smyth
rectoris modernum preiudicium non modicum et grauamen Et ponit coniunctim et diuisim et dequolibet

Item quod  premissa omnia  et singula fuerunt et sunt vera publica notoria manifesta et famosa ac de et super premissis omnibus
et singulis in dicta parochia de Bury alijs que parochijs villis et locis circumvicinis laborarunt prout in
presenti laborant publica vox et fama

Libel (image 4)

Original Document

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Translation

[5/8/1 image 4]

Whereupon, due proof as is required, for the making of which according to the due requirement of law the party of the said venerable man offers himself to prove at a suitable and appropriate place and time, and in addition the same party prays that right and justice may be done and administered to him in the premises and in respect of his right, title and possession of quasi right of having and receiving the said tithes, namely ‘offryng dayes, house peny, plough peny, hay’ 1d ‘wax’ halfpenny and ‘hene’ halfpenny, and other greater, lesser, personal, mixed and minute tithes and that all other tithes coming and arising within the bounds and limits of the said parish of Bury will be adjudged, decreed and declared as his and of his rectory aforesaid in future successive times in perpetuity; and also that the aforesaid Arthur Cay and his men are rightly and canonically obliged and compelled to tithe, pay and deliver his tithes respectively aforesaid thus subtracted by him and his men without any, or any kind of, diminution, or the true value of the same, to the use of the said rector in the name of his rectory in the said parish; and also that he is condemned in the lawful expenses incurred by reason of this cause, and he protests those to be incurred, and, having been condemned, that he is rightly and canonically obliged and compelled to the real payment of the same by you passing your definitive sentence or your final decree in this respect, lord judge aforesaid; and otherwise, that what will have been of right and reason in the premises may be done, established and decreed; the plaintiff aforesaid propounds the premisses and prays that they are done jointly and severally,  not binding himself to prove all and singular the premises, nor to the burden of a superfluous proof, against which he protests but so far as he shall prove in the premises so much may he obtain of the petitions, always reserving the benefit of law in all things; in addition he prays that regarding the process in this cause it will be summarily and in a summary way, according to the requirement of law;  humbly imploring your office, distinguished judge aforesaid.

 

Transcript

[5/8/1 image 4] 

Vnde facta fide que requiritur ad quam faciendam iuxta Juris
debitam exigentiam offert pars dicti venerabilis viri se probaturi pro loco et tempore congruis et oportunis Petit insuper eadem
pars Jus et Justiciam sibi in premissis omnibus et singulis fieri et ministrari ac pro Jure titulo et possessione sua
seu quasi Juris habendi et percipiendi dictas decimas videlicet offryng dayes, house peny, plough peny, hay jd
wax obolus et hene obolus ac alias decimas maiores minores personales mixtas et minutas ac omnes alias decimas
infra fines et limites dicte parochie de Bury provenientes et contingentes sibi et rectorie sue predicte futuris temporibus
successiuis imperpetuum adiudicari decerni et declarari Necnon prefatum Arthurum Cay et suos ad decimandum
soluendum et liberandum decimas suas respectiue antedictas sic per ipsum et suos subtractas sine aliqua seu aliquali
diminucione vel verum valorem earundem ad commodum dicti Rectoris nomine rectorie sue in dicta parochia rite et cononice
cogi et compelli Atque in expensis legitimis occasione huius litis factis et protestatur de faciendis insuper condemnari
condempnatumque ad realem solucionem earundem rite et canonice cogi et compelli per
vos et vestram sentenciam diffinitiuam siue
finale decretum in hac parte ferendam domine Judex antedicte Vlteriusque fieri statui et decerni in premissis et
ea consernentibus quibuscunque quod Juris fuerit et racionis Premissa proponit et fieri petit pars actrix predicta coniunctim
et diuisim Non arctans se ad omnia et singula premissa probanda nec ad onus superflue probacionis de quo protestatur
Sed quatenus probauerit in premissis eatenus obtineat in petitis Juris beneficio in omnibus semper saluo Petit
insuper quatenus procedatur in hac causa summarie et de plano iuxta Juris debitam exigentiam vestrum officium implorando
Judex egregie antedicte

Libel (image 5)

Original Document

Click to view fullscreen

Translation

[5/8/1 image 5] 

[Endorsement] 

Libel of the venerable Master Richard Smyth, rector of Bury, against Arthur Cay in a cause of subtraction of tithes.

1547

[in pencil in a different hand]

/1

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

Translation copyright ©2023 P J Cox All Rights Reserved

Transcript

[5/8/1 image 5]

[Endorsement] 

libellus venerabilis viri Magistri Ricardi Smyth Rectoris de Bury
contra Arthurum Cay in causa subtraccionis decimarum

1547

[in pencil in a different hand]

/1

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

Transcript copyright ©2023 P J Cox All Rights Reserved