The purpose of this page is to contain summaries and transcripts of equity disputes for tenants of the manor of Redbourn in Hertfordshire. They are broadly arranged in chronological order. The level of detail for each case is not constant and the reader is referred to the original documents wherever possible, to check and amplify the notes made here.
1427 – Richard Atte HAYE of Bovingdon, Herts vs John PALMER of Redbourn weddedman, and Lawrence PALMER of Redbourn weddedman – CP40-664-f400
Action of debt by Atte HAYE against PALMER and PALMER.
1427 – Abbot of St Albans Abbey vs William SUMPTER of Redbourn – CP40-664-d1664
Action of debt by the Abbot against SUMPTER.
1427 – John TURNER vs Thomas STUCKLE of Shenley, franklin, Gregory WALSSHMAN of Stony Stratford, Bucks, husbandman, William HUSHER of Markyate, thatcher; Roger de DENE of Redburn, husbandman – CP40-664-f163
Action of debt by TURNER against several including Roger de DENE of Redbourn.
1427 – John TURNER vs John WESTON of St Albans, fisher, Thomas atte WINCH of Caddington, labourer; John BALLARD of Redbourn, husbandman, John LEPER of Kensworth, husbandman, John BLAKE of Markyate, Beds, smith – CP40-664-f500
Action of debt by Atte HAYE against PALMER and PALMER.
c.1463 – Henry WYSTOW, John NUNNY and Joan his wife vs John PEDE – C1/31/349
Bill of complaint by Henry WYSTOW, John NUNNY and Joan [sic] that was the wife of John HUNT late of Radburn [Redbourn] executors of the same John whereas Roger HUNT of Harpenden was indebted to the said John HUNT of 11 marks, 6/8 made in a deed and at his death the deeds came into the possession of the complainants. And Roger HUNT made John PEDE of Flamstead his executor. John PEDE initially agreed to honour debt but subsequently failed to do so to the great damage of your said beseechers. By Rardus [sic] WYSTOWE of London gent and John MARTIN of London gent. [Will of John HUNT at ACStA is 1463].
1503 – Oliver BUKKERD [BUKBERD] of London gent and Anne his wife v. William WYSTOWE alias WESTOW of Redbourn, gent – KB 27-969
Complaint by Bukberd and his wife have an action of debt against WYSTOWE for £20.
1507 – Thomas GRUB v. William WYSTOWE of Redbourn, gent – KB 27-984
Complaint by GRUB against WYSTOWE who has who has trespassed on his land and taken sheep.
1536 – William FOSSEY v. Thomas TAYLOR de Redbourn, Herts, husbandman & William TAYLOR de Redbourn, Herts, husbandman – KB27-1100
The parties had a bond drawn up together in Houghton Regis in Bedfordshire for £10 and the TAYLORs have reneged on that agreement.
c. 1538 – Nicholas FINCH vs Robert FINCH of Redbourn – E321-20-67
Robert FINCH and Nicholas FINCH his brother had an agreement whereby Robert would hold the lands in Redbourn until Nicholas married. Nicholas has now married Elizabeth CRESSY but will not give up the lands. [Transcribed in Full here.]
c. 1553 – Thomas Martin vs Robert Martin, Ralph Buckmaster and Thomas Chapman – C1/1249/21
Complaint by Thomas MARTIN. About 50 years ago [~1503] in the time when the Abbot of St Albans held the manor of Redbourn, Henry MARTIN father of the complainant was admitted to lands in Redbourn which he had inherited from his father and had been in his family for the space of 100 years earlier. Henry died about 13 years ago [Henry MARTIN will ACStA 1538] and so the land should come to the defendant as eldest son and heir and the homage agreed this and allowed orator onto the land. But about 4 Oct last malicious persons i.e. Robert MARTIN, Ralph BUCKMASTER and Thomas CHAPMAN at Redbourn attacked him with knives and staves drawn and broke upon the door of the orators house with diverse others unknown making 20 persons. The orator had been arrested in St Albans the day before and his wife left in the house with their two small children was put out onto the street. They have taken his goods and chattels from the house.
Answer of Robert MARTIN, Ralph BUCKMASTER. The bill is insufficient and only has been followed at the behest of Henry BEECH and Thomas BEECH. That Henry MARTIN had the land in the manor of Redford [sic] 30 Hen VIII and it was returned to the Lord and passed to Thomas MARTIN the complainant for five years after the death of Henry and beyond those 5 years the land was to pass to Robert MARTIN his brother. And after 5 years the defendant entered the lands peaceably. And this is a matter for the court of the manor of Redbourn and not elsewhere.
1553 – John LOCKE vs John CLARE – C78/8/38
Decree relevant to dispute between John LOCKE plaintiff and John CLARE defendant relating to the manor of Brikkingsea [Brightlingsea] in Essex lands in the occupation of one [blank] HECKFORD. John LOCKE had a bill of given to him by King Henry of good memory for 30 years as a pension comprising all the benefits of the manor. But John CLARE answered that some years previously Thomas late Abbot of Colchester had held the manor by right of the monastery but that before that time he had given to John FINCH for the advancement of Finch who is a near kinsman of the Abbot and with the assent of the convent did let the land to John FINCH in 30 Hen VIII under the name of John FINCH the younger, one of the sons of John FINCH late of Redbourn Herts yeoman the lands called Brikkensea Hall which were in the tenure of one GYBLOND for the payment of £26 to the abbey and the bond was passed to Edmund TROWMAN one the most trusty servants of the Abbot who held the documents and passed them on to John FINCH. But John FINCH died intestate and his goods were committed by the bishop of London to his natural brother Nicholas FINCH and by a bond that he made bearing date 19 Mar 6 Edw VI to John CLARE. But John LOCKE states that the bond given to HECKFORD and now passed to him was in full force at the time of the sale and that Finch had fraudulently changed the date of the bond to be before the dissolution of the monasteries in 30 Hen VIII. And the Lord Chancellor Thomas Bishop of Ely has considered the matter and decrees that the lease made to the said John FINCH, that John CLARE now holds, shall henceforth be void and the bond is to be brought to the court of chancery to be cancelled and that John LOCKE shall henceforth be considered to be the rightful owner of the land and John CLARE shall also pay 40/- to John LOCKE for his expenses and charges. [A post giving more details and background about these documents is here].
1556 – Complaint of Richard WISTOWE of London barber surgeon vs Richard BASFORD REQ2/22/53
Richard WISTOWE is cousin and next heir of Henry WISTOWE and Jane his wife by their bodies in 1/2 Phil/Mary  your court of requests adjudged against one Robert STEPNETH he had lands called Barley Croft in the occupation of John HULL and the complainant should have had access to that land that was Henry WISTOW’s within the town of Redbourn in Co Herts which were late the inheritances of Anthony and William WISTOW. Nevertheless, Richard BASFORD and William HORNE wrongfully entered the lands, part of the estates of the said Anthony, and similarly occupied lands in the manors of Harpenden and Wheathampstead late in the occupation of William WISTOWE deceased. And Henry GAPE and one William HORNE, Richard BASFORD and John FINCH by the abetment and procurement of the said Henry GAPE have entered the premises and wrongfully entered and used the lands. Those people are greatly allied and friendly to the steward and homage of the said manor. 6 Nov 3/4 Phil Mary .
Answer of Richard BASFORD to complaint of Richard WISTOWE (nd) The defendant says that Henry GAPE held an acre called Watfishe Croft and he held that of the Abbot of Westminster by their manor of Wheathampstead. And he let and ploughed the field and peaceably left it after the expiry of the lease.
The answer of William HORNE He says that the croft Watfishe Croft is part of the manor of Wheathampstead and therefore possessed of the Abbot of Westminster or possibly of the manor of Kensbourn which manor is part of Wheathampstead manor.
Replication of Richard WISTOWE He says that Basford and Horne have passed the land to Robert STEPNETH who has destroyed and damaged the land cutting down trees.
c. 1558 – Joan DURRANT vs Anthony WYSTOW – C1/1424/41
Complaint of Joan DOWRANT [DURRANT] widow and administratrix of Thomas DURRANT late of Redbourn [undated, ~1558?, to Nicholas Archbishop of York and Lord High Chancellor]. Whereas One Anthony WYSTOW of Marsh Pelling in the Co of Leycone [Lincoln] deceased was seised of a tenement and field and 3 acres of land in Marsh Pelling aforesaid in the tenure of John POPE and 20 years ago he passed for a sum of money to Thomas DURRANT late husband of oratrix with conditions that had to be performed by Thomas WYSTOWE and his heirs. And Thomas DURRANT entered the lands. And this deed and other deeds have come into the hands of Thomas SAUNDERSON of the said county and by force of having these deeds he has entered the lands and will not give up the deeds of which date Joan is unsure and the number thereof.
c. 1562 Sir Richard REED vs Roger FYNCHE – C3/149/18
Bill of Complaint: Sir Richard REED one of the masters of the Queen’s Court of Chancery he is possessed of the site and demesne lands of the Manor of Redbourn. And the said Roger FINCH did in the month of August last past with friends and kinsfolk of the said Roger 2 Eliz I did make an agreement dated 16 Aug 2 Eliz I  between Sir Richard REDE on one part and Roger FINCH of Redbourn husbandman on the other and has let the site of the manor of Redbournbury which lies on the North and East part of the highway of Redbourn Street to St Albans but reserving unto Richard REDE one half of the great barn next adjoining to the tithe barn, the gate house and the long house on the south side of the gate house and the stable next to the Hall house and one half of the interests in the Great Court there for the bringing of corn. The first payment was made on feast of St Michael 1561. And also he leased 50 acres of arable land that is to say 25 acres of wheat and 25 acres of corn commonly called oats barley peas and fetches… by the demise of Gilbert LITTELOWE and Elizabeth his wife. Dispute appears to be about whether Roger FINCH will honour the agreement to maintain the hogs, swine and other cereals of Sir Richard REDE as the agreement requires.
1566/7 – Edmund BARDOLPH vs John FORD and Edmund and Nicholas BROCKETT C3/11/83
[undated temp Eliz I] Bill of Complaint by Edmund BARDOLPH esquire. Edmond BARDOLPH esquire was father to complainant had demesne through Elizabeth his wife of Rothamstead manor, Sawneye, Clavells Hills, Thames and the Howesett in Harpden Gyle, Harpden [Harpenden], Wheathampstead, Kimpton and Redbourn in Herts and also certain other lands. 14 years ago the father passed the land to Edmund BROCKETT and Nicholas BROCKETT esquires at common pleas at Westminster. About 12 years ago Edward the father died  and land went to Elizabeth the wife. She put her trust in John FORD a servant to manage her estate. John FORD now works for Nicholas and Edmund BROCKETT and he has stolen the evidence from Elizabeth’s house that she owns the properties. [Date of documents calculated from reference to death of Edmond Bardolph the elder which took place in 1554]
1573 – William FINCH vs Walter FINCH – REQ2-207-80
Regarding inheritance of lands in Caddington from William and Ellen FINCH of Redbourn. [Transcribed in full here].
Depositions and Interrogatory at C21/F24/5, Walter FINCH vs. William FINCH and Thomas SAYE [17 Jan 1579]. Complainant is William FINCH. His mother was Ellen HAYWARD deceased wife of William HAYWARD also deceased, once wife of William FINCH father of complainant. She had land in Caddington. Walter is son and heir (eldest) and Nicholas FINCH was the youngest son now deceased, late father of William FINCH one of the defendants. Evidence from: a) John THEWER of Redbourn, Herts., yeoman aged 70+. Ellen had messuage and land in Caddington. b) William SAUNDERS alias BURTON of Redbourn aged about 60. Land owned by Ellen was called Pypers. c) Walter HIGDE of Redbourn, blacksmith aged 60. Land was called Pypers. d) Richard SYMONS of Redbourn aged 60. e) ? PEACOCK of Redbourn, yeoman.
1584 – Robert BESTNEY vs John DONE of Killingworth or Kenelworth, Warks, yeoman, Robert FINCH of Dean End, Redbourn, Herts, yeoman, Nicholas FINCH of Redbourn, yeoman – CP40-1423
CP40-1423-d577, Hilary Term 1584 Action of debt by BESTNEY vs DONE, FINCH and FINCH. Bestney has requested payment of a debt of £20 by Done, Finch and Finch.
1588 – John FINCH vs Richard HORE – C3-224-66 and REQ2/127/56
REQ2-127-56, 22 Oct 30 Eliz I  Complaint by John FINCH of Norrington End, Redbourn. On 27 Sep 38 Hen VIII he bought lands. On 6 Nov last [29 Eliz I, 1587] Richard HORE lay claim, and John COMPORT, who was steward, was HORE’s friend. He granted to land to HORE, but FINCH objects.
C3-224-66 10 Oct 1588 Complaint by John FINCH of Norrington End, Redbourn vs Richard HORE is transcribed here.
1591 – Thomas YONGE vs Henry WENLOCK complaint and answer C3/230/95
Complaint of Thomas YONGE undated circa 1591 Orator Thomas YONGE of Redbourn Herts Yeoman was seized of a message and garden a fortnight or thereabouts after St. John’s the Baptist commonly called midsummer night did sell all the rights to Henry WENLOCK for £50 to paid £20 at midsummer and £30 at feast of St Michael and both went to John SOUTH a notary public such that two bonds were drawn up, one for £40 for the payment of £20 at midsummer next and Henry WENLOCK and Richard DOLTE (COLTE?) the younger were bound, and a second bond for £60 by Richard COLTE the elder for the payment of the £30 by Henry WENLOCK. Based on these bonds orator and his wife Lucy surrendered property at court of Redbourn. But John SOUTH fraudulently withheld the bonds from orator. But because custom of manor required Henry WENLOCK to be present at court, and he was absent, so transfer of rights did not take place.
19 May 1591 Answer by Henry WENLOCK and John BESOUTH
States that bond for £60 was given to complainant. Bond for £40 was dependent on transfer of rights to WENLOCK before the feast of St James the apostle which did not happen hence the bond is void.
1595 – William WOODCOCK, Henry WETHERED & Randall FOSTER vs Margaret FINCH widow, Nicholas FINCH & Thomas FINCH of Redbourn REQ1-18
23 May 1595 Complaint of Roger PEMBERTON of St Albans gent and Robert GROOME of Redbourn. Concerns title to copyhold lands in Redborne, Herts, claimed to have been surrendered by Robert Finch decd, father of the defts Nicholas & Thomas, to Thomas Wethered & Elizabeth his wife, and then to have been surrendered back to Robert Finch & Margaret his wife for life, with remainder to Raphe Woodcock, father of the complt William Woodcock. William Woodcock has leased to Henry Wethered & Randall Foster. Claimed that William Woodcock is outlawed, and has surrendered his right to Thomas Prowe. Ref to previous suit in Court of Chancery.
1595 – Thomas SEAGRAVE clerk vs Edward FINCH of Redbourn REQ1-18-f761
10 Nov 1595 Complaint of SEAGRAVE against FINCH. Annuity of £20 due to the complt upon surrender of messuage & 100 acres in Manor of Redbourn, Herts., payable at the Vicarage house at Fulbourn, Cambs. The requirement was originally given to Thomas HAWGOOD and his heirs. Deft ordered to pay into court £20 to remain until further order be taken.
1595 – Roger PEMBERTON of St Albans vs Robert GROOM of Redbourn REQ2/36/53
5 Nov 38 Eliz Complaint of Roger PEMBERTON of St Albans gent and Robert GROOME of Redbourn. Thomas SIBLEY of Redbourn deceased was in his lifetime seized of a messuage and tenement and an acre of land in Redbourn next to Redbourn Heath and held it before the accession of Elizabeth. About 4 or 5 Mary Thomas SIBLEY on his deathbed gave the land to Joan SIBLEY his wife for her life and thence to Edward SIBLEY his son. And 30th Jun 1 Eliz Edward SIBLEY went to a court of the manor of Redbourn and paid a fine for his admittance when either Joan dies or when he surrenders. And then Edward SIBLEY renounced claim to the lands but passed them to Innocent READ, the son of Sir Richard READ but the land remained with Joan while she was alive. And Joan died about 5 Eliz at which time Innocent READ took possession of the land. 28 Nov 19 Eliz Innocent READ passed the land back to the steward of the manor passed the land to Francis SILLS. And on 18 Sep 35 Eliz Francis SILLS passed the land to Roger PEMBERTON. And Roger has let the land to Robert GROOM on 30 Sep 36 Eliz for 3 years. But now John BEECH the elder of Jeromes in the parish of Redbourn, yeoman and Robert SIBLEY of the same yeoman and John SIBLEY of Hertfingfordbury yeoman. They have copies of court rolls relating to the land dating from before the death of Thomas SIBLEY. They have entered the land feloniously.
30 Apr 38 Eliz Answers of John BEECH, Robert and John SIBLEY Robert SIBLEY claims the lands as son and heir of Thomas SIBLEY but he was not able beforehand to come to court to make his claim. He has leased the land to John SIBLEY. John BEECH has not encouraged Robert SIBLEY to enter the lands illegally.
Replication of Roger PEMBERTON and Robert GROOM 27 Oct 38 Eliz [not examined in detail]
1598 – William FINCH vs Thomas WICKES and John FINCH – E133-9-1412, E112-18-80
Complaint and Answer are transcribed in full here. William FINCH was accused of the murder of one Dorothy FORDE but was acquitted. During his incarceration, his brother John FINCH farmed his land but now will not leave it.
Deposition and Interrogatory 17 May 41 Eliz. Evidence from: a) John THEWER of Redborne in the County of Hertf yeoman aged 40, b) Richard HORE of Redborne in the County of Hertf Wheelwright Aged 48 years, c) Wm FYNCHE the elder of Redborne in the County of Hertf gardener aged 55
years, d) Tho: FYNCHE of Redborne in the County of Hertf yeoman aged 47
years. [Transcribed in full here].
1599 – Robert BYSOUTH vs Leonard BYSOUTH C2/ELIZ/B13/30
7 Feb 1599 bill of Complaint by Robert BYSOUTH son of heir of Leonde [Leonard] BYSOUTH late of Reed in co of Herts husbandman deceased. Whereas William BYSOUTH had in his lifetime 50 acres of arable, 10 acres of meadow, 20 acres of pasture and 20 acres of wood within Reed aforesaid to the use and occupation of John BYSOUTH. About 44 years ago William passed the lands lawfully to Leonard BYSOUTH [his son]. Leonard died 12 years ago and the orator was then an infant aged 6 years or thereabouts. But about 10 years ago John BYSOUTH got the lands custody and will not release.
Draft of Bill, Decree, Answer of John BYSOUTH 5 Apr 40 Eliz. William BYSOUTH wrote his will 20 Sep 44 years ago [1555?]. And 43 years ago William died passing the lands to Leonard and thence to John the defendant. Replication of Robert BYSOUTH, rejoinder of John BYSOUTH.
1605 – John FINCH vs Edward SMITH – STAC8-139-25
John FINCH of Redbourn entered into bonds with Edward SMITH of Bedford when he was living in Bedford. How that he has moved away, Edward is trying to defraud John of his lands. [Document transcribed here.]
1608 – William EDMONDS vs Walter PEACOCK, Thomas FINCH, William ROCKETT and Ralph MARTIN – STAC8-129-16
Complaint by William EDMONDS of Redbourn yeoman [undated] and he is married to Joan who was granddaughter of Roger PEACOCK of Redbourn. Roger had lands called Maynolfs-on-the-Hill (a messuage and 1/2 a yard of land) plus 30 acres of land and meadow in Redbourn. The land devised to Henry PEACOCK the eldest son. Henry had two daughters: Joan and Katherine. When Henry died, the land went to his daughters but then Katherine also died and the whole estate devolved to John. Now William EDMONDS has married Joan and moved into the land. However William and Joan were dispossessed by Walter PEACOCK of Redbourn yeoman. A trial was called on the 8 Oct 6 Jan I . At that time the property was leased to Nathaniel PLOMER [PLUMMER] and he had taken out proceedings through the Kings’ Bench against Walter.
To promote his position, Walter PEACOCK enlisted the help of Thomas FINCH, William ROCKETT, Ralph MARTIN and Edward FINCH. They say that the land was devised by Roger PEACOCK to Walter PEACOCK and Joan SPILMAN, whom he afterwards did marry. Then the property devolved to John PEACOCK and his heirs.
Answer by Walter PEACOCK. 11 Feb 7 Jas I states that the defendant’s late grandfather was John PEACOCK and he obtained the land on 23 Jul 20 Hen VIII . Roger PEACOCK then died and his widow Joan remarried William HAYWARD. She passed the land 2 Aug 16 Eliz I  to John PEACOCK and thence to Walter PEACOCK, late father of the complainant. Roger PEACOCK had daughters Joan and Katherine at the time of his decease. In the time of 19 Eliz, a chancery case between Walter PEACOCK the father and Joan/Elizabeth PEACOCK was initiated which Walter won. Walter died just before 8 Jul 38 Eliz .
[Decree in 1612 is C78/145/7].
1613 – Richard PEACOCK and William PEACOCK v Sir George REYNELL & Etheldreda his wife – C78-173-11
11 Oct 1613. Decree in the case. Complaint lodged in Michaelmas 1607. Recovery of estate of manor and rectory of Thingdon, Northants and lands in Redbourn, Herts., Leagrave, Beds., Finchley and Hendon, Middx and Cheapside, London. Sir George Reynell‘s wife Etheldreda is the sole daughter and heir of Sir Edward PEACOCK kt dec [sic]. Richard PEACOCK lives in a farm and mansion house in Finchley that were in the occupation of Sir Edward PEACOCK, Edward MOUSE, William ATWELL, William GRACE, Anthony HEWSON; the lands in Hendon were occupied by Allan PARSON; plus lands in Fyndon [Thingdon] Northants were held by Richard by force of a deed dated 23 Dec 45 Eliz I  and Sir Edward PEACOCK was his brother’s son, but this had clauses of interest for William PEACOCK and other members of the PEACOCK family. And these were devised to Edward by action on the first hearing of the case in court on the 6 Jun 6 Jas I  but at the time it was recognised that at the time of the marriage of Etheldreda, the lands were secretly included in the marriage contract without recognition of the obligations that existed to the Peacock family. Reynell brought a solicitor from Cornwall called John HARRIS to present Richard with an interrogatory of 33 questions which took no account of the fact that Richard was 92 years of age [ i.e. born ~1515] and he tricked Richard into making him perplexed and distempered and such that he did not understand the meaning of the questions he was asked. The Lordships have now removed John HARRIS as a commission of the peace in view of his handling of the questions and they do not consider the interrogatory or the information therein sound. The court decides in the favour of the Peacocks.
1641 – Joseph DEACON vs John and Elizabeth READING – C5/602/2
3 Nov 1641. Complaint of Joseph DEACON of Whitecross Street in County of Middx Glover. In 16 Jas I , one Daniel DEACON of Abbots Langley in Co Herts yeoman had pewter, brass and household goods worth about £200 and he didn’t have any child of issue and he appointed his wife Anne DEACON and Samuel DEACON son of Richard DEACON who was his brother as executors. And the will was proved in the Archdeaconry Court of St Albans within the diocese of London. And one year later the said Samuel DEACON departed this life and died intestate and the father Richard DEACON took administration of his son. And very quickly after the death of Samuel DEACON, Richard DEACON also died intestate and his estate went to Lucy DEACON the relict. And she then made a will making Richard DEACON son of Richard DEACON as sole executor and she then shortly afterwards died and Richard DEACON took the estate. Then Anne DEACON the widow of Daniel DEACON also wrote a will naming her executors and then shortly afterwards departed this life. And then John REDDING and Elizabeth his wife possessed themselves of Anne’s estate and were greatly enriched by it. About 12 years ago  the orator reached age of 21 and so £40 from the estate of Daniel DEACON was now due to him. And Richard DEACON paid complainant £20 being his half of the bequest but John REDDING and Elizabeth his wife refuse to pay despite entreaties from other persons and behave in an unfriendly manner. [Although it doesn’t say so, John READING and Elizabeth his wife are of Redbourn]
SP46/25 fo 111
Letter relating to Case WOODCOCK vs WETHERED. WETHERED is son in law of Robert FINCH [of Redbourn Herts] and brother in law to Nicholas FINCH. He owed money to Ralph WOODCOCK who sues for repayment [copied].
Fo 112 is back of the same letter and unmarked Fo 113 is summary of entitlement of lands once owned by Robert FINCH [Copied].