Bucks Assizes, Summer 1676

National Archives, ASSI 16/4/4

See Assizes 1662 for an introduction. The following case, from Great Horwood, produced four sheets of depositions written on paper, transcribed below. The parchment slip with the indictment was marked "ignoramus", i.e. the jury thought it was not a true bill on which the defendant should be tried, or that there was insufficient evidence to convict. The case concerned whether the village's "thirdborough" (petty constable) had done his job properly. Sir John Busby of Addington would have been the nearest J.P. to Great Horwood and took the evidence. Someone who brought a case to the Assizes had to give a recognizance, i.e. security that they would proceed with the charge. That's the issue in f.1 before they got on to what John Cap had allegedly done wrong. The men named are all known from Winslow records.

[f.1] Humphery Butcher of Greate Horwood in the County of Bucks Tallow Chandler mak maketh oath That hee he and Mary – his wife being bound over to this Assizes \holden for the s(ai)d County/ by S(i)r John Busby Kn(igh)t one of he his Ma(jes)ties Justices of the peace for the said County of Bucks to p(ro)secute their Indictm(en)t ag(ains)t  John Clapp of Greate Horwood aforesaid) saith that the Dep(onen)ts said wife haveing lately layn in and is not in a good condic(i)on as yett to travell or take such a Journey upon her this cold wether without hazard of her life by reason she is not as yett well recovered to her former health  And this Dep(onen)t further Deposeth and saith that his said wife if shee had beene here att the Assizes could not have given any other Evidence to the Grand Inquest this Depon(en)t hath already given

Humphree Butcher [signature]

[Latin: sworn 12th March 1676 before]

W Fountayn [signature]        

[Latin]  At the assizes at Aylisbury in Bucks on Monday the 12th of March 29 Charles II.   
[English] It is ordered by the Co(u)rt th(a)t ye recognizance of ye sd Mary Butcher be not extracted

[f.2] The Examination of William Hobs of Great Horwood in the County of Bucks, Grocer; Of Eward [sic] Brickill of the same Towne; Baker; Of Thomas Holding of the same Towne; Butcher; And of Thomas Taylor of the same Towne; Shoemaker; Taken before Sr John Busby Knt one of His Ma(jes)ties Justices of the Peace within the county aforesaid, the seventh day of March Anno Dom(in)i 1676.

The abovenamed William Hobbs saith that John Cap the Thirdborough of Great Horwood aforesaid, did never Require his assistance; either to arrest or Guard those wandering Persons, that had stolen Humphry Butcher’s Saddle;  But that seeing his neighbours Run into the Bull-yard where the said wanderers were gott together, he went to the said yard, and saw a young woman one of the Company of the said wanderers bring a Saddle out of the Barne; and flung it into the yard, and that thereupon he did offer his assistance to Apprehend the said wandering Persons; But that John Cap the Thirdborough his answer was that he thought the best way was to let them goe; and soe the said wandering Persons were suffered to escape:

William Hobbs [signature]

The abovenamed Edward Brickill saith, that John Cap aforesaid did desire him to stay if he could, and that was all the Charge he had to aid the Constable, and thereupon he withdrew.

The abovesaid Thomas Taylor doth Confess that the Thirdborough John Cap aforesaid did desire him to stay.

The abovesaid Thomas Holding saith, that the Thirdborough John Cap aforesaid desired him to stay, if his business would permit, and that was all the Charges he had to assist him, and thereupon he withdrew

[Latin] Taken before me       John Busby [signature]

[f.3] The Informac(i)on of Humphery Butcher of Great Horwood in the County of Bucks; Husbandman, taken upon Oath before Sr John Busby Knt one of His Ma(jes)ties Justices of the Peace within the County aforesaid the ninth Day of February 1676 [Latin: 29 Charles II]

This Inform(an)t saith that this day morning being the ninth of February 1676 he had one saddle with styrrups and Girths feloniously Taken and carried away out of his \house/ at Great Horwood aforesaid by two wandering women which came to his said house, pretending to buy one peny worth of milke, one of the said women being Indifferent Ancient and the other a young lusty woman And further saith that Mary this Informant’s Wife Giving him notice that his Saddle was Stollen away by the said two women, he did im(m)ediately pursue them, and found them in a barn together with severall other wandering persons Com(m)only called Ægyptians, and that he demanded of them his saddle which they denied to have taken, or that they had the same But searching narrowly amongst the said wandering persons, at last he found the said saddle, and thereupon did cause the Third burrough John Cap of Great Horwood aforesaid, lab(ourer) to apprehend and Take the said two wandering women into his Custody for the said felony, which two said women being in ye said John Capp’s Custody, as aforesaid, the said John Cappe did suffer them to make their Escape

[f.4] The examinac(i)on of John Cap of Great Horwood in the County of Bucks lab(ourer): Taken before Sir John Busby Knt one of His Ma(jes)ties Justices of the Peace within the County aforesaid, the ninth day of February 1676 [Latin: 29 Charles II]

This Examinate doth Confess that he had in his Custody the two wandering women, which had feloniously taken, and carried away the saddle of the abovenamed Humphrey Butcher, and that the said women did make their Escape, whilest he went to call for more help, to Guard them, and further saith that he left the said two women in Custody with William Hobs of Great Horwood aforesaid, Grocer; Edward Brickill of the same Parish, Baker; Thomas Holding of the same Parish  Butcher, Thomas Harrup of the same Parish, husbandman, and \Thomas Taylor/ the servant of Thomas Prentis of the same Parish, Shoemaker, all which said Persons, this Examinate John Cap, being Thirdburrough within the said Parish Com(m)anded them to Guard the said wandering women, whilst that he went to Call others to his assistance and that at his Returne, he found the women had made their Escape, & were fled away.

John Capp [signature]

[Latin] Taken before me
John Busby [signature]

Copyright 22 June, 2018