St Albans Archdeaconry Court 1567-1602

The Archdeacon of St Albans dealt with moral and religious offences by the inhabitants of Winslow, as well as making grants of probate and administration. The list of interesting cases below has been compiled from a Herts Archives index, and the original documents haven't yet been consulted. The names of people involved include prosecutors (promoters) as well as offenders. Numerous cases concerning failure to attend church, which was compulsory at the time, haven't been included.

Date Names of people involved Offence Reference
14 June 1568 Margery Hamond Adultery ASA7/7 f83
14 June 1568 John Mason Incontinence ASA7/7 f83
23 Nov 1568 William Eares, Robert Hassill, Thomas Norman, Edward Owvering, Thomas Owveringe, Martin Porter & Dennys Robynson Incontinence [i.e. sexual misbehaviour] ASA7/7 ff143-62
15 Sep 1569 Margaret Jeffes Incontinence ASA7/8 f5, f8
10 May 1571 Mary Overinge Incontinence ASA7/8 f73
12 Jul 1571 Robert Dawnce (vicar), Uriah Varney (churchwarden) & Francis Varney Defamation ASA7/8 ff82-83
15 Dec 1572 Anthony Lucas Refusing to answer churchwardens’ articles ASA7/9 f46
1 Dec 1573 Robert Warde Incontinence ASA7/9 ff86-112
18 April 1575 John Clement, Thomas Cooper, [blank] Hassall, Nicholas Geffes & Thomas Partridge Incontinence ASA7/10 ff35-45
29 Jul 1575 John Leeche Incontinence ASA7/10 f48
23 April 1577 Margaret Gorar & James Greene Incontinence ASA7/10 f116
4 Nov 1579 Robert Bampton, William Tomlyns & Churchwardens Bell ringing contrary to injunctions ASA7/10 ff220-27
19 Nov 1579 John Hogston & John Shelton Sabbath breaking ASA7/10 ff222-24
13 March 1581 John Crobye and wife & churchwardens Right to seats in the church ASA7/10 ff281-83
13 March 1581 John Kyrbye Misbehaviour in church ASA7/10 f281
6 Nov 1581 Richard Fawconer & Ellen Thorneton Incontinence ASA7/10 ff310, 325-26
19 Feb 1582 Augustine Deverell & Isabel Ruffe Defamation ASA7/10 ff323-24
19 Feb 1582 [blank] Dewberry & Joan Stuttesbery Incontinence ASA7/10 ff323-25
29 April 1583 Nicholas Allen, Francis Andrewes & Peter Francklyn Profaning the church ASA7/11 ff17-38
29 April 1583 William Braster & Anthony Jackson Unlicensed ministry ASA7/11 ff17-38
29 April 1583 William Gyles & John Jeffes Profaning the Sabbath ASA7/11 ff18-35
29 April 1583 Augustine Senner Allowing profanation of the Sabbath ASA7/11 ff17-38
29 Apr 1583 John Jeffes Abusing officers ASA7/11 ff18-35
20 July 1583 Magdalen Myll(er?) Defamation ASA7/11 f31, f32
2 Sep 1584 Robert Lowndes & Grace Tymberley Incontinence ASA7/11 f60
26 Jul 1585 John Baylye, Augustine Senner, Nicholas Warde & Mary wife of Alexander Warde Incontinence ASA7/11 ff103-07
31 May 1586 Jane Chersley in the house of William Owen ? ASA7/11 f132, f135
This must be connected to an entry in the baptism register for 6 April: Margery a child at one Owyns which one fortune tither & was bought abed - a taylor [traveller?] whose father we know not
6 Sep 1588 Richard Huet & Agnes Huet ? ASA7/12 ff28-32
Connected to this entry in the baptism register for 15 May: Richard Hewit who was Loundes man & got a child of Thorns daughter. Richard Hewit married Ann Thorne on 6 June 1588.
5 Dec 1593 Anne Wendover Incontinence ASA7/16 f2
18 Dec 1593 Hugh Seaton Incontinence ASA7/16 f2, f4
19 Dec 1593 William Barker & John Scott Defamation ASA7/16 f3, f8
8 April 1594 William Baker [Barker?] Procuring the bell to be rung out for his wife when she was well ASA7/16 f14
2 Oct 1594 [blank] Hickman Incontinence ASA7/17 f1
16 Oct 1594 Mrs Wyndover or Wendover Incontinence ASA7/17 f1, f3
12 Nov 1594 William Carter & Richard Easte Profaning the Sabbath ASA7/17 f1
14 May 1595 William Barker Playing cards in service time ASA7/17 ff28-31
18 May 1595 Richard Easte (promoter) & Philip Favor (incumbent); Peter Fige, [blank] Leache & Nicholas Mychell Incontinence ASA7/17 ff32-34
27 May 1595 William Leache (churchwarden), [blank] Lunn (alias?) Spooner, John Storke, [blank] Watson Playing cards in service time ASA7/17 f29, f31
23 April 1596 Thomas Daniels, Nicholas Heyward & Elizabeth Heyward Defamation ASA7/17 f64, f90
9 March 1597 Philip Favor (vicar) & Agnes wife of Thomas Pursell Defamation ASA7/17 ff119-27
20 April 1597 Walter Leno & Joan Leno Defamation ASA7/17 ff129-33
3 May 1597 Thomas Deverell & Margaret Stevens Laughing in church during service ASA7/17 f131
6 March 1598 [blank] Seabrooke Irregular marriage ASA7/18 f41
24 Sep 1599 Stephen Andrew Not learning catechism ASA7/11 ff103-07
18 March 1600 Mary Shettles & Elizabeth Stuttesbery widow Incontinence ASA7/18 f261
5 Nov 1600 Hugh Seaton Incontinence ASA7/18 f237
7 April 1601 Henry Bawly Restitution of conjugal rights ASA7/18 f265, f272
Henry Bawley was buried in 1610 and his wife Sybil in 1608; they (or at least Henry) had a child baptised in 1592.
1 June 1602 Judith Cooke Incontinence ASA7/19 f57
Matthew son of Judith Cooke was baptised 26 April 1601
13 Sep 1602 Seth Mason & Agnes Williams Defamation ASA7/19 f72

The following transcriptions by Arthur Clear appeared in:

L.H. Stripp, "The Old Town of Winslow", The Antiquary 9 (Oct 1913), 384-89

We find in the record of the Archdeaconry of St. Albans several accounts of the penances prescribed and enforced;  for example, that of “Robert Daunce, vicar of Winsloe, Anno 1584, 26th Elizabeth, the 11th day of Oct. set down by the Right Worshipful Mr. Doctor Bingham, Doctor of the Law, with the testimony of those witnesses underwritten:

“Right Worshipful Mr. Doctor, Whereas it was set down by your Article of Court that I should observe your monition, that was, I should provide and get a preacher, and ask my congregation forgiveness, which things I have observed and performed this 11th day of October.  In further testimony of the same, I have caused these men, whose names are underwritten, to put their names and marks the day above written, with the testimony of the Preacher.

“Thomas Prowd, preacher of the Word at Kimbel.
“Richard Gerney of Mydl, Cleyton, gent.
“By me, William Pigott, Gentleman.
“By me, Francis Downes.
“William Gylles, the elder, Churchwarden.
“William (illegible), x his mark.
“Anthony (illegible), x his mark.
Endorsed.  To my singular and approved good friend, Mr. Rockett, give this.

“The Penance done by me, Robert Daunce, the 4th day of October, 1584.
“This I, Robert Daunce, Vicar of Winsloe, in County of Buk----  in face of the Church, on Sunday, being the 4th of October, Anno Dom. 1584, immediately after the second lesson at evening prayer, which thing I deferred, hoping to a had a preacher, which I could not get;  ye cause was that Doctor Sparke, a Mr. Aggerton, and Mr. Harris are put to silence because they have not [conformed?].

“As giving offence in all kinds of men is displeasing and grievous in God’s sight, so in them it is most deplorable which he called to the ministry, and have cure and special charge of others, because by God’s word it is required that they should not only be circumspect and faithful in purely administering the Sacraments by Christ ordained, but also in godliness of life and outward behaviour be an example to their parishioners, that God’s glory, by their doctrine and life may be advanced.

“Forasmuch therefore as ministers should be light to others, and I, through my frailty and folly have of late not so warily behaved myself among you as became me, especially at that time when I should have been occupied far otherwise.   I, not constrained thereonto, but frankly and freely confess my sad folly, the which, though it burst not out into any open act, yet my unseemly behaviour, the place, time, and other circumstances considered, deserveth God’s high displeasure.  And I fear me have ministered just cause of offence to-you-ward.  In consideration of which, I do not only acknowledge my offence given to Almighty God, but also I beseach [sic] you all for His sake who forgave his death, to bear with and pardon my said folly, and earnestly to pray God for me, that He will vouchsafe for His Christ’s sake to forgive this my misdoing, and so to direct my ways hereafter, that I may eschew evil, and especially in giving of offence to the holy congregation, and also to do that good, both in doctrine and life which appertaineth to my vocation, and that we together may do this, I beseach you to say with me the Lord’s Prayer.

“This Penance, I, Robert Daunce, have done the 4th of October, according to the order to me set down.”

Then follows a letter which is addressed to Dr. Bingham and Mr. Rockett, and ends thus:

“My wife hath sent you here, enclosed 12d., trusting to make you better mens [amends?] one day, and desireth you to be good to her.”

Here is another example:

“A.D. 1599.  An order of Penance enjoined to Joane Turnam of the Parish of Wynselow.

“The saide Joane Turnam shall upon Sunday next, being the 14th day of this instant month of October, at the beginning of Morning Prayer, stand in the Church porch appareled in a white sheet all covered but her face and hands, having in her hand a white rod, and shall there stand until the beginning of the first lesson, and shall then come into the Church in the foresaid sheet, and coming in the Middle Alley of the Church before the minister and congregation, shall acknowledge her fault in committing of incontinency with one Richard Dickens, desiring God upon her knees to forgive her, and promise amendment of life hereafter, and shall desire the congregation there assembled to pray to God to forgive her, and there so to remain until the end of service and sermon.

“And of the performance hereof she is to certify [on this side] and before the Feast of All Saints now ensuing under the hands of the Minister and Churchwardens of Wynslow aforesaid.  Per me, Tho. Rokett, Deputy of Roper, Archdeacon of St. Alban’s.

“These are to certify that the above named Joane Turnam hath fully performed the Penance enjoined to her, according to the order here prescribed and set down.  In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names the 21st day of October, Anno 1599.

“WILLIAM X SPOONER, Churchwardens.”

For some years previous to the time of the Spanish Armada, the clergy, as well as other persons of position, were called upon to provide armour and men to protect the country against foreign invasion.

In the documents relating to the parishes in the Archdeaconry of St. Albans are the following entries referring to Winslow, with its members:

[xxvj Octobris 1590.

“The rate and proporcon of furniture for service appoynted to eu’y the seu’all ministers within the Archdeaconrye of St. Albans.

“Mr. ffavo’r, Vicar of Winsloe, one musket furnished;  that is to saye – a musket with flask, towchbox and trunion and reste, an aiming sworde, dagger and girdle, and flaske leather, and a man to weare theim.

“Mr. Owen, Vicar of Granboroughe, one Blackbill furnished;  that Is to say – A Jacke, or plate Coate, w’th sleeves and a skull and scottish Cappe, an arming sworde, dagger and girdle, and a man to weare theim.”

See also:

Copyright 22 January, 2022