Court of Chancery: John Ardene v John Chester, 1584

National Archives, C 3/203/37

Complaint of John Ardene

In most humble wise complayninge sheweth unto your honorable good to your daily orator John Ardene of [Biggyn?] ferme in the countye of Buck' gent that wheras aboute January in

the xxiiijth yere of the reigne of o(ur) sov(er)eigne lady the queenes ma(jes)tie that now ys [1582] your said Orator havinge before [------] conveyed & assigned his mannor or farme of Biggyn in

the parishes of Winslowe & Grandborough in the said countye of Buck' & all the landes ten(amen)ts & hereditaments ther[unto belon]ginge or occupied ther with unto one Thomas Lee

gent & to his heirs for ev(er) to the use of the said Thomas Lee & of his heirs for ev(er) uppon confidence & trust that all the p(ro)ffitts & [commodi]ties therof should from time to time be imployed

to the onlye[?] behoofe & benefit of your Lordshipps said orator & his heirs caused & p(ro)cured the said Thomas Lee to assume & convey unto Peter Dormer late of Shipdon Lee in the parish

of Quainton in the said countye of Buck' gent' deceassed brother in lawe of your said orator all that the said mannor or farme with all the lands ten(emen)ts &

hereditaments therunto belonging or occupied therw(i)th To have & to holde the same & ev(er)y parcell therof unto the said Peter Dormer for & duringe the space & terme of

fower yeres from the feast of St Michell thayngell then last past uppon trust & confidence & to the intent & purpose that the yerely profitts therof should be employed

to the payment of the detts of your lo(rdship’s) said orator & to no other use intent or purpose. And wher also aboute the same tyme for the A[-----] therof yt [------] by

indenture bearinge date aboute the same tyme made betwene the said Peter Dormer of the one partie & your l(ordship’s) said Orator of the other partie  that the said Peter Dormer

should from the date therof have receyve & take yerely all the yssues & proffitts of the same ferme & all the comodities therto belonginge to the intent that the said Peter Dormer

should therwith paye such dettes or sommes of money as your l(ordship’s) said Orator did then owe to anie parson or parsons  And yt was also agreed by the said indenture that the said Peter Dormer

should also have for the said purpose of payment of your said orators detts the saide lande sowen or readye to be sowen, certaine beasts, horses, hoggs [------] in the [-----] & the \wodde/

to sell & dispose at his pleasure for that considerac(i)on  And the said Peter Dormer did covenante & graunte by the said indenture to render[?] an accompt unto your said orator

of the ov(er)plus of the p(ro)ffitts therof yerely as standinge[?] ov(er) & above the detts of your said orator. And also the said Peter Dormer \did faithfully promiese unto your said orator that he/ shoulde with all convenient spede see

the creditors of your said Orator satisfyinge[?] to & that when he had receyved of the proffitts of the said mannor or ferme soe muche as together with the value of the

goods w(hi)ch he had receyved or shoulde then after receyve for your said orator woulde discharge the said detts then your said orator should have again the possession

of his said ferme or mannor & uppon the only truste & confidence aforesaid the said lease was conveyed to the said Peter Dormer & the goods to him delyv(er)ed and further

also for that only cause the said Peter Dormer did stay in his owne handes the som(m)e of an hundred m(ar)cs of lawfull money which he faithfully p(ro)mised to pay unto your

said Orator in considerac(i)on of the mariage betwene your said orator & the Sister of the said Peter Dormer And also uppon the same sense & to the ende & purpose aforesaid

of the payment & discharge of your said orators detts the said Peter Dormer receyved div(er)s sommes of money due to your said Orators wyfe & other goods of great

value due & belonging to your said Orator & his said wife And the said Peter Dormer havinge discharged the most parte of the said detts & knowinge that he had muche more

in his handes of the proffitts of the said ferme & other the goods before menc(i)oned then woulde serve for the satisfyinge & full payment of the residue therof did suffer your

said orator quietly to enter & enioy againe the possession of all the said Peter [---] & landes before menc(i)oned But now soe yt ys yf yt please your gode lo(rdship) that since the

death of the said Peter Dormer one John Chester of Shepden Lee aforesaid in the \said/ parishe of Quainton in the said Countie of Buck gent executor of the last

will & testam(en)t of the said Peter Dormer havinge gotten into his custodye & poss(essi)on as well both the parte of the said Indenture as also [---](er)s bondes obligatory

& bills of dett wherin your said Orator stood bounde unto the said Peter Dormer & to others for & concerninge the said detts wherof in all gode meaninge &

conscience your said Orator ought to be discharged the said John Chester doth not onlye refuse to make Accompt unto your said orator of the ov(er)plus of the

proffitts of the said ferme & of the goodes & money receyved by (th)is said testator ov(er) & besides the said detts & theruppon to deliver the said bondes & billes

of dett & other [dea?]lings w(hi)ch he hath of right belonging unto your Orator havinge bene often therunto gentlely required but dothe[?] also threaten your

said orator whom he knoweth to be poore & to have bene hundred div(er)s waies & in strict pointe of lawe to stande indangered unto him to putt him self[?] in

the poss(essi)on of the said ferme & to com(m)ence suite against him at the com(m)on lawe uppon the said bondes & billes of dett or some of them w(hi)ch said [-----]

extreme & unconscionable dealing of the said John Chester ys not only contrary to the great truste & confidence reposed by your said orator in the said Pete[r]

Dormer & to his faithfull p(ro)mises made for perfourmaunce therof but contrary also to the meaninge & intent of the said Peter Dormer & contrary to all

equitie & good conscience & only tendinge to the inordinate gaine of the said John Chester who hath already in his handes greate somes of money & goods & chattels Amounting

to a very greate value w(hi)ch were the said Peter Dormers & yet seketh as aforesaid the great hinderance & almoste utter impoverishment & undoeinge of your said

Orator & of his wife beinge the naturall sister of the said Peter Dormer & of their children yf by your l(ordship’s) meanes they be not releyved. In tender confidence

wherof & forasmuche as your l(ordship’s) said orator hath noe remedy by the ordinary course of the com(m)on lawe to compell the said John Chester to suffer him to en[joy?]

the said ferme & to make Accompt of & for the proffitts of the said farme & for the said money coine & other goodes & chattles of greate value receyved by the said Peter

Dormer uppon the confidence & trust & to the intent & purposes aforesaid, for that the said lease was only[?] made uppon \greate/ truste & confidence for that the said John Chester

ys but an executor & soe by lawe not chargeable by Acc(i)on of Accompt & for that he hath gotten into his owne handes & custodie the said indenture by which the said Peter

Dormer did [-----] to yelde An accompt unto your said Orator as aforesaid & the certayne date [ther?]of or uppon in yt conteyned ys to your said orator [is] unknown

And yet in equitie & all good conscyence the said John Chester havinge in his handes goodes & chattels of his said testators to a great value over & above his [-----]

legacies & charges of funerall w(hi)ch said goodes were greatly increased by the receits before mencioned uppon trust for your said Orator ought not only to make & ge[ve]

unto your said orator a reasonable & true Accompt of the overplus of the said proffitts [-----] & receyved on his behalfe over & above [----]muche as hath [-----]

satisffie his said detts accordinge to the said trust & agreement of his said testator but [-----]o quietly to permit & suffer your said orator to enioye the said ferme [------]

& uppon suche full & perfitt reckoninge & Accompt made to deliv(er) unto your said Orator [----] bondes & billes before mencioned or to discharge him of the same [------]

please your good h(onour) the premisses tenderly considered to graunte her ma(jestys) most gracious proces  of subpena to be directed unto the said John Chester streightly charging &

commandinge him therby parsonally to appeare before your h(onour) in her ma(jestys) high courte of chancery at a certaine daie & under a certayne paine ther

[--------------------------------------] And further to abide & stand to such further orders [-----]

as by your h(onour) shalbe thought most agreable to right equitie & good conscience And your said Orator as most bounden shall daily pray to all mighty

god for your honor in most prosperous estate longe to continue


The aunswer of John Chester gent defendant to the bill of complaynt of John Arden gent complayning

The said defend(an)t saving unto him at all tymes hereafter the advantage of all manner of except(i)on to the insufficiencie of the said bill and by p(ro)testac(i)on not [------------]goinge

that ye said complaynant did or lawfully could conveigh the said farme \of/ Biggen in the said bill mencioned to the said Thomas Lee in the said bill mencioned to his heirs to the use of ye

said Thomas & of his heirs as by ye said bill is verye untrulye alledged for full and plaine aunswer to ye materiall contents of the said bill saith in maner & forme followinge that is to saye

that he thinketh yt to be true (tha)t  ye said complaynant was by good and lawfull right & tytle possessed of the said farme called Byggen farme for terme of diverse & many yeres not expyred

& (tha)t he beinge so therof possessed did conveigh all his interest & terme of years of & in ye same to ye said Thomas Lee but whither uppon trust or not this defend(an)t p(er)fectlye knoweth not but b[y rep]ort and

informac(i)on but yett neverthelesse confesseth (tha)t he thinketh it to be true (tha)t ye said Thomas Lee by ye p(ro)curem(en)t of ye said comp(lainan)t did assure & conveigh unto ye said Peter Dormer in ye said bill [men]cioned

all ye said farme of Byggen for ye terme of fowre years & uppon soche confidence trust & intents as by ye said bill is likewyse sett forth (tha)t is to saie to ye intent (tha)t ye yearlye p(ro)fitts therof should [be emp]loyed to

ye paym(en)t of ye detts of ye said comp(lainan)t & (tha)t ye said Peter Dormer should likewyse have for ye said purpose of paym(en)t of ye said complaynants debts (tha)t lande readye to be sowen ye beasts horses hoggs co[wes and w]oodd in

the said bill alledged to sell and dispose at his will & pleasure for ye same considerac(i)on & purpose as by ye said bill is allso specified & confesseth likewyse ye covenant of accompt of ye said Peter Dormer [with the] said

comp(lainan)t touchinge ye said p(ro)fitts as by ye said bill is declared in respect of w(hi)ch covenant so by indenture made albeyt ye said defend(an)t uppon ye owen shewinge of ye said comp(lainan)t might showe onlye therupp[on ---]nye

aunswer to ye said bill havinge by his owne shewinge good remedie at ye common lawes by ye saide covenant yf yt be broken & especiallye nothinge beinge surmysed by ye said bill to extenuate ye same & [------ thi]s

honorable court jurisdicc(i)on of this cause but onlye (tha)t both conterpaines of ye said Indentur are come to ye defend(an)ts hands ye w(hi)ch he ye said defend(an)t could easylie & verye trulye by his aunswer uppon [------]

denied & so no further to have aunswered as ye said comp(lainan)t w[ell kn]oweth for (tha)t yf ye said complainant \by others in his behalf and apoyntment/ did of late shewe ye said conterpayne himselfe beinge in his owne custodie to diverse p(er)sons of good [------]

he well knoweth yett ye said defend(an)t meaninge no waies an[d] manner of delaie nor hinderance of iust proceedinge herin betwen ye said comp(lainan)t & defend(an)t but to further ye same to his uttermost for [------]

aunswer to the said bill ye said defend(an)t saith (tha)t yf it be true (tha)t ye said goods were delivered to ye said Peter Dormer his testator or (tha)t yf ye said Peter Dormer ye testator did receive diverse som(m)es of money du[e to the]

comp(lainan)ts wyef or anye other goods of great value due or belonginge to ye said comp(lainan)t & his wyef as ye said comp(lainan)t by his said bill surmiseth & yf yt be true \also/ (tha)t ye said Peter Dormer had moche monie in his hands of ye p(ro)f[its]

of ye said farme & other ye goods before mencioned then would serve for the satisfyinge & paym(en)t of ye residue of ye said comp(lainan)ts detts as ye said comp(lainan)t by his said bill doth likewyse insinuate but as this defend(an)t verylie

thinketh verye untrulye the said defend(an)t saith (tha)t he is ready & well pleased & contented & allwaies so hath bene out of court to yelde & render in this honorable court soche due & iust accompt of all the

p(re)tended p(re)misses wherw(i)th ye said comp(lainan)t can by anye lawfull or reasonable waies dulye and iustlye chardge the said defend(an)t w(i)th as executor of ye last will & testam(en)t of ye said Peter Dormer as this

honorable court shall thinke mete[?] (tha)t  it may please ye said honorable court by order to be taken in ye said court w(hi)ch ye said defend(an)t most humblie desireth to staye & p(re)serve in ye meane tyme as well

all ye corn haye and other the goods & cattells now beinge in or uppon ye said farme intended to be imployed about the paym(en)t of the detts of ye said comp(lainan)t from ye intended spoile wastinge and

unlawfull sale of ye said comp(lainan)t which ye said comp(lainan)t (as this defend(an)t diverse waies is moved to suspect) doth rather seeke uniustlye to doe then to abyde or stand to anye reasonable order touchinge ye p(re)misses eyther

of this honorable court or otherwyse ye said comp(lainan)t knowinge most certainlye as this defend(an)t verylie thinketh that ye said Peter Dormer did disburse of his p(ro)per goods & money towards ye payment of ye said comp(lainan)ts detts

above twoo hundreth markes more then he did at anye tyme levie or rase uppon ye p(ro)fitts of ye said farme or uppon anye of the \said/ goods & chattels & rather intendith (as is to moche to be doubted) to defraud ye said defend(an)t

& ye sonne & heir of ye said Peter Dormer beinge but yonge & of tender years under color of the shadowe of this honorable court not onlye of all ye surplusage of ye said money disbursed by ye said Peter ye testator

but allso of the residue of ye p(ro)fitts of ye said farme w(hi)ch said lease for fower years of the same hath not continuance at this p(re)sent not one full yeere and so to goe awaye both w(i)th ye p(ro)fitts of ye same

and w(i)thout allowance of ye said former somes of money paid by ye said Peter of his owne goods in dischardge of ye complaynants said detts whose evill & ungodlye intencion & course herin ye said defend(an)t

nothinge doubtith but (tha)t this honorable court will sufficientlye stopp & staye and for soche bills & bonds w(hi)ch were redemed & brought forth of ye complaynants creditors hands by ye said testator nowe

remanyinge in ye said defend(an)ts hands ye said defend(an)t is contented to make deliverye therof uppon ye determinyac(i)o(n) of ye said accompt in sorte as yt shall seeme most convenient to ye said court. But ye said defend(an)t

denyeth (tha)t to his knowledge ye said Peter ye testator did ever p(ro)mise to ye said complaynants wyef to give hir an hundreth markes to hir mariadge but in deede ye said testator tould this defend(an)t

and others (tha)t he ment to be worth an hundreth markes to the said complainants wyef  beinge his sister & then sole & unmarried if she would be ruled by him & marie w(i)th his consent \w(hic)h she did not but maried the said compl(lainan)t utterly w(i)thout his consent/ but for (tha)t that

& this & other the like matters inserted & heaped upp in ye said bill or matters to be alledged rather before thauditors then in this his aunswer he spareth in anye further herby to obiect

against the same untill ye charge shall ensue uppon ye said accompt & denyeth likewyse (tha)t ye said Peter Dormer ye testator did ever suffer ye said comp(lainan)t quietlye to enioye againe ye possession of all

ye said farme as knowinge (tha)t he ye said Peter had more in his hands of ye p(ro)fitts of ye said farme & of other ye goods aforesaid then would sarve for ye satisfyinge of ye residue of ye detts of ye

said comp(lainan)t as ye said comp(lainan)t verye untrulye hath alledged without (tha)t (tha)t ye said defend(an)t hath gotten into his hands both p(ar)ts of ye said Indenture in the said bill mencioned or hath threatened to sue the

said comp(lainan)t uppon anye of the bills or bonds in ye said bill mencioned  otherwyse then he dulye & iustlye & reasonablie maye uppon ye verye willfull maliciouse & obstinate breach of ye said bonds by ye

said comp(lainan)t as well by iniuriouse & unlawfull enteries & intermedlinge w(i)th ye said goods & p(ro)fitts of ye said farme to ye great hinderance & interrupc(i)on of ye paym(en)t of ye said detts and against ye trust consideracion

agrements & conclusions aforesaid as by dyverse other fraudulent & covenouse wayes & practizes in his due tyme shalbe more playnlie sett forth & reveled[?] unto this honorable court and w(i)thout (tha)t (tha)t ye said defend(an)t seketh

[.....] inordinate game or seeketh ye greate hinderance or utter impoverishing of ye comp(lainan)t or of his said wyef but to reduce him to deale honestlye & plainlye to ye paym(en)t of his detts & to make due satisfacio(n) to those[?] w(hic)h

have disbursed ther own goods in his behalfe w(hic)h he verye ungodlye goeth about to defraud by catchinge at yt under p(re)tence of equitie & continence w(hic)h is none of his not daringe in ye meane tyme to shewe his face to stand to ye due cause of lawe to aunswer to thes pres(en)t[?] attempts

but hydynge him selfe in his house & in ye meant tyme to seeke releise of conscience of (tha)t w(hi)ch this defend(an)t verylie thinketh ye complaynants his own conscience doth utterlye impugne And w(i)thout (tha)t ye anye other matter or thinge in ye said bill contayned

material to be answered unto & herby not confessed or not confessed & avoyded traversed or denyed is true all & singuler w(hi)ch matters ye said defend(an)t doth averre & wilbe readie to p(ro)ve as this honorable court shall award & prayeth to be dismissed

forth of ye same w(i)th his reasonable costs & chardgs in this behalfe most wrongfullie sustayned.

[signed] Wylliam [----]

Order by the court (C33/69/94 = 33/70/93v, 30 Oct 1584)

Forasmuche as this courte was this present daye informed by Mr Willyams on the behalf of the defendt that where the said pl(aintiff) shewethe by his bill that he havinge conveyed the farme and lands in the bill mencioned to one Lee in trust, and to the use of the pl  And that the saide Lea at his request made a lease thereof to the saide Peter Dormer for iiij yeres in trust and confidence to paye all the pl(aintiffs) debtes  And in consideracion thereof he shoulde have the lande ready sowen with some other stocke thereupon  And shoulde accompte for the surplusage of the yssues and p(ro)ffits above the payment of the said debtes  And that the defendants testator had receaved more thereby then he paid or disbursed for the pl  He the saide Peter Dormer neverthelesse as the defendants councell alledged hathe layed out and disbursed for the pl CC markes more then ever he or any other to his use receaved by reason of the said lease corne and stocke  And therefore yt was desired on the defendants behalf that ether the defendant might have the saide landes and tenements and corne and stocke beinge nowe thereupon for soe much of the said iiij yeres as have yet to come puttinge in suffycient assuraunce to repaye the surplusage if any shall be founde upon accompte to be come to his testators hands by reason of theis saide lease corne and stocke over and above that which hath bene paid and disbursed out of the same for and to the use of the pl or els if the pl who kepes his \howse/ by reason of the weakenes of his estate will have the possession of the saide farme corne and stocke before th’end of the saide iiij yeres that then he maye spedely put in suffycient sewerties to the defendant to aunswere soe muche unto him as shall appere upon accompte to be spedyly taken, to have bene payed and disbursed for and to the use of the pl by the saide testator over and above that which the saide testator or any other to his use receaved by reason of the said farme and other the premisses which this courte thoughte reasonable  It ys therefore ordered that Wednisday next be geven to the pl to shew cawse wherefore he shoulde not accepte one of the saide two courses or in defalt thereof suche order shalbe taken therein \as/ by this courte as shable then thought meete.

Another order (C33/69/439v = 33/70/437v, Easter 1585)

Forasmuche as upon the hearing of Mr Gerrarde beinge of the pl(aintiff)s counsell towchinge the cawse in question and upon the readinge of an order made in this courte the xxxth of October last That the matter betwene the saide parties standethe upon receivinges and accomptes which accomptes woulde be first taken before this courte can take any finall order in the cawse  It ys therefore ordered that this daye sevenight be geven be geven [sic] to the defendant to shewe cawse wherefore a com(mission) should not be awarded to indifferent men of understandinge and credit in the contrey to examyne and take the accomptes and reconinges betwene the said parties and thereupon to heare and and [sic] finally to determyne the matters in question betwene the saide parties accordinge to their wisdoms and discrecions if they soe can  Or els to certifie a perfecte accompte of all the premisses and their doings proceedinges and opinions towchinge the same.


The will of Peter Dormer, gent, of Quainton, was proved at the PCC on 18 Jan. 1584

Joan Arderne, daughter of John, was buried at Granborough, 2 Feb 1584. There are no other records of the family in the parish registers.

See also: Biggin.