The Mitchell family

Most of the information about this family comes from a dispute of 1696-97 concerning ownership of The Bull (see below), but more details have been added from parish registers and wills. Some details were left out of the "pedigrees" provided in the dispute, deliberately or through ignorance of relatives who had moved away. There was also a dispute about The Bull in 1671 (see below). The spelling of the name has been standardised here but had many variants including Michell and Mytchell.

ROBERT MITCHELL, d.1587, baker of Winslow, also recorded as an innkeeper in 1577 (see will)
m. ALICE ?SHEEN, d.1597 (see will)
Children (the order of birth is partially uncertain as only some baptisms were recorded at Winslow; some of the sons are listed in the order of their bequests in their mother's will)

1. Edward Mitchell, d.1600 (see will)
m.1581 Joan Spooner, 1564-1621 (see will), daughter of Nicholas Lunt alias Spooner, smith (d.1591). Edward became a baker at Stony Stratford, and Joan was living there when she made her will. The children weren't baptised in Winslow; the first 3 are mentioned in their grandmother's will, and the order of the others is uncertain:

   1a. Edward Mitchell, b. before 1597; bur. 1639 at Stony Stratford; benefited under the will of his grandfather Nicholas; m.1612 at Stony Stratford Elizabeth[?] Penn (?bur. 1635 Stony Stratford)
      1a.i. Grace Mitchell, bap. 1613 at Stony Stratford, m.1639 at Stony Stratford John Gracment
1a.ii. Edward Mitchell, bap. 1615 at Stony Stratford
1a.iii. Elizabeth Mitchell, bap. 1620 at Stony Stratford
      1a.iv. Ann Mitchell, bap. 1625 at Stony Stratford
      1a.v. Francis Mitchell, bap. 1627 at Stony Stratford Mary Mitchell, bap. 1628, bur. 1629 at Stony Stratford
   1b. Mary Mitchell, b. before 1597, alive in 1636, m. Thomas Rawbone, butcher, bur. 1636 at Stony Stratford, will = PROB 11/173/448
      1b.i. Arthur Rawbone, alive in 1621, not in father's will
      1b.ii. John Rawbone, b.c.1614, butcher of Stony Stratford, attended Winslow market
      1b.iii. Joan Rawbone, m. Ralph Whitton of Stony Stratford, glover; children Anne, Mary, Thomas
      1b.iv. Mary Rawbone, m. Thomas Gerry of Stony Stratford, tailor; daughter Elizabeth
   1c. Anne Mitchell, b. before 1597, m1. William Finch (d. before 1612), m2. Thomas Whitmill
      1c.i. Edward Finch, bap. 1604 at Stony Stratford
      1c.ii. Silvester Whitmill, bap. 1612 at Stony Stratford
      1c.iii. William Whitmill, alive in 1621
      1c.iv. Joan Whitmill, alive in 1621
   1d. James Mitchell, alive in 1621
      1d.i. Joan Mitchell, alive in 1621
   1e. Sylvester Mitchell, m.1616 at Little Horwood Ann White
      1e.i. John Mitchell, bap. 1618 at Newport Pagnell
      1e.ii. Elizabeth Mitchell, bap. 1620, bur.1623 at Newport Pagnell
      1e.iii. Ann Mitchell, bap. 1623 at Newport Pagnell
      1e.iv. Peter Mitchell, bap. 1626 at Newport Pagnell
   1f. Nicholas Mitchell, living at Stony Stratford 1628
   1g. Frances Mitchell m. Richard Collins, maltster of Stony Stratford, both alive in 1621
      1g.i. Richard Collins, alive in 1621 (Frances was also pregnant then)
   1h. Alice Mitchell m.1 John Foster, baker, d.1628 (see will); they received a house in Winslow from Alice's mother; m.2 at Winslow 1628 Thomas Rogers, Thomas alive in 1670
      1h.i. John Foster, bap, 1616 at Winslow
      1h.ii. Joan Foster, bap. 1619, bur. 1630 at Winslow
      1h.iii. Edward Foster, bap. 1622 at Winslow
      1h.iv. Elizabeth Foster, bap. 1624 at Winslow, m.1657 at Winslow Thomas Showler of Great Horwood; she may be Elizabeth Showler whose inventory was recorded in 1669
      1h.v. Katherine Foster, bap. 1627, bur. 1628 at Winslow Katherine Rogers, bap. 1629 at Winslow, m.1658 at Winslow John Pitkin of Great Horwood
      1h.vii. Margaret Rogers, bap. 1632 at Winslow
   1i. Elizabeth Mitchell, unmarried in 1621

2. Anne (or Agnes) Mitchell, b.1566, d.1626
m.1591, William Spooner, b.1569, d.1635, son of Nicholas Lunt alias Spooner, smith (d.1591) (m.2 1627 Elizabeth Wendover, d.1627)

   2a. Bridget Spooner, b. before 1597, m.1614 George Williat
   2b. Anne (or Agnes) Spooner, b. before 1597, m.1620 John Illing
   2c. Nicholas Spooner, b.1598, d. after 1670, m. Katherine (d.1639). Children included:
      2c.i. William Spooner, b.1624, d.1698 (see will); m.1653 Margaret Thorpe; yeoman, with numerous children; he and his son William were parties to the dispute about The Bull.
      2c.ii. Thomas Spooner, b.1631, m.1654 Bridget Pleasted (d.1710); lived at 12 Horn Street; they had at least 5 daughters
      2c.iii. Robert Spooner, b.1634, m.1657 Joan Hobcraft; children baptised at Winslow 1658 and 1661
   2d. Elizabeth Spooner, b.1600, d.1633, m.1624 William Norman (1598-1659)
   2e. Alice Spooner, b.1602, m.1627 Robert Lowndes; they were the parents of Peter Lowndes (1631-1711) and John Lowndes (1636-61)

3. Nicholas Mitchell, b.1567, d.1643
m.1593 Bridget Cooper

    3a. Nicholas Mitchell, b.1598, d.1665; baker; kept The Bull with his sister Frances and apprentice William Warr, died without children (see inventory), described as "the younger"
    3b. Thomas, b.1600, ?d.y.
    3c. Robert Mitchell, b.1602; weaver of London, alive in 1665 when he inherited The Bull from his brother Nicholas. Father of:
       3c.i.Robert Mitchell, presumably of London, d. before 1678. No details known but he was the father of a daughter and of Robert Mitchell, painter and stainer of London, d.10 March 1694/5, whose death without close family led to the dispute about The Bull which he had inherited.
    3d. Peter, b.1605, apprenticed as a goldsmith in London 1619
    3e. Alice, b.1607, m.1645 George Spratley, presumably childless as she isn't mentioned in the 1696 disputel
    3f. Elizabeth Mitchell, b.1609, d.1641
    3g. Frances Mitchell, b.1613, d.1686 (see will); housekeeper for her brother Nicholas before and after her marriage
    m.1664 (at Twyford) Thomas Wilmott, d.1677, tailor (see will); mortgagee of The Bull; no children

4. Silvester Mitchell, d.1611 (see will); kept The Bell, which had belonged to his wife's first husband
m.1600 Mould Favor, previously Jackson, widow, d.1622

5. Ralph Mitchell, b.1574
m.1597 Mary Chinnall, sister of John Chinnall, miller (d.1619)
   5a. Alice, 1598-1600
   5b. Robert Mitchell, b.1600, d.1642; not resident at Winslow but owned a cottage (see 1642 court); father of:
      5b.i. Ralph Mitchell, d.1642
      5b.ii. Thomas Mitchell, b.1640, ?m.1660 Alice King, died without children
   5c. Joan Mitchell, living at Shenley in 1677; d. before 1695
   m.1632 Richard Letman, parents of:
      5c.i. Ann Letman, ?b.1633, m.1661 George Richardson of Shenley; they had at least 3 daughters
      5c.ii. Richard Letman, b.1643, d.1719; wife named Ann; he inherited The Bull and successfully defended his claim in Chancery; he passed it on to his daughter Ann Letman who married John Worsley in 1699

6. Robert Mitchell, b.1576, died without children
7. Bridget Mitchell, 1578-1593
8. Oliver Mitchell, b.1582, alive in 1597, no other information
9. James Mitchell, alive in 1597, no other information

National Archives, C8/182/185

This dispute about ownership of The Bull also contains some interesting background information. The outcome is unknown, but Robert Mitchell's grandson was in possession later, and the issue of the mortgage is mentioned in the 1696 case.

[ff.1 & 3]  6 Feb 1670/1: Complaint of Robert Michell Citizen & Weaver of London onely brother & heire of Nicholas Michell late of Wenshawe [sic] in Bucks Baker

Nicholas being seized in fee according to the custome of ye mannor of Winstowe aforesaid of & in a customary or copyhold messuage anciently used as a Comon Inne called or knowne by ye name of ye Bull & of & in a meadowe conteyning by estimac(i)on twoe acres & a halfe & of & in certaine other land conteyning by estimac(i)on \8/ acres being alsoe customary or coppy land scituate in Winstowe late in ye tenure of ye said Nicholas or of his assignes & now held by one Thomas Wilmott of Winstowe Taylor or his assignes togeather with ye barnes Stables malthouses outhouses ways passages waters watercourses com(m)ons p(ro)ffitts com(m)odityes advangages [sic] emoluments & appurtenances whatsoever… now or lately belonging … of ye yearely value of £15 or thereabouts

And ye said Nicholas being about ye moneth of August in ye yeare 1664 taken and stricken with ye dead palsy whereby his intellectuals were much weakned & ye use of his limbs & speech was taken from him & soe continued to ye time of his death soe as he was thereby disabled both in his estate & p(er)son to manage his affaires & buisnesse of bakeing malting or any other calling or husbandry w(hi)ch he formerly used or scarely [sic] of himselfe to p(er)forme any rationall act whatsoever w(hi)ch occasioned him to bee destitute of some moneyes for supply of his necessityes

whereof ye s(ai)d Thomas Wilmott takeing notice & having a purpose & desire to make ye said messuage his habitac(i)on & to compasse & gaine ye said messuage land & premisses to himselfe for little or noe considerac(i)on in respect of ye true value thereof did repayre to ye Michell when he was in (tha)t sad condic(i)on & offered him greate kindnesse & as ye said Thomas Wilmott p(re)tended did att severall tymes lend to ye sayd Michell severall sumes of money for supply of his ye s(ai)d Michells necessary occasions amounting to ye sum(m)e of £60 whereas upon a iust account ye same could not come to halfe ye money

& to bring his designes to effect ye said Wilmott did intermarry w(i)th Francis [sic] ye now wife of ye s(ai)d Thomas Wilmott sister of ye said Michell & of your Or(ator) whoe was conversant with & assistant to ye said Michell in ye time of his weaknesse & although he ye s(ai)d Nicholas Michell with ye advice of divers of his freinds had agreed w(i)th your Or(ator) being his brother & next heire upon your Or(ator)s p(ro)mise to furnish him ye said w(i)th £20 in money & to p(ro)vide for his maintenance dureing his life (tha)t he ye said Michell would settle ye p(re)misses to ye use of your Or(ator) his heyres & assignes for ever

[f.1 only] yett (as your orator  is informed) did the said Wilmott & also his wife by her husbands p(ro)vocac(i)on who had a very great influence & comand upon the said Nicholas Michell & working upon the weaknes & infirmetyes of the said Nicholas Michell in the absence of your orator & when he had p(ro)vided the said £30 in or about the moneth of March or Aprill 1665 p(ro)cure the said Nicholas Michell in violac(i)on of his said agream(en)t with your orator to mortgage & serrender [sic] the said copyhold measuages lands & p(re)misses to the use of the said Thomas Wilmott or to some other p(er)son … in trust for him … upon condic(i)on of redempc(i)on for security of paym(en)t of the said p(re)tended sume of threescore pounds with interest at a day then certeine & now long since past & then or about that time also to deliver the actuall possession of the said howses & lands to him the said Wilmott which Nicholas was the rather drawne & induced to doe in regard Wilmott & his wife p(re)tended they would live with him in the said howse for giving him the better attendance & lookeing to \him/ in his weake condic(i)on

[f.1 only] In or about the moneth of December 1665 Nicholas being visited with inward sicknes of body besides the dead palsey as aforesaid departed this life without any child or yssue of his body By & after whose decease your orator well hoped & doubted not but that hee should have entered upon … the said mesuage lands & p(re)misses as Brother & heire

[ff. 1 & 3] But … ye said Wilmott having gotten into his hands ye said Coppyhold p(re)misses as aforesaid whereof he hath had & taken ye rents & p(ro)fits for neere six yeares now last past & alsoe all ye Coppies of Court Roll & all other ye Writeings setting forth ye title & estate of ye said Michell in his life time & att ye time of his decease of & in ye said messuage & p(re)misses hath combined himselfe togeather with ye Steward of ye sayd mannor…

[f.1 only] Wilmott by the combinac(i)on aforesaid shortly after the death of your orators said Brother when your orator went from the City of London into the Country to make entry & cla[im]e of in & to the said Mesuage & p(re)misses & to the Court of the said Mannor of Winslow to be admitted tenant thereunto ... as he was p(re)sented & found by the homage and Jury at that Court & also to demand & have the possession…

[ff.1 & 3] did & yett doeth refuse to deliver ye poss(ess)ion of ye p(re)misses to your Or(ator) although he hath bin in a freindly manner requested to doe ye same & well knows (tha)t ye same doe of right belong to your Or(ator)  And not onely soe but alsoe ye s(ai)d Wilmott did cause ye Steward to deny to admit your Or(ator) tenant of ye said p(re)misses & to suppresse & conceale ye Court Roll of ye s(ai)d mannor or to make search therein whereby to sett forth yo(ur) Or(ator)s tytle & what his dead brother hath done in & concerning ye p(re)misses  and although your Or(ator)  hath often offered & still is ready to pay what is iustly due unto him for redempc(i)on of ye same p(re)misses discounting ye rents & p(ro)fits by him had rec(eive)d & withheld from your Or(ator)  yett doth ye said Wilmott detaine ye poss(ess)ion rents & p(ro)fitts…

[f.2] Latin writ addressed to Thomas Deverell, Oliver Lawrence & John Chapman gents, Samuel Sheed[?] esq. & John Cornwall gent to summon the Wilmotts.  18 May 23 Charles II.  Signed on reverse by Lawrence, Chapman and Cornwell.

[f.4] Answer of Thomas Willmott [summary]
Nicholas Mitchell was seised of The Bull and 10 acres of land and meadow.  On 23 Oct 1653 he surrendered unto Thomas’ wife half of 5 acres of meadow and the other half to her sister “which was towardes theire p(or)cons w(hi)ch was left them by theire Father & for the overplus of the purchase money this defts wife & her sister did pay the said Nicholas Mitchell in money.

Nicholas a little before his death surrendered 4 more acres of the 10 to Thomas’ wife, who was admitted at the next court after Nicholas’ decease.

The messuage and land not surrendered are not above the yearly value of £7.

Nicholas was taken with a palsy in April 1664 “whereby he had not his speech soe p(er)fectly as before tyme he had nore so nimble in his limbes as formerly he beinge then something in yeares but … he was able notwithstandinge from that tyme till neere the tyme of his death w(hi)ch was about a yeare after to walke into the Feild & ride to Buckingham market w(hi)ch was five miles & to Leighton w(hi)ch was seaven miles distant from the place of his dwelling & continued in his understanding & senses for the space of a yeare or thereabouts from the tyme of his beinge taken with the palsey tell he tooke his sick bedd w(hi)ch was not a weeke before his death”

After marrying Nicholas’ sister, Thomas desired to go to his own estate in Whitchurch, but Nicholas desired Thomas to live with him.  He did not take any advantage of Nicholas “butt to supply his occasions for his necessary uses” lent him £60.  Nicholas on 19 April 1664 surrendered the messuage and 1 acre of meadow to Thomas, on condition of redemption on payment of £68 8s on several days now past, and Thomas was admitted accordingly.

Thomas advised the complainant (Robert Mitchell) to supply Nicholas with £30 which Nicholas then owed to one Haskett, but Robert said he could not do it and desired Thomas to do it, which he did. Thomas did not procure Nicholas to surrender the premisses in March or April 1665 or at any other time except as before expressed.

Thomas came to dwell with Nicholas after marrying his sister “and shee did as shee had done before for neere the space of Twenty yeares keepe the said Nicholas Mitchells \house/ beinge an Inn without any ways and did attend upon him when occasion was”

Nicholas died on 30 Aug 1665 without any child.  Thomas does not know why Robert expected to hold the messuage as brother and heir, the messuage and acre being mortgaged to Thomas for £60 with interest, altogether unpaid.

Nicholas’ surrender of 5 acres to his sisters was for their portions given them by their father and for £30 which they paid to Nicholas.  Nicholas’ other surrender to Frances was for love and affection “and for the paynes shee had taken for him”. Nicholas having a great kindness for Frances “beinge his sister & somethinge to recompence her for her care in managing his house and attendance upon him without any wayes or recompence and havinge kept in his hands Fortye poundes of this defts wifes \given him by her/ Father For Nine or tenn yeares without any Considerac(i)on for the forbearance thereof” Nicholas by articles of agreement of 16 Aug 1664 between him and Thomas demised the messuage and 6 acres for the term of 3 years, and from 3 years to 3 years during the term of 12 years from next Michaelmas.  Nicholas covenanted “to provide Timber & Timber worke” for repairs “and if the same should happen to bee burnt downe by Fier that he would reedifie it”.  Thomas covenanted to pay Nicholas yearly rent of 20s in quarterly payments and to provide Nicholas with “sufficient meate drinke apparel lodging & washinge”.  If Nicholas died before the expiration of 12 years, Thomas would pay the yearly rent of £4 to such person as Nicholas appointed by his will.  Thomas “was to find & allowe all manner of walling thatching & tiling” of the messuage.

On 16 Aug in the 17th year of the reign [1665] Nicholas “beinge advised by Councell” that Thomas having the inheritance of the messuage and acre with clause of redemption, the demise by Nicholas was not good.  Nicholas “havinge a further kindness for this defts wife beinge his sister” by indenture of lease with Thomas of 16 Aug 17 Charles II, “of good sence reasonable health & walkinge abroad”, in natural love and affection for his sister devised to Nicholas Sponer & Thomas Sponer the messuage & 6 acres to hold from Lady Day last for 3 years, then for 3 years on 3 years for the term of 12 years under the yearly rent of 1d, in trust for Thomas and Frances.  Thomas by obligation of 23 Aug 17 Charles II [1665] became bound in £100 to Nicholas Sponer or Thomas Sponer for payment of 20s yearly  to Nicholas Mitchell during the term of 12 years from Lady Day last in quarterly payments if Nicholas Mitchell should so long live, and find him sufficient meat, drink and apparel.  If Nicholas and Thomas should both die during the 12 years, Frances should peaceably enjoy the messuage and land for the residue of the 12 years.  Thomas should keep the messuage and premisses in repair and leave them with walling, thatching and tiling, and indemnify the Spooners against any action brought against them.
Nicholas “had a prentice one William Warr w(hi)ch lived with him divers yeares & continued with him to the tyme of his death”.  He desired Thomas to enter into a bond or obligation with Warr of the penalty of £10[?] for the payment of £5 to Warr at the end of 3 years after Nicholas’ decease.
Thomas wishes to keep the complainant from possession until the lease of 12 years has expired, and until the £60 and interest is paid, when he will deliver up possession of the messuage and acre.
He hopes his wife being Nicholas’ sister “& his housekeep(er) sev(er)all yeares without any wayes & she keeping her porc(i)ons of Forty pounds in his handes nine or tenn yeares without any Considerac(i)on for forbearance that they were valuable Consideracons to induce Nicholas to make the said Lease”.  Nicholas was compos mentis when he made the surrenders and lease and “was of such memory & understanding that in hay harvest before his death that he then goinge into the Feild amongst the haymakers he could better direct how farr his ground went then this deft or they that had mowed and he was not soe ill but that he could goe abroad & walke & discourse & did take to his Bedd not a weeke before his death”
Taken at Stewkeley 6 May 23 Charles II [1671]
There must have been some sort of reconciliation as Frances’ executor when she made her will in 1685 was apparently her great-nephew Robert Mitchell, grandson of the brother who maligned her in 1671.

National Archives, C8/573/89

The documents below concern The Bull although the name is not used. Some of the information given was incorrect, but Richard Letman's claim was stronger than William Spooner's according to the rules of primogeniture.

[ff.1 & 3: f.1 is the full text and f.3 a summary]

28 Nov 1696 Complaint of Richard Lettman of Winslowe labourer [#5c.ii]

"Nicholas Mitchell the younger of Winslowe baker deceased [#3a] in his life time was seised to him and his heires of one messuage and one acre of meadow or Pasture Ground and of divers other messuages lands tenem(en)ts and hereditam(en)ts in Winslowe & being soe seised in or about the yeare of our lord 1678 dyed without issue by whose decease the premisses descended & came to Robert Mitchell who was the onely sonne of Robert Mitchell who was the onely sone of Robert Mitchell who was brother & next heire to the said Nicholas, which said Robert the youngest dyed without issue about the 10th of March 1694 seised of the said premisses & left the said messuage lands & premisses to descend to your Orator as his right heire And the same ought to have come to your Orators poss(ess)ion accordingly For that your Orator is the onely sonne of Joan the daughter of Ralph Mitchell [#5] who had issue onely her Alice & Robert, which Alice [#5a] is dead without issue and Robert [#5b] had issue onely Ralph & Thomas who are both dead without issue, which Ralph the father of the said Joane was sonne of Robert Mitchell who had issue besides the said Ralph Anne Nich(ol)as Robert & Bridgett, which Robert Anne [#2; she did have children] & Bridgett are all dead without issue, which Nicholas last named [#3] had Issue Nicholas Robert and Frances, which Nicholas and Frances [#3g] are dead without issue, which Robert had issue only Robert, which Robert had issue Robert and one daughter who are both dead without issue  And your Orator well hoped that he should have enjoyed the premisses as in Justice he ought
… but … William Spooner th’eld(er) [#2c.i] and William Spooner the younger of Winslowe yeom(en) pretending that they or one of them have title to the premisses as heire to the said Nicholas Mitchell the young(er) ………  By Combination and confederation with William Warr who is tenant in pos(session) of the premisses and who had attorned to yo(ur) Orator knoweing him to be right Heire to the said Robert the Youngest have prevailed with the said William Warr to refuse to pay yo(ur) Orator any rent or deliver your Orator the poss(ess)ion of the premisses and thretten to putt your Orator to recover the same in Ejectm(en)t hopeing that your Orators Wittnesses who are aged & infirme who cann prove your Orators title to the said premisses may dye before your Orator can recover the poss(ess)ion of the same ……
to the End therefore that the said Confederates may true answer make to all & singuler & your Orator relieved according to Equity may it please your Lordshipp to grant unto your Orator his ma(jes)ties most gracious writ of subpoena to be directed to the said William Spooner the elder & younger & William Warr thereby com(m)anding & c."
[signed] Brocas Gardener

[f.2, Latin] Writ issued to William Vaux gent., Arthur Cleaver gent., Thomas Urlwin, Thomas Watson, Nicholas Merwin & Robert Addams gent. to summon the Spooners.  Endorsed by Merwin, Vaux & Urlwin.

[f.4] Answer of William Spooner the elder [summary]
He does not know the pedigree of Robert Mitchel the elder the pretended great-grandfather or his descendants.  He believes that “one Nicholas Mitchel of Winslow Baker Deceased was seised of one Messuage and one Acre of Meadow ground in Winslow and of the Hereditaments mentioned”.  In 1678 he died without issue.  The premisses descended to Robert Mitchel son of Robert son of Robert brother of Nicholas.  Robert the youngest died without issue in March 1694.  “This Def(endan)t conceives that he is heir to the said Robert the youngest That is to say As Son and Heir of Nicholas Spooner Deceased who was Son and Heir of Anne Deceased [#2] the only sister and Heir (as this Deft conceives) of Nicholas Mitchel the Father of the last named Nicholas”.  Anne married William Spooner by whom she had issue Nicholas Spooner.

William Spooner has therefore obtained possession from William Warr.  Warr promised to pay a half-year’s rent to Lettman “and did no otherwise attorn to the Pl(ainti)ff”.  Spooner has advised Warr not to pay any rent to Lettman or deliver him possession.

[note in Latin] Evidence taken on the oath of William Spooner sr at the dwelling-house of William Edmonds in Winslow [=The Angel] on 28 Jan 8 William III [1697] before us.  [signed] Thomas Urlwin, Nicho: Merwin, Wm Vaux

[f.5] Answer of William Spooner the Younger
He believes Nicholas Mitchel died in 1678 without issue, seised of the messuage, lands and hereditaments.  The premisses descended to his great-nephew Robert Mitchel who died in March 1694.  William “disclaimeth all right and title to the same premisses”.
[note in Latin] Evidence taken on the oath of William Spooner sr at the dwelling-house of William Edmonds in Winslow on 28 Jan 8 William III before us.  [signed] Thomas Urlwin, Nicho: Merwin, Wm Vaux

National Archives, C8/577/92

This was a counter-claim to the one above, and shows that Richard Letman had found a potential loophole in his claim due to the property having been mortgaged by Nicholas Mitchell. William Spooner died in 1698.

[f.1] 12 Feb 1696
Complaint of William Spooner the elder of Winslow yeoman.
Nicholas Mitchell junior late of Winslow decd was seised of a messuage and 1 acre of meadow or pasture.  At a court on 19 April 1664 he surrendered the premisses as a mortgage to Thomas Wilmott [#3g] for £68 8s: £4 4s payable 20 March next, £64 4s payable 26 March 1666. Wilmott was admitted.  Rent 9d.  Nicholas repaid the money and resumed the premisses and received the profits for the next 12 years.  But “being ignorant countrymen” they did not go through any surrender of the premisses, so the legal estate continued with Wilmott.  Nicholas died without issue in 1678 [actually in 1665].  The premisses descended to Robert Mitchell Junior, son and heir of Robert Mitchell who was son and heir of Robert who was brother of Nicholas.  Robert jr died possessed of the premisses on 10 March 1694.  He left the premisses to come to William Spooner as his right heir, as son and heir of Nicholas Spooner deceased who was son and heir and only child of Anne deceased, wife of William Spooner, the only sister and heir of Nicholas Mitchell senior, father of Nicholas jr.

William on the death of Robert jr entered the premisses and took possession., which he now has, and has paid all rents and services.  At a court on 25 Oct 1695 he was admitted [the records of this court are missing].

On 28 Nov last Richard Lettman of Winslow Labourer preferred his bill in this court, claiming that the premisses came to him as son and heir of Joan daughter of Ralph Mitchell.  He said her sister Alice died without issue, her brother Robert had issue only Robert and Thomas who died without issue.  Ralph was son of Robert Mitchell who also had issue Anne, Nicholas, Robert and Bridget.  Robert, Anne and Bridget died without issue.  Nicholas had issue Nicholas, Robert and Frances, which Nicholas and Frances died without issue.  Robert had issue only Robert who had issue Robert and a daughter who died without issue.  Lettman claims the premisses by descent aforesaid.  And by the bill he asked to examine witnesses.

Spooner this present Hillary term put in his answer and denied Lettman’s right.

Lettman and Nicholas Merwin of Winslow gent. an Attorney at Law combined and confederated with Thomas Wilmott and [blank] Clark.  Lettman has now purchased from Willmot or Mr Clark the premisses mortgaged to Wilmott which were surrendered to Lettman’s use in trust for Merwin, and Lettman was admitted, although they know that all the money due on the mortgage has been paid.  Spooner is willing to pay any money found to be due.  Merwin and Lettman have purchased in Lettman’s name but in trust for Merwin for 5s paid to Wilmott or Clark, and have caused a Declaration in Ejectment to be served on Spooner on 18 Jan last “being just before the essoin day of this present Hillary Term having about six dayes before that time understood that your Orator had good title". In the Declaration William Cook is plaintiff and Lettman is his lessor.  Lettman and Merwin threaten by title derived under the mortgage to recover possession.

[f.2] 19 Feb 1696.  Answer of Richard Lettman
It is true that Nicholas Mitchell surrendered to Wilmott upon mortgage in 1664.  He does not believe that the £68 8s was ever paid.  Mitchell and his assigns always kept possession.

After the deaths of Nicholas and Willmott, Thomas Willmott “Couzen & Heire” of Wilmott surrendered the premisses to William Clarke, on condition that Robert Mitchell the Youngest paid Clarke £53 and such further sums as were expressed in the surrender.

Robert died on 10 March 1694.  Clarke paid the £53 to Wilmott.  Robert paid Clarke some money for principal and interest but Lettman does not know how much was due to Clarke at Robert’s death.

The complainant is son and heir of Nicholas Spooner the son and heir of William Spooner “but whether by Ann (the sister of Nicholas Mitchell the elder and Ralph his brother sonnes of the said Robert Mitchell the eldest and Alice his wife) or by whome or whose daughter the Compts \pretended/ Grandmother was or which way [she was?] sister to the said Nicholas Mitchell the elder this Defts great Uncle this Deft doth not knowe but refers the same to be proved by the Complt”.

He denies that Spooner entered the premisses or took possession on Robert’s death until December last.  In May 1694 Lettman made an entry upon the premisses “and caused William Warr the then tenant in possession to Attorn tenant[?] [ - - - ] for the said premisses by paying sixpence in parte of rent to this Deft and then agreed to continue the tenant thereof to this Deft” until the next Michaelmas at the yearly rent of £9.  Warr afterwards agreed to take the premisses of Lettman for another year under the same rent. 

At a court on 25 Oct 1695 Lettman was admitted to the premisses.  Afterwards Spooner “to terrifie this Deft as he verily believes” prayed admittance and was admitted saving the right of all persons[?] claiming title.  Since the entry Lettman had possession until December last.  Warr promised to deliver the premisses from Lettman.  Spooner caused a declaration in ejectment to be served on Warr before Hillary Term 1695 and was Lessor of the [ - - - ] at the next Bucks Assizes “as given to this defts Attorney and caused such notice to be countermanded and before the summer Assizes gave this Defts Attorney a 2d Notice of Tryall in the said cause and - - - to be againe countermanded”.

Lettman, believing Spooner would not come to a trial at law, was advised to prefer a bill against Spooner in this court “to perpetuate the Testimony of his Wittnesses”, which he did on 20 Nov last. Having paid Clarke the remainder of what was due to him, the premisses ought to come to Lettman as son and heir of Joan.

Spooner appeared and obtained possession of Warr.

Lettman, hearing before Easter Term last that there was an old mortgage on the premisses to Clarke not fully satisfied, [wanted to] get the premisses surrendered to his use and desired Mr Merwin his then attorney at law to apply himself to Clarke and agree with him, which he did in Easter Term last for £4.

At the court on 26 Oct last the jury presented the surrender and that Lettman was next of kin to Robert, and he was again admitted.  The surrender was not in trust for Merwin.

Spooner had given Warr a large sum of money and indemnified him from paying rent to Lettman.  Warr refusing to pay rent, Lettman caused a declaration in ejectment.

Clarke’s name is William and he is a painter stainer and lives at the Queens Head [on] London Bridge. Lettman is engaged in no agreement with Merwin.  Merwin is only interested as his attorney. Lettman did not speak with Clarke until 18 Feb 1696.

[ f].3 The severall Answere of Nicholas Merwin gent as to the One parte and Disclaymer as to the other parte of the Bill of Compl(ain)t of William Spooner the Eld(e)r Compl(ainan)t
Sworn 19 Feb 1696

“he may have seene Robert Mitchell jun’ in the Bill named but had noe Acquaintance or knowledge of him Neither did he knowe the said Nicholas Mitchell or Thomas Willmott or any of the Mitchells in the Bill named nor did this Deft knowe any of the Complts Ancestors in the Bill menc(i)oned Nor did this Deft knowe Mr Clarke in the Bill named or ever speake to him to this Defts knowledge till after the death of the said Robert Mitchell and some small tyme before he agreed with him to surrender his right in the Premisses to the Deft Letman which was about May last past”

The surrender was not in trust for Merwin but only for the use and behoof of Lettman.

Mr Clarke’s name is William, he is a painter stainer and lives at the Queens Head upon London Bridge.  Merwin paid him £4 by Letman’s order for surrendering the premisses in Easter Term 1696.
Merwin disclaims all right or title in the premisses.  He only acted as Letman’s attorney and solicitor.

Copyright 15 November, 2022