1. 1567, John Kytner, clerk, plaintiff v. Marian Kytner, widow, defendant
John Kytner says that John Kytner of Exfourde in the county of Somerset, deceased, the plaintiff's father, was possessed of real and personal estate to the value of four hundred pounds. About 16 years before the date of this bill he made his will by which he left about three pounds in charity. Half of the residue to be divided between his children and the other half to go to his wife. The said John leaving the plaintiff and two other children (names not mentioned) and Marion the defendant, his widow. The plaintiff's share of the property should have been about forty pounds. But the said Marian with the intent to defraud the plaintiff told him that his share only amounted to six pounds thirteen shillings and fourpence. He accepted it as part of the forty pounds, but ever since she had refused to give him any more.
Note: Case heard before Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, the father of Francis Bacon.
Sources: Index of Chancery Proceedings (series II, Vol. 1, 1558-1579)
PRO Ref. C3, 106/99
2. 1620. Richard Kitner alias Chibbet and his wife Gunnet v. Knight, John et al.
8th November 1620, before ffrances Lord Downham
Richard Kitner alias Chibbet of Dunster, Somerset, clothworker, and Gunnet his wife, executrix of the will of Philip Knight of Wiveliscombe, Somerset, husbandman, her father v.John Knight, Thomas Knight and others*
Plaintiff says, About six years ago last past the marriage (of Richard and Gunnet) was had and solemnized at the special instance and desire of the said Philip Knight, the said Gunnet being his only daughter whom he 'speciallie loved and affected' and promised to give her £70. The said Philip had two sons-John, who married and his father placed him "in a living of good yearely value", and Thomas who was apprenticed to a clothworker. After this Philip and his wife "being bothe aged people gave over house-keeping and departed from their dwelling" and came to live with the plaintiffs at Dunster, where they remained for about two years. The plaintiffs supported the said Philip and his wife and received no recompense but many promises "that he was a weake old man and could not live longe and after his deaths all he had should be theirs". But John and Thomas Knight got their father away to live with the former about 12 miles away, and afterwards his wife joined him at Fitzhead. Later John got possession of his father's papers by which the other defendants were bound to the said Philip in various sums of money and by dishonest means got him to sign a paper giving the said John Knight £100 and other property, thus defrauding the plaintiffs. Now, after the said Philip's death, the defendants who were indebted to him refuse to pay. Answer of John Knight: That Philip Knight went to live in Dunster, because Richard Kytner "was an ill husband, to advise and direct him to follow good and honest courses". And the said Philip also paid £10 for two houses there for a term of years which he gave to the complainants. Later Philip Knight went to this defendant's house because of "ill usage and dealinge" of the plaintiff "toward hym the said Phillip". He asked the defendant "to procure a house and to fetch this defendantes said mother from Dunster aforesaid alleaging that hee was afraid least shee should or would be starved".
* Simon Washer, Richard Cannon, Robert Perrie, John Doble alias Gamlen, John Fawkener, Richard James, Simon Cannon, Robert Goodman, William Ashe, William Jenkens, John Coffen, Thomas Millett and Thomas Dennis.
Source: Index of Chancery Proceedings (Series II), Vol. II, 1579-1621
PRO Ref. C3, 315/32, date 8th November 1620.
3. 1621, Richard Kidner of Spaxton v. John Coles
27th October 1621
Richard Kidner of Spaxton sued John Coles about a "messuage or tenement" with orchard and garden and pasture and arable land adjoining (? in all about 10 acres) in Huntspill (5½ miles north of Bridgwater).
Ref.: C8, 87/298
4. 1630, Thomas Kidner, clerk, and Grace his wife, v. John Miles et al.
12th February 1630
Thomas Kidner of Hippalitt, Herts, clerk, and Grace his wife v. John Miles, Robert Miles, John Bigge and George Young
Thomas Kidner says: That Grace the Plaintiff's now wife was executrix of the will of Thomas Young, late of Bendish, Herts, her former husband. For the fulfilment of his bequests she became (? bound) to the defendants that if she should marry again she would pay them, as overseers of her late husband's will, £400 to the use of John and Nathaniel Young, two of her sons by the late Thomas Young. This £400 was part of the £600 left to the said John and Nathaniel by their father to be paid them at their coming of age. She delivered to George Younge household stuffe etc. worth more than the £400 before her marriage to the plaintiff and had also paid the £400, but the defendants had not given up the bond.
Answer of Robert Myles and George Young: That Thomas Younge, deceased, elder brother of the said George, about 6 years before made his will etc., as in the bill is already stated. Speaking of Thomas Kidner the defendants said that Grace would lose by the match "for that the said Thomas Kidner, the then complainant, although a man of Learninge and in that respecte to have his dew regard yett in regard of any worldly estate theise defendants did know the same to bee very meane havinge then noe other maynetenance that theise defendants knowe of, or can learn, or ever heard of, to maynteyne himself withal butt the benevolence of a poore hamlet or township where he serveth, and for what the inhabitants within the said hamlet and thereabouts will bestowe upon him."
Ref.: C2, Chas. 1, K 1/11
17th June 1631: Answer of John Myles to the above bill. No details given
Ref.: C2, Chas 1, K 3/32
4. 1636, Robert Kidner of Spaxton and his wife Alice v. John Leave et al.
22nd May 1636
Robert Kidner of Spaxton, Somerset, husbandman, and Alice his wife, daughter of John Leave the elder of the same, yeoman, deceased. v. John Leave the younger, Thomas Collard, Ames Blynman and John Taer (?)
Robert Kidner says: That the said John Leave the elder was seized of a messuage etc. in Overpignole in the parish of Spaxton for a term of years, if the plaintiff Alice, Barnabas Leave and Edward Leave, brothers of the said John, should live so long. The said John Leave made his will on 25th May 1634, (having previously conveyed the messuage in trust for the said Alice to Thomas Collard) leaving the issues and profits of the said messuage to the said Alice. About six months before the date of this bill the said Robert Kidner interviewed John Leave the younger "touching a marriage to bee had betweene your said Orator and Alice his now wife", the said John's sister. And John promised that Alice should have peaceable possession of the said messuage. The marriage took place in November 1635. [at Spaxton. See App 101A; Phillimore VI, p.137, where the name Robert Kidner is missing] But now the defendants, having possession of the deeds concerning the said messuage, deny that it was left to the said Alice and refuse to pay anything.
C2, Chas. I, K 18/51
5. 1647, Thomas Kidner, v. Richard Prudden
Thomas Kidner, "Vicar of the Vicarage of Stretley in the church of Beddford, sued Richard Prudden about land belonging to the vicarage of Streatly.
PRO Ref.: C3 450/32
6. 1675, Nicholas Kidner of Caerdiffe, mariner, v. Thomas Laurence of London, silkman
24th January 1675
Nicholas Kidner says: That Arthur Mayo of Cardiff, deceased, mercer, had some dealings with the defendant. The said Arthur died about 1660 and as he owed nothing to the defendant the executors did not send for the account books. But 13 years after the said Mayo's death the defendant said he held a bond of Mayo's in £120 to which the plaintiff was a surety. Four months before this bill the said Laurence commenced a suit against the plaintiff in the Court of Common Pleas for the recovery thereof and had the plaintiff arrested by a writ from the Sheriff's Court of the City of Bristol where the plaintiff was a stranger "and otherwise a very poore man not able to give bayle". The defendant knowing that the plaintiff to "be as aforesaid an ignorant and a very illiterate person" gave out in speeches that he would compel him to pay the £120. The defendant said he "commiserated" the plaintiff but hath noe reason to believe that the complainant is an illiterate person as he pretendes because as he this defendant doubtens (?) not to prove...that the complainant can both write and reade".
Ref.: C5, 510/58
7. 1696, Richard Kidner of Spaxton v. Thomas Hawker of Nether Stowey
4th July 1696
Richard Kidner of Spaxton, yeoman, and Susannah his wife sued Thomas Hawker of Nether Stowey, Susannah's father, and Elizabeth Coleford, widow, "now of Spaxton, heretofore of Broomfield, being Aunt or otherwise nearly related to oratrix" for the income from certain "principal money" held "by bonds". They claimed that Elizabeth Coleford, "mindful to make provision for Susannah, had given the income from "the principal money" to Susannah, but that Susannah's father, Thomas, was withholding it. The principal money was held by:
- John Derborough of Spaxton £50
- John Barill of Broomfield £50
- Edward Bicknell of Combe Florey £40
- ? Blanchflower of Dunster £20
- William Lawrence of Wiveliscombe £40
- Edmund Hill of Combe Florey £10
Ref.: C8, 358/15
Appendix 40 - Court cases 1567-1700
Last updated on 17th December 2007
© Simon Kidner 2007