Early Modern Crime and the Law


Witness examination before a justice of the peace

(Document from The National Archives: CHES 38/41, Part 1)

seventeenth-century deposition
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May the 4th 1678

Com' Cestr' :
William Henshawe of Lower Withington in the county of Chester skinner aged twenty one years or thereabouts sworne & examined saith that upon Thursday the twenty fifth day of April last this examt & Thomas Henshawe this examts grandfather were at the plowe together & Peter Deane of Neter Alderley William Davenport of Lower Withington aforesd & Robert Deane of Nether Alderley aforesd in the county aforesd husbandmen & alsoe Martha the wife of the sd Peter Deane came to this examt & his sd grandfather as they were at the plowe aforesd and the sd Peter Deane came behind him this examt & laid fast hold wth both his hands on this examts shoulders & sd What you are ploweing & this examt answered & sd What would he wth that & sd What is it you William, and forthwth knockt this examt downe wth a staffe that the sd Peter Deane had in his hand, & the sd William Davenport then forthwth laid fast hold on the hair of this examts head and then the sd Robert Deane came unto this examt as he was downe onthe ground & sd will he not obey the kings lawes we will make him, & the sd Peter Deane Robert Deane & William Davenport did strike beat & abuse him this examt very much & did soe breake this examts head that much blood run downe this examts back, and further this examt saith that after the sd Peter Deane Robert Deane & William Davenport had soe beaten & abused him this examt fell upon the sd Thomas Henshawe this examts sd grandfather (being a man of about fourescore years of age) & knockt him downe & broke his head & knockt him forth a tooth & did beat & abuse him very much and after they had soe beaten and abused him the sd Thomas Henshawe as aforesd served him the sd Thomas Henshawe wth a paper wch they sd was a writt or some such like thing out of Wearam court at the suite of John Brooke of Snelson And further this examt saith that he this examt is since informed that the sd Peter & Robert Deane & William Davenport had some writt against a brother of him this examt & tooke him this examt for his sd brother & soe fell upon this examt as aforesd And further this examt saith that the sd Thomas Henshawe by reason of being beaten as aforesd is every day worser that soe now the sd Thomas Henshawe is in great danger of death thereby and further saith not. .. [mark of] William Henshawe

[Examination taken before N. Boothe, JP: signature in margin]