Wednesday 16 September 1663

Up betimes, and with my wife to Hinchingbroke to see my Lady, she being to go to my Lord this morning, and there I left her, and so back to the Court, and heard Sir R. Bernard’s charges to the Courts Baron and Leete, which took up till noon, and were worth hearing, and after putting my business into some way, went home to my father’s to dinner, and after dinner to the Court, where Sir Robert and his son came again by and by, and then to our business, and my father and I having given bond to him for the 21l. Piggott owed him, my uncle Thomas did quietly admit himself and surrender to us the lands first mortgaged for our whole debt, and Sir Robert added to it what makes it up 209l., to be paid in six months. But when I came to give him an account of more lands to be surrendered to us, wherein Piggott’s wife was concerned, and she there to give her consent, Sir Robert would not hear of it, but began to talk very high that we were very cruel, and we had caution enough for our money, and he could not in conscience let the woman do it, and reproached my uncle, both he and his son, with taking use upon use for this money. To all which I did give him such answers and spoke so well, and kept him so to it, that all the Court was silent to hear us, and by report since do confess they did never hear the like in the place. But he by a wile had got our bond, and I was content to have as much as I could though I could not get all, and so took Piggott’s surrender of them without his wife, and by Sir Robert’s own consent did tell the Court that if the money were not paid in the time, and the security prove not sufficient, I would conclude myself wronged by Sir Robert, which he granted I should do.

This kept us till night, but am heartily glad it ended so well on my uncle’s part, he doing that and Prior’s little house very willingly. So the Court broke up, and my father and Mr. Shepley and I to Gorrum’s to drink, and then I left them, and to the Bull, where my uncle was to hear what he and the people said of our business, and here nothing but what liked me very well. So by and by home and to supper, and with my mind in pretty good quiett, to bed.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Aqua  •  Link

nice turn of phrase "...where my uncle was to hear what he and the people said of our business, and here nothing but what liked me very well..."

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

If anyone with access to L&M could enlighten us with explanations of the proceedings described above, it would like me very well...

Mary  •  Link

Courts Baron and Leete.

i.e. Both the Civil and the Criminal courts. Sir R. Bernard is presiding over both courts.

Mary  •  Link

The business of Piggot's debt.

This all goes back to the question of settling the estate of the late Robert Pepys.

Richard Piggott owed a mortgage to the late Robert Pepys on the security of lands and houses in Brampton. Piggott could not repay the mortgage without selling the properties, but for this Uncle Thomas Pepys' consent was required, and this was not granted until July 1663.

The original debt stood at £164, but accrued interest has now brought the total to £209. Six months has been granted Piggott for the process to be completed, though the whole matter (spoiler) will not be settled until the autumn of 1664.

The question of lands owned by Piggott's wife would seem to me to indicate that Sam lacks confidence in Piggott's ability/commitment to selling the Brampton property discussed above. He therefore wishes to attach these lands also as further security for the £209 debt, but Bernard has told him that this would be asking too much and that he should be satisfied with what has been agreed. It looks as if the Pepys family is actually more interested in real estate than in cash.

Bradford  •  Link

Yes, Mary, your concluding remark seems the only explanation, because even so considerable a sum as L209 was then (or for that matter now), the headaches and jawaches and soreness of the Sitzfleisch during these interminably protracted wranglements works out to a very paltry subminimum wage per hour. And surely there will be court costs to further reduce the takings. Thank you for having the patience to explain it to those of us willing to let it go over our heads if only it would stop.

TerryF  •  Link

"we had caution enough for our money"

caution (n.)
1297, "bail, guarantee, pledge," from O.Fr., "security, surety," from L. cautionem (nom. cautio), from cautus pp. of cavere "to be on one's guard" (see caveat). The Latin sense re-emerged in Eng. 16c.-17c. The verb sense of "to warn" is from 1641; cautious is from 1640.…

Nix  •  Link

Manors were formerly called baronies, as they still are lordships : and each lord or baron was empowered to hold a domestic court, called the court-baron, and for settling disputes of property among the tenants. This court is an inseparable ingredient of every manor ; and if the number of suitors should so fail, as not to leave sufficient to make a jury or homage, that is, two tenants at the least, the manor itself is lost. [Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. 2, ch. 6]

THE court-baron is a court incident to every manor in the kingdom, and was holden by the steward within the said manor. This court-baron is of two natures : the one is customary court, of which we formerly spoke , appertaining entirely to the copyholders, in which their estates are transferred by surrender and admittance, and other matters transacted relative to their tenures only. [Id., vol. 3, ch. 4]

THE court-leet, or view of frankpledge , which is a court of record, held once in the year and not oftener , within a particular hundred, lordship, or manor, before the steward of the leet; being the king's court granted by charter to the lords of those hundreds or manors. It's original intent was to view the frank pledges, that is, the freemen within the liberty; who (we may remember ) according to the institution of the great Alfred, were all mutually pledges for the good behaviour of each other. Besides this, the preservation of the peace, and the chastisement of divers minute offences against the public good, are the objects both of the court-leet and the sheriff's tourn: which have exactly the same jurisdiction, one being only a larger species of the other; extending over more territory, but not over more causes. All freeholders within the precinct are obliged to attend them, and all persons commorant therein; which commorancy consists in usually lying there: a regulation, which owes it's original to the laws of king Canute . But persons under twelve and above sixty years old, peers, clergymen, women, and the king's tenants in antient demesne, are excused from attendance there: all others being bound to appear upon the jury, if required, and make their due presentments. It was also antiently the custom to summon all the king's subjects, as they respectively grew to years of discretion and strength, to come to the court-leet, and there take the oath of allegiance to the king. The other general business of the leet and tourn, was to present by jury all crimes whatsoever that happened within their jurisdiction; and not only to present, but also to punish, all trivial misdemesnors, as all trivial debts were recoverable in the court-baron, and county court: justice, in these minuter matters of both kinds, being brought home to the doors of every man by our antient constitution. [Id., vol. 4, ch. 19]

pepf  •  Link

"... and reproached my uncle, both he and his son, with taking *use upon use* for this money."

This meaning of *use - interest* and *use upon use - compound interest* is obviously out of use nowadays (OED anyone?).
Contemporary explanation more geometrico in the Mathematical Papers of Isaac Newton 1664 -1666 Vol 1 (D.T.Whiteside, ed., Cambridge University Press, N.Y. 1967):
p. 461 Probleme. Of Usury.
Newton's terms explained in footnotes (31) and (33).…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

“… and reproached my uncle, both he and his son, with taking *use upon use* for this money.”

In this context 'Use' and 'use upon a use' have a technical meaning at law, see:………

Any decent history of English land law will discuss at length the complex and convoluted development of Uses over centuries of case law into today's concept of a trust.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Courts Baron and Leete

Thanks for the very helpful post, Nix!

Wikipedia's take:

At a very early time in medieval England the Lord of the Manor exercised or claimed certain jurisdictional rights over his tenants and bondsmen concerning the administration of his manor and exercised those rights through his court baron. However this court had no power to deal with criminal acts.

Criminal jurisdiction could, however, be granted to a trusted lord by the Crown by means of an additional franchise to give him the prerogative rights he owed feudally to the king. The most important of these was the "view of frankpledge", by which tenants were held responsible for the actions of others within a grouping of ten households.[2] In the later Middle Ages the lord, when exercising these powers, gained the name of leet which was a jurisdiction of a part of a county, hence the franchise was of court leet.

The quo warranto proceedings of Edward I established a sharp distinction between the court baron, exercising strictly manorial rights, and the court leet, depending for its jurisdiction upon royal franchise. However in many areas it became customary for the two courts to meet together.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

What Pepys -- keen observer of other courts -- is to see in Brampton:

The order of keeping a court leete, and court baron with the charges appertayning to the same: truely and playnly deliuered in the English tongue, for the profite of all men, and most commodious for young students of the lawes, and all others within the iurisdiction of those courtes. By Ionas Adames.
Adames, Jonas.
Imprinted at London: ByThomas Orwin & William Kirckham, and are to be sold at the little North doore of Saint Paules Church, at the signe of the Blacke boy, 1593.…

Jonathan V  •  Link

So ... "I would conclude myself wronged by Sir Robert, which he granted I should do ... " What does this mean, exactly? It almost sounds like fightin' words - a duel?! - but I would think the compensation or satisfaction of that wrong would be more genteel. Or does it simply mean he could take Sir Robert back to court, with his consent?

And, yes, many thanks to those who, many years ago, explained this all for folks like me who have some trouble following it.

Irishyankee  •  Link

I think Samuel is simply setting the stage for a possible appeal if needed. Should Piggott not pay as promised, Sam could return to ask Sir Robert to add Piggott's wife's land onto the lands that might be used to satisfy the debt.

Jonathan V  •  Link

Ah, that sounds sensible. Thanks.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

"and were worth hearing..."

Really Sam? How so?

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ’ . . reproached my uncle . . with taking use upon use for this money

‘use, n. < Anglo-Norman
. . P17. use upon use: compound interest; (more generally) excessive interest. Also fig.

1605 J. Sylvester tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Deuine Weekes & Wks. i. iii. 91 You Citie-Vipers, that (incestuous) ioyne Vse vpon vse, begetting Coyne of Coyne.
. . 1740 S. Richardson Pamela II. 389, I am become a mere Usurer; and want to make Use upon Use.’

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