|Bill of Complaint in the Court of Chancery between Phineas Cooke of the first part (plaintiff)
and Samuel Munt of the second part (defendant) dated 28th October 1680
transcribed from National Archives document C 5/464/98
Transcription, abstract etc by Trevor Hearn (January 2023)
Bill of Complaint dated 28th October 1689 presented in the Court of Chancery before the Right Honourable Heneage Lord Finch of Daventry, Lord High Chancellor of England.
Phineas Cooke (plaintiff) is described as an inhabitant and householder of West Mersea, Essex possessing all the accoutrements required of a household including cash and various securities. In approximately May 1670 the plaintiff was struck down with a serious illness and lameness necessitating a transfer to lodgings in Colchester to be near to his physician. The plaintiff was in possession at the time of a number of bonds, bills and securities for money of great value, including a sealed obligation of £100 by Samuel Munt of Layer-de-la-Haye (defendant) as security for a loan of fifty pounds plus interest previously lent by the plaintiff to the defendant and which was long past due.
The plaintiff was also in possession of one further obligation sealed by James Bridge of Layer-de-la-Haye for £50 as security for a loan of twenty five pounds plus interest previously lent by the plaintiff to James Bridge and which was also in arrears and unpaid.
The plaintiff being indisposed by his illness and without any servants to call on, employed the defendant and his (unnamed) wife to manage his affairs at home while the plaintiff recuperated in his lodgings in Colchester. The household goods together with cash and the aforementioned obligations were left in the possession of the defendant and his wife. After a time, the plaintiff recovered from his illness and was able to return home where he discovered that the defendant and his wife had frequently visited the house during the absence of the plaintiff and had taken various household items, sums of money and the aforesaid obligations. The obligations had been converted to their own use.
The plaintiff alleges that the defendants refused to restore the property and convert the obligations back in the name of the plaintiff claiming that the defendants were retaining the said obligations in satisfaction of the amounts due to them for their labour during the absence of the plaintiff. The plaintiff also alleges that the defendants refuse to account for any sums disbursed on behalf of the plaintiff or what amounts they are due for their labour in spite of the plaintiff offering to pay such outstanding amounts in full upon request from the defendants.
The plaintiff alleges also that he is uncertain of the values of the household items and ready money purloined by the defendant and his wife and is therefore unable to take remedial action under the common law of England. The plaintiff has no knowledge of whether the defendant and his wife have enforced the obligation of James Bridge and have received any sums due under that security or from any other security.
The plaintiff therefore requests the Court of Chancery to issue a subpoena to the defendant in order that he may answer the charges laid before the court and resolve the matter.
1 98 28 die Octobr 1680 Marsham To the right hono[ura]ble Heneage Lord Finch Baron of Daventry
2 Lord High Chancello[ur] of England
3 Humbly complayning sheweth unto your Lordshipp yo[ur] daily Orato[ur] Phinehas Cooke of West mersea in the county of Essex Gen[t] That for divers yeares last past yo[ur] Orator was and yet is an Inhabitant and
4 Householder in West mersea aforesaid and that his house was furnished with all kind of Household stuffe as pewter lynnen Bedding & other things necessary for house keeping in a plentifull manner considering the quality
5 & condition of yo[ur] Orator That on or about the month of May which was in the yeare of our Lord God One thousand six hundred seventie and nyne God was pleased to lay an heavy sickness and lameness upon yo[ur] Orator
6 which continued for a long time, And for cure he was carryed from his said house unto the towne of Colchester where he continued for diverse weekes That your Orator at the time of his sickness was possessed of divers
7 Bonds Bills mortgages and securities for money to a great value And particularly of One obligac[i]on of the penall sum[m]e of One hundred pounds sealed and delivered by Samuel Munt of Layer de la hay in the sayd
8 county of Essex Yeoman unto yo[ur] Orator conditioned for the payment of fifty pouinds with Interest at a day long since past which \s[ai]d/ Fifty pounds your Orator did truly lend unto the said Samuel Munt, and the
9 same was secured by the sayd Obligac[i]on and the said Fifty pounds and every penney thereof with the interest thereof for divers yeares is yet in arreare and unpaid unto yo[ur] Orator And further yo[ur] Orator
10 at the time of his sayd sickness was possessed of One other Obligation sealed to him by James Bridge of Layer de la hay aforeseaid Yeoman and the sayd Samuel Munt of the penall sum of Fifty pound[es] conditioned for
11 the paym[ent] of Five and twenty pounds with Interest at a day long since past And the sayd Five and twenty pounds which yo[ur] Orat[our] truly lent to them or one of them is yet in arreare and unpaid and every
12 part thereof together with the interest of the sayd twnety five pound[es] for divers yeares And yo[ur] Orator further showeth unto yo[ur] Lordshipp That during his sayd sickness because he was alone without any servants
13 or others in his house Yo[ur] Orator did imploy the said Samuel Munt and [blank] his Wife to manage his household affaires, & to that end he desired them frequently to come to & continue at his house for the said
14 purposes, That after yo[ur] Orator had laboured under his sicknesse and lameness for some weeks he was advised to goe to Colchester and take a lodging neare his Phisitian who dwelt in that towne And accordingly
15 yo[ur] Orator in the Moneth of [Blank] removed to Colchester when he left his said good plate ready money household stuffe and the obligac[i]ons aforesaid & other securityes at his said house in
16 the possession of the said Samuel Munt and [Blank] his wife or one of them Who alone were intrusted with his sayd house & the goods therein & after that your Oratot through the blessing of God
17 was cured of his said sickness he returned againe to his sayd house But the sayd Samuel
Munt and [Blank] his Wife or one of them comeing often to his said house during his sayd sicknesse
18 & after his removall to Colchester as aforesaid did possesse themselves of divers of his household stuffe plate goods Chattells & of divers sums of ready money and especially of the said Obligac[i]ons
19 And have converted the same to their or one of their use or uses And alsoe they have been in a friendly manner often required by yo[ur] Orato[ur] to Restore the same yet they refuse soe to doe contrary
20 to all Justice Equity & good Conscience Sometymes denying to have possessed or received the same sometymes p[re]tending that they keepe them in satisfaction for their disbursements labour & paines
21 about yo[ur] Orators affaires Alsoe they did and doe refuse to lett yo[ur] Orato[ur] know what particular sums they have disbursed for him or what sums they p[re]tend to deserve for their labour & pains about
22 yo[ur] Orators busynesse All which yo[ur] Orator was & is ready to satisfy & pay in a just & reasonable manner In tender considerac[i]on whereof and forasmuch as yo[ur] Orator knoweth not the certainety
23 or particulars of the said Sum[m]s of ready money of the sayd household stuffe plate Rings good[es] & Chattells or the dates & other descripc[i]ons of the sayd Obligac[i]ons whereby he might be enabled
24 to sue for the same at the Com[m]on Law but he hopeth that the said Samuel Munt & [Blank] his Wife will upon their oath[es] discover the trueth thereof and To the intent the sayd
25 Samuel Munt and [Blank] his Wife may true answer make unto all & singular the p[re]misses upon their corporall Oathes And particularly may sett forth plainly certainely and
26 distinctly what sum or sums of ready money plate jewells household stuffe good[es] or chattells of yo[ur] Orator came to their or either of their hand[es] custody or possession or to the hands
27 custody or possession of any other p[er]son or p[er]sons in trust for them or either of them or to or with their or either of their knowledge privity or consent, when how & in what manner
28 together with the true value of the sayd goods & Chattells, whether they or either of them or any other by their or either of their direction consent or knowledge had \or/ received the
29 sayd two Obligac[i]ons or either of them or any moneys due upon [th]e said Bond Sealed by the sayd James Bridge or any other obligac[i]ons mortgages or securityes for money belonging
30 to yo[ur] Orator What they or either of them did truly lay out or disburse for yo[ur] Orator during his sickness or since What they or either of them doe reasonably deserve to have for their
31 labour & paynes about yo[ur] Orators busyness in the time of his said sickness, And to the intent the sayd Obligac[i]ons may be redelivered unto yo[ur] Orator whole & uncancelled and all other
32 his good[es] & chattells which did come to their or either or any of their possession may be restored and your Orator may be relieved in all and singular the p[re]misses according to equity
33 and good conscience May it please yo[ur] Lordshipp to grant unto yo[ur] Orator his
Ma[jes]ties most gracious Writt of subp[oen]a to be directed to the sayd Samuel Munt & [Blank] his
34 Wife thereby com[m]anding them at a certaine day & under a certaine payne therein to be lymitted p[er]sonally to bee and appeasre before your Lordshipp in his Ma[jes]ties high Court
35 of Chancery then & there to answere the p[re]misses And further to stand to and abide such order and direction therein as to yo[ur] Lordshipp shall seeme meete And your
36 Orator shall ever pray e[tc]
37 Staunton Jatr[?] W: Mott