DEVON-L ArchivesArchiver > DEVON > 2012-03 > 1331649990
From: "Tompkins, Matt L.L." <>
Subject: Re: [DEV] Osborne versus Sture
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2012 14:46:30 +0000
An interesting case report, Phillip, looking very much like a transcript of the entries relating to the case in the rolls of the court of Common Pleas, a source I'm very familiar with, so if you'd like any particular passage translated I'd be happy to help.
On the third page it says the defendant in the case, Edmund Sture, was the son and heir of the Phillip who had succeeded after the death of his brother, another Edmund, which Phillip and other Edmund were sons of the original lessor Phillip (... post cujus quidem Philippi mortem reversio tenementorum predict' cum pertin' descendebat predicto Edmundo modo defend' ut filio et heredi ejusdem Philippi ...').
You also asked for comments on the dates, so here are some.
The taking of the gelding as a heriot, which began the dispute, took place on 19 October 36 Charles II, ie in 1684.
The date of the grant of the lease of the closes at Corsfield in Ugborough to Dorothy Edgcumb by Edmund's 'avus' Phillip, mentioned in Edmund's defence on the second page, is rather more problematical. The lease is first stated to have been granted at Newton Ferrers on 5 May in the 19th year of the reign of the lord Charles etc. If this meant Charles II then it was in 1667, but I suspect it was quoting the date as stated in the Indenture of Lease itself, which in Charles I's reign would not have called him 'Charles I', but simply 'Charles' - in which case it would be 1643.
But a few lines down the lease is said to be dated 5 May 29 Charles - not 19 Charles. Clearly one or other regnal year is wrong, but if 29 is the correct number than it must be 29 Charles II (his father's reign did not last for 29 years), ie 1677.
On the third page it says that Dorothy married Hugh Osborn at Newton Ferrars on 10 May in the 5th year of the reign of an unspecified king. Since this must postdate the grant of the lease it can only mean 5 Charles II, ie 1653, which means the lease must have been granted in 19 Charles I (1643), not 19 or 29 Charles II.
At the top of the 4th page Dorothy dies on 10 May in the 30th year of the reign - clearly 30 Charles II, or 1678 - and Margery on 20 March in the 36th year, ie 1684.
Incidentally, it wasn't really a 99 year lease - it was a lease for the lives of Dorothy Edgcumb and Margery Upton (widow of John Upton, gent., deceased). The legal custom was to grant the lease for 99 years, terminable before the end of the 99 years when the last of the named lives died. This lease seems actually to have lasted only a little over 41 years.
The lease is particularly interesting in the light of the subject matter of Harold Fox's book, Dartmoor's Alluring Uplands (the book's launch was yesterday, in Lydford, so it's a subject at the front of my mind just now). The book explains how throughout the middle ages and well into the modern period farms all over the Devon lowlands sent cattle up to the Dartmoor pastures for the summer, and provides many examples of estates in the lowlands which included outlying properties up in the moor-edge parishes, these outliers serving as bases for the annual deployment of livestock up to the moor. I wonder whether this was the purpose for which Dorothy Edgcumb, evidently living in coastal Newton Ferrers, took the lease of the three closes up in Ugborough, on the edge of the moor.
From: [mailto:] On Behalf Of Philip Steer
Sent: 13 March 2012 12:55
To: Devon Mailing List
Subject: [DEV] Osborne versus Sture
I have been sent an extract in Latin from William Nelson's "Lex
maneriorum" of  by my cousin Mike from Australia. It refers to
the above case. I append my answer to Mike after my signature. But
if anyone can shed light on any of the names or dates or situation, I
would be delighted to pick up any morsels.
Mike wrote :-
Dear Coz: An interesting find:
And I wrote thus :- Dear Mike,
I have transcribed what you sent : for which many thanks by the way.
Where do you find such things ?!!! I have also found a couple of
other references to this matter in English, though the Latin does not
look too difficult to translate, as it is in set legal forms that I'm
roughly used to from wills.
It looks to me to be a dispute during the long reign of Charles II,
which people tend to forget started in 1649 immediately after the
execution of his father. So I think we are talking about Philip
Steer III of Slapton [1614-1648] as the grandfather in the case, but
this presumes that he had a son Edmund, who then left everything to
his brother Philip, and then it all descended to the Edmund Sture in
the case, though whose child he is is not yet clear. This all comes
in the period for which I have a lot of loose ends.
The case refers to a trespass and an abduction of a gelding, regarded
as a heriot, i.e. the payment of the best beast on the death of the
tenant. This took place at Le Stable, Newton Ferrars, though other
places referred to are in Ugborough parish. The plaintiff in the
case, Hugo Osborne, clearly married one of the tenants, Dorothy
Edgcomb, who with her friend/relation/sister, Margery Upton, had the
original lease from the Stures. The judges were divided about fifty-
fifty in their opinion and so eventually the case was sent to the
Exchequer-Chamber, an early form of Court of Appeal, were it was heard
in Trinity Term in the fourth year of James II, which must have been
almost at the final gasp of his reign !
The attorney, Charles Tayler, who is mentioned as speaking for Edmund
Sture to the court, is interesting too, because it was a Charles
Taylor, attorney, of Diptford who bought Marridge House and farm and
all the remaining Sture lands from an Edmund Sture in 1699. Perhaps
poor Edmund [literally] couldn't pay his lawyer. Taylor has a large
monument in Diptford Church.
Possibly more to follow in this maze.
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