11 February 1666
Humbly complayning sheweth unto yr Honr yor orator Jeremiah Reeve of Bocking in ye County of Essex yeoman that sd William Wyseman of Ravenhall in the said County Knt and Barront was in or about the month of December last past and for sevrall years before seized in his ? as of fee of and in one freehold cottage or tenemt wth a barne and other outhouses thereto belonging and also of sevrall prcells of land meadow pasture goods undrwoods and woodgrounds called by ye sevrall names of pollings Molts? and Michillorogh? situate lying and being in Bocking aforesaid and in Stisted in ye said County or in either of them and was also possessed of sevrall prcells of land and pasture grounds called by ye names of Longwo?? and Le We?e lying and being in Bocking aforesaid for ye terme of five hundred yeares and upwards wthout impeachment of wast? and so being thereof seised and possessed as aforesaid the said William Wyseman did pmitt and suffer one Edward Lawsell late of Bocking aforesaid to hold as tenent at will onely the said cottage lands and other ye pmisses abovemenconed for ye spane? of five yeares or thereabouts and in or about the month of July last year the said Edward Lawsell dyed & ?ully aftr or a very little time before his death Edward Lawsell of Bocking aforesd husbandman his sonn did entr into ye sd cottage lands woodgrounds and all other ye prmises & hath ever since bene & yet is is possession thereof upon ? yt he hath a lease of ye said whereal in truth ye cottage or any pt of ye said lands & prmisses were never letten unto him nor had he any interest therein or right to hold ye same and yor orator further sheweth yt in or about ye month of November last ye said Sr William Wyseman did agree to sell ye sd cottage & all other ye prmises to ye orator & in psuance of such his agreemt ye sd Sr William Wyseman in ye month of December last past in consideracon of a competent sume of monie to him paid by ye orator did by this Indr of ffeoffmt executed with livery and seizen convey ye said cottage house & outhouses & he sd sevrall pcills of land meadow pasture woods undrwoods & woodgrounds called by ye names of pollings Motts & Michillmost unto yor orator & his heires by virtue of wch conveyance yor orator did enter thereunto & was lawfully seised thereof and ye said Sr William Wyseman did likewise in ye sd month of December last in consideracon of a further sume of moneys to him paid by yor orator grant bargaine sell assigne & sett over unto yr orator his executor Administrators & assignees ye said pcills of land & pasture called longcroft & Le Welde for all ye rest & residue of ye said B??? of yeares therein to come? & und?p???d wthout impeachmt of wast By virtue of wch said Grant & assignmt yor orator did enter into ye said pcells of land & pasture & ought to have possessed & enjoy ye same & also he said cottage & freehold ads pastures woodgrounds & other ye pmisses above menconed without any lett or interrupcon of ye said Edward Lawsell the younger But so it is may it please yor good Lspp yt ye said Edward Lawsell haveing unduely gotten into ye possession of ye said cottage lands woodgrounds & all other ye prmises aforesd wthout any right or colour? of title in or to ye same doth refuse and deny to deliver to yor orator ye possession thereof although he hath often in a peaceable and friendly mannr bene requested by yor orator so to doe but hath comitted sevrall great wast by felling downe sevrall timbr trees from of ye prmisses and hath fastered ye sd cottage barne & other buildings to be very ruinous & much decryed & hath threatned to call downe & stubb up all ye undrwoods & woodgrounds & to cutt downe all ye timber trees & all ye bowlings and other trees yt one now standing & being upon the said lands & grounds & to pull downe & take & carry away all ye trees thatch glasse & windowe lockes & doores of & belonging to ye said cottage & other buildings & to sell & dispose thereof to his owne use all wch doings of ye said Edward Lawsell tend to ye distruccon of ye inheritance of ye orator & are to his apparent loss & prjudice & will prove to his very great wrong & damage ralef? by ye favr & justice of the Honble Court prvented? in tendr consideracon whereof & forasmuch as yor orators witnesses to prove the wast already done & comitted by ye said Edward Lawsell are either dead? gone beyond ye seal or removed into some remoate parte of this Kingdome unknowne to yor orator whereby he cannot pduce them at any tryall at law to be brought for ye same And for yt yor orator hath no other way or means to stopp ye outrageous waste & distrcions threatned to be comitted upon ye prmisses by ye said Edward Lawsell nor to have any reliefe in the prmisses but by the aide of the Honrble Court where cases of this nature doe ordinarily find reliefe to ye end therefore that ye said Edward Lawsell may sett forth upon his oath when he did enter into ye said cottage and prmises & whether he is not still in possession thereof & unr whom & by what will will he first entred & now commit to hold ye same & that he may shew & ansr if he can why he should not deliver up ye possession of ye prmisses to ye orator & that he may sett forth ye truth of all & every ye prmisses & be enjoined by ye authority of this Honble court not to doe or comitt any wast upon ye said cottage & other buildings or in ye undrwoods & trees upon ye prmisses & that ye orator may be releived therein according to justice & equity May it please yor Lspp to Grant unto yor orator his Maties gratious writt of Subpa to be directed to ye said Edward Lawsell thereby demanding him at a certaine day & unr a certaine paine therein to be limitted psonally to be & appeare before ye Lsipp in ye High & Honble Court of Chancery then & there to settforth upon his oath the truth of all & sigular the prmisses & also to stand to abide such further ordr & direccon therein as to yor Honr shall seeme to stand with right equity & good confidence and yor orator as in duty bound shall ever pray &c
14 die Febr 1666
The answere of Edward Lawsell deft to the bill of complaint of Jeremiah Reeve Complt
The said deft saving to himselfe now and at all times hereafter all advantage and benefit of exceptcon to the manifold incertainties and insufficiencies of the said bill of complaint for full and pfect answere thereunto saith that he beleiveth it may be true that Sr William Wiseman in the said bill named was seised and possessed of the lands and prmisses therein respectively menconed and that he afterwards sold the same to the said Complt as in the said bill is set forth And this deft also saith that Edward Lawsell this Defts late father was tenant to the prmisses and held the same by the space of twenty yeares and upwards as tenant for terme of yeares or at will or otherwise under the said Sr William Wiseman and his father and grandfather at a certaine yearly rent and let part thereof to this Deft who entred and was possessed thereof since the death of his said father this Deft continued the said farme and prmisses and hath ever since enjoyed and still doth enjoy the same as tenant at will and there being a crop of underwood upon the prmisses ready and fit to be felled for the growth whereof this Deft and his said father have paid a yearly rent he this Deft hath lately felled part and intendeth shortly to sell the residue of the said underwood and convert the same to his own use as he hopeth under favour of this Honoble court is lawfull for him to do the same being his crop and for which the rent hath been paid as aforesaid But this deft denieth that he hath comitted and wast upon the prmisses or any part thereof or hath felled any timber trees or stubbed any underwoods growing thereupon or pulled downe or defaced any part of the houses thereunto belonging or intendeth so to doe without that that any other matter or thing in the said bill of Complaint conteyned materiall or effectuall in the law to be answered unto and not herein and hereby sufficiently confessed and avoided traversed or denied is true to the knowledge of this Deft All which this Deft is and will be ready to averr maintaine and prove as this honoble court shall award and humbly prayeth to be hence dismissed with his reasonable costs and charges by him in this behalfe most wrongfully susteyned.
Jeremiah Reeve of Bocking. Interestingly, one of his daughters married a Lawsell.
National Archives, Kew - C 8/195/101
TNA Series C8