Transcript, Court of Chancery: Interrogatories and witness statements regarding Bill of Complaint over ownership of Michaelchurch Mill
1686 - 1688
Papers regarding proceedings in the Court of Chancery, heard by Commissioners sitting at Michaelchurch Escley
Edmond Price and his wife Margaret, Joan Miles, widow v. James Price (an infant), and James Morgan his guardian. Mortgage and release of the equity of redemption " of the premises in question," & c., & c.: Hereford. 6th Feb 1686-5th Feb 1688.
[Transcription by Arthur Price, reproduced with his kind permission]
[Four and a half pages of well written legible text plus two smaller pages of Latin text not transcribed.]
Interogatories to be administered unto witnesses to be produced, sworne and examined on the part and behalfe of James Price; an infant, by James Morgan Esq. his guardian – Defendant, At the suite of Edmond Price, and Margarett his wife and Joane Miles widow Plaintiffs.
Impris Doe you knowe the Parties Plaintiffs and Defendants, or either and which of them? And did you knowe William Howell als Powell late of Michael Church Escly in the County of Hereford yeoman decd? How long has he beene dead? And did you knowe John Price father of Thomas Price who was father of John Price decd, the Deft James Price the infants father; How long is it since they the said John Price the Grandfather, Thomas Price the Father and John Price his son, father of the Defent, dyed respectively? And did you know John Powell late of Greenway in the County of Hereford yeoman? Declare the Truth at large.
Item. Did you see the Deed of Indenture of Mortgage bearing Date the sixteenth day of April in the sixth yeare  of the Reighn of King Charles the first, and made or mentioned to be made betweene William Powell and Joane his wife of the one parte, and John Powell of the other parte. And alsoe one other Deed of Release of the Equity of Redemption therein mentioned both now produced and shewn to you signed and sealed by the said William Powell and Joane his wife; Are you a witnesse to the same Deeds or are you acquainted with the hand writing or character of the said William Powell and Joane his wife, or with the hand writing of all or any the witnesses to the said Deeds, [above this last line is a line written in another hand too faint to read] And is the name William Powell and Joane Powell of their owne handwriting or mark, or are the names of all or any of the witnesses indorsed thereon, or soe many of them as you did knowe of the proper handwriting of such of them whose names the same purport to be, as you knowe or believe, And are they living or dead as you knowe or believe? Declare the truth at large.
Item. Were you psent or doe you knowe that the Consideration money in the said Deede of Release mentioned were paid to the said William Powell, as the same is therein Expressed, Declare what you knowe in Relation to the same, And what have heard the said William Powell acknowledge in his life time concerning his Receiving the same, And who has beene in possession thereof or received the Rents Issues and Proffitts thereof, ever since the Deed of Release aforesaid was made; or how long since is it since those under whome this Defent the Infant claims the same first entered thereon, who has beene Tenants thereto, and to whom have they paid theire Rent respectively? Declare the best of your knowledge and Beliefe..
Item. Are you acquainted with the handwriting of John Price the Defdts Great Grandfather and Charles Jenninges both in the Deeds now produced and shewn to you named, the one Deede bearing Date the fourth of March in the seaventh yeare  of the Reign of the late King Charles the first, the other bearing Date the sixth of June in the thirteenth yeare  of the said late King Charles the firsts reigne; and made betweene the said John Price of the one parte and the said Charles Jennings of the other parte, both purporting to be mortgages of the prmisses therein mentioned, Did you see the said Deedes respectively signed and sealed by the said parties, either , and which of them, are you a wittnesse to them or either of them. Doe you knowe the Handwriting of all or any of them the said John Price and Charles Jennings or either and which of them, or with the Hand writing of all or any of the witnesses subscribed to the said Deed, or either and which of them. Or are the named of soe many of the said witnesses as you did knowe of the proper Handwriting or marke of such of them whose names the same purport to be as you knowe or believe, and are they living or dead? Declare the truth at large.
Item. Doe you knowe of any mortgage that was made by Walter Morgan Guardian to the said John Price the Deft James’ father, and the said John Price to John Lewis of the prmisses in question, how long since the said mortgage was executed, of what date is the same and how much money was there taken up upon the said mortgage, is the said mortgage since paid, Declare by whom and how long as near as you can remember, and who hath ever since enjoyed and from whom and under what title are the said prmisses enjoyed, and from whom discended and what kin is the Defent James Price the Infant to John Price who mortgaged the prmisses in question about fifty yeares since to Charles Jeninmgs. Declare who was his father, Grandfather, and Great Grandfather, and how long they have enjoyed the prmisses in questioin, or what other matter or thing you knowe touching the matter in question on the part of the Defent. Declare the truth to the best of your knowledge , [above this last line is a line written in another hand too faint to read] rememberance and beliefe.
Item. Doe you knowe of any and what settlement was made of the prmisses in question by the father of the Defent James Price the infant, on his marriage with Margaret his then wife, what Date are the said Deedes of Settlement, betweene whom made, what was the said settlement for, to what uses and Trusts, Declare, are you a witness to the said Deeds, who are witnesses besides you, declare theire names, and if they subscribed theire names as witnesses thereto, in your precnce and whether the said Deeds were executed on the days and times the same purport to beare date, and whether the Jointure thereby granted was not settled upon valuable considerations, and what portion did the said John Price receive with the Defent James’ mother. Declare the truth at large to the best of your knowledge rememberance and beliefe.
Item. [Follows four lines in another hand too faint to read]
Deposicons and sayeings of witnesses pduced sworn and examined upon Thursday the Twentieth day of January in the second yeare  of the raigne of our soveraigne Lord James the Second by the Grace of God of England & att the dwelling house of Wm Watkins of the parish of Michell Church in the County of Hereff Innkeeper By virtue of a [Couse?] Issued out of his Mayties Court of Excheqr att Westmr to us Charles Price Esq, Wm Morgan, John Kidley and Henry Bayley Gent Directed for the examinacon of witnesses in a cause there depending att Issue wherein Edmond Price and Margarett his wife Joan Myles Widd Complt agt James Price an Infant Deft before us Charles Price Esq, Wm Morgan & John Kidley Gent Comisioners
Walter Phillipps of the pish of Kenderchurch in the County of Heref Gent aged sixty eight yeares or thereabouts a witness pduced sworne & examined on the Defts behalfe Deposeth and saythe as followeth. To the first Interrie this Depont sayth that hee ptly knows the Compltts and did know William Houell als Powell but knoweth not how long it is since his decease and did also know John Price the Defts Great Grandfather Thomas Price his Grandfather and John Price his father but knoweth not how long it is since their severall and respective deceases nor did he know John Pouell of Greenway in that Interrie named.
To the second Interrie this Depont sayth that as to ye Indenture of Mortgage now pduced unto him at this the time of his examination beareing date the sixteenth day of April in the sixth yeare  of the Raigne of King Charles the first of ever blessed memory made & or mentioned to be made betweene William Houell and Johan his wife of the one parte and John Pouell of the other parte hee believes the body of the said Deede was writt by one Thomas Greene sonne unto one John Greene both reputed to bee attorneys att lawe and Emminent Conveyancers and believes the named John Greene indorsed the same as a witness was the proper hand writing of the said John Greene and the reason of such this Depont believes for that hee hath beene for these thurty yeares past and upwards employed for drawing of Conveyances between pty and pty whereby hee had ye pursuall of several antcient deedes and writing and upon pursuall of such deedes and writing this depont was informed by the prties therein contained that several of the said deedes there drawne by the said John Greene and several others by his said sonne Thomas Greene but did not know either of them to the best of his rememberance And this depont also sayth that hee knows one William David Deced who was in his lifetime a [?] Clerke for drawing of Conveyances and believes ye parchmt now produced unto him purporting a Release or conveyance of the equity of Redempcon bearing date the eighteenth day of January in the seaventh yeare  of the Raigne of our said late soveragne Charles the first & made or mentoned to be made betweene the said William Houell of the one pte and ye said John Price the Defts Great Grandfather of the other partein the body thereof was the handwriting of the said William David And this depont also sayth the thee knows James Coode Deced and believes the named James Coods indorsed aa a witness [?] upon the said deede to bhe the said James Coodes handwriting being very well acquainted with him and his handwriting and living with him for severall yeares in the same parish.
To the fifth Interrie this depont sayth that the pchmt schedule dated the nine & twentieth day of September one thousand six hundred & sixty and five now produced unto him att the time of his examination is his own handwriting and did see the several Deedes or writings menconed therein att the time of the making the same schedule and tooke particular notice of the name of the parties therein concerned and the several dates of the said deeds or writings to which schedule this depont for more certainty refers to himselfe. Wat: Phes.
Thomas Watkins of Michell Church Escley in the county of Heref Gent aged seaventy yeares or thereabouts a witness pduced sworn and exaimined on the Defts behalfe deposeth and sayeth as followeth.
To the first Interrie this depont sayth hee knows and did know the severall pties in that Interiie named and of the said John Price the Defts Great Grandfather hath beene dead thirty yeares or thereabouts.
To the third Interrie this Depont sayth hee hath heard and believes that ye said John Price and Charles Jennings and those who claymed under him the said John Price held and enjoyed the said premises in question and Reced the rents issues and pfitts of the same since the said Mortgage money were paid unto ye said John Powell of the Greenway the same pmises being rated in Pish Rate att Eight pounds or thereabouts.
Rowland Jennings of the pish of Clodock in the County of Heref Gent aged about sixty yeares a witness pduced sworn and examined on the Defts behalfe deposeth and sayeth as followeth.
To ye first Interie this depont sayth that hee knoweth the parties plts and Defents and did also know all the persons in this Interrie named except John Pouell.
To the fouerth Interrie this Depont sayth that hee doth verily beleeeve that the names Rowland Jennings and Thomas Jennings subscribed as witnesses to the Deede bearing date the foureth Day of March in the Eleventh year  of King Charles the first and now pduced unto him at this the time of his examinatcon are the proper handwriting of the said Rowland Jennings and Thomas Jennings late deced and the reason of theis depont beleeves therein is because ye said Rowland and Thomas Jennings were his Uncles and did see them several times write their names and this depont further sayth and doth believe that the named Rowland Jennings and one or other Thomas Jennings subscribed as witnesses to a deede pduced to this depont at the time of his examinacon dated the sixth day of June in the thirteenth yeare  of King Charles the first made between John Price of the one pte and Charles Jennings of the other part is the proper handwriting of ye said Rowland Jennings and Thomas Jennings.
Sybill Pitt of Michaell Church in the County of Hereff widow aged seaventy yeares or thereabouts a witness pduced sworn and examined on the Defts behalfe deposeth and sayth as followeth.
To the first Interrie this depont sayth that shee doeth and did know all the pties in this Interrie named (except John Powell)
To the third Interrrie this depont sayth that Thomas Price the Defts Grandfather and those that claymed under him held and enjoyed and reced the rents of the one moiety of the pmisies in question for forty yeares and upwards as shee believes and also thereof those under him clayming held enjoyed & reced the rents issues and profits of then other moiety of the said prmises ever since the decease of Jane Howell the said William Howells late Mother who hath beene dead neere forty years as this depont believes and the reason why she believes the said possion to be in the said Thomas Price and those clayming under him as for that she living for some pte of the said time in the said parish in which the same lands lye and heard and believes yt the tennts paid theire rents to him or those clayming under him and this depont and her husband being tennts of ye said lands in question for about seaven and twenty yeares being there pte of the said forty yeares.
William Harry Thomas Parry of the pish of Abbott Doore in the County of Heref yeoman aged seaventy yeares or thereabouts a witness pduced sworn and examined on the Defts behalfe deposeth and sayth as follloweth.
To the first Interrrie this depont sayth that hee knows the pties Complt and did not know John Price the Defts Great Grandfather Thomas Price his Granfather and John Price his father and believes the said John Price the Great Grandfather of the Deft hath been dead forty yeares & upwards.
To the second Interrie this depont sayth that he heard the said John Price the Defts Great Grandfather made a certaine writing to ye said Wm Houell which purported a writing for the sale of the lands in question and att the same time the said John Price puld out of a purse or sachell a sume of money upon a table amounting unto forty pounds att the hall as he believes as the consideratcon money for the said lands and the said William Houell did then deliver the said writing to ye said John Price & seemed to be very well satisfied therewith And also this depont sayth that James Cood was then present and for what this depont knows writt his name there to as witness and there was also in the same place and present when the same writing was dated. Phillip James this depont and severall others who are all since deade and this depont also sayth that when the said consideracon money was paid there was a shilling amongst the same wch the said John Price ordered his wife to change the said money being sold and delivered to ye said Wm Howell in a bagg or sachell the said John Price asked him what hee would doe with them who answered that hee sould pay them to one John Powell of the Greenway the said John Price then answered that it was not the agreement for that the same were to goe towards his mainetenance soe the said money were returned to the said John Price.
Signed Wllm Harry Tho Parry.
Phillipp Vaughan of the pish of Backton in the County of Heref Gent aged forty foure yeares or thereabouts a witness pduced sworn and examined on the defts behalfe deposeth & sayth as followeth.
To the first Interiie this depont sayeth that hee knows Edmond Price and the Complaynts and knew John Price the Defts late father.
To the second Interrie this depont sayth that hee believes the name James Cood indorsed as a witness upon the backe of the conveyaunce or Rebate of the Equity of Redempcon now pduced unto him at this the time of his examination beareing date the eighteenth day of January in the seaventh yeare  of the Raigne of our late soveraigne Charles the first of ever blessed memory made or mentconed to be made betweene the said William Houell of the one pte and John Price the Defts Great Grandfather of the other pte is the pp [proper] hand writing of ye said James Cood deced And this depont also sayth that hee knew the said James Cood very well being a neere relation of his and having seene him write him write his name as a witness to severall writings att severall times hath sd reason to believe ye same to be his hand writing the said James Cood being a man of very good repute soe [?] this depont very believes hee would not write his name to any writing or conveyance unless he had seene the same signed sealed and duly executed.
Maud Harries of the pish of Clodock in the County of Heref: Widdow aged seventy Seaven yeares or thereabouts a witness pduced sworn and examined on the Defts behalfe deposeth and sayth as followeth.
To the first Interrrie this depont sayth that shee knows the pties Complt Defent and did know the said William Howell als Powell in that Interrie named and John Price the defts Great Grandfather & Thomas Price the Grandfather and John Price his father and believes the said John Price the Great Grandfather of the defent hath beene dead about three & thirty yeares being a Daughter of the said John Price the Defts Great Garndfather.
To the second Interrie this Depont sayth that shee sawe ye consideracon money for the lands in question upon the table in the said John Prices the Defts Great Grandfathers house and believes the same sume was forty pounds or thereabouts which were afterwards delivered by the said John Price to ye said William Howell in a great Purse whereupon the said John Price asked the said William Howell what he would doe with ye same money who replyed that hee gave them backe to ye said John Price to pay one John Powell of the Greenway who this depont believes had a mortgage upon the premises in question (or words to ye effect) And also this depont sayth that shee believes and hath heard that ye said John Price the Great Grandfather of the depont, Charles Jennings, Walter Morgan, Joan lewis and others who claymed the prmses in question under the said John Price had the possion and reced the Rents issues and profits of one Moyety of the prmises in question ever since ye payment of the said money and the other Moyety thereof even unto the decease of Jane Howell the said William Howells Mother & who hath beene deade about twenty years to the best of her this deponts rememberance.
Wm: Morgan Signed
Jon. Kidley Maud Harries
This is part of a series of documents relating to a complex case in the Court of Chancery c.1686 over the ownership of Michaelchurch Mill following transactions that took place c.1664. The relevance of the various deeds referenced above dating c.1632 is not clear, and there is some uncertainty about the overall circumstances surrounding the dispute, because of apparent contradictions in various Court papers over such fundamentals as the dates and nature of certain events and the identities of the various members of the Price and Howell families referred to.