BILL OF COM­PLAINT AND AN­SWER, 1595

Records of a case raised by Es­sex labourer James Chip­per­field are held at The Na­tional Ar­chives (C 2/Eliz/C1/29)

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BILL OF COM­PLAINT BY JAMES CHIP­PER­FIELD

Date

This will be in the top left-hand cor­ner (in Latin be­fore 1733).

Open­ing

Bills of­ten start with “Humbly com­plain­ing sheweth...”

Back­ground

The com­plainant named, “where” or “whereas” sig­ni­fies the back­ground to the case will fol­low, in which sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers may be named.

Name

The name of the com­plainant ap­pears on the first line.

De­tails

Af­ter the back­ground, “now” in­di­cates the body of the com­plaint has be­gun.

De­fen­dants

Their names then fol­low: here Ni­cholas, Ed­mond and Jo­han. Sur­names are of­ten given, too. In this case the de­fen­dants have al­ready been de­scribed in the body of the com­plaint: “Ni­cholas Farn­ham of Dux­ford co Es­sex yeo­man, Ed­mond Pake­man of Mal­don co Es­sex yeo­man and Jo­han his wife.”

AN­SWER OF NI­CHOLAS FARN­HAM

Names

The names of the de­fen­dants giv­ing this an­swer, and the names of the com­plainants, are given on the top line.

Dis­missal re­quest

Hav­ing sup­plied their full an­swer, de­fen­dants will of­ten ask for the case to be dis­missed.

Open­ing

De­fen­dants usu­ally open by deny­ing that there is any truth in the bill of com­plaint.

An­swers

They then go on to an­swer each point that has been raised, ac­knowl­edg­ing it to be true or un­true, adding in their own in­for­ma­tion.

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