Snitterfield deeds: Phillips of Welcombe
Exemplification of a Bill and Answer, together with Depositions of witnesses, in Chancery, Thomas Coventry, complainant and Dame Elizabeth Hales and others, defendants, concerning title to hereditaments in Snitterfield. The Records of the Court dated 28th November 1668 showing that a Bill directed to the Right Honourable Sir Orlando Bridgeman, baronet and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England complained that the Sir Stephen Hales was seized of the Manor and hereditaments in Snitterfield together with a moiety of the tithes and that by Indenture dated 30th April 1664 (see DR38/39) between Sir Stephen Hales of one part and Daniel Dunn of the other part whereby Sir Stephen Hales covenanted with and granted to Daniel Dunn and his heirs for ever that he Sir Stephen Hales would stand seised of the Manors of Snitterfield, Bearley, Commins and Luscombe with appurtenances with all hereditaments of the said Sir Stephen Hales therein together with all those lands at Canterbury belonging to the said Sir Stephen Hales to the use of Dame Elizabeth Hales and her heirs for ever upon trust nevertheless to pay after his death theretofore following legacies :- £5 to each of the following to buy each of them a ring John Stanton of Longbridge, gentleman (uncle of Sir Stephen Hales), Abigail Booth and Anne Holbeck, widows (aunts of the said Sir Stephen Hales and sisters of John Stanton), Abigail Hales (sister of Sir Stephen Hales and wife of James Hales of Foleshill), Thomas Hales, esquire (son and heir of Sir John Hales late of London knight), and Stephen and Thomas Stanton (brothers of said John Stanton), to Robert Mead of Snitterfield, yeoman £50, and that lands should be purchased of the value of £100 to be employed for the benefit of the poor of Snitterfield, and should satisfy all debts of the said Sir Stephen Hales owing at his death. With power reserved to Sir Stephen Hales to alter or revoke by deed or will the estate so limited. And reciting the Will of Sir Stephen hales dated 2nd September 1668 whereby he devised to Dame Elizabeth his wife and her heirs for ever all his real property etc. of which hereditaments should die possessed upon the trust of the above recited deed of 30th April 1664 to pay legacies and debts and upon further trust out of the rents of the hereditaments in Canterbury to pay to Henry Chelsey "my trusty and faithful servant the yearly sum of £10" for life, also bequeathing all his personal property to Dame Elizabeth and appointing her sole Executrix. Signed in the presence of George and Ralph Sheldon, William Booth and Thomas Homer. Reciting death of Sir Stephen Hales shortly after making the above Will in 1668 and that by virtue thereof Dame Elizabeth was seised of the Manors etc. of Snitterfield etc. and that she had made an agreement with Thomas Coventry for the sale of the Manor of Snitterfield with all appurtenances, the estate of the late Sir Stephen Hales to the said Thomas Coventry for £14,500 and that the said Thomas Coventry being induced to believe that Sir Stephen Hales had power to make such an Indenture or Will as recited and that the premises were free from incumbrances agreed to pay 'so greate a sum of money as aforesaid' but that then some rumours were spread abroad that one John Stanton, gentleman son and heir of Elizabeth theretofore wife of Jno. Stanton, gentleman deceased and eldest sister of Charles Hales, esquire father of Sir Stephen Hales, William Booth, gentleman in right of Abigail his wife, second sister of the said Sir Charles Hales and Anne Holbeck, widow, third sister of the said Sir Charles Hales who were heirs at law to the said Sir Stephen Hales by competency together then pretended that the said Indenture of 30th April 1664 was revoked and that the said Sir Stephen Hales was not of sound disposing mind at the time of making his Will and reciting that the property was encumbered by Mortgages described in DR38/37, DR38/38 DR38/40) and that Dame Elizabeth had encumbered the property since the death of Sir Stephen Hales and had refused to discover the same Incumbrances and praying the specific performance of the contract for sale to Thomas Coventry might be granted. The Answer of William Booth, Dame Elizabeth Hales, John Stanton, Anne Holbeck and Thomas Coventry to Bill of Complaint dated 30th November 1668 and Interrogations and Depositions of witnesses made and taken at Warwick 16th March 1669 before John Lax, Edward Owen, gentleman, Jno. Wagstaffe, esquire and Nathaniel Cookes, gentleman by virtue of a Commission directed out of Chancery in the said cause. Depositions of the said Nath. Cookes (50 years), Fra. Knottisford of Studley esquire (44 years), Thos. Aubrey of London gentleman (37 years), Ralph Sheldon gentleman, one of the sons of Edward. Sheldon of Stratton, Glos. (21 years), Geo. Sheldon of Westcoat, Glos. esquire (40 years), William Booth of Wilton, Warwickshire, esquire (45 years) and Thos. Horner of the same place, gentleman (23 years).