Star Chamber pleadings generally consisted
of the initial bill of complaint, followed
by the answer, and sometimes further replications
and rejoinders. The answer was a written statement
by the defendant refuting the complaint.
Bill of complaint
Star Chamber pleadings
generally consisted of the bill of complaint,
the answer, the replications and the rejoinder.
The bill of complaint was a written petition
explaining the plaintiff's grievances and the
wrong he claimed the defendant had done him
and the damages he had sustained. Bills often
exaggerated the violence in order to make the
case a matter of public disorder (and therefore
a matter for the royal courts) rather than
a private complaint.
A person defending themselves against a complaint
or suit in a court of law, as opposed to the
plaintiff, who is the person making the complaint.
A village in the west of the Isle of Wight,
two miles south-west of Yarmouth.
Henry VIII was born at Greenwich on 28 June
1491. He was the second son of Henry VII and
Elizabeth of York. His elder brother Prince
Arthur died in 1502, making Henry heir to the
throne, to which he succeeded on 21 April 1509.
Desperate for a male heir to secure the Tudor
succession, Henry VIII had six wives. During
the English Reformation Henry became head of
the Church in England, repudiating papal supremacy,
and closed down the monasteries. The monastic
lands were sold off and the revenues went to
the Crown. Henry died at Whitehall in London
on 28 January 1547, and was buried in St George's
Chapel in Windsor Castle.
A term applied to styles of handwriting that
mix letter-forms from different distinct hands,
such as secretary hand and legal hands.
A document submitted by the defendant to counter
the plaintiff's replication. It consisted either
of a general refutation of the plaintiff's
case or a more detailed pleading countering
every point made by the plaintiff.
A document submitted
by the plaintiff in response to the defendant's
answer. It consisted either of a short general
denial of the defendant's answer, or a more
detailed pleading in which the plaintiff countered
each point made in the answer. It might introduce
new facts and circumstances but it could not
alter the basic case.
The Star Chamber was effectively the king's
council sitting as a tribunal to enforce law
and order. It was named after the room in the
palace of Westminster where the council met,
which had a blue ceiling painted with gold
stars. The Star Chamber became a separate court
of law after 1485. It investigated cases of
public disorder, official corruption, municipal
and trade disputes, fraud, and disputes over
the enclosure of land.
Star Chamber cases frequently allege public disorder,
such as riots, forcible entry and assault,
but many of them were in fact private disputes
about rights to property. After the Star Chamber
was abolished in 1641 its records were stored
in two places. Those kept in the Star Chamber
itself are now at The National Archives. Those
stored at the Star Chamber Office at Gray's
Inn have not survived.
Wadham, Sir Nicholas
Sir Nicholas Wadham (died 1541) was created
captain of the Isle of Wight by Henry VIII
in 1509. Wadham's second wife Margaret was
an aunt of Jane Seymour and the Protector Somerset.
His grandson by his first wife was Nicholas
Wadham who, with his wife Dorothy, founded
Wadham College, Oxford.