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The theatrical and other misdeeds of William Appowell, Priest.

IN November 1584, the Diocese of Bath and Wells accused the vicar of Marston Magna of misdeeds the most serious of which had to do with a puppet show. Marston Magna is a village in Somerset, and the vicar there since 1572 was William Appowell, who was often called simply William Powell. "Powell" is a Welsh name and "Ap" the Welsh equivalent of "Mc" in Scottish and Irish names. The diocese supposed that (to reverse the order of the famous clauses in the Prayer Book) he had done those things which he ought not to have done, and he had left undone those things which he ought to have done.

The diocese brought a case against Appowell in its Consistory Court, which met in the Cathedral at Wells, and the documents of the case provide everything known about Appowell's alleged misconduct. Nearly all these documents are depositions in which deponents answered "articles" drawn up by the diocese. The articles do not survive, but the answers to them suggest much of what they asked.

Early in the proceedings of 20 November 1584, the diocese summoned Appowell to appear. Presumably somebody rode pell mell for Marston Magna, some twenty miles away, and Appowell rode pell mell back, for as the last item of business on that day he was in the cathedral to answer a group of six articles that the Diocese put to him (hereafter group 1). (1)

In answer to the first article, Appowell began by saying that "he was in Come wells." Then he had the clerk line out "Come wells" and write "Glaston" (that is, Glastonbury) instead. He was there, he went on, "at the signe of the Harte in January aboute ij yeares since & confesseth that there was poppett playenge," but (in Latin) he believed the article otherwise to be untrue. His answer to the second prompted the clerk to write "vt supra"--as above, and add that otherwise Appowell believed the assertions in this article also to be untrue. Appowell thought those in the third article untrue as well but did not hint at what they were. Evidently the first two and maybe the third asked whether he had done improper things at a puppet show in an unspecified place and asked when and where the show had taken place. "Come wells" must mean Combe Wells, a name now unknown by which Appowell probably meant Walcombe, then and now a hamlet less than a mile north of the Cathedral. People named Marchaunt were prominent tenants there in 1477 and still in 1645, two of whom in 1580 were William Marchaunt senior and junior: (2) soon in 1584 a William Marchaunt would tell the Consistory Court that he knew Appowell well. The sign of the Hart in Glastonbury was an inn on the south side of the High Street, opposite the Glastonbury Tribunal, that in the 1650s became a coaching inn called the White Hart (or so the plaque on one of the present buildings there and another on the Crown farther down the street suggest).

In answering the fourth and fifth articles, Appowell recounted a business meeting one evening six or seven years before at Ilchester, a small town about five miles west of Marston Magna. He had heard while in the town that the wife of one Mocksedge was suing him about a horse he had bought from her husband and for which he had not paid. He and three or four of his neighbors, "honest Comepany" who included George Taswell, Nicholas Cutler, and Silvester Mewe, went to her house to talk to her "thereaboute." While they were talking, the constable of the town arrived at the house and apparently for no reason took Appowell and "the woman" to prison and in the morning set him in the town stocks. Appowell then dismissed the sixth article as untrue without hinting at the question.

If Appowell thought these answers sufficient, he was wrong. The case was by now in the hands of William Watkins, diocesan procurator, who at a sitting of the court on 4 December 1584, announced new articles. The court summoned Appowell to appear again on 12 December, then decided that he could do so on 9 December. There would be twenty new articles divided into two groups (hereafter groups 2 and 3). Group 2 consisted of seventeen articles to show that Appowell had done things in his private life improper for a clergyman to do. The events at the puppet show were obviously the most important part of this case, since the diocese devoted the first four substantive articles and one other to it (nos. 2-5, 8) and dealt with other accusations in one or two articles each. Two articles concerned the doings in Mistress Mocksedge's house (nos. 9-10). Group 3 consisted of three articles to show that Appowell did not perform his pastoral duties as he should, either.

Watkins found ten deponents including Appowell to provide answers to these new articles. (3) In a paragraph above each deposition except Appowell's, the Diocese noted where the deponent lived and for how long, where he was born, and how long and how well he knew Appowell. Deponents, also called jurates, were supposed to distinguish direct knowledge from hearsay, and each wrote his mark or signature after his last answer. All ten men answered articles in group 2, but none answered more than six from direct knowledge except Appowell, who answered them all so. Four men who had also answered articles in group 2, including Appowell, answered articles in group 3, but only Appowell answered all three from direct knowledge. Altogether, the case against Appowell consists of twenty-six articles to which ten men made fifteen depositions comprising fifty-six answers from direct knowledge and thirty-eight from hearsay. Only Appowell answered articles in all three groups of them. (In the appendix below see the list of deponents and the articles to which they gave answers.) One clerk wrote the document having to do with the articles of group 1 and another the documents having to do with the articles of groups 2 and 3. Their rule was to write the headings to depositions in Latin and the answers to articles in English, but even in writing the answers they often strayed into Latin. Neither referred to Marston Magna by those words: the first called it Merston, the other "Brod Merston"--Broad Marston, a common name for the place at the time.

The court need not have concerned itself with whether Appowell could appear on 9 or 12 December. The order summoning him occurs early among the acts of 4 December, and, nothing loath as before, he was in Wells Cathedral to answer the articles of group 2 as the last act on that same day. (4) Other deponents were not so eager, and perhaps the articles of group 3 were not ready. In any event, on 15 December nine others answered the articles of group 2, and Appowell and three others also answered those of group 3 (5)--evidently at a special sitting, since 15 December was a Tuesday and the court met regularly on Fridays.

The first article of group 2 asked if something quite general was true, and all ten deponents said that it was--since the clerk wrote for each of them only "deponit [or respondet] eundem esse verum," he deposes, or replies, that the same (article) is true. The last asked whether the deponent had told the truth, since the clerk wrote for each except Appowell, "deponit quod praedeponita per eum sunt [or esse] vera," he deposes that the above depositions by him are true. Appowell made the article a chance for further denial. The clerk wrote for him, "respondet quod Credit Creditio et negat[ivo] negative," meaning, apparently: he replies that he believes not and (the article) not credible. These two articles are not counted in the totals above. What article 16 asked is obscure because nobody answered it at length, though Appowell denied the accusation in it and five others said from hearsay that the accusation was true. (6)

Unlike the articles of group 1, those of group 2 specified where the puppet show had occurred, for the deponents invariably described the place as the "articulated" house. Coincidentally, in doing so they rendered the identity of that place a problem here. The articles also asked particularly when the puppet show had taken place, and they explained what the diocese supposed Appowell had done there and sought confirmation. They suggest, therefore, that the puppet show at the Hart in Glastonbury was not the one the diocese had in mind.

Appowell dismissed the first of these new articles about the puppet show by admitting "that he was ther" and by saying that otherwise he did not believe the article to be true. For his answer to the second, the clerk wrote only "similiter"--similarly, and for his answers to the three other articles only that he did not believe the articles to be true in anything. Two men from Queen Camel, the village a mile and a half north of Marston Magna, however, were less costive.

They were William Marchaunt and Edward Stone, who had known Appowell for fourteen and ten years and knew from personal knowledge that the allegations in the articles were true. They were "personally presente" one night at a puppet show "in the house articulated ... aboute a xij monethes since," and each made a point of saying that he did not recall the exact time and day--or as the clerk wrote, "vt modo recolit et tempus et diem aliter perfecte non recordatur" (7)--though one (Marchaunt) said that it was "at the tyme of the sessions." Both "then and ther sawe the articulated Wim Appowell put his hande vnder the Coates of one woman" who was "standinge vppon a forme" according to Marchaunt, "vppon a benche" according to Stone. "And the Cause of all ther beinge ther was to see pappett players which was then and ther a handlinge" (Marchaunt), or merely "playinge" (Stone), together with minstrels, one of whom beat a tabret (a small drum).

Despite the person of the lady standing on the form or bench, Appowell apparently found the puppets boring, for presently while the show continued "in the hall" (Stone), Appowell got some minstrels including the one with the tabret to accompany him to the parlor in the same building. There the minstrels played and Appowell danced with "diuers women ... and at the ende of the daw[n]ces he kissed them." Appowell then sat by the fire with the wife of one Hawkes of Glastonbury, "a Candle burninge ther & almoste spent." Finally, when others "were at the Doore [of the parlor] mindinge to Comme in," Appowell "percevinge it, Conveyed the said woman out at a backe Doore of the said parlor," and Marchaunt added, "to what ende this depont knoweth not." Three other deponents, John Hurford, Peter Higdon, and William Wyseman, also thought the assertions in these articles true but only from hearsay. None of the ladies, however, complained, at least formally. Another article (no. 8) went over the same ground, for both Marchaunt and Stone said that they had answered it in answering nos. 2-5.

The diocese called on a former constable of Ilchester and his bailiff to answer the new articles about the doings in the Mocksedge house at Ilchester that led Appowell to the stocks there (nos. 9-10). They were Thomas Jeffery and Jerome Busshopp both of Ilchester, the first now a tailor, and the second now a husbandman, neither of whom may have known Appowell before. (8) Appowell, it seems, was not paying for a horse. Jeffery and Busshopp went to the "articulated" house of Joan Mocksedge one night six or seven years ago in response to a hue and cry. It was "suspected to be a very bad house for harbowringe of evill suspected persons." Inside they found Joan and two "strange" women, one of whom "was knowen to be a bad woman for that she had a Childe out of wedloke." They also found Appowell, and the "Coates" of the strange women "were at that tyme vnbraced but to what intent this depont [Jeffery] knoweth not." When Jeffery and Busshopp tried to take Appowell away "mindinge to examyne hym concerninge his beinge ther at so vndecent a tyme," he escaped and ran into the nearby house of Robert Bowringes. Jeffery and Busshopp, however, "imediatly tooke hym agayne" in that house "and put hym in to the shiere hall vntill the morninge," when Jeffery put him in the town stocks. After releasing Appowell, presumably later in the day, Jeffery put the two strange women in the stocks. Appowell had been put in the stocks because he had been found in a house of ill repute.

Though small, Ilchester was effectually the county town because the county jail was there. It was also one of the four towns where the quarter sessions of the county took place in turn before the assembled magistrates and justices of the peace of the county. Shire Hall was the public building where the sessions took place. It was also called Sessions Hall and was in the center of the town on the site of the present Town Hall. The stocks were in the market place in front of it, and the jail was some hundred yards north of the market place. (9)

Appowell began his new account of his adventures in Joan Mocksedge's house by saying that he had gone there "for no evill purpose and that was the firste time and the laste." But he now said nothing about paying for a horse, and the three "honest" men who were there with him in his former account became five with diferent names: Thomas Cummocke, Thomas Stone, another man named Stone, Walter Comnocke, and Thomas Morgan. The constable found Appowell and these men in the company of Joan Mocksedge and "thothr suspected woman but whethr they [the women] were vnbraced this respondent remembreth not." He was then committed to Shire Hall "and the same nighte was put in stockes wth one Morgan. And in the Morninge the said women were also togethr wth this respondent Committed to the stockes."

Although a great many people resorted to litigation at the time, seven of the nine deponents who answered articles in group 2 on 15 December 1584, implied that a clergyman should not do so or encourage others to do so. A clergyman should especially not sue his parishioners. Yet, they complained, Appowell had sued many people, including parishioners, in three ecclesiastical courts and urged others to follow his example. The courts were two Diocesan courts, the Consistory Court and Court of Audience, and the Archbishop of Canterbury's Court of Arches in London. Appowell sued his parishioners, presumably, for the fees they owed him. He had sued one deponent in all three courts (and won each time) and another in two of them. These lawsuits were obviously an important reason for the animus against Appowell, and William Hegdon, Hurford, Higdon, and Wyseman agreed that he was "a very troblous person" because of them. (10) Appowell merely said that the appropriate article (no. 15) was untrue.

"Very neere aboute the tyme" of the puppet show, Appowell urged Marchaunt to sue for money that Marchaunt should have received with his wife when they married. The money was owing because of an arrangement to which Appowell had been a witness. She was apparently the widow of Richard Wason, and the man to be sued was Thomas Wason, "her fathr in Lawe." Appowell told Marchaunt how to go about it, Marchaunt took the advice, and Wason was arrested. Then, however, according to Wyseman, who had the story from Marchaunt, Appowell encouraged Wason "to stand in Law" against Marchaunt. Marchaunt said that the original conversation between him and Appowell took place in Edward Stone's hearing in Glastonbury, but Stone said it took place somewhere in the two miles that lie between that town and Street (no. 6). Appowell also thought this article untrue.

Two other events that occurred at about the time of the puppet show also gave offense to the locals. Appowell challenged Marchaunt's accounting of money owing for merchandise that Marchaunt (who was a merchant) had supplied, and, having been shown Marchaunt's account book, Appowell then demanded more time to pay (no. 7). And Robert Clenche of Rimpton (a village about a mile and a half southeast of Marston Magna) saw Appowell so drunk at the Hart's Head in Wells "that he was not of hym self able to goe to his bedd" (nos. 11, 12). Appowell thought all these articles untrue. The Hart's Head, now the White Hart, is in Sadler Street opposite the great gate to Cathedral Green.

Four deponents, Hegdon, Hurford, Higdon, and Wyseman, did not like Appowell's treatment of a parishioner, Edward Sporle, at Easter, 1584 (no. 13). Sporle, a smith, went to the church on Easter eve to receive communion and to pay a fee of 3d. owing to Appowell, but Appowell "repelled" him and demanded 12d. Sporle said, "shall I not receive else," and Appowell answered "noe." Sporle returned on Easter day with the same result. Appowell then complained at the next visitation in the parish and managed to have Sporle excommunicated (no. 14). Appowell admitted that he had refused Sporle communion because Sporle did not "pay hym suche dutyes as were accustomably deue to hym." This quarrel became another case in the Consistory Court against Appowell in which a deponent said that in his presence Appowell "did demaunde all manner of tithes of the said Sporrle." (11)

The first of the three articles comprising group 3 accused Appowell of marrying specified people without having called the banns or procured a license. One deponent (Hurford) said that Appowell had married the people without banns but did not know whether he had done so without license. Another (Wyseman) had heard Marchaunt say that Appowell had married him without banns or license. Appowell said that he did marry the people without banns but with the approval of two diocesan judges, Dr. Jones and Mr. Upton. (12)

The second article accused him of corruption. Wyseman happened to be present when Appowell demanded five marks ([pounds sterling]3 6s. 8d.) of Thomas Wason to obtain a marriage license for him. Wason offered, as Wyseman thought, [pounds sterling]2. Appowell took the money saying that if he could get the license for that much he would, but if not he would perform the ceremony anyway--and keep the [pounds sterling]2. Appowell merely admitted that he had received "a Certaine somme of mony" from Wason "to obteyne" a marriage license, but how much he "now remembreth not."

The third accused him of not performing routine clerical duties. The three deponents apart from Appowell himself agreed that he did not say the divine service as often as he should, and that, in his absence, parishioners had the clerk say part of it. Two of them (Hurford and Higdon) said that he also did not instruct the youth of the parish as often as he should or read the Queen's injunctions as often or as fully as he should. These two and others then accused him of this last omission at the recent visitation in the parish, for which the visitor required Appowell to pay 12d. to the poor of the parish. Appowell answered that he does say the divine services "orderly" on Sundays, holidays, and weekdays "if he be not at London as" often "vppon occasion he hath ben." He also reads all the queen's injunctions quarterly, "vnlesse it be a ij Leeves of the booke wch ar broken out therof," and, yes, Dr. Cottington has required him to pay 12d. to the poor of the parish for not reading these leaves. (13)

Despite all this, Appowell came to no great harm. Although several further notes about the case survive, the last on 30 April 1585, (14) a judgment does not. The diocese must have let him off with a warning and required him to hire a curate to say services in his absence. For he remained vicar of Marston Magna until he died, and Robert Traske signed the membranes of the parish registers as curate until then. Appowell, "vicar of the parishe," was buried at Marston Magna on 3 April 1597, and John Googe replaced him as vicar "per mortem," on 1 July 1597. (15)


The case against Appowell raises two obvious problems. One concerns the puppet show at which witnesses said he amused himself under the "Coates" of a lady standing on a bench. Where and when did the show take place? The other concerns Appowell's surname. What did he call himself, and, since his surname seems to appear in at least five different ways, could the things attributed to him belong to more than one man? The editors of Records of Early English Drama (REED) offer solutions to both problems in their volumes for Somerset, (16) but their solutions do not inspire confidence.

On 20 November 1584, in answer to an article of group 1, Appowell said that he had innocently attended a puppet show at the Hart in Glastonbury (apparently an inn) in January two years before, in January 1583. Three and a half weeks later, however, on 15 December 1584, in answer to articles of group 2, Marchaunt and Stone said that they had seen Appowell misbehave at a puppet show, which, at the particular demand of the diocese, they said occurred "a xij monethes since," in the winter of 1583-84. Three other deponents accepted the thrust of the allegations in these articles, including inferences about the date, though they had not seen Appowell's misbehavior. Did either Appowell or Marchaunt and Stone supported by three other deponents simply lie about the date? The obvious insistence on the date in the articles of group 2 suggests that nobody lied: that diocesan officials had one show in mind and that Appowell at first preferred to assume they had another. There probably were, that is, two shows a year apart, the first at the Hart in Glastonbury, the second at a now obscure place. Appowell was at both, and the one to which the officials referred was the second, "a xij monethes since."

Moreover, Marchaunt and Stone suggested that the puppet show the Diocesan officials had in mind was not at Glastonbury when they described a woman at the show as the wife of one Hawkes of Glastonbury. They would not have identified the man by his residence if he had been a local.

Marchaunt said that the puppet show took place "at the tyme of the sessions," and Stone said that it took place "in the hall," which was near a parlor in the same building. The sessions were the quarter sessions of the county, held before county worthies over several days each quarter in one of the sessions towns. When surviving records begin in 1607, these towns were:
 Wells, for the Epiphany sessions, in the second or third week in
 Ilchester, for the spring sessions, in April,
 Taunton, for the summer sessions, in late June or July,
 Bridgwater, for the autumn sessions, in mid-September. (17)

Since in 1569 the Ilchester sessions occurred in April, (18) this scheme may also have applied at least to Ilchester in the latter part of the sixteenth century.

Sessions time would have been a useful way of dating an event if the event occurred in one of the sessions towns while the sessions were sitting there. It would also have been a useful way if the event occurred then in Ilchester, because at sessions time the officers of the county jail were busy producing prisoners and their documentation in court and discharging and receiving them as a result of court decisions. Marchaunt's remark, therefore, may suggest that his and Stone's puppet show took place in Wells or Ilchester in the second or third week of January 1584. Stone's saying that the show took place in a "hall" suggests a larger, more stately room than public rooms in inns usually were. The public hall with which two men from Queen Camel would be most familiar was Shire Hall in Ilchester, where for a night five or six years before the town constable and his bailiff had imprisoned Appowell as a found-in.

In April 1266, when Shire Hall was to be repaired, it was called "the king's house at Ilchester where the pleas of the county are held," and in a document of about 1530 purporting to copy one of 1476, it was called "Regiam Aulam vocatam le sherhaule." In 1669, the town rented out the "Jury chamber" for 10s. a year and in the 1670s "the Grand Jury Chamber" for 20s. a year. The hall may have been rebuilt ca. 1700, though no good evidence says so. In a drawing by a local man, Charles Lockyer, published in 1724, it is a single-story building with a pitched roof. It was rebuilt in 1812-16 into a two-story building recognizable as the present Town Hall, which has been extensively refurbished in recent years. It is, and Lockyer's drawing shows that it was, a rectanglular building whose long dimension lies east and west and whose front door is roughly in the middle of the north side. East of the front door are single-story rooms, and west of it was until recently a two-story hall. (19) In the 1580s, socializing could have taken place in a parlor on the east side and a puppet show in a hall that rose into the rafters of a pitched roof on the west side.

The editors of REED conclude that there was only one puppet show, which in answering the first article of group 1 Appowell said occurred at the Hart in Glastonbury. In answering articles of group 2, therefore, Marchaunt and Stone meant the same show, and the editors add that "there is no disagreement" with Appowell "about the place." If, however, there is no disagreement, neither is there any agreement. Marchaunt and Stone did not say that the puppet show occurred at the Hart in Glastonbury or anywhere else other than in the "articulated" house. Marchaunt did say that an event occurred in Glastonbury, but the event was not a puppet show. It was his conversation with Appowell about litigation, mentioned in answer to article 6 of group 2, and Stone put the conversation not in Glastonbury but somewhere between that town and Street. The editors date their show in 1584, "possibly" in January. They admit that the remarks of the three men about the date clash but assume that by admitting the clash they resolve it. They think that Marchaunt's remark about the time of the sessions refers to Glastonbury because Wells is "nearby," but Wells is some six miles from Glastonbury across moors notoriously wet in January.

Moreover, the editors read the date of the main body of depositions in answer to the articles of groups 2 and 3 as 10 December rather than 15 December, and they miscount the deponents who answered the articles of group 2 on that day as eight rather than nine. They say that only two deponents responded to articles about the puppet show, but three more also did though only to agree with the accusations from hearsay. They say that Stone was twenty years old, though the heading of his deposition says he was forty (he had lived in Queen Camel twenty years).

According to the Bishop Gilbert Berkeley's register, (20) the name of the man he made vicar of Marston Magna on 8 August 1572, was William Howell. No other of the vicar's contemporaries, however, called him Howell, including many who should have known him better than the bishop or his clerks. He is always William Appowell or William Powell in the depositions reported here. He is William Appowell in the general heading introducing the depositions taken on 15 December 1584. In the headings to individual depositions, he is William Appowell seven times and in the depositions themselves nineteen times. He is William Powell in headings three times and in depositions nine times. In the headings to his own depositions, the vicar of Marston Magna is William Appowell twice and William Powell once. In court acts about the case beginning in November 1584 and continuing until the spring of 1585, he is William Appowell seven times and William Powell nine times. Once he is just Powell, once William Apphowell, and once William Phowell. He was buried as William Powell and replaced as William Powell, the late incumbent. Moreover, there were William Powells and Appowells active in the Diocese who were not vicar of Marston Magna. A William Powell, B.D., was a Diocesan dignitary who had just become archdeacon of Bath (on 1 April 1584) and died in 1614. Another William Powell became rector of Bathwick on 16 January 1586, and the Consistory Court pursued a William Appowell of Bresselton (Brislington?) in 1583. (21)

The vicar of Marston Magna's signatures at the ends of his depositions are much alike and, it seems, the only surviving examples of his handwriting. He began each signature by writing "per me Williamum." He then began his surname with a letter that looks like one of the forms people used for "H," like Hurford here. It could also be a reasonable if curious "P," because it looks like a majuscule version of the character he wrote to signify "per"--"p," that is, with an abbreviation sign. In the signatures at the ends of his first and third depositions, the letter does not have the preliminary curved downward stroke of the character in "per," but in that at the end of the second it does.

He meant to write, therefore, "P" probably with an abbreviation sign, hence "Appowell." He was careful about abbreviation signs in the way he wrote "Williamum." In all three signatures, he correctly used two abbreviation signs (one for "ia" and the other for "mu"), rather than one as many people would have done. Abbreviating "Ap" in this way seems odd, but it is reminiscent of the way the clerks who wrote the depositions regularly wrote, for example, "respondet." The abbreviation sign signifies not only "es," as one might expect, but also "p," and it is over not "r" or even "o" but "n."

The vicar of Marston Magna from 1572 to 1597 must have been one man who was officially called Appowell but was often, even by officials, called Powell. The bishop's clerks in 1572 may have written Howell because he wrote his surname with a letter they mistakenly took for "H." The editors of REED concur that he was one man, but like the bishop's clerks, they call him Howell. They also seem to think that he was the William Powell who was rector of Bathwick and committed parsonical attrocities in 1606, 1607, and 1610. The misdeeds of the vicar of Marston Magna, however, certainly ended with his demise in 1597, if not with his trial in 1584.


Appendix I

The deponents, together with biographical details mentioned in the headings above their depositions (on 15 December 1584), the articles to which each gave answers, where the answers appear (at the SRO), and how each signed himself. With one noted exception, the places mentioned are in Somerset.

William Appowell. No biographical details given except that he was a priest and the vicar of Marston Magna. Answers articles 1-6 in group 1, 2-17 in group 2 (D/D/Ca 90, 20 Nov. and 9 Dec. 1584), and 1-3 in group 3 (D/D/Cd 20, f. 19v)--all from direct knowledge. Signs with his name (three times).

Jerome Busshopp. Of Ilchester, husbandman, aged fifty-five; has lived in Ilchester forty years; born in Martock; knows Appowell well and has known him six years. Answers articles 9, 10 in group 2 from direct knowledge (D/D/Cd 20, f. 14). Says that six years ago he was the constable's bailiff in Ilchester. Signs with his mark.

Thomas Jeffery. Of Ilchester, tailor, aged seventy years; has lived in Ilchester forty years; born in Langport; knows Appowell well and has known him seven years. Answers articles 9, 10 in group 2 from direct knowledge (D/D/Cd 20, ff. 14v-15). Says that seven years ago he was the constable in Ilchester. Signs with his mark.

William Marchaunt. Of Queen Camel, merchant, aged thirty-four; has lived in Queen Camel twenty-two years; born in Yeovil; knows Appowell well and has known him fourteen years. Answers articles 2-7 in group 2 from direct knowledge, 16 from hearsay (D/D/Cd 20, f. 15). Signs with his name.

Edward Stone. Of Queen Camel, no occupation given, aged forty; has lived in Queen Camel twenty years; born in Somerset, perhaps near Long Burton, Dorset; (22) has known Appowell ten years. Answers articles 2-6 in group 2 from direct knowledge, 7 from hearsay (D/D/Cd 20, f. 16). Signs with his mark.

William Hegdon. Of Marston Magna, no occupation given, aged forty; has lived in Marston Magna all his life; knows Appowell well and has known him ten years. Answers articles 13, 15 in group 2 from direct knowledge (D/D/Cd 20, ff. 16v-17). Signs with his mark.

John Hurford. Of Marston Magna, yeoman, aged thirty-three; born in Marston Magna and has lived there all his life except for seven years; knows Appowell well and has known him seven years. Answers articles 13, 15 in group 2 from direct knowledge, 2-12, 14, 16 from hearsay; and articles 2, 3 in group 3 from direct knowledge (D/D/Cd 20, ff. 17, 20). Signs with his name (twice).

Peter Higdon. Of Marston Magna, husbandman, aged fifty; born in Marston Magna and has lived there all his life except for six years; knows Appowell well and has known him twelve years. Answers articles 13, 15 in group 2 from direct knowledge, 2-11, 16 from hearsay; and article 3 in group 3 (where his surname is spelled "Hegdon") from direct knowledge (D/D/Cd 20, ff. 17v-18, 20). Signs with his mark (twice).

William Wyseman. Of Barwick, sergeant, aged thirty; has lived in Barwick seven years; place of birth not given; knows Appowell well and has known him eighteen years. Answers articles 14, 15 in group 2 from direct knowledge, 2-10, 16 from hearsay; and articles 2-3 in group 3 from direct knowledge, 1 from hearsay (D/D/Cd 20, ff. 18, 20v-21). Signs with his name (twice).

Robert Clenche. Of Rimpton, husbandman, aged fifty; has lived in Rimpton all his life; knows Appowell well and has known him twelve years. Answers articles 11, 12, 15 in group 2 from direct knowledge, 16 from hearsay (D/D/Cd 20, f. 19). Signs with his mark.

Appendix II

The answers to the articles about a puppet show. "CO--" means crossed out and "M--" in the left margin. "I" and "J" are normalized as is the downward stroke at the ends of words signifying "s," "is," or "es." Abbreviations expressed by a superlinear letter appear without comment ("depont"); others are expanded in Italics if a sign appears ("quod") or in square brackets if not ("q[uo]d").

Appowell's Answers to the Articles of Group 1

Ad primum ar[ticu]lum [CO--respondet] et scedulam respondet that he was in [CO--Come (23) wells] Glaston at the signe of the Harte in January aboute ij yeares since & confesseth that there was poppett playenge et aliter non credit ar[ticu]lum et sced[ulam] esse verum in aliquo

Ad secundum ar[ticu]lum et scedulam annexam respondet vt supra et aliter non credit ar[ticu]lum esse verum.

Ad 3 ar[ticu]lum et scedulam [CO--annexam] respondet et credit eosdem non esse veros in aliquo.

Appowell's Answers to the Articles of Group 2

Ad secundum respondet [CO--that] that he was ther et aliter respondet [CO--negative] q[uo]d non Credit eundem esse verum

Ad tertium respondet similiter.

Ad quartum quintum sextum septimum et octavum respondet [CO--negative] q[uo]d non Credit eosdem esse veros in aliquo

Marchaunt's Answers to the Articles of Group 2

Super secundo deponit eundem esse verum et reddendo causam scientiae su[a]e dicit et deponit that he was personally presente in the house articulated togethr wth one Edward [CO--Stoninge] Stone [CO--wher and when aboute] at the tyme of the sessions in the night season aboute a xij monethes since vt modo recolit et tempus et diem aliter perfecte non recordatur And then and ther sawe the articulated Wim Appowell put his hande vnder the Coates of one woman beinge then and ther presente [M--standinge vppon a forme] but her name this depont knoweth not And the Cause of all ther beinge ther was to see pappett players which was then and ther a handlinge et aliter nescit deponere./

Super tertio deponit eundem esse verum for that he this deponent was in the parlor and sawe the minstrells playinge and the articulated Wim Appowell then and ther Daw[n]cinge wth diuers women whose names this iurate knoweth not and at the ende of the daw[n]ces he kissed them vt dicit et aliter nescit deponere./

Super quarto deponit That the articulated Wim Appowell at that tyme & while some parte of the pappett playinge was, was in the parlor of the said house wth one hawkes wief of Glastonbury sittinge by the ffiar ther and havinge a Candle burninge ther [M--& almoste spent] but to what ende they did so sitt ther this depont knoweth not./

Super quinto deponit eundem esse verum for that he [CO--hym selfe] this Deponent hym self Cominge in the parlor Doore saw the articulated Wim Powell putt the said woman out of a backe doore out of the said Doore to what ende [CO--in] this depont knoweth not et aliter nescit ...

Super octavo Nescit deponere q[ua]m[qua]m praedeposuit super secondo tertio quarto et quinto ar[ticu]lis materi[a]e.

Stone's Answers to the Articles of Group 2

Super secundo deponit that aboute a xij monethe agone vt modo recolit et tempus aliter perfecte non recordatur this deponent was personally presente in the house articulated together wth Wim Marchant his preconteste (24) beholdinge pappitt players wch was then in the said house wher and when he saw the articulated Wim Appowell beinge then and ther presente puttinge his hand vnder the Coates of [a] Certeine Woman standinge vppon a benche ther and beholdinge also the pappitts then and ther playinge but the name of the woman this depont knoweth not./ et aliter nescit deponere./

Super tertio deponit That at the tyme and place aforsaid he [CO--sawe the articulated Wim] this depont was personally presente when [sic] and when he sawe and hard the said Wim Powell request a minstrell that plaied one a tabrett to Comme in to the parlor of the said house to play ther who at his request did so And then the said Wim Appowell then and ther daunced wth diuers women that were then and ther presente wth hym./ et aliter nescit deponere./

Super quarto et quinto deponit That at the said tyme and in the same place [CO--after the Dawncinge was Donne this deponent] while the poppett playinge was in the hall or while some parte of it was the articulated Wim Powell was in the parlor of the said houss wth one hawkes his wief sittinge by the fiar ther et reddendo causam scientiae su[a]e Dicit that as by Chaunce this deponent did looke in to the parlor he saw them sittinge ther by the fier as aforsaid And that when diuers other persons were at the Doore mindinge to Comme in, he the said Wim Powell percevinge it, Conveyed the said woman out at a backe Doore of the said parlor. et aliter nescit ...

Super octavo Nescit deponere q[ua]m[qua]m praedeposuit super 2. 3. 4. et 5. ar[ticu]lis materi[a]e

The Answers of Others to the Articles of Group 2

[Hurford] Super 2. 3. 4. 5. ... 8. ... he hard it reported diuers tymes the same articles to be trewe./

[Higdon] Super secundo et tertio quarto quinto ... et octavo ... ex propria scientia nescit deponere, sed ex auditu deponit eosdem esse veros./

[Wyseman] Super 2. 3. 4 et 5. deponit ex auditu eosdem esse veros./


1. Somerset Record Office, Taunton (hereafter SRO), D/D/Ca 90 (one of the act books of the Consistory Court). The leaves of these books are unnumbered, but they are in chronological order under the date of each day's business. I cite, therefore, the day on which an act occurred, though the acts of a given day often occupy several folios. The Consistory Court met in the chapel under the north tower of the west front.

2. The Combe at Wells is a narrow seven-acre valley that lies beside the old road to Bristol, beginning at the edge of the city and extending north to Walcombe. It is now a park and arboretum open to the public. For the Marchaunts, see SRO, DD/HI 249, 250, 253, 256 (for 1580).

3. Watkins also announced that Robert Bowring and Thomas and Julia Norris would depose (SRO, D/D/Ca 90, 9 Dec. 1584), but if they did their depositions do not survive. Bowring probably had to do with Appowell's appearing in the stocks at Ilchester and the Norrises with his being drunk and incapable in the Hart's Head (of which, according to Robert Clenche, Norris was the innkeeper) at Wells. See below.

4. SRO, D/D/Ca 90.

5. SRO, D/D/Cd 20 (one of the deposition books of the Consistory Court), ff. 14-21.

6. Marchaunt, Hurford, Higdon, Wyseman, and Clenche.

7. For Stone, the clerk inadvertently omitted "et diem." The clerk began Marchaunt's answers to articles 2, 3, 5 by writing "deponit eundem esse verum" (he deposes the same [article] to be true), and in that to no. 2 added, "et reddendo causam scientiae su[a]e dicit et deponit that ..." (and answering the matter of his [direct] knowledge, he says and deposes that ...).

8. Jeffery said that the event had occurred seven years before and that he had known Appowell seven years; Busshopp put the event and acquaintanceship at six years.

9. VCH, Somerset, III, 180, 186.

10. Appowell had sued Hurford in all three courts and Higdon in two of them.

11. SRO, D/D/Cd 20, ff. 45-49v (the quotation is on f. 49). A case between Appowell and Richard Wason is recorded along with this case.

12. Dr. William Jones and Isaac Upton, M.A., were two of the commissioners who sat as judges on the bench of the Consistory Court: see the headings for many days in the act books of the court, for example SRO, D/D/Ca 65, 14 December 1582.

13. Iniunctions Geven by the Quenes Maiestie, of which five editions appeared in 1559 and fifteen more from then until 1583. Injunction 14 required parish clergy to read the Iniunctions to their parishioners quarterly. The editions of 1559 consisted of twenty-five quarto pages, which clergy could read out at one service or over two services on the same day. Injunction 44 required parish clergy to instruct the young for at least half an hour before evensong on the second Sunday of every month and on every holy day. James Cottington, D.D., became precentor of Wells in July 1583: John LeNeve, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541-1857 ... Bath and Wells Diocese, compiled by J.M. Horn and D. S. Bailey (London: University of London, 1979), 8, 43, 55, 107.

14. SRO, D/D/Ca 90, 15, 16 Dec. 1584; 22, 29 Jan., 5 Feb., 30 Apr. 1585 (in addition to the notes on 20, 27 Nov. and 4 Dec. [2] 1584).

15. SRO, D/D/B Reg 18 (Bishop John Still's register), f. 9v; and D/P/mar.m 2/1/1 (the parish registers), burials, pp. 1-8 (notice of Appowell's burial is on p. 8), marriages, pp. 1-3, baptisms, pp. 5-14.

16. Ed. James Stokes (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), pp. 129-31, 906-07; also 20, 31-32, 876, 1095, and the index.

17. A few scattered records survive for before 1607, but none mentions where or when sessions took place (SRO, Q/SR 1). See Quarter Sessions Records for the County of Somerset, ed. E. H. Bates (Somerset Record Society, 1907), xxiv.

18. Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1566-69, no. 2091.

19. Calendar of the Liberate Rolls, 1260-67, p. 212; VCH, Somerset, III, 194; SRO, DD/PH 52, f. 3v; and 223, no. 108, [f. 3-4, also 6v]; D/B/il box 9/2, pp. 48, 57; conversations with Mr. Roy Scutchings, honorary administrator of the Ilchester Museum, about renovations in the 1980s. The drawing, which shows the building from the back, is part of a map of Ilchester in William Stukeley, Itinerarium Curiosum (London, 1724), plate 72.

20. SRO, D/D/B Reg 15, f. 35-35v. He had been presented to the benefice by William Stanley, Lord Mounteagle.

21. For the archdeacon of Bath, see LeNeve, 18, 91, 100, 107. He became B.A. in 1564, M.A. in 1569, B.D. in 1577, and D.D. in 1585--all at Oxford: Alumni Oxoniensis, ed. Joseph Foster (Oxford, 1891). For the rector of Bathwick and the man of Bresselton, see SRO, D/D/B Reg 16 (Bishop Thomas Godwyn's register), f. 6, and D/D/Ca 65, 11 January and 9 June 1583.

22. The heading gives his birth place as "Longburt in Comitatu praed[icto]," meaning in Somerset, where there is no such place. Perhaps he was born in an isolated part of Somerset near Long Burton in Dorset, some eight miles south of Marston Magna.

23. The editors of REED transcribe this word as "conu," which at first glance seems reasonable if meaningless. On closer study, however, the word is "Come."

24. I.e., his previous fellow witness.
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Author:Berry, Herbert
Publication:Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England
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Date:Jan 1, 2005
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