A TRVE RELATION OF THE GROVND, Occasion, and Circumstances, of that horrible Murther committed by IOHN BARTRAM, Gent. vpon the body of Sir IOHN TYNDAL of Lincolns Inne, Knight: One of the Masters of the Hono­rable Court of Chancery, the twelfth day of this instant Nouemb. Written by way of Letter from a Gentleman, to his Country friend.

Together with the Examination of the said Bartram, taken before the right Honourable, Sir Fra. Bacon Knight, his Maiesties Atturney Generall: and Sir Henry Yeluerton Knight, his Maiesties Solliciter General, according to speciall directions giuen by his Maiestie in that behalfe.


LONDON, Printed by Iohn Beale, 1616.

A True Relation of THE GROVND, Occasion, and Circumstances, of that horrible Murther committed by IOHN BARTRAM, Gent. vpon the body of Sir IOHN TYNDALL of Lincolnes Inne Knight, One of the Masters of the Honrable Court of CHANCERY, the twelfth day of this instant Nouember.


NO streames run swifter then the rumors of vnhappy accidents; though it oft falleth out that the faster they run the more troubled their current is.

You cannot but haue heard of the cruell mur­der and massacre of Sir Iohn Tyndall, wrought by the wicked and bloudy hand of Iohn Bartram; But [Page] I feare that different humours in their relations, haue set seuerall stamps vpon the fact: some fanci­ing circumstances that fell not out; some knowing neither the number nor the truth of them; some neglecting to divulge the particulars; and some mi­strusting errour in the report, are rather filled with wonder at the action, then with hatred of it. You shall heereby in a short period, haue the corne win­nowed from the chaffe, and reall truth brought you, without either mixture or addition of fancy or fals­hood: being drawne from them that best knew it, and had best cause to vnderstand it: wherein you shall see, how neglected sparkes lurking in a cor­rupt heart, will soone breake into flames of mis­chiefe.

One Leonard Camberlin, about seuen yeeres past dying without issue, and without Will, there was obtained for Anne Chamberlin, then an infant, his brothers daughter, by the practise and labour of Sir Phillip Scudamore, an administration of Leonards goods: This Anne was neither priuie to it, nor had profit by it; but by this meanes the personall estate of Leonard, fell into the fingers of Sir Phillip, who when hee had sifted the estate thoroughly, shifted himselfe our of the kingdome, and being ill affected to the Religion here, pretended to gaine the liberty of an euill conscience beyond the Seas, where he died a Papist.

[Page] Iohn Bartram hauing married the halfe sister of Leonard, in the behalfe of his wife, obtaines a repeale of the Administration granted to Anne, and had it committed to his wife as of right it ought.

When he had thus gotten the Administration, he and his wife complaine in Chancery against Anne Chamberlin, that shee might discouer the true estate of Leonard the Intestate, and haue the same by order of that Court set ouer to them.

Heerevpon Anne maketh her answere vpon her Oath, but is able to discouer no particulars of the estate, neither in debts nor otherwise, for nothing came to her hands, but all was latcht in the hands of Sir Phillip Scudamore in pretence of her right, as Administratrix. But Bartram descending to proofes in this sute, had the precise testimony of two wit­nesses, that there was due to Leonards Chamberlins estate from one Harris vpon all bonds, accompts, reckonings, and specialties, 200. pound.

The Cause comming to hearing, the Lord Chan­cellor (in his Honorable Iustice) minding that Bartrā should haue from Anne Chamberlin, so much of Leo­nards estate as was proued in Court (which was 22. pound) vpon all bonds and reckonings from Harris and no more: And so pronouncing his de­cree, by the error and slip of the Register, it was set downe, and penned that a bond of 200. pound made by Harris to the Intestate should bee by Anne [Page] deliuered to Bartram and his wife.

Bartram herein espying his aduantage, hotly pur­sues the decree, to haue a particular bond of 200. pound brought in Court and deliuered: which when Anne examined therevpon, could not per­forme, excusing her selfe by Sir Phillip Scudamores catching into his hands, of all the bonds and speci­alties due to Leonard the Intestate, shee was ordered by the Court to bring in the 200. pound, and to pay the same to Bartram and his wife; which shee did, and they had it.

When Bartram saw hee had caught the prey, hee neuer hunted, and had the two hundred pound in his purse, as due vpon a particular bond, which was neither confessed by the partie, nor proued by the witnesses; that this Sent might die, in his craftie co­uetousnesse, hee would not too eagarly follow the Chase; but sleepes vpon this many moneths, before he sets his foot forward in this suit againe.

A yeere after he reneues his cry, and moues the Court: That because it stood proued, that vpon di­uers accompts, bonds, reckonings, and specialties, there was due from Harris to Leonard the Intestate, the summe of two hundred pound; therefore desi­red, that Anne the defendant (at this time married to Sir George Symons) might bring those into the Court to be deliuered to him and his wife which was gran­ted by the Lord Chancellor accordingly, and a day [Page] certaine giuen for performance thereof.

When Bartram saw the day past, and the Order not performed, hee eagerly sues forth vpon the de­fendant Annes contempt, the ordinary proces of the Court, till it came to proclamation of Rebellion: And though hee might haue seene himselfe checkt by the hand of God, in taking her to rest, who liued a restlesse life, by his disquieting her in sutes, yet doth he not desist, but seeing her closed vp in the earth, hunts her husband Sir George Symons till hee brings him to the bay, and then layes hold on him as for a contempt, in not bringing in his wife while shee li­ued, the Law supposing euery wife amesnable at the will of her husband, and by order of the Court in the Iustice of it, gets him committed to the fleete, where he hath remained in the nature of a prisoner, from Hillary terme last, till the last day of this Mi­chaelmas Terme.

Now Sir George Symons finding himselfe thus o­uerlayed by his aduersary Bartram, and that his hawkes eye watcht now to make him his prey: pe­titioneth to the Lord Chauncellor, and humbly by way of motion also desireth, that the whole pro­ceedings in the cause may be reuiewed; the confessi­on of the defendant Anne vpon her oath while shee liued may be considered, and the proofes compa­red, to see if any particular bond of two hundred pound, or if any double summe of two hundred [Page] pound were proued; inforcing, that Bartram had already in his purse as much as any way was war­ranted by proofe.

The Lord Chauncellor somewhat compassionate herein, and as in all cases, so especially being tender to restraine the subiect of his libertie, vnlesse hee in­curre some manifest contempt, was pleased herevp­on to referre the same to Sir Iohn Tyndall, and Ma­ster Doctor Amye, two auncient Masters of the Court, that they should certifie to him the whole merits of the cause, yet kept himselfe euen in the course of Iustice, not enlarging Sir George Symons, vpon this suggestion, but allowing his liberty vpon Reconusance to appeare from day to day.

Hereupon Bartram according to the course of the Court, exhibited Interrogatories to Sir George Symons, touching the contempt by him & his wife; who vpon examination was found to be priuy, and acquainted with the processe that went forth a­gainst his wife, and thereby was in truth in a con­tempt for not bringing her into Court: But hee would not examine Sir George whether hee had any bils, accompts, reckonings, bonds, or specialties, due or belonging to Leonard Chamberlins estate, which when the two Masters of the Court perceiued, they asked him, why hee did not examine Sir George vp­pon that point: and hee answered, it was needlesse, for he thought in his conscience, and was perswa­ded [Page] ir George had none of them. Yet you see with what violence he both takes him, holds him, and keepes him.

Now when Sir Iohn Tyndall, and Master Do­ctor Amy, had exactly with great paines, and with often search sought out, and found the true me­rits of this cause, they returned their report into the Court the fourth day of this present Nouember, in these words.

That vpon due perusall and consideration both of Answere, Confession, and proofes, in the Cause they did find, there was but one two hundred pound in all due: But that vpon the eager pursuit of Bartram, Sir George Symons had suffered long imprisonment; And they thought it time he were released, which notwithstanding they referred to the better iudge­ment of the Court.

In which report you may note three things.

First that the matter of it was iust.

Secondly that it had no bitternesse in it, more then well became Iudges, who ought not to be in­sencible when they find the Court had beene made an instrument of any mans causelesse suffering.

Thirdly, that it was not concluding or peremp­tory, but left the matter to the iudgement of the Court.

When this report was returned into Court, there was nothing suddenly done vpon it, but day was [Page] giuen to Bartram vntill Tuesday the twelfth of this Moneth, to shew cause, why Sir George should not be enlarged, and himselfe dismissed out of Court.

Now when Bartram saw this bitte put into his mouth, whereby his couetous desire was bridled, and his imaginary hopes lost, which was to haue a­nother two hundred pound, to which hee had no colour of right; his heart begins to swell: And see­ing this iust report as a shield to defend Sir George Symons from his pursuit, hee turnes his fury another way, and casts his resolution of Reuenge vpon Sir Iohn Tyndall, whose person while he liued was,

1 Of great reputation for his integrity:

2 Of great respect for his temperance and mode­ration in the place he held:

3 Of good opinion for his learning and experi­ence.

4 Much to bee reuerenced both for his birth, paines, and his age.

Yet neither his age, nor his paines, nor his inno­cency, nor his integritie, could bee any arguments for Bartram to spare him, or any buckler against his bloudy violence.

Wherein you shall see what spurres the diuell sets to his heeles to hasten him to hell.

He before coueted but money, or bonds from Sir George Symons; now that sparke is quenched, a grea­ter flame ariseth: nothing now will quench his [Page] thirst, but the bloud of Sir Iohn Tyndall: See now the steps he seekes to tread, and you shall perceiue this action of his had,

  • 1 Crafty preparation.
  • 2 Wicked resolution.
  • 3 Hellish execution.

1 He strips himselfe of his estate, and the eight day of this moneth hee makes a voluntary deed of gift of all his goods, to one Master Drake, with whom hee confessed hee had no acquaintance. When this deede came to sealing, hee would haue had the Scriuener dated the same, as if it had beene made in Iuly before, which he did of craft to defraud his Maiesty of the forfeiture of his goods, he knew would follow vpon the villany of his fact: but no importunitie could winne the Scriuener to that dishonesty.

2 Being thus turned naked, hee now clad himselfe onely with malice, and opportunity to reuenge: and the tenth day which was Sunday, there is a noyse of bloud sounding in his head, and then as hee con­fessed before the Honourable Iudges of the Kings Bench, he resolued to kill Sir Iohn Tindall, as if hee should murmur to himselfe; Sir Iohn hath bereaued me of my vniust hopes, therefore hee shall die an vniust death.

3 Beeing setled in this mad resolution to shedde bloud, on the eleuenth of this moneth, the engine [Page] of death must be thought of. And that must be,

  • 1 Not a sword: for his old withered hand could not weild it.
  • 2 Not a dagger: for he could not be sure of his ayme, and by that hee might perhaps stab him, but not kill him.
  • 3 But a Pistoll must bee the executioner. And why? first, it is easie to handle: secondly, it is shot off before it be seene: thirdly, it teares the body, and carries the life away with it.

The instrument of death being thus thought of, he scoureth his Pistol, layes his bullets ready, which as hee said, had lyen rusting by him sixe yeares be­fore, and now must be scoured to act this tragedy.

On the twelfth of this Moneth, beeing the day when Bartram by his Counsell should shew cause to the Court why Sir George should not be enlarged, and himselfe dismissed, hee retained no other coun­seller then the Deuill, who as you may feare by the sequell, (leauing secret things to God) had the Fee he euer seekes for, the soule of Bartram for the coun­sell giuen him.

Now this day, first hee bestirres him earely to seeke out Master Drake, to whom hee had giuen his goods, carries his deede with him, carries by a Por­ter after him, his best gowne and best cloake, comes to Master Drakes house, deliuers him the deed and the goods brought by them (as he said) put him in [Page] possession of all the rest This done, hee stayes not, but hastes againe to Westminster, where missing his opportunity to worke his reuenge, about eleuen of the clocke the same day, hee betakes him to a Skuller vpon the Thames, and in the way betweene Westminster and the Temple, he shootes of his Pi­stoll (as he said) to scoure it, hauing onely powder in it, which no sooner went off, but hee charged it againe with double bullet, and closely carrying it by his side, landed at the Temple staires, went vp to Lincolns Inne, awaited at the gate the alighting of Sir Iohn Tyndall from his Coach, met him going to­ward his Chamber, affronts him, complaines his backe was broken by his Report, yet (as hee saide) moued Sir Iohn the matter might bee put to Com­premise, to which the Knight, nothing suspecting the traine laide for him, answered onely (as Bar­tram confessed) What a Compremise now?

Hereeupon, as Sir Iohn was entering into his Chamber, this man possest with a murdrous Deuil, taking that answer of Sir Iohn as a scorne, dischar­ged his Pistoll vpon him, not before him, but be­hinde him, shot him through, so as instantly he fell downe, and with a groane only ended his life.

Company soone came in, but Sir Iohn Tindalls man stricken into a maze, was not able at first eyther with his hand to lay hold on the offender, or by his speech to discouer him: for Bartram had cast the [Page] Pistoll from him, yet he hasted not away but stood still, no straunger comming in suspecting him, his hoary haires carried so graue a shew.

But after a little pause, Sir Iohns man gaining his spirits againe, and Bartram seeing hee could not bee hid, reuealed himselfe, and withall stabd himselfe with a pocket dagger, but the vigilant eye of Sir Peter Hayman instantly taking hold of his arme, so dulled the stroake, as that the hurt was not great, which this wretch perceiuing, with his left arme drew forth a knife, (hauing prepared also a double weapon of death for himselfe,) and offered again to destroy himselfe, but was likewise preuented.

Now alas Sir, you see there was in trueth no words of prouocation in the answer of Sir Iohn, and who knew his countenance must say, it was euer milde and pleasing, not lofty nor sower. But malice that carries a man out of himselfe, makes euery ob­iect seeme vglye, and euery word sound harsh, more speedily to thrust on reuenge. Howbeit in the acti­on it selfe, you may obserue many things which might haue made Bartram hatefull to himselfe, and which will still keep him liuing as a Monster of men, and as a scorne to posterity. For you see,

1 The ground of his Malice was vniust: stirred vp by a iust report, as hath beene shewed before.

2 If offence had beene in the Report, hee should not haue beene his owne Reuenger, but haue sought [Page] redresse at a higher hand: the Lord Chancellor be­ing neuer deafe to any iust complaint.

3 He wreakes his Malice before the Report did hurt him: for it was not then decreed.

4 Fourthly, he did it suddenly and vnsuspected, vnder a shew of treaty and conference.

5 He did it trecherously and cruelly, discharging it behind his backe.

6 Age assaulted age, which is not vsuall, each of them being 75. yeeres old at least.

7 Obserue the place: It was in an Honorable and ciuill society, where euery man there, thinkes him­selfe within his Castell.

8 It was done not with a single, but with a dou­ble bullet, as if hee had thought his flesh to haue beene of steele; or as if his malice meant not onely to murder him, but to mangle him.

9 In this desperate fury, his malice turned her edge vpon himselfe, and he sought to haue beene his owne Butcher, but that his Master the Diuell (mercy not Interuenient) reserued him as for the place of Iu­das, so for the end of Iudas to be his owne hangman.

10. Which is most remarkeable herein, he made a duellum and assault not onely vpon a iust man, but euen vpon Iustice it selfe, which the Diuel could not vaunt of in many Ages before, and which is ve­ry fearefull in example: For all the Iudges of the land, yea, all the Noble Counsellors of State, if [Page] they consult but with their owne humane weake­nesse, may in feare, of that man values most, which is his life, let fall and vnloose their courage in doing Iustice, least he that thinkes himselfe wrongd, pre­pare the like Repast for them, which Bartram heere did for Sir Iohn Tyndall.

Howbeit I hope such feares shall vanish, for sure God who is the preseruer of men, will not suf­fer Iustice which is the bond of mans societie to bee broken, but though by this execrable Action one linke bee fallen, yet the chaine is whole, and hee will still increase it both in strength and beautie.

Againe, forbeare to censure the manner of Sir Iohn Tyndals death: speed of death is not alway a Iudgement, nor the suddennesse of it suspicious, where it findes a man in the way of Righteousnes: but argues anger, when it takes a man in an act of sinne.

Sir Iohn Tyndall, was at this time walking in his Calling appointed by God; and Bartram in his Cal­ling appointed by the Diuell. Heere what Salo­mon sayes, and it will both stay your heart, and set strait your iudgement, Eccles. 7.17. There is a iust man that perisheth in his iustice, and there is a wicked man that continueth long in his malice: And though his reckoning be not yet, yet stripes and plagues do wait vpon his account.

You see and may perswade your selfe, that Sir [Page] Iohn, paying that debt to God, which was due to Nature, and being by a malicious hand offered vp as a sacrifice, both for his Iustice, and in his Iustice, had the Angels his attendants to carry him to hea­uen, for there is rest to the children of God. And as for Bartram, (though it be safest to leaue his iudge­ment to God; yet if the tree be iudged by the fruit, it being both corrupt and rotten, we may say it was neere to burning.

But I will returne to Bartram liuing: This dete­stable murther was presently spread abroad; and at the first it was as strangely voyced as committed: For fame taking holde no doubt of the obstinate carriage of Bartram without remorse; and interpre­ting the Induration of his heart to proceed from some great Iniustice done him by Sir Iohn Tyndall: blazed it abroad as if hee had beene but a kinde of scourge of God vpon an vnrighteous Iudge: and that though he was not to bee Iustified in the Fact, yet he was to be pittied in his wrong: So as that Spi­rit, which was first a spirit of Malice in the heart of Bartram, turnd it selfe into the spirit of Errour in the mouthes of men.

But the first thing that was done in proceeding a­gainst this foule Murder, was, that the Iudges of the Kings Bench tooke examination of the fact: And being doubtfull that his hurts were dangerous, and desirous that an examplar Iustice should not by ac­cident [Page] be preuented, gaue order he should be spee­dily indited and arraigned. Maister Atturney Gene­rall also hauing a care that a cause of so great conse­quence that might aswell strike feare into the best Iudges, as sore warne the corrupt (nay might con­cerne any man that hath in any place or office but the power to discontent, so that no man can tel who shall suffer, and who shall looke on) should not passe in any obscure and ordinary manner, sent for Mai­ster Sollicitor, and desired him that he would be pro­uided to make some declaration, such as the cause required for the honour of Iustice, and for a note of distinction betweene so rare a cause and ordinarie matters of the Crowne.

Maister Atturney conceiuing at that time that the fact being so notorious and confessed vpon exami­nation, Bartram would not haue pleaded not Guiltie: but it fell so out, that hee confessed not the Indite­ment but pleaded not Guiltie: whereupon the Iurie being not then ready at the Barre, further day was giuen for his triall.

In the meane time, his Maiesty hearing of this strange accident (as his manner is) was desirous to penetrate into the roote and Center of this mans malice and fact: and in his Princely wisedome, con­sidering that this cruell murther must either spring from the instigation of others, or from Bartram himselfe. And if from Bartram, it must proceed ei­ther [Page] from an inueterate habite of a desperate and wicked life: or for some vnsufferable wrong that Sir Iohn Tyndall had done him, signified his plea­sure by the Lord Chamberlin vnto Master At­turney; That there should be some stay of the pub­like proceeding, vntill Bartram were farther exami­med, and directed the Examination to bee vpon three heads: First, touching the Incitation: Second­ly, touching Bartrams course of life and Religion: and lastly touching the Iustnes or Iniquity of Sir Iohn Tyndals report.

Whereupon Master Atturney calling Master Sollicitor to assist him, took the examination, where­of I send you a coppy, hauing obtained leaue of his Honor so to doe.

In which examination it plainely appeares, that the Diuell needed no Broker, but wrought imme­diatly ypon the malice of the man, whose course and conuersation of life was alwayes disordered, and not without touch of Popish Religion; though it see­meth to be true that hee was a kind of Church-wal­ker in Westminster, and came diuers times to heare either the seruice or the musicke.

But for Sir Iohn Tyndall, he doth sufficiently cleer him from bribery, either from being corrupted by his aduersary, or tempted by himselfe, and in the me­rits of the cause hee had scarce a word in his mouth to impeach the report (as you may well perceiue, if [Page] you compare his examination with the former rela­tion of this businesse) in so much as both at that time hee did confesse, that it was one of the foulest murders that euer was committed.

And after hee said to his vnder keeper, that the Kings Counsell (who had vsed him with much compassion towards his age and hurt) had cut sore into the businesse, as finding (belike) at that time some compunction, though it after vanished as the morning cloud.

For notwithstanding the Lord Chancellor had in great wisdome giuen especiall charge and directi­on that cate should be had of this man, as well for his body, as for his soule: For his body in 2. kindes, that his hurts should bee looked to, and that hee should be kept from doing himselfe mischiefe, ha­uing once attempted it. And for his soule, that hee might haue some godly Preacher to bring him to the sence of his sinne (which is not so well discer­ned in the commitment of it, as in the punish­ment of it) and to saue him from impenitency: yet so was Gods will, that in the end he destroyed him­selfe: but yet in that forme of execution which the Law and Iustice had prescribed, and not by any other death, as he had formerly sought to effect.

For on the seauenteenth day of this moneth, be­ing Sunday in the morning, this man tooke occasion to send away his keeper to fetch him a Bible for his [Page] comfort, requiring that it might bee a latine Bible, and with a Concordance (thinking belike that such a Bible was not so easie to be had) but there being one found in the house, and his keeper bringing it sooner then he expected, hee sent him againe for an English Bible, and that also being quickely returned vnto him, he said he was not satisfied with the tran­slation, and desired another Translation, which hee thought was harder to get: and the better to winne time, told his keeper likewise that his stomacke was empty, and therefore desired him to bring with him also some Ale, with a toste: and in the meane time by a rope that he had gotten tied vnto a Tenter hooke, that was fastened aboue the window to hang a hat on, hee hanged himselfe, his legges almost trayling on the ground. The continuance of which despe­rate resolution to make away himselfe, the reason may bee gathered vpon some speech he let fall at se­uerall times as I haue heard, that hee would bee sorry to bee hanged in chaines: so that hee that had no sence of preseruing his life and soule, yet had apprehension and care of his sencelesse Car­case.

And so you haue here an end of this Tragedie, not presuming to giue any iudgement, either of the fu­rious passions of these times, or of the dangers of Authoritie, or of the errors of Rumor, not to make any interpretation of the fact, or the circumstances [Page] thereof, but by this plaine declaration which I here send you, leaue the same to your meditations, who I am sure desires to know the truth herein, and who haue more leasure, and will enter into them more sincerely (perhaps) then we doe here in London.

Your assured Friend, N. T.
The Examination of J …

The Examination of John Bartram, taken this 16. day of Nouember, 1616. before Sir Fran­cis Bacon his Maiesties Atturney Generall, and Sir Henry Yeluerton, his Maiesties Solicitor Generall.

LONDON, Printed by Iohn Beale. 1616.

Iohn Bartram,

BEing asked whither after his discon­tentment at the Report of Sir Io: Tindall and Do­ctor Amy, hee did not vse any words or speeches to his At­turney, or any priuate friend, whereby hee threatned the reuenge vpon Sir Io: Tindall, he protesteth that as he desi­reth [Page] comfort at his resurrection, he did neuer vse any such speeches to any person.

Being asked touching his Religion, he saith he is no Papist, nor euer was, but saith that hee was about 20. yeares since indicted in the Kings bench by malice for Recusancie, to which hee then pleaded his conformity, and was discharged thereby.

Being asked whether euer hee gaue or promised to giue to Sir Io: Tindall any money, reward, or gratuity in this Cause, he denyeth that euer he gaue a­nie, or had at any time any speech with him tending to any such purpose.

Being asked whether hee had any knowledge that Sir John Tindall, or [Page] Doctor Amy were corrupted or bri­bed by his aduersary to make the last Report, saith that hee doth not know it.

Being asked (the state of the que­stion being whether there were any par­ticular bond or debt of 200. pound be­tweene Harris and Chamberlin, be­sides debts vpon Accompt, and vppon specialtie amounting to that sum) whe­ther hee knew of any such particular bond or not; he saith hee neuer saw any such bond, nor knoweth it otherwise then by the recitall thereof made in the decree, and some Orders made in that Cause, and in a crosse bill wherein (as he conceiueth) there is mention therof.

Being asked, whether hee be peni­tent for his Fact, saith, that hee taketh [Page] it to bee as foule a murder as euer was committed, and if he hath vttered any speeches to the contrary he is very sory for it.

John Bartram.
Examinatur coram
  • Fra: Bacon.
  • Hen: Yeluerton.

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