A True NARRATIVE Concerning Sir Arthur Haslerigs Possessing of Lieutenant-Colonel JOHN LILBURNES ESTATE In the County of DURHAM.

Imprinted at LONDON. 1653.

To the Members of Parliament, and all others that have bowels of pitty to­wards cruelly oppressed Tenants, &c.

YOu must not expect high Language from us, who are low-borne Tennants; We shall speake plain Truthes, And first, we are bold to tell you, That our Fore-Elders were Antient Tennants to the Dean and Chapter of Durham▪ who thought they had left unto us that large Birth-right which could not legally have been taken from us; but we finde it otherwise, for we are now become (unless God help us) miserable slaves to Lieutenant Collonel John Lilburne; for the Parliament having given unto the said Mr. Lilburne three thousand pounds, and afterwards committed him to the Tower for high Treason; and being acquitted by his Jury at Guild-Hall, he presently af­firmed, that there was remaining and not paid, fifteen hundred pounds of the said 3000 l. gift. The Lord Generall then coming out of Ireland, moved the Parliament to give Mr. Lilburne the said fifteen hundred pounds so owing unto him, out of Deanes and Chapters Lands; Which the Parliament immedi­ately granted, and therein begun our miseries; for we being poor People farre remote and distant from London, and all, or most of us ignorant of our own business, wanting friends to ad­vise or help us, within the small time of pre-emption the Act allowed us, the said Lieutenant Collonell John Lilburne stept in before us, and made choyce of severall Farmes and Cottages which we held lying in the County of Durham, being the whole livelihood and subsistence of fourteene Families. And before the Act passed, the said Mr. Lilburne made large promises of kinde usage to us the Tenants, saying in the presence of severall [Page 2] witnesses, That we should have our Lands again, paying him the Rates of his purchase (namely) the money he paid; but since, we have so farre tasted his kindness, as now we have cause to say, The Lord deliver us from such a Landlord. There are of us fourteene Families, and when the Act passed, but two of our Farmes were out of Lease, William Hunting­ton had the one, and George Clifton, a poor Prisoner in the Goale, had the other. I, the said William Huntington Married a Widdow, that was Tennant to the Deane and Chapter, she had a House, Farme, Goods and Houshold-stufie, two Cows and four Children; I, the said William Huntington after marri­age with her, was forced to borrow moneys to Plow and Sow the said Farme, and God gave me a Childe by her, that made our number five; so soon as our Houses, and Lands were setled by Authority of Parliament in the said Mr. Lilburne, he imme­diately came into the County of Durham, and stripped me the said William Huntington, of House, Farme, Cropp, Houshold­stuffe, Goods, Hay, and Straw, and two Cowes; he tooke from me Goods to the value of one hundred and thirty pounds at the least; he thrust us all out of doors, my Wife with her five small Children, leaves us not one Cow, I may truely say, scarcely one bit of bread; and for my selfe, I could expect no other, but to lye and rot in Prison for the Debt which I borowed as aforesaid. Next, he fell upon me George Clifton, a poor Pri­soner in the Goale of Durham for debt; he likewise cast my poor Children out of my House and Farme, exposing them to perish in the streets; tooke from me House, and Farme, Houshold­stuff, and all that I had; and my Children being put by him upon the Parish, he was so farre from allowing them sub­sistance out of my owne Estate, that he refused to contribute with the Parish towards their maintenance. And thus he dealt with the two Tennants of the two Farmes out of Lease. And the said Mr. Lilburne also threatned me Gascoyne Eden, because I would not deliver up my Estate to him, then having seven yeers in Lease: He writ a Letter to me, wherein he tells me, That he was the Deane and Chapters Successor, and did therein command me to send in a Man and Horse, accor­ding [Page 3] to my Lease, in compleat Armes, to serve under his Bro­ther Collonell Robert Lilburne in Scotland; and further said in his said Letter, That if I did not give up my Lease to him, (having seven years then in being) he would extend all the seve­rall Forfeitures and Breaches of my Lease against me, to make it void, whereby he might weary me out of my Right and Due of yeers therein. Next after, he fell upon me Robert Christ ofer another of the poor Tennants, who was alwayes constant and faithfull to the Parliament, and voluntarily set forth Horses and Armes in the Parliament Service, farre beyond my Estate; I never offended him in all my life, but in a most humble manner tendering my Rent to him about a week after the day▪ he refused to receive it, and told me, My Lease was forfeited, by my failing the just day of payment, and he would take advantage of it accor­dingly: Yea, after many humble addresses made unto the said Mr. Lilburne by the poor Cottagers and Leasers, divers of them following him to London, and there craving pity and compassion from him upon their poor Wives and Children, offering him his money with advantage for the said Lands; he (in a great passion) denied, bid them goe home again like as Fools they came, saying, He would out them every man as their Leases expired. Need then made me poor William Huntington to runne from Justice to Justice, complaining of the wrong done unto me by Lieutenant Collonell John Lilburne; I went to the publique Sessi­ons at Durham, where Sir Arthur Haslerigge was upon the Bench; after the Reading of my Petition there, he told me, It was not in the power of the Sessions to help me. I then not knowing what else to do, went immediately to London upon my naked Feet to the Parliament, and Printed my sad case and conditi­on, and delivered it to the Members as they came into the House; at which Lieutenant Collonell Lilburne was a little moved, and then said, the business should be referred to my Lord Generall, Sir Arthur Haslerigge, and Collonell Martin; which made me exceedingly to rejoyce: and in pursuance thereof, I attended Collonell Martin from place to place ac­cording to his appointment, so long, that weariness and po­verty drove me back again into the Country, having nothing to relieve me, but the Charity of such as pittied my conditi­on. [Page 4] I then being not able to abide in the Country for feare of Imprisonment, came againe to London on foot, begging my Bread by the way, it being about two hundred Miles. And ha­ving no better success at the Parliament doore, after a long attendance, and many being wearied of me, and my selfe al­most of my life; I returned againe to hide my selfe a while in the Country, hoping God might help at the last. Then when I heard that Lieutenant Collonell John Lilburne was banished, and that there was a Fine to be payd to Sir Arthur Haslerigge, I forthwith tooke me to my Feet, and againe to London I went, and told Sir Arthur, that it was now in his power to do both my self, Wife and Children good, and that we would pray for him all our dayes, if he would but help us as God had put it into his hands. Sir Arthur was pleased to speak to Collonell Martin, and a time was appointed at Sir Arthurs Chamber at White-Hall, where Collonell Martin, Mrs. Lilburne, Mr. Rich­ardson, Mr. Williams, and some others of Mrs. Lilburnes Friends met: I had onely my selfe to lay open my miserable case; which when the aforesaid Gentlemen heard they lifted up their hands, wondring that Lieutenant Collonell John Lilburne should deale so cruelly with a poore miserable man, his Wife, and five small Children. Sir Arthur moved, that whereas the Rent of that Farme had for a long time been but three pounds per Annum; And that the Parliament had sold it to Lieutenant Collonell Lilburne, upon improvement, at eighteen pounds, that therefore I should give eighteen pounds per Annum to Mrs. Lilburne, which was the racke Rent valued to her Hus­band. Mrs. Lilburnes Friends that came with her, pittyed my case so much, that they thought it fit I should have also the one hundred and thirty pound Goods restored, which Mr. Lilburne had taken from me. Mrs. Lilburne then replied, that she had no money, but I might have one of my Cowes againe: some of her Friends then said, It was fit I should have satisfaction out of the Rent. And Sir Arthur said, Care must be taken that the poore man have a livelihood from his hard labour, so that he may preserve his Wife and Children from starving; And also to help Mrs. Lilburn and her children. And further said, That he was sensible, that John Lilburn ought not to have taken [Page 5] those Goods from me: for if any Arrears were due, they belong­ed to the State, and not to the Purchaser. But said, that now Mrs. Lilburn, and her children, being in as sad a condition as my self and mine; that therefore I should pay unto her, for her self and children, the full improvement, which was Eighteen pounds a yeer; and that if I did not carefully pay my Rent. Mrs. Lil­burn should enter upon the Farm. This, though heavie on my side, to lose all my Goods, and to be raised up to so high a Rent, as from Three pounds to Eighteen pound, per annum, the Agree­ment being figned by Mrs. Lilburn, Colonel Martin, and Sir Arthur Haslerigge, I joyfully took it, resolving to labour hard, and to pay my Rent honestly; and made haste into the Country, and shewed the Agreement under the aforesaid hands to Mr. Ri­chard Lilburn. Mr. John Lilburn's father, and desired him to deliver me Possession accordingly: which he absolutely refused. Then some Women, my wives Neighbours, desirous to see her in her house again, thrust out the said Mr. Richard Lilburn from amongst them: which no sooner being done, but the said Mr. Richard Lilburn, by his great importunity with the Sheriff of the County, and by colour of an old Warrant, as I understand, procured the said Sheriff to come to my house, and thrust us out of possession, and gave it to Mr. Richard Lilburn. Then I forthwith went again to London to Sir Arthur Haslerigge, and told him how little Mr. Richard Lilburn valued the Agreement made in his Chamber. He told me, he could do no more but get it under Mrs. Lilburn's hand, and Colonel Martin's, and that he knew not what to do or say to Mr. Richard Lilburn. But I pressed him most earnestly, and said, I never durst return into the Country, if I had not help from him; and that it was in his power. And really, I had rotted in Prison, and my Wife and her children had gone a Begging all their days, who was descen­ded of honest Parents, such as had lived in good credit amongst their Neighbours, had I not found pity and compassion in Sir Arthur's brest, necessity inciting me strongly to importune him daily for his assistance: for when he would have put me off, I told him I must continue to trouble him. And in truth, my con­dition was so miserable and desperate, having gone upon my bare feet two thousand miles, back and again, or thereabouts, in seek­ing [Page 6] releife, that I thought to hang upon his doore would bring me rest. Sir Arthur then acquainted Collonell Martin what Master Richard Lilburne had done, and desired him to speak to Mrs. Lilburne, that order might be taken for the performance of the said Agreement, which she and her Friends had made and signed; he promised a speedy accompt, and the next day he told Sir Arthur, that she had received Letters from her Husband, wherein he commanded, that nothing should be done by her; and thereupon, Sir Arthur desired Collonell Martin to tell her from him. That if she would not perform her Agreement, which he apprehended to be just and reasonable, and for her advantage, he thought he was bound in Con­science to preserve the poor man, his Wife and Children, by laying his extent upon the Lands. Collonell Martin immedi­ately replyed, That he would do very well in so doing; and if it was his case he would do the like. Collonell Martin then acquainted Mrs. Lilburne with Sir Arthurs resolution, and returned this answer, That she was John Lilburnes Wife, and that he could not prevail in the least with her, and therefore bad Sir Arthur not to expect further. Then we, the rest of the Tennants, hoping there was an opportunity for us and ours, made choyce of one Captain Farrer to be our Solicitor, and sent him to London to Sir Arthur Haslerigge, to entreat, That according to Lieutenant Collonell John Lilburnes Promise be­fore he bought our Lands, that we might yet have it as he payd: Thereupon, the said Captain Farrer applied himselfe to Sir Arthur Haslerigge at White-Hall, acquainting him with the Tennants humble and earnest desires; and as it hapned upon some complaints that Mrs. Lilburne had made to Collonell Joyce, against Sir Arthur Haslerigge, there was a meeting appointed at Mr. Peters Chamber in White-Hall, and thither came Mrs. Lilburne, and her own Father; and there were pre­sent Mr. Peters, and Collonell Joyce; and Sir Arthur Hasle­rigge tooke the said Captain Farrer along with him. Then did Sir Arthur Declare in the presence of all before menti­oned, That he never had a thought of getting one penny out of John Lilburnes Estate, and that Mrs. Lilburne had com­pelled him to lay his extent upon the Land, because she would not [Page 7] perform the Agreement under her own hand, whereby Hun­tington, his Wife and Children might live. He then declared the great complaints of the Tennants. And this offer was made by Sir Arthur to Mrs. Lilburne, That the Tennants should pay the summe of money, for which the Parliament gave him that Land, being nine hundred and forty pounds, with consideration from the time of passing the Act, she deducting what Rents they had received. Afterward Sir Arthur told her, the Tennants should give her a thousand pound at one entire payment; that the present Rent was but three and fifty pound per annum: And when all Leases were out, it would not come to above one hundred five and twenty pounds per annum. And then Mr. Peters offered her to help her to a hundred pound per annum for ever, and in present possession for that thousand pound. Sir Arthur told her that if she was his own Sister, he would advise her to take it; for if she did, she was then certaine of good maintenance for her selfe and her Chrildren, and that no Act her Husband either had done, or should do, could take it from them, for she should have it upon this Extent; and for his part, he did not expect or desire thankes. Then Mr. Peters and Collonell Joyce, much approved the motion, but Mrs. Lilburne would not consent. Then Sir Arthur said, He would do the Tennants what good he could, and never take one penny for his own advantage from Mrs. Lilburne or her Children. All which the said Captaine Farrer is ready to averre and attest, upon his own Knowledge: And further, that Sir Arthur Haslerigge hath been at great trouble and charge out of his own Purse; but never received one penny out of Mr. Lilburnes Estate. Nay, when we the Tennants desired the said Captaine Farrer to present him with a Breeding Mare, as a small token of our thankfulness, in answer to his great trouble and charge; Sir Arthur replied. No, he would not gaine the Hayre of a Horse by Lieutenant Collonell Lilburnes Estate; notwithstanding he bought the said Mare of M. Thomas Davison. at the Rate of forty pounds. And all we the Tennants do wit­ness. That Sir Arthur Haslerigge never received one penny of our Rents; but the same or most part thereof hath been payd to Lieutenant Collonell John Lilburne, or to his Father Mr. [Page 8] Richard Lilburne, for his use, since the time of his Grant, untill of late, that the said Mr. Richard Lilburne refuseth to receive any more Rents of us, saying, That he would not be ordered by Sir Arthur Haslerigge to receive any Rents at his appoint­ment, meaning this Order here under written made and signed by Sir Arthur Haslerigge.

I Do hereby appoint the severall Ten­nants that hold and Possess; any of the Farmes and Cottages within the Man­nor of Billingham in the County of Dur­ham, lately extended by vertue of an Act of Parliament, to and in my Name; That they forthwith pay unto Richard Lilburne Gent. for the Wife and Chil­dren of Lieutenant Collonell John Lil­burne, all the severall and respective Rents, according to the Inquisition re­turned upon the said Extent, being the same with his purchase, that were due at Whitsuntide last past, and payable unto me; taking acquittance under the said Richard Lilburnes Hand, upon the Payment thereof in manner aforesaid.

Arthur Haslerigge.

[Page 9]Thus we have declared the truth of Sir Arthur Haslerigges disposing of all Lieutenant Collonell John Lilburnes Estate to his own use; and the World may see, that Sir Arthur Haslerigge is as much wronged by Lieutenant Collonell John Lilburnes pub­lishing the taking away of his Estate, as he was in setting forth an Hue and Cry, (when he was imprisoned by the Parliament for treason as aforesaid) to all persons to assist him for the knoc­king of Sir Arthur Haslerigge on the head, as they would do a Fox or a Poulcat, because he had robbed him of this fifteen hundred pounds, which the Lord Generall procured, as a­foresaid; when in truth he never touched or tooke from him one halfepenny or farthing in all his life, as honest men that are able to make it good, do and will affirme and prove. Now we humbly beseech all Parliament-men and others whom it may any way con­cerne, to preserve us poor Tenants from the cruelty, oppression, and tyranny of Lieutenant Collonell John Lilburne. Amen.

  • Gascoyne Eden.
  • Robt. Christopher.
  • Jo. Maddison.
  • Wil. Huntington of Billingham.
  • George Clifton.
  • Rob. Wilson.
  • John Salter.
  • Matthew Gray.
  • William Busby.
  • Jo. Mason.
  • Geo. Huntington.
  • Rob. Shepperd.
  • Wil. Huntington of Coopen.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.