Thomas Buttes and his troublesome rector

The following is a transcription (currently work in progress) of the last three pages of

text of a substantial amount of paperwork connected with a suit in the Court of

Chancery found in British Library Mss Add 39227.These pages summarise the

grievances of Thomas Buttes, Lord of the Manor of Great Ryburgh :


Add. MS 39227 fo. 97 

A true reporte & declaration, of the Qualeties, Conditions, and unministerlike

behaviour, of Thomas Waterman Clark parson of Greate Ryburgh in Norfolk.



First your lordeshipp shall understande that I Thomas Buttes, at the requeast of

Mr William Heydon, and uppon his earnest promisse, aswell  by speeche, as by his

hande wrightyng, of the goode conditions , & goode behaviour of the said

Waterman, did francklie, & freelie  (geving too much trust unto  former promisse)

give the benefice of Greate Ryburgh aboute fyve yeres past unto the said

Thomas Waterman,  who within iiii dayes next after his taking of possesion

thereof, even the first Sunday that he served as parson there, openlie in the

Churche quarreled wt one Richard Peers  warrener of Great Ryburgh for tythes,

whoo at that tyme offerd unto hym suche tythes as hadd been oldelie, and

usuallie payed unto his predecessors, which hee the said T. Waterman then

untterlie refused, sayeng then that hee woold either weene the horse, or leese

the saddell, & so afterwrdes in deede hee did and the saide Richard Peers in ye

spitituall courte at Ryburgh, & after that ( bothe moony & tyme being evil spent)

he was content with the olde & usuall payement.


Since the coming of the said T. Waterman there hath been more suyte in the

Towne of G. Ryburgh, & that by his meanes, then  ever was for the space of ye 

yeres of my owne knowledge, for he hymselfe have sued divers of the Townesmen

there, as Richard Peers. Robt Harvy, Raphe Heywarde & others.


There have been no catechising at G. Ryburgh for the space of theise iiii yeres

last past & more, nor teaching the Articles of the Fayth, the Comanndementes, &

the lordes prayer,as is prescribed in the Catechisme.


No repayering the channcell, or parsonage, but letting to fearme his benefise

there and that  unto verie unmeete persons.


No hospytalitie kept , nor releving the poore there by hym, but yerelie selling of



No prayer for her majestie the xvii daye of November last past although the

inhabtants were redy at the Church doores for that godly purpose: for hee was

then gadded to the spirituall courte to followe his suyte against Robt Harvy of G.

Ryburgh for tythes onjustlie  requyered.


No peace maker is hee, but contrarie to the protestation & promisse which hee

made at his entring into the ministerie, hee giveth greate cause of offence, & is

no helper or meane to reconcyle them which be at variannce, but alwayes a

partetaker  with the worst syde.


Hee is a verie covetous parson, & such a one, as in harvest-tyme when he

 gatherith tythe ofred upon his gleebe landes or else where hee is not content to

take such as come next to hande for his thredd or x shoffe , but he taketh the

shoffe by the bondes and yt  shoffe that is heaviest & wayeth best  downe the

topp yt will hee have & none other or else to the lawe.


Haud ulla est fides homini avaro


“No faith at all is (to be placed) in a greedy (avaricious) man.”

Add. MS 39227 fo. 97 v

Also whereas the Anncient Tenanntes with others, did at the Generall  Courte

with the Leete holden at Greate Ryburgh the Mondaye next after the ffeast of

S Michael the archanngell last past, & uppon theire  othes  present by verdict,

that the said Thomas Waterman Clarck parson of Greate Ryburgh had contrarie

to the customs  so  stopped & shett upp certayne closes of the Gleebe land,  lieng 

within the libertie, feeldes, & shack of G. Ryburgh, agaynst the olde ancient

custome so amerced hym the said T. Waterman iij s & then payned hym upon the

payne of xx s to laye open the same closes ageyn before the feast of S. Luke the

evangelist then next following. Upon the knowlege whereof the said T.Waterman

openly in the pulpit in the Church of  G. Ryburgh on the Sunday next after Simon

& Judes day last past, taking the theame out of Esaiagh, amongst his other good

& clarcklike  lessons had & then used their woordes folowing . Be good to the

widdowe, doe your selfes no harme go alas sillie ones, ye do ye knows not what, ye

make such lie lawed, that your children shall have cause to curse you, it were

meete for you to have a lawyer & a good devine, with many other such fond

speeches not meete for that place, which shalbe witnessed by dyvers: Is this

speeche mete for a preacher in the pulpett openly as much as in hym have to

perswade the tenannte to perjurie, & not to present the truth! 



Tell not a lie against thy brother neither do the same against thy friend.

Ecclesiasticus the vii.Chap: & the vii. verse 



Hee that speaketh lies shall not escape: Proverbs the xix  Chap: the v. verse.



What rewarde shalbe geeven or done unto thee! O thou false tongue! even

myghtie & sharpe arowes, with hott burnyng coles. Psalm Cxx.  Notwithstanding all

theire good & godlie sayenges thisT Waterman, whoo by his lyfe & doctrine should

be an example to others of good woorcke with gravitis & integritie go as sayeth S.

Paul unto Titus in the second Chap: in the. vii. verse spareth not in all places most

untrulie to bee  lie & speake evill of mee. T Buttes, forgetting his vocation & dutie

in everie respect, but he hath most shamefullie & slannderouslie of late exhibited

a bill unto the Right Honourable the L Justices of Assise at Thetfoord being

altogether false & garnyshed with lies & untruth, as by the Grace of God shall be

well, not by woordes, but by fayer anncient & good evidences, and those of greate

choyce approved: 


How well this T. Waterman concydereth of the sayenge of S Paule the .1. to the

Corinthians the vi Chap: the  v verse: I speake to your shame  etc.? & also the

vi.vii.& viii verses I leave to you to good consideration: Although hee speketh not

greatelie of S.Paule hes former sayenge, yet if hee woulde well waye & concidre

of Mathew in the v chap. Resist not evill etc.? xxxix xi & xij verses, he should

fynde therein such doctrine as is more meeter for him to folowe, then that

unministerlike vayne, wherein he is given to walk.


I have of late red in a booke named John Marbecke noted & Comon places fol 726

that ministers ought first of all to teache with woorkes, & then with 

woordes,least the sayeng


Add. MS 39227 fo. 98 


of S. Paule be objected Rom.z.the zl.verse: Thou that teachest an other, teachest

not thy selfe, Oh that he would well remember this sayeng, & folowe the same,

for Menander  in the same booke : fol: 727: sayeth, that the manners of the

speaker are they that perswade, and not that which is spoken,


Although this T. Waterman altogether overwhelmed & drowned in covetonsnesse

bent to trooble, & forgetting the godlie sayengs aswell of S.Paule as of Mathewe

next afore remembered: yet for his better creditt & estimation, I would wishe

hym to remember the sayeng of Cato mentioned in the sayde Marbecke booke

fol:726 & fol 727which is as foloweth in Englishe verse.


 Cato:  Qu[a]e in aliis damnes ipse ne feceris:   “What things you wish not done to

you do not to others”


The thinges which in other thou art woont to blame,

Be well ware that thou offend not in the same.

for it is very shame, when a man will preach,

yf that his deede against his woorde doe teach


I fynde in the same Marbecke booke also fol:858: What weapons the preachers

must usethey must fight with the woorde, & not with the swoorde, their weapons

are prayers & tearesbut this Waterman myslykyng of their weapons, carrieth

most comonlie a staffe with a long pyke of iron therein to the mayntenance &

defending of his closes, as one loth to havethem broken open ( although directlie

both agayn truth & olde custome) &  as by verdict fownd yea, & he of late with

weapon in hand hath sayed, yet hee will either give or take an wownde, if any man

come to lay open the same. And also to cownetenannce his leawde & unlawefull

doinge hath at Mr Heydons hande craved to have bothe mee & my servanntes

bownde to the peace.


I am very sorie, yet urged, concidering this T. Watermans oncomlie & unthankfull

dealing with mee, to declare what & how beneficiall I have beene unto hym: unto

whome besides the free gift of my benefice, I also gave one whole yeres boorde

wanting vii weekes, & longer would have done, but yet I fownde hym so

contentious , given to trooble , & lawing.


I gave hym also towardes bying of bookes yerelie xxd oute of my purse untill

suche tyme as I  sawe hym reather given to trooble then to studdie.


I gave hym also one newe dublett redy made unto hes back, for he came verie

simplie unto me. vidett, in a pooer canvis dublett cutt so


I gave hym also uppon rekonynge pasyng bytweene hym & mee to liberallie, 

sometyme  vidett xiiid.iiijd. at one tyme


I have also glased at myne owne proper cost and chardge all the windowes in the

Chauncell, which ar in noomber. v. & those verie large & greate, which did cost

mee with the scripture written within the said Chauncelles wales more then xx li.

and thus to conclude I justlie as I have fownde hym may saye: 



Perit  quod feci ingrato:   “What I have done for an ingrate perishes” 

(The word ‘perit’, ‘perishes’, could stand for ‘periit’, ‘has perished, or come to naught’.)


What the outcome of the Chancery suit was I have yet to discover. It is however recorded in the church registers that Thomas Waterman remained in post until his death in 1624, some 32 years after Thomas Buttes died.

I am very grateful to David Pinto and Neil Cheshire for their help in the translation of the Latin commentary



copyright 2019



Page last updated: Sunday 6th February 2022 12:55 PM
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