Quarter Sessions.

Henry Owen Lately of Milverton circa 1650


Q\SPET/1/67 circa 1650

Petition of the parishioners of Langford Budville against Henry Owen of Milverton, feltmaker.


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What’s the bigger picture


This event occurred during the constitutional experiments of the Commonwealth and Protectorate period of the 1650’s. It may have been a time of religious toleration, however, Puritan morality was taking a grip. In some districts bear-baiting, cock-fighting, horse-racing and wrestling were banned. Betting and gambling were also forbidden. Large numbers of ale-houses were closed and fines were imposed on people caught swearing. With this in mind it is understandable that some people would not relish an event like the ‘Revel Week’ and take exception to anyone selling beer and ale to the assembled crowd - specially if they did not have a licence!

Was Henry trying to lightened the mood or did he see an opportunity to make some money? He certainly didn’t hold with the Puritan view of the world. It would also seem that even those who stood in judgement were not against a bit of  revelry now and then.


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Q/SO/5 Quarter Session Order book. Date 1646-1656

If this entry does refer to this case then it would appear that the petition was taken seriously and Henry had to appear before the court. A record of his statement is not available but what ever, it was, he said did the trick because he was discharged.