A family of Ogbornes of Thornbury, Gloucesteshire were accused in a court action in 1615 of threatening behaviour in a dispute over ownership of land and buildings. James Eddis, a tanner, lodged the complaint which concerned two houses and gardens in Thornbury, near the historic city of Bristol, in a document dated 23 June 1615.
Eddis stated that the property had been acquired in about 1591 by William Ogborne, a husbandman, Anthonie Ogborne, a butcher and Thomas Ogborne a shoemaker and claimed that William and Anthonie sold their portions to Thomas Thurnstone ( deceased in 1615) and after Thurnstone had sold his interest to Eddis, Thomas Ogborne was alleged to have sold his interest to Eddis also.
Since then William Ogborne, John Ogborne, Joane Ogborne (a widow) were accused together with Richard Griffin and his wife (possibly the widow of Thomas Ogborne) of obtaining the deeds of the property by foul means, and having entered the property, threatening to pull down the houses and cut down the trees.
In defence John Ogborne, Richard Griffin and his wife Bridget stated that his grandfather Thomas Ogborne (father of the Thomas mentioned above) had acquired the property much earlier than 1591 and gave it to trustees for the use of his son Anthonie and Joanne his wife and another part to his son Thomas and his wife Bridget.
It is thought possible that ancestors of John Ogborne & Wiliam Ogborne who settled in New Jersey in the 17th century may be related to the Ogbornes involved in this case. Symon Ogborne who settled in Virginia in 1652 is thought to have been a resident in Gloucester and could possibly be related to that family.
A document in Latin was received with the papers received from the Public Record Office, and as the practice at that time was for depositions to be written in English, and the judgement of the Court in Latin, it was naturaly assumed that this was what the document would reveal. However a translation has now been obtained, which reads as follows:
Writ for Examination of Defendants 1618 Defendant etc.May you, Edmund Morgan esquire, William Blethen, Walter Alder and William Rider, gentlemen, know that a certain petition is before us in our Chancery against Richard Griffyn, Bridget his wife or the wife of……,And that we have lately ordered those same defendants, by our writ, to appear before us in our said Chancery on a certain day now …And we have given to you, or three or two of you, with the utmost confidence in your faith and cautious circumspection, the power to diligently examine the defendants aforesaid, the tenor of which we send to you enclosed with these presents.And therefore you, or three or two of you, should approach the aforenamed defendants, if they are not able to travel to you conveniently, and should diligently examine those same defendants concerning and upon the same, a corporal oath on God’s Holy Gospel being first executed before you, or three or two of you, and you should take down the said responses in writing on parchment.And when you have thus taken these, you should send them to us in our Chancery aforesaid in the Octave of Saint… in the 8 days following Saint .. ‘s Day which shall next have passed, distinctly and openly, sealed with your seals, or those of three or two of you, together with the Tenor aforesaid and this writ.
In the sixteenth year of the reign of King James of England, France and Ireland, and of Scotland the fifty first.
The final outcome of the dispute therefore remains a mystery, though the Court’s attention seems to have been drawn towards the Griffins.