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Punishing Bad Manners and Bad Morals

Lower Norfolk County, Virginia
1646 - 1651

Most of the matters brought before the Lower Norfolk County Court were property disputes or contract matters, but check out the items below to see how the Court handled "thunderous words," fornication, bearing a child out of wedlock, refusing to name the father of a child born out of wedlock, and problems with servants.

16 Nov 1646
  It is ordered that John Williams doe receive twenty good lashes on his bare back in presence of this Court for two frequenting the Company of Elizabeth Tappen late servant unto Mrs: Gookin contrary to the tenor of a former order of this Court dated the 15 Dec 1645 and made soe appeare by sufficient proofe upon oath and the said Williams to pay the Court charges.

17 Nov 1646
  Upon a former reference to this Court it is nowe ordered that Elizabeth Yellowe singlewoman and servant unto Mr: William Julian doe immediately receive 20 good lashes on her bare back for her Incontinency with Xrofer Rowles and thereupon being delivered of a bastard child and this Court doe order Mr: William Julian to pay all the Court charges for which the said Elizabeth Yellowe shall make satisfaccon unto the said Mr: Julian at the expiracon of her Indenture or before she depart her service.

15 Dec 1646
  Whereas: Agnes the wyfe of John Holmes hath spoken certaine thunderous words tending to the great disparragement of Capt: Thomas Willowghby, Esqr: as appears by the deposicon Henry Snayle and Thomas Smythairs, It is ordered thereupon that the said Agnes Holmes shall receive in presence of this Court fivetee good lashes on her bare back and allsoe weare a paper upon her head with these words written in Captial letters/vizt/ for slandering Capt: Willowghby sayeing "I would put him by his oath for a fraud that I know" and allsoe to weare the said paper on the Lords day at the Parish Church at Linh and on a Lords day at the publique meeting ...Elizabeth Ricer one howre in each place and the Sheriffe to see the pformance hereof between this and the next Court. And the said Agnes Holmes to pay all the Court Charges or Execucon.

16 Aug 1647
  Ordered that Blanche Armestrong shall aske Capt: Sibsey forgiveness in Court for abusing him in unjust language and she is to receive 10 stripes on the bare back for her abuse of Mrs: Sibsey... Upon the said Blanch her acknowledgmt in Court for submission the punishment is remitted upon her good behavior.

16 Dec 1646
  It appears by sufficient proof Edmund Lindsey als yeoman hath spoken divers scandalous words & infamous speeches concerning Lucy the wife of Edmund Hall. Lindsey als Yeoman to receive 20 lashes on his bare back and shall stand 3 Sabbath dayes at the Parish Church of Lynnhaven...with a paper upon his head with these words following in Capitall letters (vizt) I, Edmund Lindley als Yeoman doe stand here to acknowledge the great wrong I the slandering of Mris: Hall with my tongue...said Lindsey als Yeoman shall pay the Court charges als execucon and the Churchwardens of Lynhaven Parish to see that the above order is performed...

16 Jun 1648
  Ann Godbye to receive 15 lashes upon her bare back and aske Mrs: Elizabeth Lloyd forgivenesse in the face of this present Court for most grosely defaming of the sd Mrs: Lloyd. And Ann Godbyes husband Thomas Godbye to pay the Court Charges.

1 Feb 1648/9
  Ordered that Rowland Morgan for comitting of the great & loathsome sinn of drunkenness shall by 1 May next cause a payre of stocks to be built and placed before the Court Doore & that hee doe publiquely before the face of this Court acknowledge that hee hath greatly abused Capt: ffrancis Yardley in words and that hee is hartily sorry for it and alsoe to pay the Court Charges.
  Rowland Morgan has most rudely behaved himselfe towards Capt: Edward Windham. Morgan ordered to apologize in Court.

9 Apr 1649
  Geo: Wakefield & Ursula Bayley servants of Tho: Wright psented by ye Churchwarden of Elizabeth River for Committing of parties to do penance in the Chappell of Elizabeth River by wearing a white sheet and a white rod in their hands upon the next Sabbath day.

15 Jun 1649
  The deposition of Josiah Mulders aged 23 yeares or thereabouts sworned sayeth that Deborah fferinhaugh his Mistress did beate her Mayde Servant in the quartering house before the ...more like a dogge than a Christian and that at a Certaine time I felt her head which was beaten so soft as a springe in our ... and that there was a wording shee complayned and said her backbone as shee thought was Broken which beating and that I did see the mayds arms naked which was full of black & blue bruises & pinches & her necke likewise & afterwards I told my Mris of it and sayd that 2 or 3 blows could not make her in such a case...
  Michaele Mckaye aged 22 yeares of thereabouts, his deposition - He swore to the deposition of Josias Mulders...
  Upon the depositions of Josias Mulders & Michaell McKaye of ye misusages of Charatie Dollen by her Mris: Deborah fferinhaugh & by many other often complaints by others sufficient testimonies & although the sd Deborah hath had advertisemt thereof from ye Court & has persisted in ye very ill usadges of her sd servant... It is therefore ordered that ye sd Charatie shall no longer remain in the house or service of her Mris: but is to be continued at the house of Mr: Thomas Lambard until such time as Deborah fferinhaugh dye or otherwise dispose of her said servant

20 Nov 1649
  Mr: Sampson Calvert Minister of Elizabeth River Parish hath acknowledgd to have Committed ye grevious sinne of adultry with Anne ye wife of Laurence Phillipps: Now upon ye hearty contrition of ye sd Mr. Calvert concerning his sd fowle offence presented to ye Court in writing under his owne hand. It is therefore ordered that hee do make the same confession in both Churches by reading ye sd writing to ye people two severall Sundays vizt: Sunday next come Senight at ye Parish Church & ye Sabbath day following at ye Chappell.
  Whereas Laurence Phillipps & Anne his wife used most undecent & ungodly talke & Communicacon & thereby have slandered & greatly defamed many severall persons of good and known reputation Vizt: Mr: Tho: Lambard, Mr: Math: Phillipps Capt: Tho: Burbage, Mr: Richard Conquest, Mr: Cornelius Lloyd, Mr. Thomas Marsh & Thomas Bridge, Mris: Eliz: Sibsey, Mris: Eliz: Lloyd & divers others as appears by ye testimony of ye sd Mr: Calvert upon oath. It is thereupon ordered that ye sd Laurence Phillipps & Anne his wife...for 2 severall Sundays...stand at ye great door...with a paper on their heads with names of all those they have defamed & Court Charges & also refrain from keeping an ordinary.

25 Feb 1649/50
  By reason of the often Runing away & pilfering of Ursula Bayly it is ordered that Lau: Phillipps shall forthwith bring ye sd Ursula servant Mayd to Geo: Heighham to Capt: Sibsey his house and there cause her to bee given 30 lashes on ye bare backe & afterwards conveye her to her Master... & her sd Master shall provide meals, drinks, & clothing for her & farther Cure of her legge that heareafter no more Complaints bee made by her ye sd Mayd not none of his Sarvants &...Geo: Heigham to pay all Court Charges besides other Charges & ye sd Ursula is to make him satisfacon in service.

18 Jun 1650
  Ann Watkins Mayd Sarvant to Capt: Tho: Willoughby Esqr: being delivered of a child & will not confess ye father of it. It is ordered that ye Sherr: cause 30 lashes to be given her on ye bare back forthwith except shee confesseth who gott the child.

1 Nov 1650
  Thomas Godby & his wife agst Richard Becke & his wife upon full hearing ordered that Richard Becke & his wife, in open Court, shall aske Godby & his wife forgiveness and if hereafter Becke's wife abuses Godby's wife she shall be severely punished.

30 Oct 1651
  Henery Snayle was ye last Court ordered to stand in the two parishes at ye tyme of devine service in Lynnhaven with a paper on his head then and there to acknowledge ye wronge he had done to Josephe Birch...uppon his submission ye court doth with the consent of sd Birch remitt ye sd penance and orders that Snayle aske Birch forgiveness in Open Court for scandalous speeches...being made to appeare false and to pay Birch 80 lb tob for two days appearance at Court together with his wife and Court Chardges.
  Divers complaints of severall misdemeanors of John Bradley servant to George Heigham. It is ordered that Bradley receive 20 good lashes uppon his beare back.
  Jane Latham hath made complaint to this Court of her ill usage by her master Mr: Thomas Willoughby uppon the hearinge of the motion it is ordered that she return to her masters house there to doe her service in such manner as she ought to doe untill ye next Court. And then Mr: Willoughby & Jane Latham to appeare and to bringe such witnesses as can speake in ye difference betweene them, and Mr: Willoughby there to produce ye ropes he strucke ye sd Latham