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Friday, March 1, 2013

Humphrey Chamberlain

About 1685, Humphrey Chamberlaine of Henrico County, a man of good birth, but of a very choleric temper, was arrested because, in a fit of anger with Colonel William Byrd, he had stripped off his coat and drawn his sword with the intention of making an attack. This was near the house where the court of justices were sitting, with Colonel Byrd participating.  Chamberlain was promptly clapped in jail, and soon broke down the bars and would have escaped had it not been for the guards. When brought before the justices, he sought to excuse himself for his conduct towards Colonel Byrd by saying that he was "a stranger in the country and ignorant of its laws and customs." The court responded by declaring that "no stranger, especially an English gentleman, could be insensible of ye respect and reverence due to so honorable a person" as Colonel William Byrd. Chamberlaine was sentenced to pay a fine of five pounds sterling and also to have repair at his own expense the damage which hed caused in prison.  Source: Henrico County Minute Book 1682-1701, pp. 107-8.
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