COUNTY COURT PROCEEDINGS
Liber A of the Kent County court proceedings is now in an incomplete form. Liber A
Originally the liber possessed 126 folios (leaves), and its contents began with the
court session of January, 1647/48. Robert Vaughan seems to have been clerk in
1651, and Thomas Hinson was clerk in 1652 and 1653. Thomas Hill followed
Hjnson and was still clerk when the liber was closed in October, 1656.
Folios I to 95 of the record are now missing. Whether or not they still exist
elsewhere is not known. Fortunately, excerpts from these lost record pages can
be supplied from two sources and these sources have been drawn upon. Clerk James
Smith in 1727 caused the various land papers scattered through the earlier county
court records to be copied into a new record book, the present Liber A of Kent land
records. Among the entries thus copied were more than a score taken from the
folios now missing. A second source is the book “Old Kent,” written by George A.
Hanson. In 1875, when the old court book was still complete, this writer drew from
it many excerpts, either in quoted or descriptive form, and some of these came from
the now lost portion. All that has been preserved by Smith and Hanson is here
reprinted. Presumably both retained the correct wording of the original, but neither
one attempted literal reproduction of the style of the ancient text. Each one altered
the spelling to that of his own time and extended abbreviations into full words.
Hanson also corrected the punctuation.
Folios g6 to 126 are reprinted from the original text. To all appearances the
record in this part is continuous and complete. It is wholly in the handwriting of
Thomas Hill. Although Liber A of court records probably embraced several
older booklets, this portion shows a uniform watermark and was probably a unit.
Hanson, Old Kent, p. 16.
“At a Court holden for this Island, at Mr. Philip Conier his house, [fol. 1
on ye 3rd of January, 1647,
“Present, Capt. Robert Vaughan, Commander, Mr. Thomas
Bradnox, Mr. Philip Conier, Mr. Ed. Commins, Mr. Francis
“John Metham complaineth against Francis Lumbard, in an action
of debt to the value of four hundred pounds of tobacco and cask, and
for this he bringeth his suit.
“The Court ordereth, that the plaintiff shall recover one hundred
pounds of tobacco and cask, and the defendant to recover of Ed.
Commins ninety pounds of tobacco and cask.”
The next case is that of John Winchester, who complaineth against
Edward Commins, gent., “in an action of slander,” and claims “five
thousand pounds of tobacco and cask.” “Warrant granted.”