1615, Martyn Lumley seeks help collecting a big debt from a London tailor

Martyn Lumley, citizen and alderman of London. SP 14/81 f. 25 (1615)

To the right honourable Robert Earle of Somerset Lord Chamberlaine of his majesties howshould

The humble peticion of Martyn Lumley cittizen and alderman of London

Humblie shewinge unto your honourable good lordship that whereas Patricke Blacke tailour hath for this foure yeares space wrongfully deteyned and kept from your peticioner the somme of foure hundred poundes which he by noe meanes hitherto could gett or obtayne to his greate hindrance nowe your peticioner havinge commenced suite against him for the recovery of the same and can proceede no further therein without your honours good help and assistance

Maye it therefore please your honourable good lordship to graunte unto your petitioner your lycence for the arrestinge of the saide Patrick Blacke for the saide somme of foure hundred poundes which without youre lordshipps good favore and assistance herein he is noe wise like to recover or obtaine the same and your peticioner shall daielie praye to the almighty for your honours health and happines longe to contynue

[paratext:] Master Black is to cleare the accomptes, and to pay 150 pounds tenne daies hence, the rest by the end of Michaelmas terme, upon shewing of the bondes and bookes by the petitioner, and discharges and acquittances by himself or els to give way to the petition. 20o July 1615.

Report by Sarah Harris, assisted by David Moffatt

Martin Lumley was a grandson of a Genoese, who settled in London during the reign of Henry VIII.  This was one Domingo Lomley.  He was of the bedchamber of Henry VIII and commanded a troop of horse at Boulogne. (1) His grandson was a merchant of the City of London and member of the Worshipful Company of Drapers.  On 15 September 1614 he was elected an Alderman of the City of London for Vintry ward. From 1614 to 1615 he was Sheriff of London and was Master of the Drapers Company from 1615 to 1616. In 1623 he became Lord Mayor of London.(2)

The playwright Thomas Middleton wrote of this event:

“To the honour of him, to whom the novel Fraternity of Drapers, his worthy brothers have consecrated their lives, in costly triumphs, the Right Honourable Martin Lumley, Lord Mayor of this renowned city. Thy descent worthy, fortune’s early grace, sprung of an ancient and most generous race.  Matched with a virtuous lady, justly may challenge the honour of so great a day. Faithfully devoted to the worthiness of you both.”(3)

The phrase “sprung of so ancient and most generous race” applies, presumably, to his Genoese origins.

The virtuous lady was his wife, Mary Witham.  They had a son Sir Martin Lumley, 1st Baronet, who succeeded to his father’s estate at Great Bardfield, Essex in 1634.  He was a Presbyterian and a Member of Parliament for Essex from 1641-48 in the Long Parliament.  He was excluded in 1648 in Pride’s Purge.(4) This took place in December 1648 during the Second Civil War when troops of the New Model Army under the command of Colonel Thomas Pride forcibly removed from the Long Parliament those who the Army thought were unlikely to support its aim of putting the king on trial.(5)

Lumley was knighted on 23 May 1624.  In 1626 he became alderman for Bread Street ward.  He was President of Christ’s Hospital from 1632 to 1634.  He died on 2 July 1634. (2)

Robert Carr

Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset (1587-17 July 1645) was a politician and favourite of James I.  He was born in Somerset, the younger son of Sir Thomas Carr of Ferniehurst, Scotland.  He met Thomas Overbury, poet and essayist.  Overbury became secretary, mentor and political advisor to Carr as he rose in favour at court.  Carr first came to the attention of the king when he broke his leg at a tilting match.  He was given the manor of Sherborne, formerly belonging to Sir Walter Raleigh, created Viscount Rochester and made a Privy Councillor.

James tried to reign on his own with Carr after the death of his Chief Minister, Robert, Earl of Salisbury.  The Howard party took control of Government and Carr fell into the Howard camp.

He was unable to deal with his powerful position and depended on Overbury.  He started an affair with Frances Howard, Lady Essex.

Overbury mistrusted Frances Howard and tried to prevent the marriage.  Overbury was thrown into the Tower after he refused an offer by James of Ambassador to Court of Tsar Michael of Russia.  He died on 15 September 1613 of natural causes.

On 25 September 1613 Lady Essex obtained a decree of nullity against her husband Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex.  On 3rd November 1613, Carr had the Earldom of Somerset conferred on him. On 23 December he was appointed Lord Chamberlain, but he had differences with James and was replaced by George Villiers.  He might have remained in favour but for the discovery of the murder of Overbury by poisoning.  He and his wife were found guilty and incarcerated in the Tower.  His wife was pardoned in 1622 and Carr in 1624.  He died in 1645. (6)

Patrick Black

Patrick Black was one of the best-documented Stuart tailors and he built a strong bond with Charles I, who gave Black’s son a christening present of 25 ounces of plate in 1606.  In 1611 Patrick and Richard Black were appointed tailors to the Duke of York.  In 1613 Patrick became tailor to Prince Charles.

However, in 1615 Martin Lumley, Alderman of London, applied for permission to arrest him for a debt of £400.

Black maintained strong links with Scotland and in 1618 he petitioned for Sir William Anstruther to relinquish his barony and rights to lands in favour of Black, which happened in the following year.   On Charles’ accession, Black was given £1000 to travel to France to buy necessary items for the king, presumably materials and lace. Black was a member of the Merchant Tailors Company and he died in 1636.(7)


  1. John Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, p. 330.
  2. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Lumley_(lord_mayor)
  3. Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works,
    edited by Gary Taylor, John Lavagnino, p. 1768
  4. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Martin_Lumley,_1st_Baronet
  5. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pride%27s_Purge
  6. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pride%27s_Purge
  7. Maria Hayward, Stuart Style: Monarchy, Dress and the Scottish Male Elite (2020), p. 184


This report is part of a series on ‘Petitioners in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, 1600-1625’, created through a U3A Shared Learning Project on ‘Investigating the Lives of Seventeenth-Century Petitioners’.