I have a copy of the Middlesex Sessions Records 1612-14 sat on my floor. I feel guilty for leaving it there, pick it up and open at random:
26 July, 11 James I [A.D. 1613].
Roger Williams [Williamson] alias Davies of St. Andrew’s, Holborn, scrivener, and Margaret his wife, for being common barrators and disturbers of the peace at the same; and for keeping a common bawdy house at the same.
Both guilty. To be carted in a cart from the gaol to their own house, the said Margaret in a blue mantle like a bawd, and there to be openly set in the stocks, and afterwards to remain in prison till they find sureties for their good behaviour.
Prosecutors:- Giles Henley, William Dennis, Roger Usherwood, Christopher Archer, Nicholas Elmye, Robert Osborne.
Sureties for the said:- John Askewe of St. Gabriel’s, Fenchurch, gentleman, and William Roberts of St. Bartholomew’s-the-Great, tailor.
Roger and Margaret sound like a right pair – aside from keeping a brothel and generally creating a racket, barratry was the crime of “bringing a groundless lawsuit or lawsuits” or the corrupt practice of the “sale or purchase of positions in church or state.”