Grimston, Sir Harbottle

, a celebrated lawyer, and master of the rolls in the seventeenth century, descended from a very ancient family, was born at Brad fieldball, near Manningtree, in Essex, about 1594. Where he had his early education is not known, but he studied law in Lincoln’s-inn, and practised with considerable success. In August 1638 he was chosen recorder of Colchester, and representative for that place in the parliament which met at Westminster April 13, 1640, and again in the parliament which met Nov. 3 of the same year. The measures he at first supported were those of the party which finally overthrew the government, and although he argued chiefly against such abuses as might have been reformed by a better understanding between the conflicting parties, yet his violence against the court, and particularly a bitter speech he made against archbishop Laud, seem to prove that he was too much swayed by the popular clamour of the times, and too readily became one of the committees | for the redress of grievances, real or imaginary, as well as for bringing those to punishment who were most obnoxious to the people. In 1642 he was made one of the lieutenants of the county of Essex, in pursuance of the parliament’s ordinance for the militia, and in August the same year, came down to Colchester and proclaimed sir John Lucas a traitor, for intending to assist the king. When he came, however, to penetrate more deeply into the designs of the reformers, he began to withdraw his countenance from them, and when in 1647 he was appointed one of the commissioners to treat with the king at Newport, in the isle of Wight, his majesty had every reason to be pleased with his candour and moderation. On his return to parliament, he argued for accepting the king’s concessions, and being at the same time one of the commissioners for disbanding the army, was, among others, forcibly excluded from the house by a party of soldiers. After the murder of the king, he went abroad for some time, but in 1656 we find him elected to Cromwell’s parliament as one of the sixteen, representatives for the county of Essex, but not approved by the council, against whose decision he signed a spirited re* monstrance. In February 1659-60 he was chosen one of the new council of state, in whom the executive power was lodged by the remains of the long parliament that restored Charles II.; and a few months after, he was also chosen speaker of the house of commons in what was called the “Healing parliament” which met April 25, 1660. In May following, he waited on the king at Breda, and on his majesty’s arrival, and the settlement of the government, was appointed master of the roils Nov. 3, 1660, which office he filled for nearly twenty-four years with great ability and integrity. He was aiso appointed in the same year chief steward of the borough or St. AlbanV, and recorder of Harwich, and from the restoration to the time or his death, continued to represent Colchester in parliament. For several years he entertained Dr. Gilbert Burntt, afterwards bishop of Salisbury, as his chaplain, or preacher at the rolls; and much assisted him in his “History of the Reformation.” Burnet in his “Own Times” has given an affectionate and probably faithful character of sir Harbottle, who appears to have been a man of real worth, piety, and moderation in his latter days. Sir Harbottle died Dec. 31, 1683, aged about ninety, and was buried in the chancel of St. Michael’s church, St. Alban’s. He was twice married, first to Mary, | daughter of sir George Croke, an edition of whose “Reports” he published, 3 vols. folio; and secondly to Anne, daughter of sir Nathaniel Bacon, of Culford-hall, in Suffolk. Other particulars of his family may be seen in our authorities. 1

1

Biog. Brit. Burnet’s Own Times. Collins’s Peerage, by Sir E. Brydges, art. Verulam, Clarendon’s History Chauncy’s Hertfordshire.