Doddridge, Sin John

, an eminent English lawyer, the son of Richard Doddridge, of a Devonshire family, was born at Barnstaple in 1555. In 1572 he was entered of Exeter college, Oxford, where he studied four years; after which he was removed to the Middle Temple, London, where he became a great proficient in the law, and a noted counsellor. In the forty-fifth year of the reign of queen Elizabeth he was Lent reader of that house; and on the 20th of January, 1603-4, he was called to the degree of serjeant-at-law, at which time he had the honour of being appointed serjeant to Henry prince of Wales. From this employment he was raised, in the succeeding year, to be solicitor-general to the king, and on the 25th of June 1607, he was constituted his majesty’s principal serjeantat-law, and was knighted on the fifth of July following. In February 1612-13, he was created M. A. at his chambers in Serjeants Inn by the vice-chancellor, the two proctors, and five other members of the university of Oxford. This peculiar honour was conferred upon him in gratitude for the great service he had done to the university in several law-suits depending between the city of Oxford and the university. On the 22d of April 1013, he was appointed one of the judges of the court of king’s bench, in which, office he continued till his death. In this station he appears to have conducted himself with great integrity as well as ability. However, in April, 162, he and the other judges of the court were called upon to assign their reasons in the house of lords, for having given judgment against admitting five gentlemen to bail, who had been imprisoned for refusing the loan which had lately been demanded by the crown. Sir Nicholas Hyde, lord chief justice, sir John Doddridge, Mr. Justice Jones, and Mr. Justice Whitlocke, each of them spoke upon the occasion, and made the best defence which the nature of the case would admit. If they were guilty of a mistake, which cannot now reasonably be doubted, they seem to have been led into it in the sincerity of their hearts, from the notions they entertained of regal power, and probably from their perceiving the drift of parliament in these proceedings. Sir John Doddridge, in his speech, asserts the,

index. Faulkner’s Hist, of Fulham. Park’s Royal and Noble Authors. Cumberland’s Life. Some account of his uncle, Knight’s Life ofColet. Hawkins’s Life of Johnson. Dodsley’s, Pcareh’s, and NiclioU’s Poems. Bowles’s edition of Pope’s Works, Louoj^r’s Common-place li^ok, vol. 1. Cose’s Life of | purity of his own character in the following terms: “It is no more fit for a judge to decline to give an account of his doings than for a Christian of his faith. God knoweth I have endeavoured always to keep a good conscience; for a troubled one who can bear? I have now sat in this court fifteen years, and I should know something. Surely, if I had gone in a mill so long, dust would cleave to my clothes. I am old, and have one foot in the grave; therefore I will look to the better part as near as 1 can. But omnia haberc in memoria, et in nullo errarc, divinum potius est quain human um.” He died Sept. 13, 1628, in the seventy-third year of his age, and was buried in the ambulatory before the door of the library, formerly called Lady Mary’s Chapel, in the cathedral church of Exeter. Within that library is a very sumptuous monument erected to his memory, containing his figure and that of his wife, cut in alabaster, under a stately arch supported by marble pillars. This learned judge, by his happy education, accompanied with excellent natural parts and unremitted industry, became so general a scholar, that it was said of him, that it was difficult to determine whether he were the better artist, divine, civil or common lawyer. Among his other studies, he was a great lover of antiquities, and attained to such an eminence of knowledge and skill in that department of literature, that he was regarded as one of the ablest members of the famous society of antiquaries, which may be said to have begun in 1571, but which more particularly flourished from 1590 to 1614. Rewrote, I. “The Lawyer’s Light; or, due direction for the study of the Law,London, 1629, 4to. 2. “A complete Parson, or a description of advowsons and church livings, delivered in several readings, in an inn of chancery called the New Inn,” printed 1602, 1603, 1630, 4to. 3. “The History of the ancient and modern estate of the principality of Wales, duchy of Cornwall, and earldom of Chester,1630, 4to. 4. “The English Lawyer, a treatise describing a method for the managing of the Laws of this Land, and expressing the best qualities requisite in the student, practiser, judges, &c.London, 1631, 4to. 5. “Opinion touching the antiquity, power, order, state, manner, persons, and proceedings, of the High Courts of Parliament in England,London, 1658, 8vo. 6. “A Treatise of particular Estates,London, 1677, duodecimo, printed at the end of the fourth edition of William Noy’s Works, | entitled, “The Ground and Maxims of the Law.” 7. “A true representation of forepassed Parliaments to the view of the present times and posterity.” This still remains in manuscript. Sir John Doddridge also enlarged a book called “The Magazine of Honour,London, 1642. 7'he same book was afterwards published under his name by the title of “The Law of Nobility and Peerage,” Lond. 16S7, 1658, 8vo. In the Collection of curious Discourses, written by eminent antiquaries, are two dissertations by our judge; one of which is on the dimensions of the land of England, and the other on the office and duty of heralds in this country. Mr. Bridgman, in his “Legal Bibliography,” informs us that many valuable works have been attributed to sir John Doddridge, which in their title-pages have borne the names of others. He mentions particularly Sheppard’s “Law of Common Assurances touching Deeds in general,” and “Wentworth’s office and dutie of Executors;” both which are said to have been written by Doddridge. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I.—Hearne’s Discourses, vol. II. p. 432, &c.—Prinor’s Worthies of Devon.—Fuller’s Worthies.—Biog. Brit, note on the Life of Dr. Doddridge, at the beginning.—Bridgman’s Legal Biography.