Swinburne, Henry

, a law writer, of the seventeenth century, was the son of Thomas Swinburne of the city of York, where he was born. In his sixteenth year he was sent to Oxford, and entered a commoner of Hart-hall, whence after some time he removed to Broadgate-hall, now Pembroke college, and there took his degree of bachelor of civil law. Before he left the university he married Helena, daughter of Bartholomew Lant, of Oxford, and being then obliged to quit the college, he returned to York, and practised in the ecclesiastical courts as proctor. He afterwards commenced doctor of civil law, and became very eminent in his profession. On Feb. 10, 1612, he was advanced to be commissary of the Exchequer, and judge of the prerogative court of the province of York, in which office he continued till his death. Of this event we have no direct memorial; but, as his will was proved June 12, 1624, we may presume he died about that time. He was buried in the cathedral of York, leaving his dwelling house in York to his son Toby, and a benefaction to the poor of the city. It appears he was twice married, and that his second wife’s name was Wentworth. He wrote a “Treatise of Spousals, or Matrimonial contracts,” which was not published until 1686, 4to; but his more celebrated work was his “Treatise of Testaments and Last Wills, compiled out of the laws, ecclesiastical, civil, and canon, as also out of the common laws, customs, and statutes of this realm.” This work has passed through seven editions, 4to. 1590, 1611, 1635, 1677, 1728, fol. corrected and much en- x larged in 1743, and lastly in 1803, with valuable annotations illustrative of the subject to the present time, by the Jate John Joseph Powell, esq. and prepared for the press by James Wake, esq. in 3 vols. 8vo. Mr. Hargrave observes, that there is a curious dissertation on the customs of York, in respect to filial portions, which forms a valuable part of the work, but which is not contained in the first edition, having been afterwards added by Swinburne. Mr. Hargrave also complains that his later editors have not been careful to distinguish their own enlargements from | what belongs to the author, but this is not the case in Powell’s edition, whose annotations are printed distinct from Swinburne’s text. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Drake’s Eboracum, Bridgraan’s Legal Bibliography.