Yelverton, Henry

, a distinguished lawyer, is said to have been born at Easton Mauduit, in Northamptonshire, June 29, 1566, but as the register of his baptism, July 5, of that year, occurs at Islington, it is more likely that he was born there, where his father, sir Christopher (then Mr. Yelverton, and a student at Gray’s Inn) had, it is probable, country lodgings. He was educated for some time at Oxford, but removed afterwards to Gray’s Inn for the study of the law. In 1606 he was elected Lent-reader, being then, Wood says, “accounted a religious gentleman, and a person well read in the municipal laws.” In 1613 he wasappointed solicitor-general, and received the honour of knighthood by the interest of Carr, earl of Somerset, and on March 17, 1616, was advanced to the higher office of attorney general; but having given offence, as it is said, to the favourite Buckingham, he was accused in the star-chamber of illegal proceedings in his office, and by a sentence of that court deprived of his place, imprisoned in the Tower, and heavily fined. Being afterwards brought before the lords, he made a speech which was so offensive to the king and his favourite, that he was fined 10.000 marks for the reflections which he had cast on his majesty, and 5000 for the insult offered to Buckingham. But by one of those unaccountable changes which occur among politicians of all ages, he became soon afterwards in great favour with the very man whose enmity had cost him so dear, and was, through his interest, made one of the justices of the king’s bench, and afterwards of the common pleas, which last place he retained till his death; | and had not the duke been untimely cut off, he would in all probability have been made lord-keeper of the great seal, as he was esteemed one of the first lawyers of his time. He died Jan. 24, 1630, at his house in Aldersgate-street, and was interred in the parish church of Easton Mauduit.

His “Reports of Special Cases in the King’s Bench, from 44 Eliz. to 10 Jac. I.” were originally published in French by sir W. Wylde, 1661, and 1674, and were afterwards carefully translated into English, and published in 1735, folio. Under his name there are extant in print, several speeches in parliament, and particularly one in Rushworth’s collection also “The Rights of the People concerning Impositions,” Lond. 1679; “Thirty- two Sermons of Mr. Edward Phillips,” a puritan preacher, taken by him in short-hand. Some additional particulars concerning our author and his family and descendants may be seen in a long note to the article of Baroness Grey de Ruthyn, in Collins’s Peerage. It is remarkable that sir Henry, who, we are inclined to think, was a man of independent spirit, fell under king James’s displeasure in 1609, by his freedom of speech and conduct in parliament. His own narrative of this affair was lately communicated to the society of antiquaries, and is printed in the “Archaeologia,” vol. XV. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I.- Collins’s Peerage, ubi supra. Lysons’s Environs.