Fabian Philipps

(1601—1690) author

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Fabian Philipps was born in Prestbury, Gloucestershire on 28 September 1601 and died on 17 November 1690. He was educated in the legal profession in the Inns of Chancery and then the Middle Temple. He gained a reputation for assiduous reading, especially in English antiquities. From this, he derived an idealized view of feudalism as a social and legal system in which every landed proprietor owed personal allegiance to the king. Philipps's early experience in the common law courts reinforced his impression that the English king was still essentially a feudal lord, a universal seigneur. In 1641 he was appointed Filacer in the Court of Common Pleas (a legal office finally abolished in 1837) of London, Middlesex, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. But he never received pay because the office was disputed in Parliament. He served on at least two public commissions: one concerned with London's water supply, the other with legal reform. Two days before Charles I's execution, he published King Charles the First, no Man of Blood (1649), which defended the king as ‘a Martyr for his People’. The pamphlet was handsomely republished in 1660 under the Latin title Veritas inconcussa [Truth Unshaken]. In 1653 he published a defence of the recently suppressed Court of Chancery which earned him the thanks of both the Speaker of the House of Commons, William Lenthall, and the ‘Keepers of the Liberties of England’, the Interregnum's legal substitute for the monarch. In 1660 he published Tenenda non tollenda, the most comprehensive of three books designed to ‘restore’ the feudal monarchy that Philipps believed he had seen at work in the common law courts before the civil wars, and which he read about in medieval antiquities and the works of legal historians such as Sir Thomas Craig. In 1661 he was rewarded with the suitably medieval office of Remembrancer of the Court of the Council and Marches of Wales.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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