Henry Rolle

(c. 1589—1656) politician and judge

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Henry Rolle was born in Heanton, Devonshire and died on 30 July 1656. He was educated at Exeter College, Oxford and the Inner Temple. He was called to the Bar in 1618 and practised law successfully. In 1636 he became recorder of Dorchester and in 1640 was appointed a serjeant-at-law. Rolle was a Member of every Parliament from 1614 to 1628–9, and frequently criticized the policies of the king and the Duke of Buckingham. During the civil war he sided with Parliament, and was appointed a judge of the King's Bench in 1645, rising to the office of Chief Justice of that court in 1648. After the execution of Charles I and the abolition of the monarchy in 1649, Rolle accepted his old post under the new name of Chief Justice of the Upper Bench, and also became a member of the republic's executive, the Council of State. Rolle retained his chief justiceship after Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector, but in 1655 resigned his post rather than displease the Protector by finding in favour of a merchant who had sued a customs officer for forcibly taking customs duties which had not been sanctioned by Parliament. Rolle's younger brother, John, had himself been involved in a similar and famous case in 1629, when his refusal to pay extra-Parliamentary levies on merchandise had been upheld by the Commons. Rolle wrote two posthumously published collections of law reports: Abridgement des plusieurs cases et resolutions del commun ley (1668) and Reports de divers cases en le. court del Banke le Roy en le temps del reign de Roy Jacques (1675–6).

From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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