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AN HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL ACCOUNT
LIVES AND WRITINGS
MOST EMINENT PERSONS
IN EVERY NATION;
PARTICULARLY THE BRITISH AND IRISH;
FROM THE EARLIEST ACCOUNTS TO THE PRESENT TIME.
A NEW EDITION,
REVISED AND ENLARGED BY
ALEXANDER CHALMERS, F. S. A.
PRINTED FOR J. NICHOLS AND SON; F. C. AND J. RIVINGTON; T. PAYNE ;
A NEW AND GENERAL
COKE (SIR EDWARD), lord chief-justice of England,
and one of the most eminent lawyers this kingdom has produced, was descended from an ancient family in Norfolk, and born at Mileham, in that county, 1549. His father was Robert Coke, esq. of Mileham; his mother, Winifred, daughter and coheiress of William Knightley, of Margrave Knightley, in Norfolk. At ten years of age he was sent to a free-school at Norwich; and from thence removed to Trinity-college, in Cambridge. He remained in the university about four years, and went from thence to Clifford's-inn, in London; and the year after was entered a student of the Inner Temple. We are told that the first proof he gave of the quickness of his penetration, and the solidity of his judgment, was his stating the cook's case of the Temple, which it seems had puzzled the whole house, so clearly and exactly, that it was taken notice of and admired by the bench. It is not at all improbable that this might promote his being called early to the bar, at the end of six years, which in those strict times was held very extraordinary. He himself has informed us that the first cause he moved in the King's-bench, was in Trinity-term, 1578, when he was counsel for Mr. Edward Denny, vicar of Northingham, in Norfolk, in an action of scandalum magnatum, brought against him by Henry lord Cromwell. About this time he was appointed reader of Lyon's-inn, when his learned lectures were much attended, for three years. His reputation increased so fast, and with it his practice, that when he had been at the bar but VOL, X.