Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634) did not live to see the publication of the final volumes of The Institutes of the Lawes of England. King Charles I had become acutely aware of the threat posed by this work to the royal prerogative, and so he commanded in 1632 and again in 1634 that Coke’s papers be seized. This letter from King Charles to the Secretary of State, Sir Francis Windebank (1582-1646), authorised the act of confiscation. Concerned that ‘there are sondry papers and Manuscripts of great consideration and weight yet remayning in the possession of Sir Edward Coke’, the King directed Windebank ‘to repaire to the house or place of abode of the said Sir Edward Coke, and there to seize and take into your charge, and bring away, all such papers and Manuscripts as you shall think fitt’.
- Article by:
- Geoffrey Robertson
- Magna Carta today
Geoffrey Robertson QC charts the history of jury trials and their relationship to Magna Carta. From medieval justice to the trial of Charles I, and the trials of John Lilburne to the Human Rights Act, discover the evolution of one of the most venerated features of Anglo-American law.