Sir James Whitelocke (1570-1632) was one of the most distinguished and politically intriguing figures of his age. His Liber Famelicus, compiled over the course of a long and controversial career as parliamentarian and judge, offers extraordinary insights into religion and politics in an age not noted for its political candour.
Whitelocke's early political theories on the king-in-parliament, and later judicial pronouncements on Crown legal rights, presage constitutional issues facing parliament and the Crown in 1642. A study of Whitelocke's life sheds valuable light on the character and causes of constitutional disagreement before the Civil Wars. This book explains Whitelocke's political views, exploring the place of law in seventeenth-century political thought. It questions his dual formation in English and civil law, his colourful and controversial years in the parliament and the courts of law, and his professional connections with such powerful figures as Archbishop William Laud. The result is a much-needed case study of a figure whose views defy simple explanations, illuminating the salient questions facing the English political nation in the early Stuart era.