Robert Atkyns 1621-1710

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Sir Robert ATKYNS 1621-1710

Biographical Note

Born at Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, son of Sir Edward Atkyns, baron of the exchequer. Matriculated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge 1637, but did not graduate; admitted at Lincoln's Inn 1638, called to the bar 1645, bencher 1661, reader 1664. MP for Carmarthen 1656, for Evesham 1659, for East Looe 1661-72, for Middlesex 1681. Created a Knight of the Bath in 1660, and in 1661 he became recorder of Bristol, and solicitor-general to the Queen. Serjeant-at-law and a justice of the common pleas, 1672. During the 1670s he developed an increasingly opposed position to aspects of the court and royal policy, and he was forced to resign as a judge in 1680. He was involved in defending Lord William Russell, executed in 1683 for involvement in the Rye House Plot. He returned to favour under William and Mary, and was appointed lord chief baron of the exchequer in 1689, and speaker of the House of Lords, retiring from public life to his Gloucestershire estates in 1694. He published numerous legal treatises in the 1680s and 90s, including The power, jurisdiction and privilege of Parliament (1689) and An enquiry into the jurisdiction of the Chamcery (1695).


Atkyns's lengthy will has no mention of books, leaving the use of his furniture and household stuff to his wife Anne. His library was sold by auction in London, together with that of "another learned gentleman lately deceased", beginning 13 July 1717.

Characteristic Markings

None of Atkyns's books have been identified.