The final years of the Court of Star Chamber, 1558-1641
Boyd, Newell Dalton
Master of Arts, History, Texas Tech University, May (1971)
The English Court of Star Chamber was abolished by the Long Parliament in 1641. Although it had existed for more than a century and a half, its reputation had declined to such a degree since the turn of the seven- teenth century that Parliament, once it had the opportunity, was quick to pass legislation against it. The purpose of this study is to examine the Court in some detail during the reigns of the last three sovereigns under which it existed and to determine why the Court’s reputation declined so much that it eventually seemed necessary to rid the nation of it.
At the present time any mention of the Court of Star Chamber often conjures up an image of a sort of English Inquisition complete with rack and thumbscrews. Many books mention the Star Chamber in less than glowing terms. For example, William L. Prosser, author of the leading text on the law of torts, speaks of the Star Chamber as that court “of infamous memory.”