Wednesday, February 1, 2006
On this date, February 1, 1552, the great champion of the common law, Sir Edward Coke, was born at Mileham, in Norfolk. He had a meteoric rise under Elizabeth I and James I, becoming successively Member of the House of Commons (1589), solicitor-general (1592), Speaker of the House (1593), attorney-general (1594), judge (1606), and Chief justice (1613). James turned on him in 1617, and he left office to return to the Commons, and wound up spending a little time in prison. His Institutes of the laws of England began to come out in 1628.
Coke was also a notable entrepreneur, one of the creators of the Virginia Company, the private company that got a royal charter to found settlements in America, and was a director of the London Company.