Nicholas Hilliard was an English goldsmith and limner best known for his portrait miniatures of members of the courts of Elizabeth I and James I of England. He painted small oval miniatures, but some larger cabinet miniatures, up to about ten inches tall, at least two famous half-length panel portraits of Elizabeth, he enjoyed continuing success as an artist, continuing financial troubles, for forty-five years. His paintings still exemplify the visual image of Elizabethan England different from that of most of Europe in the late sixteenth century. Technically he was conservative by European standards, but his paintings are superbly executed and have a freshness and charm that has ensured his continuing reputation as "the central artistic figure of the Elizabethan age, the only English painter whose work reflects, in its delicate microcosm, the world of Shakespeare's earlier plays." Hilliard was born in Exeter in 1547. He was the son of Richard Hilliard of Exeter, Devon spelt Hellyer, a goldsmith who became a staunch Protestant and was Sheriff of Exeter in 1568, by his marriage to Laurence, daughter of John Wall, a City of London goldsmith.
He was one of four boys: two others became goldsmiths, one a clergyman. Hilliard may have been a close relative of Grace Hiller, first wife of Theophilus Eaton, the co-founder of New Haven Colony in America, he appears to have been attached at a young age to the household of the leading Exeter Protestant John Bodley, the father of Thomas Bodley who founded the Bodleian Library in Oxford. John Bodley went into exile on the accession of the Catholic Queen Mary I of England, on 8 May 1557 Hilliard ten years old, was recorded in Geneva as one of an eleven-strong Bodley family group at a Calvinist service presided over by John Knox. Calvinism does not seem to have struck with Hilliard, but the fluent French he acquired abroad was useful. Thomas Bodley, two years older, continued an intensive classical education under leading scholars in Geneva, but it is not clear to what extent Hilliard was given similar studies. Hilliard painted a portrait of himself at the age of 13 in 1560 and is said to have executed one of Mary, Queen of Scots, when he was eighteen years old.
Hilliard apprenticed himself to the Queen's jeweller Robert Brandon, a goldsmith and city chamberlain of London, Sir Roy Strong suggests that Hilliard may have been trained in the art of limning by Levina Teerlinc during this period. She was the daughter of Simon Bening, the last great master of the Flemish manuscript illumination tradition, became court painter to Henry VIII after Holbein's death. After his seven years' apprenticeship, Hilliard was made a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in 1569, he set up a workshop with his younger brother John. He married Brandon's daughter Alice in 1576 and they had seven children. Hilliard emerged from his apprenticeship at a time when a new royal portrait painter was "desperately needed". Two panel portraits long attributed to him, the "Phoenix" and "Pelican" portraits, are dated c. 1572–76. Hilliard was appointed limner and goldsmith to Elizabeth I at an unknown date. In 1571 he had made "a booke of portraitures" for the Earl of Leicester, the Queen's favourite, to be how he became known to the Court.
Despite this patronage, in 1576 the married Hilliard left for France "with no other intent than to increase his knowledge by this voyage, upon hope to get a piece of money of the lords and ladies here for his better maintenance in England at his return" reported the English Ambassador in Paris, Sir Amyas Paulet, with whom Hilliard stayed for much of the time. Francis Bacon was attached to the embassy, Hilliard did a miniature of him in Paris, he remained until 1578–79, mixing in the artistic circles round the court, staying with Germain Pilon and George of Ghent the Queen's sculptor and painter, meeting Ronsard, who paid him the rather double-edged compliment quoted by Hilliard: "the islands indeed bring forth any cunning man, but when they do it is in high perfection". He appears in the papers of the duc d'Alençon, a suitor of Queen Elizabeth, under the name of "Nicholas Belliart, peintre anglois", in 1577, receiving a stipend of 200 livres; the miniature of Madame de Sourdis the work of Hilliard, is dated 1577, in which year she was a maid of honour at the French court.
Money was a persistent problem for Hilliard. The typical price for a miniature seems to have been £3 — which compares well with prices charged by Cornelis Ketel in the 1570s of £1 for a head-and-shoulders portrait and £5 for a full-length. A portrait of the Earl of Northumberland cost £3 in 1586. In 1599 Hilliard secured an annual allowance from the Queen of £40, in 1617 managed to obtain a monopoly on producing miniatures and engravings of James I, something Elizabeth had refused in 1584. Nonetheless, he was imprisoned in Ludgate Prison that year, after standing surety for the debt of another, being unable to produce the amount, his father-in-law evidently had little trust in his financial acumen. The same year the Queen gave him £400
Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority areas of Bournemouth and Poole and Dorset. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres, Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, Hampshire to the east; the county town is Dorchester, in the south. After the reorganisation of local government in 1974 the county's border was extended eastward to incorporate the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. Around half of the population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is rural with a low population density; the county has a long history of human settlement stretching back to the Neolithic era. The Romans conquered Dorset's indigenous Celtic tribe, during the early Middle Ages, the Saxons settled the area and made Dorset a shire in the 7th century; the first recorded Viking raid on the British Isles occurred in Dorset during the eighth century, the Black Death entered England at Melcombe Regis in 1348.
Dorset has seen much civil unrest: in the English Civil War, an uprising of vigilantes was crushed by Oliver Cromwell's forces in a pitched battle near Shaftesbury. During the Second World War, Dorset was involved in the preparations for the invasion of Normandy, the large harbours of Portland and Poole were two of the main embarkation points; the former was the sailing venue in the 2012 Summer Olympics, both have clubs or hire venues for sailing, Cornish pilot gig rowing, sea kayaking and powerboating. Dorset has a varied landscape featuring broad elevated chalk downs, steep limestone ridges and low-lying clay valleys. Over half the county is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Three-quarters of its coastline is part of the Jurassic Coast Natural World Heritage Site due to its geological and palaeontologic significance, it features notable landforms such as Lulworth Cove, the Isle of Portland, Chesil Beach and Durdle Door. Agriculture was traditionally the major industry of Dorset but is now in decline and tourism has become important to the economy.
There are no motorways in Dorset but a network of A roads cross the county and two railway main lines connect to London. Dorset has ports at Poole and Portland, an international airport; the county has a variety of museums and festivals, is host to the Great Dorset Steam Fair, one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe. It is the birthplace of Thomas Hardy, who used the county as the principal setting of his novels, William Barnes, whose poetry celebrates the ancient Dorset dialect. Dorset derives its name from the county town of Dorchester; the Romans established the settlement in the 1st century and named it Durnovaria, a Latinised version of a Common Brittonic word meaning "place with fist-sized pebbles". The Saxons named the town Dornwaraceaster and Dornsæte came into use as the name for the inhabitants of the area from "Dorn"—a reduced form of Dornwaraceaster—and the Old English word "sæte" meaning people, it is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in AD 845 and in the 10th century the county's archaic name, "Dorseteschyre", was first recorded.
The first human visitors to Dorset were Mesolithic hunters, from around 8000 BC. The first permanent Neolithic settlers appeared around 3000 BC and were responsible for the creation of the Dorset Cursus, a 10.5-kilometre monument for ritual or ceremonial purposes. From 2800 BC onwards Bronze Age farmers cleared Dorset's woodlands for agricultural use and Dorset's high chalk hills provided a location for numerous round barrows. During the Iron Age, the British tribe known as the Durotriges established a series of hill forts across the county—most notably Maiden Castle, one of the largest in Europe; the Romans arrived in Dorset during their conquest of Britain in AD 43. Maiden Castle was captured by a Roman legion under the command of Vespasian, the Roman settlement of Durnovaria was established nearby. Bokerley Dyke, a large defensive ditch built by the county's post-Roman inhabitants near the border with modern-day Hampshire, delayed the advance of the Saxons into Dorset for 150 years. However, by the end of the 7th century Dorset had fallen under Saxon control and been incorporated into the Kingdom of Wessex.
The Saxons established a diocese at Sherborne and Dorset was made a shire—an administrative district of Wessex and predecessor to the English county system—with borders that have changed little since. In 789 the first recorded Viking attack on the British Isles took place in Dorset on the Portland coast, they continued to raid into the county for the next two centuries. After the Norman Conquest in 1066, feudal rule was established in Dorset and the bulk of the land was divided between the Crown and ecclesiastical institutions; the Normans consolidated their control over the area by constructing castles at Corfe and Dorchester in the early part of the 12th century. Over the next 200 years Dorset's population grew and additional land was enclosed for farming to provide the extra food required; the wool trade, the quarrying of Purbeck Marble and the busy ports of Weymouth, Melcombe Regis, Lyme Regis and Bridport brought prosperity to the county. However, Dorset was devastated by the bubonic plague in 1348 which arrived in Melcombe Regis on a ship from Gascony.
The disease, more known as the Black Death, created an epidemic that spread a
The Scottish people or Scots, are a nation and Celtic ethnic group native to Scotland. They emerged from an amalgamation of two Celtic-speaking peoples, the Picts and Gaels, who founded the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century; the neighbouring Celtic-speaking Cumbrians, as well as Germanic-speaking Anglo-Saxons and Norse, were incorporated into the Scottish nation. In modern usage, "Scottish people" or "Scots" is used to refer to anyone whose linguistic, family ancestral or genetic origins are from Scotland; the Latin word Scoti referred to the Gaels, but came to describe all inhabitants of Scotland. Considered archaic or pejorative, the term Scotch has been used for Scottish people outside Scotland. John Kenneth Galbraith in his book The Scotch documents the descendants of 19th-century Scottish pioneers who settled in Southwestern Ontario and affectionately referred to themselves as'Scotch', he states the book was meant to give a true picture of life in the community in the early decades of the 20th century.
People of Scottish descent live in many countries. Emigration, influenced by factors such as the Highland and Lowland Clearances, Scottish participation in the British Empire, latterly industrial decline and unemployment, have resulted in Scottish people being found throughout the world. Scottish emigrants took with them their Scottish languages and culture. Large populations of Scottish people settled the new-world lands of North and South America and New Zealand. Canada has the highest level of Scottish descendants per capita in the world and the second-largest population of Scottish descendants, after the United States. Scotland has seen settlement of many peoples at different periods in its history; the Gaels, the Picts and the Britons have their respective origin myths, like most medieval European peoples. Germanic peoples, such as the Anglo-Saxons, arrived beginning in the 7th century, while the Norse settled parts of Scotland from the 8th century onwards. In the High Middle Ages, from the reign of David I of Scotland, there was some emigration from France and the Low Countries to Scotland.
Some famous Scottish family names, including those bearing the names which became Bruce, Balliol and Stewart came to Scotland at this time. Today Scotland is one of the countries of the United Kingdom, the majority of people living there are British citizens; the highest concentrations of people of Scottish descent in the world outside of Scotland are located in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in Canada and Southland in New Zealand, the Falklands Islands, Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom. In the Early Middle Ages, Scotland saw several ethnic or cultural groups mentioned in contemporary sources, namely the Picts, the Gaels, the Britons, the Angles, with the latter settling in the southeast of the country. Culturally, these peoples are grouped according to language. Most of Scotland until the 13th century spoke Celtic languages and these included, at least the Britons, as well as the Gaels and the Picts. Germanic peoples included the Angles of Northumbria, who settled in south-eastern Scotland in the region between the Firth of Forth to the north and the River Tweed to the south.
They occupied the south-west of Scotland up to and including the Plain of Kyle and their language, Old English, was the earliest form of the language which became known as Scots. Use of the Gaelic language spread throughout nearly the whole of Scotland by the 9th century, reaching a peak in the 11th to 13th centuries, but was never the language of the south-east of the country. King Edgar divided the Kingdom of Northumbria between England. South-east of the Firth of Forth in Lothian and the Borders, a northern variety of Old English known as Early Scots, was spoken; as a result of David I, King of Scots' return from exile in England in 1113 to assume the throne in 1124 with the help of Norman military force, David invited Norman families from France and England to settle in lands he granted them to spread a ruling class loyal to him. This Davidian Revolution, as many historians call it, brought a European style of feudalism to Scotland along with an influx of people of Norman descent - by invitation, unlike England where it was by conquest.
To this day, many of the common family names of Scotland can trace ancestry to Normans from this period, such as the Stewarts, the Bruces, the Hamiltons, the Wallaces, the Melvilles, some Browns and many others. The Northern Isles and some parts of Caithness were Norn-speaking. From 1200 to 1500 the Early Scots language spread across the lowland parts of Scotland between Galloway and the Highland line, being used by Barbour in his historical epic The Brus in the late 14th century in Aberdeen. From 1500 on, Scotland was divided by language into two groups of people, Gaelic-speaking "Highlanders" and the Inglis-speaking "Lowlanders". Today, immigrants have brought other languages, but every adult throughout Scotland is fluent in the English language. Today, Scotland has a population of just over five million people, the majority of whom co
William Larkin (painter)
William Larkin was an English painter active from 1609 until his death in 1619, known for his iconic portraits of members of the court of James I of England which capture in brilliant detail the opulent layering of textiles, embroidery and jewellery characteristic of fashion in the Jacobean era, as well as representing numerous fine examples of oriental carpets in Renaissance painting. Larkin was born in London in the early 1580s, lived in the parishes of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, St Anne Blackfriars, he became a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers on 7 July 1606 under the patronage of Lady Arbella Stuart and Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford. Married before 1612, he buried a stillborn son in that year. Another daughter called, he died sometime between its proving on 14 May. The date of his burial is unknown because the parish records were destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. About 40 portraits by Larkin have been identified, of courtiers and gentry, but he seems never to have painted members of the royal family.
A series of nine full-length portraits by Larkin owned by the Earls of Suffolk and now known as the Suffolk Collection is housed in Kenwood House, London. Although Larkin's role as a portrait painter is recorded in contemporary documents, no surviving works were attributed to him until 1952, when James Lees-Milne identified Larkin as the painter of two portraits in oil on copper at Charlecote Park of Lord Herbert of Cherbury and Sir Thomas Lucy III, assumed to be the work of Isaac Oliver; the identification was based on a reference in Herbert's autobiography to a portrait of himself ordered by Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset, a "Coppy of a Picture which one Larkin a Painter drew for mee, the Originall whereof I intended... for Sir Thomas Lucy," Cleaning revealed portions of inscriptions that Lees-Milne suggested showed that the oval portraits had been cut down from rectangular originals. Other documentary evidence of Larkin's work is found in the Diary of Dorset's wife, Lady Anne Clifford, who sat for Larkin in 1619.
In 1969, art historian Roy Strong identified Larkin with the artist known as the "Curtain Master" based on Larkin's patronage by the Earl of Dorset. The works of the Curtain Master are characterized by identically draped, silk-fringed curtains framing the sitter, rendered in various colours, one of several carpets on the floor; the attribution to Larkin is supported by technical analysis comparing these portraits to the documented portrait of Lord Herbert at Charlecote Park, although various hands are identified in the backgrounds of the full-length portraits, indicating that Larkin employed assistants in his workshop or studio to paint these repetitive details, a common practice at the time. Larkin's work marks the last stage in a tradition of English portraiture traceable from the work of Hans Holbein the Younger through Nicholas Hilliard in which the sitter is painted in flat modelled fashion, surrounded by meticulously rendered wardrobe and props, with each detail of lace and gilding delineated.
Writing in 1960, Sir David Piper said of the paintings now in the Suffolk collection and their ilk "Artistically, they are a dead end, but they have a strange and fascinating splendour." The deaths of Hilliard and fellow-portraitist Robert Peake the Elder in 1619 mark the end of this insular tradition in British art. Portraits by William Larkin at Bridgeman Art Library 25 paintings by or after William Larkin at the Art UK site Edmond, Mary. Hilliard and Oliver: The Lives and Works of Two Great Miniaturists. London: Robert Hale, 1983. ISBN 0-7090-0927-5. Edmond, Mary. "New Light on Jacobean Painters". The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 118, No. 875: 74–83. Hearn, Karen, ed. Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530–1630. New York: Rizzoli, 1995. ISBN 0-8478-1940-X. Lees-Milne, James, "Two Portraits at Charlecote Park by William Larkin", The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 94, No. 597, pp. 352 & 354–356, JSTOR, retrieved 20 January 2008 Ribeiro, Aileen: Fashion and Fiction: Dress in Art and Literature in Stuart England, Yale, 2005, ISBN 0-300-10999-7 Strong, Roy.
The English Icon: Elizabethan and Jacobean portraiture. London: Paul Mellon Foundation for British Art. 61, April 1993, Franco Maria Ricci Int. New York, ISSN 0747-6388
The Queen's College, Oxford
The Queen's College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford, England. The college was founded in 1341 by Robert de Eglesfield in honour of Queen Philippa of Hainault, it is distinguished by its predominantly neoclassical architecture, which includes buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. In 2018, the college had an endowment of £ 291 million; the college was founded in 1341 as "Hall of the Queen's scholars of Oxford" by Robert de Eglesfield, chaplain to Queen Philippa of Hainault, after whom the hall was named. Robert's aim was where he lived in Westmorland. In addition, the college was to provide charity for the poor; the college's coat of arms is that of the founder. The current coat of arms was adopted by d'Eglesfield because he was unable to use his family's arms, being the younger son. D'Eglesfield had grand plans for the college, with a provost, twelve fellows studying theology, up to thirteen chaplains, seventy-two poor boys. However, the college did not have the funding to support such numbers, had just two fellows.
The college gained land and patronage in the mid-15th century, giving it a good endowment and allowing it to expand to 10 fellows by the end of the century. By 1500, the college had started to take paying undergraduates sons of the gentry and middle class, who paid the fellows for teaching. There were 14 of these in 1535; the college added lectureships in philosophy. Provost Henry Robinson obtained an Act of Parliament incorporating the college as'The Queen's College' in 1585, so Robinson is known as the second founder. Following the new foundation, the college flourished until the 1750s. Joseph Williamson, admitted as a poor boy and went on to become a fellow, rose to Secretary of State and amassed a fortune, he funded a new range on Queen's Lane built in 1671–72. Following a bequest of books from Thomas Barlow, a new library was built between 1693 and 1696 by master builder John Townesend. A further bequest from Williamson of £6,000, along with purchase of the buildings along the High Street, allowed a new front quad to be built and for the remaining medieval buildings to be replaced.
This was completed by 1759 by John's son William Townesend. The college gained a large number of benefactions during this time, which helped to pay for the buildings and bring in more scholars from other northern, towns. From the 1750s, as with other Oxford colleges, standards dropped; the Oxford commission of 1850–1859 revised the statues and removed the northern preference for fellows and most of the students. Over the coming years, requirements for fellows to be unmarried were relaxed, the number of fellows required to have taken orders and studied theology was reduced, in 1871 the Universities Tests Act allowed non-conformists and Catholics. Like many of Oxford's colleges, Queen's admitted its first mixed-sex cohort in 1979, after more than six centuries as an institution for men only; the college is named for Queen Philippa of Hainault. Established in January 1341'under the name of the Hall of the Queen's scholars of Oxford', the college was subsequently called the'Queen's Hall','Queenhall' and'Queen's College'.
An Act of 1585 sought to end this confusion by providing that it should be called by the one name'the Queen's College'. The full name of the College, as indicated in its annual reports, is The Provost and Scholars of The Queen’s College in the University of Oxford. Queens' College in Cambridge positions its apostrophe differently and has no article, as it was named for multiple Queens. In April 2012, as part of the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, a series of commemorative stamps was released featuring A-Z pictures of famous British landmarks; the Queen's College's front quad was used on the Q stamp, alongside other landmarks such as the Angel of the North on A and the Old Bailey on O. One of the most famous feasts of the College is the Boar's Head Gaudy, the Christmas dinner for members of the College who were unable to return home to the north of England over the Christmas break between terms, but is now a feast for old members of the College on the Saturday before Christmas.
The main entrance on the High Street leads to the front quad, built between 1709 and 1759. There are symmetrical ranges on the east and west sides, while at the back of the quad is a building containing the chapel and the hall. Nicholas Hawksmoor provided a number of designs that were not used directly but that influenced the final design. Above the college entrance is a statue of Caroline of Ansbach by the sculptor Henry Cheere; the chapel is noted for its Frobenius organ in the west gallery. It was installed in 1965, replacing a Rushworth and Dreaper organ from 1931; the earliest mention of an organ is 1826. The Chapel Choir has been described as "Oxford's finest mixed-voice choir" and continues to perform termly concerts, recent examples of which inclu
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, was an English statesman noted for his skillful direction of the government during the Union of the Crowns, as Tudor England gave way to Stuart rule. Salisbury served as the Secretary of State of England and Lord High Treasurer, succeeding his father as Queen Elizabeth I's Lord Privy Seal and remaining in power during the first nine years of King James I's reign until his death; the principal discoverer of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, Salisbury remains a controversial historic figure as it is still debated at what point he first learned of the plot and to what extent he acted as an agent provocateur. Cecil was the younger son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley by his second wife, Mildred Cooke, eldest daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke of Gidea, Essex, his elder half-brother was Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, philosopher Francis Bacon was his first cousin. Robert Cecil was 5 ft 4 in tall, had scoliosis, was hunchbacked. Living in an age which attached much importance to physical beauty in both sexes, he endured much ridicule as a result: Queen Elizabeth I of England called him "my pygmy", King James I of England nicknamed him "my little beagle".
Nonetheless, his father recognised that it was Robert rather than his half-brother Thomas who had inherited his own political genius. Cecil did not take a degree, he attended "disputations" at the Sorbonne. In 1584, he sat for the first time in the House of Commons, representing his birthplace, the borough of Westminster, he was a backbencher, never making a speech until 1593, after having been appointed a Privy Councillor. In 1589, Cecil married Elizabeth Brooke, the daughter of William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham by his second wife, Frances Newton, her brothers Henry 11th Lord Cobham and Sir George Brooke were arrested by Cecil for their involvement in the "Main" and "Bye" plots. Sir George Brooke, her younger brother, was executed at Winchester on 5 December 1603 for high treason, their son and heir, William Cecil, was born in Westminster on 28 March 1591, baptised in St Clement Danes on 11 April. His wife Elizabeth died, they had one daughter, Lady Frances Cecil, who married Henry Clifford, 5th Earl of Cumberland.
Cecil became an MP, elected to represent Westminster in 1584 and 1586 and Hertfordshire in 1589, 1593, 1597 and 1601. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1593 and was leader of the Council by 1597. Following the death of Sir Francis Walsingham in 1590, Burghley acted as Secretary of State, while Cecil took on an heavy work-load, he was appointed to the Privy Council in 1591. He became the leading minister after the death of his father in 1598, serving both Queen Elizabeth and King James as Secretary of State. Cecil fell into dispute with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, only prevailed at Court upon the latter's poor campaign against the Irish rebels during the Nine Years War in 1599, he was in a position to orchestrate the smooth succession of King James, maintaining a secret correspondence with him. Essex's unsuccessful rebellion in 1601, which resulted in his final downfall and death, was aimed at Cecil, to be removed from power and impeached. Whether Essex intended that Cecil should die is unclear.
It is to Cecil's credit that the Queen at his urging, treated the rebels with a degree of mercy, unusual in that age. Essex himself and four of his closest allies were executed, but the great majority of his followers were spared: Essex's denunciation of his sister Penelope, Lady Rich as the ringleader of the rebellion was tactfully ignored; this clemency mourned him deeply. Cecil, who had never been popular, now became a much hated figure. In ballads like Essex's Last Good Night, Cecil was viciously attacked. Cecil was extensively involved in matters of state security; as the son of Queen Elizabeth's principal minister and a protégé of Sir Francis Walsingham, he was trained by them in spycraft as a matter of course. The "Rainbow portrait" of Queen Elizabeth, decorated with eyes and ears, may relate to this role. Cecil, like his father admired the Queen, whom he famously described as being "more than a man, but less than a woman". Despite his careful preparations for the succession, he regarded the Queen's death as a misfortune to be postponed as long as possible.
During her last illness, when Elizabeth would sit motionless on cushions for hours on end, Cecil boldly told her that she must go to bed. Elizabeth roused herself one last time to snap at him: "Must is not a word to be used to princes, little man... your late father were he here would never had dared to speak such a word to me". Sir Robert Cecil had promoted James as successor to Elizabeth, the new monarch expressed his gratitude elevating Cecil to the peerage. Cecil served as both the third chancellor of Trinity College and chancellor of the University of Cambridge, between 1601 and 1612. In 1603, his brothers-in-law, Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham and Sir George Brooke, along with Sir Walter Raleigh, were implicated in both the Bye Plot and the Main Plot, an attempt to remove King James I from the throne and replace him with his first cousin, Lady Arbella Stuart. Cecil was one of the judges who tried them for treason: at Raleigh's trial, Cecil was the only judge who appeared to have some doubts about his guilt (which is still a matter of debate, although the prevailing view now is that Raleigh was involved in the Plot
The Star Chamber was an English court which sat at the royal Palace of Westminster, from the late 15th century to the mid-17th century, was composed of Privy Councillors and common-law judges, to supplement the judicial activities of the common-law and equity courts in civil and criminal matters. The Star Chamber was established to ensure the fair enforcement of laws against and politically prominent people so powerful that ordinary courts would hesitate to convict them of their crimes. However, it became synonymous with social and political oppression through the arbitrary use and abuse of the power it wielded. In modern usage, legal or administrative bodies with strict, arbitrary rulings and secretive proceedings are sometimes called, metaphorically or poetically, "star chambers." This intended to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the proceedings. "Star Chamber" can rarely, be used in its original meaning, for instance when a politician uses parliamentary privilege to examine and exculpate or condemn a powerful organisation or person.
Due to the constitutional separation of powers and the ceasing of the Star Chamber, the main powers of select committees are to enhance the public debate — politicians are deemed to no longer wield powers in the criminal law, which belongs to the courts. The first reference to the "star chamber" is as the Sterred chambre. Both forms recur throughout the fifteenth century, with Sterred Chambre last attested as appearing in the Supremacy of the Crown Act 1534; the origin of the name has been explained as first recorded by John Stow, writing in his Survey of London, who noted "this place is called the Star Chamber, at the first all the roofe thereof was decked with images of starres gilted". Gold stars on a blue background were a common medieval decoration for ceilings in richly decorated rooms, as still to be seen at Leasowe Castle, the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, elsewhere. Alternatively, William Blackstone, a notable English jurist writing in 1769, speculated that the name may have derived from the legal word "starr" meaning the contract or obligation to a Jew.
This term was in use until 1290. Blackstone thought the "Starr Chamber" might have been used for the deposition and storage of such contracts. However, the Oxford English Dictionary gives this etymology "no claim to consideration". Other etymological speculations mentioned by Blackstone on the use of star include the derivation from Old English steoran meaning "to govern"; the Court evolved from meetings of the King's Council, with its roots going back to the medieval period. Contrary to popular belief, the so-called "Star Chamber Act" of King Henry VII's second Parliament did not empower the Star Chamber, but rather created a separate tribunal distinct from the King's general Council. Well regarded because of its speed and flexibility, Star Chamber was regarded as one of the most just and efficient courts of the Tudor era. Sir Edward Coke once described Star Chamber as "The most honourable court, in the Christian world. Both in respect of the judges in the court and its honourable proceeding."The Star Chamber was made up of Privy Counsellors, as well as common-law judges, it supplemented the activities of the common-law and equity courts in both civil and criminal matters.
In a sense, the court was a court of appeal, a supervisory body, overseeing the operation of the lower courts, although it could hear cases by direct appeal as well. The court was set up to ensure the fair enforcement of laws against the English upper class, those so powerful that ordinary courts could never convict them of their crimes. Another function of the Court of Star Chamber was to act like a court of equity, which could impose punishment for actions which were deemed to be morally reprehensible but were not in violation of the letter of the law; this gave the Star Chamber great flexibility, as it could punish defendants for any action which the court felt should be unlawful when in fact it was technically lawful. However, this meant that the justice meted out by the Star Chamber could be arbitrary and subjective, it enabled the court to be used on in its history as an instrument of oppression rather than for the purpose of justice for which it was intended. Many crimes which are now prosecuted, such as attempt, criminal libel, perjury, were developed by the Court of Star Chamber, along with its more common role of dealing with riots and sedition.
The cases decided in those sessions enabled both the powerful and those without power to seek redress. Thus King Henry VII used the power of Star Chamber to break the power of the landed gentry, such a cause of problems in the Wars of the Roses. Yet, when local courts were clogged or mismanaged, the Court of Star Chamber became a site of remittance for the common people against the excesses of the nobility. In the reign of King Henry VIII, the court was under the leadership of Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cranmer. From this time forward, the Court of Star Chamber became a political weapon for bringing actions against opponents to the policies of King Henry VIII, his Ministers and his Parliament. Although it was a court of appeal, King Henry and Cranmer encouraged plaintiffs to bring their cases dire