Dolben, William (d.1694) (DNB00)

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DOLBEN, Sir WILLIAM (d. 1694) judge, second son of the Rev. William Dolben D.D. [q. v.], rector of Stanwick, Northamptonshire, by Elizabeth, daughter of Hugh Williams of Coghwillan, Carnarvonshire and niece of Archbishop Williams [q. v.] (lord keeper 1621-5), was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1647-8, and called to the bar 1655. He recived the degree of M.A. at Oxford in 1665, on the occasion of incorporation ad eundem of the Earl of Manchester, whose secretary he was. In 1672 he was elected a bencher of his inn, and in 1676 recorder of London, and knighted. He took the degree of serjeant-at-law in 1677, and shortly afterwards was appointed king's serjeant. Archbishop Sheldon made him steward of the see of Canterbury—a post which he resigned in 1678, when Roger North succeeded him. On 4 April 1678 he opened the case for the crown on the trial of the Earl of Pembroke by his peers in Westminster Hall for the murder of Nathaniel Cony. The earl, who had quarreled with Cony in a tavern and brutally kicked him to death, was found guilty of manslaughter. On 23 Oct. 1678 Dolben was created a puisne judge of the king's bench. In this capacity he helped to try many persons suspected of complicity in the supposed popish plot, among others Evelyn's friend Sir George Wakeman, on of the physicians to the queen (Evelyn, Diary, 18 July 1679), Sir Thomas Gascoigne (1680), and Edward Fitzharris and Sir Miles Stapleton (1681). Luttrell (Relations of State Affairs, i. 255) writes under date April 1683: 'This vacation, just before the term, Mr. Justice Dolben, one of his majesty's justices of the king's bench, had his quietus sent him; many think the occasion of his removal is because he is taken to be a person not well affected to the quo warranto against the charter of the city of London.' He was reinstated on 11 March 1688-9. He appears to have been a zealous protestant, and indisposed to the toleration of the Romanists, Roger North describes him as 'a man of good parts . . . of a humour, retired, morose, and very insolent.' When a judge, North says he proved 'an arrant peevish old snarler,' and 'used to declare for the populace.' He died of apoplexy on 25 Jan. 1694, and was buried in the Temple Church. John Dolben Lloyd's [q. v.], archbishop of York, was his brother.

[Inner Temple Books; Wotton's Baronetage. iv. 95; North's Autobiography, ed. Dr. Jessopp, iii. 112; Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 285; Cobbett's State Trials, vi. 1322, vii. 964, viii. 326, 523; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs, i. 609, 527, iii. 269; Foss's Lives of the Judges.]

J. M. R.