Keck, Anthony (DNB00)

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KECK, Sir ANTHONY (1630–1695), commissioner of the great seal, fifth son of Nicholas Keck of Old Cowcliffe, Oxfordshire, and Long Marston, Gloucestershire, by Margaret, daughter of John Morris (cf. Harl. MS. 1046, fol. 187), was born at Mickleton, Gloucestershire, in 1630. He was admitted a member of the Inner Temple in 1653, was called to the bar (1659), and was elected a bencher (1677) and autumn reader (1684) of that society. As one of the chief barristers of the court of chancery he was named on 4 March 1688–9 second commissioner of the great seal. Sir John Maynard and Mr. Serjeant Rawlinson were the other two. The next day he was sworn in and knighted. He held office till 14 May 1690; when Maynard was dismissed Keck retired. He was chosen M.P. for Tiverton in 1691, and died in Bell Yard, Chancery Lane, in December 1695. Roger North describes him as ‘a person that had raised himself by his wits, and, bating some hardness in his character, which might be ascribed to his disease, the gout, he was a man of a polite merry genius.’ He believed the best form of government was ‘a republic, or, which was the same thing, a king always in check.’ He married Mary (d. 21 Sept. 1702), daughter of Francis Thorne, by whom he had seven daughters and a son, Francis.

In 1697 there was published anonymously ‘Cases argued and decreed in the High Court of Chancery from the 12th year of King Charles II to the 31st.’ A manuscript note in the British Museum copy of the work says that Ward, chief baron of the exchequer, quoted the reports as Keck's in 1709, and there seems no doubt that they were compiled from his papers (Wallace, The Reporters, pp. 296 et seq.). Among the manuscripts of the Earl of Ashburnham are two volumes of reports of chancery cases from the reign of Charles I to that of William III (Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. App. pt. iii. p. 23).

[Le Neve's Pedigrees of Knights (Harl. Soc.), p. 418; Luttrell's Relation, i. 506, ii. 52, 217, iii. 567, v. 217; Masters of the Inner Temple, 1883; Foss's Judges; Campbell's Chancellors, iv. 3; North's Lives, ed. Jessopp, iii. 169.]

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