Rolland, John (DNB00)
|←Rolfe, Robert Monsey||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 49
ROLLAND, JOHN (fl. 1560), Scottish poet, was probably son of John Rolland who in 1481 was sub-dean of Glasgow (see Dempster, xvi. 1051). From a writ among the Laing charters it appears that he was a presbyter of the diocese of Glasgow, and that in 1555 he was acting as a notary at Dalkeith. He attests the document with the words ‘Ego vero Joannes Rolland presbyter Glasguensis Diocesis publicus sacra auctoritate apostolica notarius.’
Before 1560 he composed a poem entitled ‘The Court of Venus,’ and about May 1560 wrote a second poem called ‘The Seven Sages.’ In the interval between the composition of these poems he turned protestant; the later poem strongly contrasts with the earlier in its reference to Rome. There is no evidence that he was alive after 1560, and the publication of all his works was doubtless posthumous.
Rolland wrote: 1. ‘Ane Treatise callit the Court of Venus, dividit into Four Buikes newlie compylit be John Rolland in Dalkeith,’ Edinburgh, 1575. The circumstances attending the composition of this poem are related in the second of Rolland's works, and it was clearly composed before 1560, probably dating from the reign of James V (1527–42); it was reproduced and edited for the Scottish Text Society by the Rev. Walter Gregor in 1889. 2. ‘The Sevin Seagis translatit out of prois in Scottis meter by Johne Rolland in Dalkeith with ane Moralitie efter everie Doctours tale and seclike after the emprice tale, togidder with ane loving and laude to everie Doctour after his awin tale, and ane exclamation and outcrying upon the empereours wife after her fals contruvit tale,’ Edinburgh, 1578; reprinted in 1590, 1592, 1599, 1606, 1620, 1631. From internal evidence the poem is proved to have been written after the attack on Leith in February 1560, and before the treaty of Edinburgh in July of the same year. The first edition was reproduced by the Bannatyne Club, vol. lix., and in Sibbald's ‘Chronicle of Scottish Poetry’ (cf. G. Büchner's ‘Die Historia Septem Sapientum … nebst einer Untersuchung über die Quelle der Sevin Seagis des Johann Rolland von Dalkeith,’ in Varnhagen's Erlanger Beiträge zur englischen Philologie). Sibbald also conjecturally ascribes to Rolland ‘The Tale of the Thrie Priestis of Peblis,’ which was probably written about 1540, and is printed in Pinkerton's ‘Ancient Scottish Poems,’ 1786, and by Sibbald in his ‘Chronicle of Scottish Poetry,’ 1802, ii. 227.
Catharine Rolland, daughter of another John Rolland, who married, in 1610, Dr. William Gould, the principal of King's College, Aberdeen, founded in 1659 several Rolland bursaries at Marischal College, Aberdeen.[Reprints of Rolland's two poems in the Scottish Text Society and the Bannatyne Club; Irving's Lives of Scottish Poets, ii. 297; Sibbald's Chronicle of Scottish Poetry; Burke's Commoners; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib.] ROLLE, HENRY (1589?–1656), judge, second son of Robert Rolle (d. 1633) of Heanton, Devonshire (a scion of the family of Rolle of Stevenstone), by Joan, daughter of Thomas Hele of Fleet in the same county, was born about 1589. John Rolle (1598–1648) [q. v.] was his brother. He matriculated from Exeter College at Oxford on 20 March 1606–1607, and was admitted on 1 Feb. 1608–9 of the Inner Temple, where he was called to the bar in 1618, was elected bencher in 1633, and reader in 1637 and 1638; but, owing to the prevalence of the plague, did not give his reading until Lent 1639. Among his contemporaries at the Temple and his intimate friends were Sir Edward Littleton (1589–1645) [q. v.], afterwards lord keeper and baron Littleton; Sir Edward Herbert [q. v.], afterwards attorney-general; Sir Thomas Gardiner [q. v.], afterwards recorder of London; and John Selden [q. v.], by whose conversation and friendly rivalry he profited no little in the study of the law and humane learning. Rolle practised with eminent success in the court of king's bench, was appointed recorder of Dorchester in 1636, and was called to the degree of serjeant-at-law on 10 May 1640.
He sat for Callington, Cornwall, in the last three parliaments of King James (1614 to 1623–4), and for Truro in the first three parliaments of his successor (1625 to 1629). He early identified himself with the popular party; no member was more urgent for the impeachment of Buckingham, none more determined that supply must be postponed to the redress of grievances. On the outbreak of the civil war he adhered to the parliament, contributed 100l. to the defence fund, and took the covenant. His advancement to a judgeship in the king's bench was one of the stipulations included in the propositions for peace of January 1642–3; on 28 Oct. 1645 he was sworn in as such, and on 15 Nov. 1648, pursuant to votes of both houses of parliament, he was advanced to the chief-justiceship of the court. After the execution of the king he accepted, 8 Feb. 1648–9, a new commission as lord chief justice of the upper bench on the understanding that no change should be made in the fundamental laws, and on the 13th of the same month he was voted a member of the council of state. His accession strengthened the government, and his charges on the western circuit contributed much to the settlement of the public mind. On 4 Aug. 1654 he was appointed commissioner of the exchequer. Rolle yielded the palm to none of his contemporaries either as advocate or judge, with the single exception of the great Sir Matthew Hale [q. v.] His decisions, reported by Style (Modern Reports, 1658), rarely relate to matters of historic interest. Nevertheless he established in the case of Captain Streater, committed to prison by order of the council of state and the speaker of the House of Commons for the publication of seditious writings, the principle that a court of justice cannot review parliamentary commitments if regular in form; and his name is associated with one of the causes célèbres of international law. Don Pantaleon Sa, brother of the Portuguese ambassador, was arrested for murder committed in an affray in the New Exchange in the Strand. The fact was undeniable, but the Don claimed the privilege of exterritoriality, as being of the household of the ambassador. The point was discussed by Rolle in consultation with two of his puisnes, two admiralty judges, and two civilians, and on 16 Jan. 1653–4 was decided against the Don. The decision was without precedent, for it could neither be denied that the Don was of the household of the ambassador, nor that the privilege of exterritoriality had theretofore been understood to extend even to cases of murder. At the trial, over which Rolle presided on 6 July following, the prisoner was conceded a jury, half English half Portuguese, but was denied the assistance of counsel, and compelled to waive his privilege and plead to the indictment by a threat of peine forte et dure (pressing to death). He was found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed at Tyburn on 10 July.
On the outbreak of Penruddock's insurrection, 12 March 1654–5, Rolle was at Salisbury on assize business, when he was surprised by the cavaliers under Sir Joseph Wagstaffe, who coolly proposed to hang him [cf. Nicholas, Robert; Penruddock, John]. At Penruddock's intercession, however, he was released; he served as one of the commissioners for the trial of the insurgents at Exeter in the following May. Shortly afterwards, being unable to decide against the merchant Cony, who had sued a customs officer for levying duty from him by force without authority of parliament [cf. Maynard, Sir John, (1602–1690)], he resigned (7 June 1655) rather than give further offence to the Protector, and was succeeded by Sir John Glynne [q. v.] He died on 30 July 1656, and was buried in the church of Shapwick, near Glastonbury, in which parish he had a house. By his wife Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Foot, alderman, of London, Rolle had issue an only son, Francis, who was knighted at Portsmouth on 1 March 1664–5 and was lord of the