Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Holborne, Robert

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HOLBORNE, Sir ROBERT (d. 1647), lawyer, was the son of Nicholas Holborne of Chichester. His mother was, perhaps, Anne, sister of John Lane (cp. Gen. Misc. et Herald. 2nd ser. i. 179). He was trained for the law, as the custom then was, at Furnival's Inn, before proceeding to Lincoln's Inn, where he entered 9 Nov. 1615, and subsequently became a bencher and reader in English law there. He was early distinguished in practice at the king's bench (cf. Hist. Mss. Comm. Ap. to 4th Rep. p. 26), and his opinion was taken by Hampden in regard to ship-money. In the great case he was one of Hampden's counsel, and supplied what St. John [q. v.] had omitted in an elaborate argument which lasted for three days, 2-5 Dec 1637 (cf. Gardiner Hist. viii. 274). In the Short parliament Holborne sat for Southwark, and in the Long parliament he was elected for St. Michael, Cornwall, but seems to have been soon disabled to sit, and gave place to Lord Carr. While in the house he spoke strongly in favour of the power of convocation to bind the laity, in so far as the canons did not conflict with the law of the land. Holborne separated himself still further from his party by the fight he made against Strafford's attainder. When the king went to Oxford, Holborne joined him there, and on 7 Feb. 1642 was createcl D.C.L. The king made him attorney-general to the Prince of Wales, and on 19 Jan. 1643 he was knighted; his estate was sequestrated (Hist. MSS. Comm. Ap. to 5th Rep, p. 87). He died in 1647, and was buried in Lincoln's Inn Chapel on 16 Feb. of that year.

Holborne wrote: 1. 'The Reading in Lincolnes Inne, Feb. 28 1041, vpon the Statute . . . of Treasons,' Oxford, 1642, 4to: reiessued with Bacon's 'Cases' in 1681. 2. 'The Freeholders Grand Inquest touching our souveraigne Lord the King and his Parliament,' London, 1647, 4to; a pamphlet upon constitutional questions. He also edited William Tothill's 'Transactions of the High Court of Chancery,' London, 1649, 8vo.

[Gardiner's History of England; Return of Members of Parliament; Lincoln's Inn Register; Evelyn's Diary, iv. 101 ; Cal. State Papers; State Trials, ed. Cobbett, iii. 963 &c. ; Whitelocke's Memorials.]

W. A. J. A.