Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Perkins, John

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PERKINS or PARKINS, JOHN (d. 1545), jurist, was educated at Oxford, but left the university without taking a degree. Going to London, he was called to the bar of the Inner Temple, and is spoken of as a ‘fellow’ there. He may possibly have been the John Perkins who was a groom of the royal chamber in 1516. He died in 1545, and is said to be buried in the Temple Church. Perkins is remembered by a popular text-book which he wrote for law students. Its title is, as given by Wood, ‘Perutilis Tractatus sive explanatio quorundam capitulorum valde necessaria,’ but the first edition probably had no title-page. It was printed in 1530 in Norman-French. An English translation appeared in 1642, and another in 1657. There is a manuscript English version in Brit. Mus. Harl. MS. 5035, which was made in the time of James I. A copy of the book itself forms Brit. Mus. Hargrave MS. 244. The fifteenth edition, by Richard J. Greening, was issued in 1827. Fulbeck, in his ‘Direction or Preparative to the Study of the Law,’ praises Perkins for his wit rather than his judgment.

[Tanner's Bibl. Brit.; Greening's Preface to Perkins; Fulbeck's Direction, ed. Stirling, p. 72; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 147; Reg. Univ. Oxford (Oxford Hist. Soc.), i. 149; Boase's Reg. Collegii Exoniensis (Oxford Hist. Soc.), p. 757.]

W. A. J. A.