Milton, Christopher (DNB00)

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MILTON, Sir CHRISTOPHER (1615–1693), judge, brother of the poet John Milton, being the younger son of John Milton, scrivener [q. v.], by Sarah Jeffrey, his wife, was born in Bread Street, London, November 1615, and educated at St. Paul's School and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted a pensioner on 15 Feb. 1630-1631. The same year he entered the Inner Temple, where, having left the university without a degree, he was called to the bar in 1639. At the outbreak of the civil war he resided at Reading, and by virtue of a commission under the great seal sequestered the estates of parliamentarians in three counties. After the surrender of Reading to the parliament (April 1643), he ‘steered his course according to the motion of the king's army,’ and was in Exeter during Fairfax's siege of that place. On its surrender in the spring of 1646, his town house, the Cross Keys, Ludgate, was sequestered, and he compounded for 80l., a tenth of its value. Only a moiety of the composition, however, was paid by him, and inquiries, apparently ineffectual, were made for estates supposed to belong to him in Suffolk and Berkshire. During the Commonwealth his practice consisted chiefly of composition cases, among them that of his brother's mother-in-law, Mrs. Anne Powell. In November 1660 he was elected a bencher of the Inner Temple, where he was reader in the autumn of 1667. At the date of his brother's death, whose nuncupative will he attested (5 Dec. 1674), he was deputy-recorder of Ipswich. In later life he was, or professed to be, a Roman catholic, and accordingly, though no great lawyer, was raised by James II to the exchequer bench, 26 April 1686, being first invested with the coif (21 April), and knighted (25 April). His tenure of office was equally brief and undistinguished. On 16 April 1687 he was transferred to the common pleas, being dispensed from taking the oaths, and on 6 July 1688 he was discharged as super-annuated, retaining his salary. He died in March 1692-3, and was buried (22 March) in the church of St. Nicholas, Ipswich. Besides his house at Ipswich he had a villa at Rushmere, about two miles from the town. He married, probably in 1638, Thomasine, daughter of William Webber of London, by whom he had issue a son, who died in infancy in March 1639; another, Thomas, sometime deputy-clerk of the crown in chancery; and three daughters, Sarah, Mary, and Catherine.

[John Milton's note on the flyleaf of his Bible, Addit. MS. 32310; Addit. MS. 24501, ff. 12, 23; Gardiner's Reg. of St. Paul's School; Phillips's Life of Milton prefixed to Letters of State written by Mr. John Milton, London, 1694, 12mo; Papers relating to Milton (Camd. Soc.); Chetham Miscellanies (Chetham Soc.), vol. i. (Milton Papers), p. 38; Le Neve's Pedigrees of Knights (Harl. Soc.); Inner Temple Books; Dugdale's Orig. p. 169; London Gazette, April 1686 and 1687; Sir John Bramston's Autobiog. (Camd. Soc.); Skinner's Reports, pp. 251-2; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs, i. 375, 449; Evelyn's Diary, 2 June 1686; Todd's Milton, i. 257-9; Masson's Life of Milton, vi. 727, 761-2; Foss's Lives of the Judges.]

J. M. R.