Rumsey, Walter (DNB00)

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RUMSEY, WALTER (1584–1660), Welsh judge, son of John Rumsey, M.A., fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, by Anne, daughter of Thomas David of Usk, Monmouthshire, was born at Llanover, near Abergavenny, in 1584, and matriculated a gentleman commoner of Gloucester Hall, Oxford, on 17 Oct. 1600. He was admitted a student of Gray's Inn, 16 May 1603, and was called to the bar 3 June 1608. He secured a large practice, and was popularly styled the ‘Picklock of the Law.’ Having been made an ancient of Gray's Inn, 28 May 1622, he was called to the bench of that society 16 Nov. 1631, though he did not take his seat until 25 April 1634. Furthermore he was chosen Lent reader, 8 Nov. 1633, and dean of the chapel 6 Nov. 1640. He was made puisne justice of the great sessions for the counties of Brecknock, Glamorgan, and Radnor in September 1631, at a salary of fifty pounds a year (Privy Seals). He was chosen one of the knights of the shire for Monmouth in the Short parliament of 1640. On the outbreak of the civil war in 1642, Rumsey was appointed by the king a commissioner of array for Monmouth, but was taken prisoner on the capture of Hereford by the forces of parliament, 18 Dec. 1645. Information was laid against him, three days earlier, that he had lately fled to Hereford with Judge David Jenkins [q. v.], and had been taken by the clubmen, and that he had three rooms in Gray's Inn filled with goods. He was removed from his post by parliament in 1647. At the Restoration in 1660 he was nominated one of the intended knights of the Royal Oak, and in August 1660 he received a grant of the office of keeper of the judicial seal for the counties of Brecknock, Glamorgan, and Radnor. He died later in the year at the age of seventy-six, and was buried in the family vault at Llanover church. The judge was, according to Wood, ‘an ingenious man, had a philosophical head, was a good musician, and most curious for grafting, inoculating, and planting, and also for ordering of ponds.’ He was author of ‘Organon Salutis, an instrument to cleanse the stomach, as also Divers New Experiments of Tobacco and Coffee’ (London, 1657; 2nd edit. 1659; 3rd edit. 1664). He married Barbara Prichard of Llanover, and had one son, Edward Rumsey, an attorney.

[Cal. State Papers, Dom.; Cal. of Committee for Advance of Money; Wood's Athenæ Oxon.; Phillips's Civil War in Wales; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Foster's Gray's Inn Register; Jones's History of Brecknockshire; Parliamentary Returns; Williams's Parliamentary Hist. of Wales.]

W. R. W.