Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Shute, Robert
SHUTE, ROBERT (d. 1590), judge, son of Christopher Shute of Oakington, Cambridgeshire, is said to have been born in Gargrave, Yorkshire, and to have been educated at Christ's College, Cambridge (Cooper, Athenæ, ii. 92). He left without a degree and began to study law at Barnard's Inn; thence he removed in 1550 to Gray's Inn, where in 1552 he was called to the bar. In 1558 he was elected recorder of Cambridge. During Elizabeth's visit to Cambridge he made an oration before her on 4 Aug. 1564; a brief extract in Latin is printed in Nichols's 'Progresses' (iii, 28). In 1568 he was reader at Gray's Inn (Dugdale, Orig. Jurid. p. 294), and on 18 April 1572 he was elected member of parliament for Cambridge (Off. Ret. i. 408). In 1576 he was treasurer of Gray's Inn. In 1577 he was made serjeant-at-law, and in the same year double reader at Gray's Inn (Dugdale, Chron. Ser. p. 95, and Orig. Jurid. p. 294). He was raised to the bench as second baron of the exchequer on 1 June 1579, when Elizabeth directed that he should not be deprived of his recordership on that account. 'He must have acquired a considerable reputation in the law, as he is the first Serjeant who was raised to the bench of the exchequer as a puisne baron' (Foss). Hitherto puisne barons had held an inferior grade to the judges of the two other benches, but in Shute's patent it was ordered 'that he shall be reputed and be of the same order, rank, estimation, dignity, and preeminence, to all intents and purposes, as any puisne judge of either of the two other courts.' On 8 Feb. 1585–6 he was constituted judge of the queen's bench. He died in April 1590, having married Thomasine, daughter of Christopher Burgoyne of Long Stanton, Cambridgeshire. From his eldest son, Francis, was descended John Shute, afterwards Shute Barrington, first Viscount Barrington [see Barrington].
His fourth son, Robert Shute (d. 1621), was admitted a member of Gray's Inn on 21 Nov. 1600 (Foster, Reg. p. 100), but seems to have lived a disreputable life. He attached himself to the future Duke of Buckingham, and by his influence was in 1616 appointed clerk of the court of common pleas (Gardiner, iii. 34-5; Cal. State Papers, Dom.) On the death of Richard Martin (1570–1618) [q. v.] Shute became court candidate for the recordership of London, 'but could not succeed, having been outlawed seventeen times' (ib. 1611–18, p. 591). On 29 Dec. 1620 he was returned to parliament for St. Albans. The recordership becoming again vacant on Heath's appointment as solicitor-general, Shute was elected on 20 Jan. 1620–1, the king remarking that, although there was formerly some colour for the objections against him, 'there was none now, besides which he hath since been reader in that society [Gray's Inn], whereby he hath given public satisfaction of his worth and ability in his profession' (Overall, Remembrancia, pp. 294, 303). He died a few days later, before 10 Feb.
[Cal. State Papers, Dom.; Dugdale's Orig. Jurid. and Chron. Ser.; Offic. Ret. of Members of Parl.; Morant's Essex, ii. 23; Lodge's Irish Peerage, v. 200-1; Foss's Lives of the Judges; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 92, and authorities there quoted.]