Sir John Dodderidge. In: Devonshire gleanings from Manningham’s Diary.

Trans. Devon. Assoc. 1875, Vol VII, p. 382.


W Pengelly, FHS, FGS. Etc.

Prepared by Michael Steer

The author has provided a biographical excerpt, that he calls a ‘Gleaning’ from the "Diary of John Manningham, of the Middle Temple, and of Bradbourne, Kent, Barrister-at- Law, 1602-1603, His paper was presented at the Association’s 1875 Torrington meeting. Sir John Doddridge (Doderidge or Dodderidge, etc.) (1555–1628) was a lawyer, appointed Justice of   the King's Bench in 1612 and served as Member of Parliament for Barnstaple in 1589 and for  Horsham in 1604. He was also an antiquarian and writer. He acquired the nickname "the sleeping judge" from his habit of shutting his eyes while listening intently to a case. As a lawyer he was influenced by humanist ideas, and was familiar with the ideas of Aristotle, and the debates of the period between his followers and the Ramists. He was a believer in both the rationality of the English common law and in its connection with custom. He was one of the  Worthies of Devon of the biographer John Prince. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers. [Everything within brackets is editorial, All else is from the Diary]

Sir John Dodderidge, Judge of the Court of King's Bench. Born at Barnstaple [?] or Southmolton [?] in 1555, and died at Egham in Surrey, 13th September, 1628. The follow- ing is the only mention respecting him]: -

"(16 October, 1602). When Mr. Dodridge, in his argument of Mr. Darsies patentee, and soe of the prerogatiue in general!, he began his speache from Gods gouernment. 'It is done like a good archer quoth Fr. Bacon, "he shoots a feyre compasse." (p. 62, 63.)

[Mr. Bruce has the following note on this entry]: - "This anecdote derives some little vraisemblance from the circumstance that Sir John Doderidge, who was a justice of the King's Bench from 1612 to 1628, was looked upon as a man of a philosophical character of mind, and of very large acquirements. Fuller remarks that it was hard to say whether 'he was better artist, divine, civil or common lawyer ' (Worthies, 1. 282), and Croke, that he was a 'man of great knowledge as well in common law as in other human sciences and divinity.' (Reports, Car. 127, cited in Foss's Judges, VI 309).