Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.
484
SCROGGS—SCROPE (FAMILY)

when the real nature of the disease was misunderstood; but essentially what was meant was tuberculosis of the bones and lymphatic glands, with its attendant symptoms, and it is in this sense that the word survives. The old English popular name was “king's evil,” so called from the belief that the sovereign's touch could effect a cure. This superstition can be traced back to the time of Edward the Confessor in England, and to a much earlier period in France. Samuel Johnson was touched by Queen Anne in 1712, and the same prerogative of royalty was exercised by Prince Charles Edward in 1745.


SCROGGS, SIR WILLIAM (c. 1623–1683), lord chief justice of England, was the son of a butcher of sufficient means to give his son a university education. Scroggs went to Oriel College, and later to Pembroke College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1640, having acquired a fair knowledge of the classics. There is some evidence that he fought on the royalist side during the Civil War. In 1653 he was called to the bar, and soon gained a good practice in the courts. He was appointed a judge of the common pleas in 1676, and two years later was promoted to be lord, chief justice, his advancement being due to his unfailing readiness to degrade the administration of justice to serve the purposes of the court. He was a man of debauched life and coarse and violent manners; and these qualities were conspicuous in his demeanour on the bench. As lord chief justice Scroggs presided at the trial of the persons denounced by Titus Oates for complicity in the “popish plot,” and he treated these prisoners with characteristic violence and brutality, overwhelming them with indecent sarcasm and abuse while on their trial, and taunting them with savage mockery when sentencing them to death. He may at first have been a sincere believer in the existence of a plot; if so he showed himself not less gullible than the ignorant multitude out of doors; at all events he did nothing to test the credibility of such perjured witnesses as Oates, Bedloe and Dangerfield. At the trial in February 1679 of the prisoners accused of the murder of Sir Edmund Godfrey he gave a characteristic exhibition of his methods, indulging in a vituperative tirade against the Roman Catholic religion, and loudly proclaiming his satisfaction in the guilt of the accused. It was only when, in July of the same year, Oates's accusation against the queen's physician, Sir George Wakeman, appeared likely to involve the queen herself in the ramifications of the plot, that Scroggs began to think matters were going too far; he was probably also influenced by the discovery that the court regarded the plot with discredit and disfavour, and that the country party led by Shaftesbury had less influence than he had supposed with the king. The chief justice on this occasion threw doubt on the trustworthiness of Bedloe and Oates, and warned the jury to be careful in accepting their evidence. This change of front inflamed public opinion against Scroggs, for the popular belief in the plot was still undiminished. Scroggs, however, was no less violent than before against Catholic priests who came before him for trial, as he showed when he sentenced Andrew Bromwich to death at Stafford in the summer of 1679; but his proposing the duke of York's health at the lord mayor's dinnera few months later in the presence of Shaftesbury indicated his determination not to support the Exclusionists against the known wishes of the king. Acting in the assurance of popular sympathy, Oates and Bedloe now arraigned the chief justice before the privy council for having discredited their evidence and misdirected the jury in the Wakeman case, accusing him at the same time of several other misdemeanours on the bench, including a habit of excessive drinking and bad language." In January 1680 the case was argued before the council and Scroggs was acquitted. At the trials of Elizabeth Cellier and of Lord Castlemaine in June of the same year, both of whom were acquitted, he discredited Dangerfield's evidence, and on the former occasion committed the witness to prison. In the same month he discharged the grand jury of Middlesex before the end of term in order to save the duke of York from indictment as a popish recusant, a proceeding which the House of Commons declared to be illegal, and which was made an article in the impeachment of Scroggs in January 1681. The dissolution of parliament put an end to the impeachment, but in April Scroggs was removed from the bench with a pension; he died in London on the 25th of October 1683.

Scroggs was perhaps the worst of the judges who disgraced the English bench at a period when it had sunk to the lowest degradation; and although his infamy is less notorious than that of Jeffreys, his character exhibited fewer redeeming features. Scroggs was the author of a work on the Practice of Courts-Leet and Courts-Baron (London, 1701), and he edited reports of the state trials over which he presided. He was the subject of many contemporary satires.

See W. Cobbett, Complete Collection of State Trials (vols. i.-x. of State Trials, 33 vols., London, 1809); Roger North, Life of Lord Guilford, &c., edited by A. Jessopp (3 vols., London, 1890), and Examen (London, 1740); Narcissus Luttrell, A Brief Relation of State Afairs, 1678–1714 (6 vols., Oxford, 1857); Anthony à Wood, Alhenae Oxonienses, edited by P. Bliss (4 vols.. London, 1813–1820); Correspondence of the Family of Hatton, edited by E. M. Thompson (2 vols., Camden Soc. 22, 23, London, 1878); Lord Campbell, Lives of the Chief Justices of England (3 vols., London, 1849–1857); Edward Foss, The Judges of England (9 vols., London, 1848–1864); Sir J. F. Stephen, History of the Criminal Law of England (3 vols., London, 1883); Henry B. Irving, Life of Judge Jeffreys (London, 1898).  (R. J. M.) 


SCROLL, a strip or roll of paper, parchment, &c. The word in Mid. Eng. was scrow, and came from Fr. escrou, modern écrou; the French form is preserved in the legal term “escrow” (see Deed); the French diminutive escronel gave the English form “scroll.” The Fr. escrou is of Teutonic origin and is connected with “shred,” “shard” and "sherd”; and meant a “ shred” of paper. The term is sometimes given in architecture to the volute of the Ionic capital, to the termination of the handrail of a staircase, and also to the wave-like decorations of Roman red glazed pottery, and more particularly in Samian ware.

SCROPE, the name of an old English family of Norman origin. Sir William le Scrope, of Bolton, in Wensleydale, Yorkshire, had two sons, Henry (d. 1336) and Geoffrey (d. 1340), both of whom were in succession chief justice of the king's bench and prominent supporters of the court in the reign of Edward II. Henry was father of Richard le Scrope, 1st Baron Scrope of Bolton (c. 1327–1403), chancellor of England, an active adherent of John of Gaunt. Having been knight of the shire of Yorkshire in the parliament of 1364, he was summoned to the upper house as a baron by writ in 1371, when he was made treasurer and keeper of the great seal. In 1378 Lord Scrope became chancellor, in which office he attempted to curb the extravagance of Richard II., an offence for which he was deprived of office in 1382. Scrope engaged in several disputes with regard to his armorial bearings, the most celebrated of which was with Sir Richard Grosvenor as to his right to the shield blazoned “Azure, a bend or,” which a court of chivalry decided in his favour after a controversy extending over four years. Both as a soldier and a statesman Lord Scrope was a man of high attainments, his integrity and prudence being conspicuous. His eldest son William (c. 1350–1399) was created earl of Wiltshire in 1397 by Richard II., of whose evil government he was an active supporter. Wiltshire bought the sovereignty of the Isle of Man from the earl of Salisbury. In 1398 he became treasurer of England. His execution at Bristol was one of the first acts of Henry IV., and the irregular sentence of an improvised court was confirmed by that monarch's first parliament. Wiltshire's father, Lord Scrope, and his other sons were not included in the attainder, but received full pardon from Henry. Scrope, who was the builder of Bolton Castle, his principal residence, died in 1403. He was succeeded in the barony by his second son, Roger, whose descendants held it till 1630. Henry, 9th Baron Scrope of Bolton (1534–1592), was governor of Carlisle in the time of Elizabeth, and as such took charge of Mary Queen of Scots when she crossed the border in 1568; and he took her to Bolton Castle, where she remained till January 1569. He was grandfather of Emmanuel Scrope, 11th baron (1584–1630), who was created earl of Sunderland in 1627; on his death without legitimate issue in 1630 the earldom became extinct, and