Starkie, Thomas (DNB00)

STARKIE, THOMAS (1782–1849), legal writer, eldest son of the Rev. Thomas Starkie, vicar of Blackburn, Lancashire, was born at Blackburn vicarage on 12 April 1782, and educated at Clitheroe grammar school and St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was entered as a pensioner on 2 Jan. 1799. He was senior wrangler and first Smith's prizeman in 1803, in which year he graduated B.A., proceeding M.A. in 1806. He was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn on 23 May 1810, and immediately joined the northern circuit. He also practised as a special pleader as well as in the common-law courts, and was K.C. at Lancaster previously to his obtaining the rank of Q.C. at Westminster Hall. As a member of the commission for the amendment of the law he rendered most important services, but was less successful as a lecturer on common law and equity in the Inner Temple. In 1823 he was elected Downing professor of law at Cambridge. Originally a tory in politics, Starkie afterwards became a liberal, and in that interest unsuccessfully contested the representation of the borough of Cambridge in 1840. In 1847 he became judge of the Clerkenwell county court, which had jurisdiction over the greater part of Middlesex. He died at his rooms in Downing College, Cambridge, on 15 April 1849.

He married Lucy, daughter of the Rev. Thomas Dunham Whitaker [q. v.], the historian of Whalley, and had five children, of whom two daughters survived him.

Starkie was author of: 1. ‘Practical Treatise on the Law of Slander, Libel, and incidentally of Malicious Prosecutions,’ 1812. Later editions were published in 1827, 1830, and 1869, and American editions were brought out in 1832, 1843, 1852, and 1853, edited by T. Huntington and J. L. Wendell. 2. ‘Treatise on Special Pleading, with Precedents of Indictments,’ 1814, 2 vols.; later editions 1819, 1822, 1828, and an American edition, 1824. 3. ‘Reports at Nisi Prius, K.B. and C.P.,’ 1817–23, 3 vols. 4. ‘Practical Treatise on the Law of Evidence,’ 1824, 3 vols. Of this, Starkie's chief work, revised editions were issued in 1833, 1842, and 1853. It was often reprinted in America.

[Law Review, May 1849, p. 201; Gent. Mag. 1849, ii. 208; Graduati Cantabr.]

C. W. S.