Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Swinburne, Henry (1560?-1623)
SWINBURNE, HENRY (1560?–1623), ecclesiastical lawyer, born at York about 1560, was son of Thomas Swinburne of that city, and his wife Alison, daughter of one ‘Dalynson’ (Paver, Pedigrees of Families of York, p. 20). The family was widely spread in Northumberland, Durham, and Yorkshire, and from a collateral branch is descended the present baronet of Capheaton (Surtees, Durham, ii. 278–9; Burke, Peerage and Baronetage, 1896). Henry was educated at the free school at York, and then sent when sixteen years old to Hart Hall, Oxford, where he matriculated on 17 Dec. 1576 (Oxford Univ. Reg. ii. ii. 71). He afterwards migrated to Broadgates Hall (afterwards Pembroke College), whence he graduated B.C.L. at some uncertain date (Macleane, Hist. of Pembroke Coll. 1897, pp. 92–3). He disqualified himself for a fellowship by marrying while at Oxford Ellen, daughter of Bartholomew Lant of that city, and retired to York, where he commenced practice in the ecclesiastical court as a proctor. He eventually became commissary of the exchequer and judge of the consistory court at York. He died in 1623, and was buried in York minster, where a handsome monument bearing an inscription to his memory was erected. An engraving from a plate presented by Sir John Swinburne, bart., of Capheaton, is given in Drake's ‘Eboracum,’ 1736, p. 377. Swinburne's will, dated 20 May 1623, with a codicil dated 15 July, was proved on 24 June 1624. The name of Swinburne's second wife was Margaret. She survived him, with a son Tobias, to whom Swinburne left his house in York, and who became an advocate of Doctors' Commons (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714, p. 1448).
Swinburne was author of two books on ecclesiastical law, which are important from their intrinsic merit, and from being the first written in England on their respective subjects. They are: 1. ‘A Briefe Treatise of Testaments and last Willes …’ London, 4to, 1590 (the colophon bears date 1591). Another edition appeared in 1611, and a third, ‘newly corrected and augmented,’ in 1633. Later editions were issued in 1635, 1640, 1677, 1678, 1728, and 1743. A ‘seventh’ edition was prepared for press by John Joseph Powell [q. v.] and James Wake, and published in 3 vols. 1803, 8vo. 2. ‘A Treatise of Spousals or Matrimonial Contracts … by the late Famous and Learned Mr. Henry Swinburne …’ London, 1686, 4to; another edition, 1711, 4to. In the preface it is stated that Swinburne contemplated a work on tithes, which he did not live to complete.[Works in Brit. Mus. Library; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 289; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Yorkshire Archæol. Journ. i. 202, vii. 54.]