Coventry, Thomas Coventry, 1st Baron

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Coventry, Thomas Coventry, 1st Baron (1578–1640). Coventry was born at Croome d'Abitot in Worcestershire, the son of a judge, and had a rapid rise to legal eminence. By 1616 he was recorder of London, in 1617–21 solicitor-general, and attorney-general 1621–5. From 1625 until his death he was lord keeper and then lord chancellor, receiving his peerage in 1628. He followed the line of royal policy but argued a moderate case and was inclined to reserve himself for legal questions. He advised Charles I to agree to the petition of right and defended the imposition of ship money in general terms. Said to be morose in private, in public he was courteous and civil and Clarendon credited him with ‘a strange power of making himself believed’. He died just before the opening of the Short Parliament in 1640 ‘in a season most opportune and in which a wise man would have prayed to have finished his course’. Two of his sons had important political careers in Charles II's reign.

J. A. Cannon