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George Jeffreys Jeffreys of Wem, 1st Baron

Jeffreys of Wem, George Jeffreys, 1st Baron, 1645?–1689, English judge under Charles II and James II. A notoriously cruel judge, he presided over many of the trials connected with the Popish Plot (see Oates, Titus) and was responsible for the judicial murder of Algernon Sidney and for the brutal trials of Richard Baxter and many others. He was created baron in 1685 and was soon sent to W England to punish those concerned in the rebellion of the duke of Monmouth. In the resulting Bloody Assizes he caused nearly 200 persons to be hanged, some 800 transported, and many more imprisoned or whipped. James II made him lord chancellor later that year. When James fled the country in 1688, Jeffreys was imprisoned and died in the Tower of London.

See biography by P. J. Helm (1967); study by G. W. Keeton (1966).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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