Was the son of a Worcestershire attorney who rose to high station. In 1688 he was counsel for the seven bishops, and in 1689 asserted the virtual abdication of James II. and drafted the Bill of Rights. In 1697 he became Lord High Chancellor of England. He possessed great influence with William III, and later did much to bring about the union with Scotland in 1707. He was a greater lawyer than statesman, though his political tracts are models of lucidity.