John Selden
John Selden was an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

 and a scholar of England's ancient laws and constitution and scholar of Jewish law. He was known as a polymath showing true intellectual depth and breadth; John Milton
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

 hailed Selden in 1644 as "the chief of learned men reputed in this land."
He was born at Salvington
Salvington is a neighbourhood of the Borough of Worthing in West Sussex, England. It lies south of the A27 road two miles north-west of the town centre....

, in the parish of West Tarring
Tarring, West Sussex
West Tarring is a neighbourhood of the Borough of Worthing in West Sussex, England. It lies on the A2031 road northwest of the town centre. It is officially called West Tarring or, less commonly, Tarring Peverell, to differentiate it from Tarring Neville near Lewes, but is usually called just...

, Sussex
Sussex , from the Old English Sūþsēaxe , is an historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded on the north by Surrey, east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and west by Hampshire, and is divided for local government into West...

 (now part of the town of Worthing
Worthing is a large seaside town with borough status in West Sussex, within the historic County of Sussex, forming part of the Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton conurbation. It is situated at the foot of the South Downs, west of Brighton, and east of the county town of Chichester...

), and was baptised at St Andrew's
St Andrew's Church, West Tarring
St Andrew's Church is the Anglican parish church of West Tarring, an ancient village which is now part of the town and borough of Worthing, one of seven local government districts in the English county of West Sussex...

, the parish church
Parish church
A parish church , in Christianity, is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish, the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches....

.The cottage in which he was born survived until 1959 when it was destroyed by a fire caused by an electrical fault.

Scrutamini scripturas (Let us look at the scriptures). These two words have undone the world.

Bible, Scripture.

Old friends are best. King James used to call for his old shoes; they were easiest for his feet.


Humility is a virtue all preach, none practice; and yet everybody is content to hear.


'Tis not the drinking that is to be blamed, but the excess.


Commonly we say a judgement falls upon a man for something in him we cannot abide.


Equity is a roguish thing. For Law we have a measure, know what to trust to; Equity is according to the conscience of him that is Chancellor, and as that is larger or narrower, so is Equity. 'T is all one as if they should make the standard for the measure we call a "foot" a Chancellor's foot; what an uncertain measure would this be! One Chancellor has a long foot, another a short foot, a third an indifferent foot. 'T is the same thing in the Chancellor's conscience.


Ignorance of the law excuses no man; not that all men know the law, but because 'tis an excuse every man will plead, and no man can tell how to refute him.


No man is the wiser for his learning.


Wit and wisdom are born with a man.


Few men make themselves masters of the things they write or speak.