Descended of the ancient and noble family of that name, was born at Ansley in Wiltshire bout the year 1590, and being sent to Winchester school was chosen a scholar upon the foundation, whence, at the age of seventeen, he was removed to New College in Oxford, of which, after two years probation according to the statutes, he was admitted Fellow in 1609. While entering upon the law-line he took his first degree in that faculty, June 30, 1614. Soon after which, being admitted at Doctors Commons, he became an eminent advocate there. He commenced Doctor of Law April 8, 1619, and upon the death of Dr John Budden on the 11th of June the following year, was appointed Regius Professor of Law at Oxford. At the latter end of King James's reign, he was chosen more than once member of parliament for Hythe in Kent by the interest of Edward Lord Zouche, Warden of the Cinque Ports, to whom he was nearly related. In 1625 he was appointed Principal of St Alban's Hall, being then Chancellor of the diocese of Oxford, and afterwards made Judge of the High Court of Admiralty by K. Charles I. He had a considerable share in drawing up the Reasons of the University of Oxford against the Solemn League and Covenant, and Negative Oath in 1647. However he submitted to the parliament-visitors the following year, by which means he held his Principality and Professorship during the usurpation, and in 1653 was appointed by Cromwell, then Lord Protector, to be one of the delegates in the famous case of Don Pantalion Sa, brother to the Portuguese ambassador, who, on the 22nd of November that year, had killed an English gentleman in the New Exchange within the liberties of Westminster. Upon this occasion our author wrote his celebrated piece, intituled, Solutio questionis de legati judici competente, which was printed in 1657, 8vo. Upon the death of Dr Gerard Langbaine the same year, being persuaded to offer himself a candidate against Dr Wallis for the place of Custos Archivorum to the University, he obliged by the iniquity of the times to yield to the superior interest of his competitor. Upon the restoration of K. Charles II. he was reinstated in his post of Judge of the Admiralty, and was also made one of the Commissioners for regulating the University, but did not survive that year, expiring at his lodgings in Doctors Commons March 1, 1660. His corpse was interred in the church of Fulham in Middlesex, near the grave of his eldest daughter, sometime the wife of Will. Powell, alias Hinson, Esq; Mr Wood observes, "that he was an exact artist, a subtle logician, expert historian, and for the knowledge and practice of the civil law the chief person of his time, as his works much esteemed beyond the seas (where several of them are reprinted) partly testify. He was so well versed also in the statutes of the University, and controversies between the members thereof and the city, that none after Twine's death went beyond him. As his birth was noble, so was his behaviour and discourse; and as he was personable and handsome, he was naturally sweet, pleasing, and affable. The truth is, there was nothing but a forward spirit for his advancement, but the interruption of the times which silenced his profession, would have given a step to his rise, had he been of another disposition."