We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Was the Star Chamber?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Historical Index is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Historical Index, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Star Chamber was a special British Court which existed from the 15th through the 17th centuries. The judges in the Star Chamber were appointed by the monarch, with advisers coming from the ruler's privy counselors. While the Star Chamber may have been an effective tool for justice initially, it was ultimately used as a tool by British monarchs who were struggling to retain control of the country, and it came to be a topic of controversy due to its highly secret proceedings and summary judgments offered without the mediation of a jury. As a result, the Star Chamber was abolished in 1641 by an act of parliament.

The term “Star Chamber” is often used to describe a highly secretive legal proceeding of questionable legality or particular brutality, referencing the role of the Star Chamber in its later years. In the United States especially, some trials of foreign nationals accused of terrorist activity have been referred to as “Star Chamber proceedings” by people who feel that these trials are too secretive.

This famous court was probably named for the room in Westminster Palace where it first convened, as the roof of the Star Chamber's meeting room was once apparently covered in stars. It was created by Henry VII, and was initially used as a tool to quickly and flexibly deal with wrong-doers. The efforts of the Star Chamber under the Tudor Dynasty focused heavily on forcing nobility and powerful members of British society to bow to the law. Without the Star Chamber, monarchs believed that they would be unable to control the landed gentry of England, potentially creating a recipe for another civil war.

Under the Stuarts, however, the Star Chamber acquired a new role. People were tried in the Star Chamber for things like treason, conspiracy, and libel, and the court began to be used to enforce severe judgments against people who were out of favor with the monarch. The Star Chamber went from being a tool for order to a weapon used to prosecute anyone who dared to dissent with the monarchy, ranging from the Puritans to booksellers. As a result, the court began to be associated with the abuse of power and authority.

The abolition of the Star Chamber under the Long Parliament was only one among a number of reforms made in England in the hopes of reforming the country as a whole. The abuses of the Star Chamber were cited by members of Parliament as one of the many reasons that the British monarchy should be abolished during the English Civil War, which did actually briefly succeed in creating a republic after executing Charles I of England in 1549.

Historical Index is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Historical Index researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.