In 1639 he was again condemned by the Star Chamber for libelling Laud, a further heavy fine being imposed for this offence.
Its constitutional origin was analogous to that of the star chamber and the court of requests.
It was not till much later that the nation came to look upon the Star Chamber as the special engine of royal tyranny and to loathe its name.
In 1637 he took part in the sentence of the star chamber on Prynne, Bostwick and Burton, and in the same year in the prosecution of Bishop Williams. He urged Strafford in Ireland to carry out the same reforms and severities.
In February 1638, for the part he had taken in importing and circulating The Litany and other publications of John Bastwick and Prynne, offensive to the bishops, he was sentenced by the Star Chamber to be publicly whipped from the Fleet prison to Palace Yard, Westminster, there to stand for two hours in the pillory, and afterwards to be kept in gaol until a fine of Soo had been paid.
He was far less great as a ruler in the state, showing as a judge a tyrannical spirit both in the star chamber and highcommission court, threatening Felton, the assassin of Buckingham, with the rack, and showing special activity in procuring a cruel sentence in the former court against Alexander Leighton in June 1630 and against Henry Sherfield in 1634.
It was thus parallel to the king's council, or concilium continuum, of medieval England; while by its side, during the 15th century, stood the Kammergericht, composed of the legal members of the council, in much the same way as the Star Chamber stood beside the English council.
After a year's imprisonment in the Tower Prynne was sentenced by the star chamber on the 17th of February 1634 to be imprisoned for life, and also to be fined f5000, expelled from Lincoln's Inn, rendered incapable of returning to his profession, degraded from his degree in the university of Oxford, and set in the pillory, where he was to lose both his ears.
It was necessary for the future development of England that its governmental system should be centralized and unified, that the authority of the monarchy should be more firmly extended over Wales and the western and northern borders, and that the still existing feudal franchises should be crushed; and these objects were worth the price paid in the methods of the Star Chamber and of the Councils of the North and of Wales.