Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Star Chamber

Star-Chamber, an extraordinary court sitting at Westminster to try cases in which the Crown was especially interested, established as a regular criminal court by a statute of Henry VII., consisting of a committee of the Privy Council. The court sat in the "Star Chamber" of the old House of Lords, and took cognisance of offences against the public welfare not specially within the jurisdiction of other courts. But its jurisdiction was gradually extended, and it became an arbitrary, secret, and cruel instrument of despotism. In 1584 it gagged the press at Whitgift's instigation. After being indefatigably employed in the repression of liberty under Charles I., it was abolished in 1641.