1 In 1765, Mr Justice Wilmot said that the law against contempt of court had unknown ancient origins and was based on ?immemorial usage?. In 1631, a man who had been convicted at Salisbury assizes (criminal trials) threw a large flint stone at the judge. The judge penalised him with more than a cutting remark: his hand was amputated in court. Judge Richardson, at whom the flint was aimed, used to slouch on the Bench ?in a lazie recklesse manner?. After the incident, in which only his hat was knocked off, he said wryly ?if I had beene an upright judge I had been slaine?.