Judge George Jeffreys was born in 1648. Educated at Cambridge, he was appointed Solicitor General to the Duke of York, and was knighted in 1677. He became recorder of London in 1678, and by the time he was 33, he became Lord Chief Justice of England and a privvy counsellor, later becoming Lord Chancellor. In 1683, he became Baron Jeffreys of Wem.
He became known as the Hanging Judge because of the punishments he had given to the supporters of the Duke of Monmouth as a result of a failed rebellion.
In 1685, Judge Jeffreys came to Dorchester and lodged at 6 High West Street Dorchester, (now the restaurant, Judge Jeffreys). The Bloody Assizes were held in the Oak Room (now a Tea Room) of the Antelope Hotel on the 5th day of September in that year. Judge Jeffreys is said to have a secret passage from his lodgings to the Oak Room.
In total seventy-four people were executed, one hundred and seventy five were transported and twenty nine were pardoned. Executions were carried out in towns and villages close to Dorchester.
In 1688 when James II fled the country, Judge Jeffreys was placed in the Tower of London, where he died, aged 44, as the result of kidney disease.