Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman


Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman

Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman (23 July 1779 – 26 September 1854), was a British lawyer, judge and politician.

Denman was born in London, the son of Dr Thomas Denman. He was educated at Eton and St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1800. Soon after leaving Cambridge he married; and in 1806 he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn, and at once entered upon practice. His success was rapid, and in a few years he attained a position at the bar second only to that of Henry Brougham and Scarlett. He distinguished himself by his eloquent defence of the Luddites; but his most brilliant appearance was as one of the counsel for Queen Caroline. His speech before the Lords was very powerful, and some competent judges even considered it not inferior to Brougham's. It contained one or two daring passages, which made the King his bitter enemy, and retarded his legal promotion.

At the general election of 1818 he was returned M.P. for Wareham, and at once took his seat with the Whig opposition. In the following year he was returned for Nottingham, for which place he continued to sit till his elevation to the bench in 1832. His liberal principles had caused his exclusion from office till in 1822 he was appointed common serjeant by the corporation of London. In 1830 he was made Attorney General under Lord Grey's administration. Two years later he was made Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, and in 1834 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Denman. As a judge he is most celebrated for his decision in the important privilege case of "Stockdale v. Hansard" (9 Ad. & El. I.; II Ad. & El. 253). In 1850 he resigned his chief justiceship and retired into private life. He was a Governor of the Charter House, and a Vice-President of the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy.

Lord Denman married Theodosia Anne, daughter of Reverend Richard Veverse, in 1804. His Derbyshire seat was Middleton Hall, Stoney Middleton. He died at Stoke Albany, Northamptonshire aged 75, and was succeeded in the barony by his son Thomas.

Cases

*"Williams v. Carwardine" (1833) 4 B. & Ad. 621
*"Stockdale v. Hansard" 9 Ad. & El. I.; II Ad. & El. 253

References

*Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). "Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage" (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.

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*1911


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