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Master of the Rolls and Records of the Chancery of England

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Title: Master of the Rolls and Records of the Chancery of England  
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Master of the Rolls and Records of the Chancery of England

The Keeper or Master of the Rolls and Records of the Chancery of England, known as the Master of the Rolls, is the second most senior judge in England and Wales (the Lord Chief Justice is the most senior). The Master of the Rolls is the presiding officer of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal and serves as the Head of Civil Justice. The first record of a Master of the Rolls is from 1286, although it is believed that the office probably existed earlier than that.[1]

The Master of the Rolls was initially a clerk responsible for keeping the "Rolls", or records, of the Court of Chancery, and was known as the Keeper of the Rolls of Chancery.[2] The Keeper was the most senior of the dozen Chancery clerks, and as such occasionally acted as keeper of the Great Seal of the Realm.[3] The post evolved into a judicial one as the Court of Chancery did; the first reference to judicial duties dates from 1520.[4] With the Judicature Act 1873, which merged the Court of Chancery with the other major courts, the Master joined the Chancery Division of the High Court and the Court of Appeal,[5] but left the Chancery Division by the terms of the Judicature Act 1881. The Master still retained his clerical functions by serving as the nominal head of the Public Record Office (PRO) until 1958. However, the Public Records Act of that year transferred responsibility for the PRO from the Master of the Rolls to the Lord Chancellor. The Master of the Rolls was also previously responsible for registering solicitors, the officers of the Senior Courts.[6]

One of the most prominent people to hold the position was Thomas Cromwell, a highly influential figure during the reign of Henry VIII. The present Master of the Rolls is Lord Dyson, who succeeded Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury on 1 October 2012.[7]

List of Masters of the Rolls



No. Name Period Other positions Notes
1 Langton, JohnJohn Langton 2 September 1286 1 October 1295 Lord Chancellor 1292–1302, 1307–1310 [8][9]
2 Osgodby, AdamAdam Osgodby 1 October 1295 19 August 1316
[8]
3 Airmyn, WilliamWilliam Airmyn 19 August 1316 26 May 1324
[8]
4 Airmyn, RichardRichard Airmyn 26 May 1324 4 July 1325
[8]
5 de Cliff, HenryHenry de Cliff 4 July 1325 20 January 1334
[8]
6 Wrath, MichaelMichael Wrath 20 January 1334 28 April 1337
[8]
7 de St Paul, JohnJohn de St Paul 28 April 1337 10 January 1341 Archbishop of Dublin 1349–1362, Lord Chancellor of Ireland 1350–1356 [10]
8 Evesham, ThomasThomas Evesham 10 January 1341 21 February 1341
[10]
9 Thoresby, JohnJohn Thoresby 21 February 1341 2 July 1346
[10]
10 Wollore, DavidDavid Wollore 2 July 1346 28 March 1371
[10]
11 Burstall, WilliamWilliam Burstall 28 March 1371 8 September 1381
[10]
12 Waltham, JohnJohn Waltham 8 September 1381 24 October 1386 Lord Privy Seal 1386–1389, Lord Chancellor 1349–1356 [10][11]
13 Burton, JohnJohn Burton 24 October 1386 22 July 1394
[10]
14 Scarle, JohnJohn Scarle 22 July 1394 11 September 1397 Lord Chancellor 1399–1401 [10][12]
15 Stanley, ThomasThomas Stanley 11 September 1397 24 September 1402
[10]
16 Bubwith, NicholasNicholas Bubwith 24 September 1402 2 March 1405 Lord Privy Seal 1405–1406, Lord High Treasurer 1407–1408 [13][14]
17 Wakering, JohnJohn Wakering 2 March 1405 3 June 1415 Lord Privy Seal 1415–1416 [13][15]
18 Gauntsede, SimonSimon Gauntsede 3 June 1415 28 October 1423
[13]
19 Frank, JohnJohn Frank 28 October 1423 13 November 1438
[13]
20 Stopyndon, JohnJohn Stopyndon 13 November 1438 29 March 1447
[13]
21 Kirkeby, JohnJohn Kirkeby 29 March 1447 23 December 1461
[13]
22 Kirkeham, RobertRobert Kirkeham 23 December 1461 12 February 1471
[13]
23 Morland, WilliamWilliam Morland 12 February 1471 29 April 1471
[13]
24 Alcock, JohnJohn Alcock 29 April 1471 16 March 1472 Lord Chancellor 1475, 1485–1487 [13][16]
25 Morton, JohnJohn Morton 16 March 1472 9 January 1479 Lord Chancellor 1487–1500, Archbishop of Canterbury 1486–1500 [13][17]
26 Morton, RobertRobert Morton 9 January 1479 22 September 1483
[18]
27 Barowe, ThomasThomas Barowe 22 September 1483 22 August 1485
[18]
28 Morton, RobertRobert Morton 22 August 1485 26 February 1487
[18]
29 William, DavidDavid William 26 February 1487 5 May 1492
[18]
30 Blyth, JohnJohn Blyth 5 May 1492 13 February 1494
[18]
31 Warham, WilliamWilliam Warham 13 February 1494 1 February 1502 Keeper of the Great Seal 1502–1504, Lord Chancellor 1504–1515, Archbishop of Canterbury 1503–1532 [18][19]
32 Barnes, WilliamWilliam Barnes 1 February 1502 13 November 1504
[18]
33 Bainbridge, ChristopherChristopher Bainbridge 13 November 1504 22 January 1508 Archbishop of York 1508–1514 [18][20]
34 Yonge, JohnJohn Yonge 22 January 1508 12 May 1516
[21]
35 Tunstall, CuthbertCuthbert Tunstall 12 May 1516 20 October 1522 Lord Privy Seal 1523–1530 [21][22]
36 Clerk, JohnJohn Clerk 20 October 1522 9 October 1523
[21]
37 Hannibal, ThomasThomas Hannibal 9 October 1523 26 June 1527
[21]
38 Taylor, JohnJohn Taylor 26 June 1527 8 October 1534 Archdeacon of Derby 1516–1533, Archdeacon of Buckingham 1516–1534 [21]
39 Cromwell, ThomasThomas Cromwell 8 October 1534 10 July 1536 Secretary of State 1533–1536, Lord Privy Seal 1536–1540 [21][23]
40 Hales, ChristopherChristopher Hales 10 July 1536 1 July 1541 Solicitor General 1525–1529, Attorney General 1529–1536 [21][24]
41 Southwell, Sir RobertSir Robert Southwell 1 July 1541 13 December 1550
[21]
42 Beaumont, JohnJohn Beaumont 13 December 1550 18 June 1552
[21]
43 Bowes, Sir RobertSir Robert Bowes 18 June 1552 18 September 1553
[21]
44 Hare, Sir NicholasSir Nicholas Hare 18 September 1553 5 November 1557 Speaker of the House of Commons 1539–1540 [25][26]
45 Cordell, Sir WilliamSir William Cordell 5 November 1557 30 May 1581 Solicitor General 1553–1557, Speaker of the House of Commons 1558 [25][27]
46 Gerard, Sir GilbertSir Gilbert Gerard 30 May 1581 10 April 1594 Attorney General 1559–1581 [25][28]
47 Egerton, Sir ThomasSir Thomas Egerton 10 April 1594 18 May 1603 Solicitor General 1581–1592, Attorney General 1592–1594, Lord Chancellor 1596–1617, First Lord of the Treasury 1613–1614 [25][29]
48 Bruce, 1st Lord Kinloss, 1st Lord Bruce, EdwardEdward Bruce, 1st Lord Kinloss, 1st Lord Bruce 18 May 1603 14 January 1611
[25]
49 Phelips, Sir EdwardSir Edward Phelips 14 January 1611 1 September 1614 Speaker of the House of Commons 1603–1611 [25][30]
50 Caesar, Sir JuliusSir Julius Caesar 1 September 1614 18 April 1636 Chancellor of the Exchequer 1606–1614 [25]
51 Digges, Sir DudleySir Dudley Digges 18 April 1636 30 March 1639
[25]
52 Caesar, Sir CharlesSir Charles Caesar 30 March 1639 28 January 1643
[25]
53 Colepeper, The LordThe Lord Colepeper (royalist) 28 January 1643 3 November 1660 Chancellor of the Exchequer 1642–1643 [25][31]
54 Lenthall, WilliamWilliam Lenthall (parliamentary) 10 November 1643 14 May 1659 Speaker of the House of Commons 1640–1647, 1647–1653, 1654–1655, 1659–1660 [32][33]
55 Grimston, Sir HarbottleSir Harbottle Grimston 3 November 1660 12 January 1685 Speaker of the House of Commons 1660 [32][34]
56 Churchill, Sir JohnSir John Churchill 12 January 1685 20 October 1685 Attorney-General 1673–85[35] [32]
57 Trevor, Sir JohnSir John Trevor 20 October 1685 13 March 1689
[32]
58 Powle, Sir HenrySir Henry Powle 13 March 1689 13 January 1693 Speaker of the House of Commons 1689 [32][36]
59 Trevor, Sir JohnSir John Trevor 13 January 1693 13 July 1717 Speaker of the House of Commons 1685–1689, 1693–1717 [32][37]
60 Jekyll, Sir JosephSir Joseph Jekyll 13 July 1717 9 October 1738
[32]
61 Verney, Sir JohnSir John Verney 9 October 1738 5 November 1741
[32]
62 Fortescue, WilliamWilliam Fortescue 5 November 1741 15 January 1750
[32]
63 Strange, Sir JohnSir John Strange 16 January 1750 18 May 1754 Solicitor General 1737–1742 [32][38]
64 Clarke, Sir ThomasSir Thomas Clarke 25 May 1754 13 November 1764
[39]
65 Sewell, Sir ThomasSir Thomas Sewell 4 December 1764 30 March 1784
[39]
66 Kenyon, Sir LloydSir Lloyd Kenyon 30 March 1784 4 June 1788 Attorney General 1782–1783, 1783–1784, Lord Chief Justice 1788–1802 [39][40]
67 Arden, Sir RichardSir Richard Arden 4 June 1788 27 May 1801 Solicitor General 1782–1783, 1783–1784, Attorney General 1784–1788, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 1801–1804 [39][41]
68 Grant, Sir WilliamSir William Grant 1801 1817 Solicitor General 1799–1801 [39][42]
69 Plumer, Sir ThomasSir Thomas Plumer 6 January 1818 5 April 1824 Solicitor General 1807–1812, Attorney General 1812–1813 [39][43]
70 Gifford, The LordThe Lord Gifford 5 April 1824 14 September 1826 Solicitor General 1817–1819, Attorney General 1819–1824, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 1824 [39][44]
71 Singleton Copley, Sir JohnSir John Singleton Copley 14 September 1826 3 May 1827 Solicitor General 1819–1824, Attorney General 1824–1826, Lord Chancellor 1827–1830, 1834–1835, 1841–1846 [39][45]
72 Leach, Sir JohnSir John Leach 3 May 1827 29 September 1834 Vice Chancellor of England 1818–1827 [39][46]
73 Pepys, Bt, Sir CharlesSir Charles Pepys, Bt 29 September 1834 16 January 1836 Solicitor General 1834, Lord Chancellor 1836–1841, 1846–1850 [39][47]
74 Langdale, The LordThe Lord Langdale 16 January 1836 28 March 1851
[48]
75 Romilly, The LordThe Lord Romilly 28 March 1851 30 August 1873 Solicitor General 1848, Attorney General 1850 [48]
76 Jessel, Sir GeorgeSir George Jessel 30 August 1873 21 March 1883 Solicitor General 1871–1873 [48][49]
77 Esher, The LordThe Lord Esher 3 April 1883 19 October 1897 Solicitor General 1868 [48][50]
78 Lindley, Sir NathanielSir Nathaniel Lindley 19 October 1897 9 May 1900
[48][51]
79 Alverstone, The LordThe Lord Alverstone 9 May 1900 24 October 1900 Lord Chief Justice 1900–1913 [48][52]
80 Levin Smith, Sir ArchibaldSir Archibald Levin Smith 24 October 1900 19 October 1901
[48]
81 Collins, Sir RichardSir Richard Collins 19 October 1901 6 March 1907
[53][48]
82 Cozens-Hardy, Sir HerbertSir Herbert Cozens-Hardy 6 March 1907 3 May 1918 Created Baron Cozens-Hardy in 1914. [48]
83 Swinfen Eady, Sir CharlesSir Charles Swinfen Eady 3 May 1918 3 November 1919
[48]
84 Sterndale, The LordThe Lord Sterndale 3 November 1919 7 August 1923 President of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division 1918–1919 [54][55]
85 Pollock, Sir ErnestSir Ernest Pollock 11 October 1923 7 October 1935 Solicitor General 1919–1922, Attorney General 1922, created Baron Hanworth in 1926. [54][56]
86 Wright, The LordThe Lord Wright 7 October 1935 26 April 1937
[54]
87 Greene, The LordThe Lord Greene 26 April 1937 1 June 1949
[54]
88 Evershed, The LordThe Lord Evershed 1 June 1949 19 April 1962 Created Baron Evershed in 1956. [54]
89 Denning, The LordThe Lord Denning 19 April 1962 30 July 1982
[54]
90 Donaldson of Lymington, The LordThe Lord Donaldson of Lymington 30 July 1982 1 October 1992 Created Baron Donaldson of Lymington in 1988. [54]
91 Bingham of Cornhill, The LordThe Lord Bingham of Cornhill 1 October 1992 4 June 1996 Lord Chief Justice 1996–2000; Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary 2000–2008 [57]
92 Woolf, The LordThe Lord Woolf 4 June 1996 6 June 2000 Lord Chief Justice 2000–2005 [58]
93 Phillips of Worth Matravers, The LordThe Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers 6 June 2000 3 October 2005 Lord Chief Justice 2005–2008, President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom 2009–2012 [59]
94 Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony, TheThe Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony 3 October 2005 30 September 2009 Created Baron Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony in 2009; Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, 2009–present [60]
95 Neuberger of Abbotsbury, The LordThe Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury 1 October 2009 30 September 2012 President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, 2012–present [61]
96 Dyson, LordLord Dyson 1 October 2012 Incumbent Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, 2010–2012 [62]

References

Bibliography

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