William Wood, 1st Baron Hatherley

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William Page Wood, 1st Baron Hatherley, PC (29 November 1801 – 10 July 1881) was a British lawyer and statesman who served as a Liberal Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain between 1868 and 1872 in William Ewart Gladstone's first ministry.

The Lord Hatherley
Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
In office
9 December 1868 – 15 October 1872
Prime MinisterWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Preceded byThe Lord Cairns
Succeeded byThe Lord Selborne
Personal details
Born29 November 1801 (1801-11-29)
Died10 July 1881 (1881-07-11) (aged 79)
Political partyLiberal
Charlotte Moor
(m. 1830; died 1878)
Alma mater
Lord Hatherley as Lord Chancellor, by George Richmond.
William Wood caricatured by "Ape" in Vanity Fair, 1869

Background and educationEdit

Wood was born in London, the second son of Sir Matthew Wood, 1st Baronet,[1] an alderman and Lord Mayor of London who became famous for befriending Queen Caroline and braving George IV. Sir Evelyn Wood and Katharine O'Shea were his nephew and niece respectively.

He was educated at Winchester College, from which he was expelled after a revolt against the headmaster, Woodbridge School, Geneva University, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow after being 24th wrangler in 1824.[2]

Legal and political careerEdit

Wood entered Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the Bar in 1824, studying conveyancing in John Tyrrell's chambers. He soon obtained a good practice as an equity draughtsman and before parliamentary committees. In 1845 he became a Queen's Counsel, and in 1847 was elected to parliament for the city of Oxford as a Liberal. In 1849 he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster, and in 1851 was made Solicitor General for England and Wales and knighted,[3] vacating the former position in 1852. When his party returned to power in 1853, he was raised to the bench as a Vice-Chancellor.

In 1868 he was made a Lord Justice of Appeal, but before the end of the year was selected by Gladstone to be Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain and was raised to the peerage as Baron Hatherley, of Down Hatherley in the County of Gloucester.[4] He retired in 1872 owing to failing eyesight, but sat occasionally as a law lord.[citation needed]


Wood married Charlotte, daughter of Edward Moor, in 1830. They had no children. Charlotte's death in 1878 was a great blow to Wood, from which he never recovered, and he died in London on 10 July 1881, aged 79. Both are buried in the churchyard in Great Bealings, Suffolk, where Charlotte's brother was rector. The title became extinct on his death.


Coat of arms of William Wood, 1st Baron Hatherley
Out of a mural crown Argent a demi wild man wreathed about the temples with oak fructed in the dexter hand an oak tree eradicated and fructed and in the sinister hand a club all Proper.
Quarterly Argent and Or the sceptre or mace representing that of the Lord Mayor of the City of London (the same being of crystal the head terminating in crosses patties and fleurs-de-lis and the whole richly ornamented with gold, pearls, and precious stones) in pale, between an oak tree on a mount Vert fructed Proper in the 1st and 4th quarters; and in the 2nd and 3rd a bull's head erased, Sable, charged on the neck with a bezant.
On either side a wild man wreathed about the waist and temples with oak fructed across the shoulders a belt of ivy and in the exterior hand a club, all Proper.
Defend The Right [5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ thepeerage.com William Page Wood, 1st and last Baron Hatherley
  2. ^ "Wood, William Page (WT820WP)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ "No. 21201". The London Gazette. 18 April 1851. p. 1045.
  4. ^ "No. 23449". The London Gazette. 11 December 1868. p. 6591.
  5. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 1876.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Oxford
With: James Langston
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by Solicitor General
Succeeded by
Preceded by Vice-Chancellor of the High Court
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Hatherley