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The Keeper or Master of the Rolls and Records of the Chancery of England, known as the Master of the Rolls, is the President of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Civil Division, and Head of Civil Justice. As a judge, he is the second in seniority in England and Wales only to the Lord Chief Justice[1]. The position dates from at least 1286, although it is believed that the office probably existed earlier than that.[2]

Master of the Rolls of England and Wales
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
The Judiciary of England and Wales
Incumbent
Sir Terence Etherton

since 3 October 2016
StyleThe Right Honourable
NominatorJudicial Appointments Commission
AppointerThe Sovereign on recommendation of Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor, who are in turn given recommendations by a selection panel
Term lengthLife tenure; Retirement at age 70, or 75 if appointed to a judicial post before 31 March 1995
Inaugural holderJohn Langton
Formation2 September 1286
Salary£214,165
WebsiteThe Judiciary of England and Wales

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.[3] 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.[4] The post evolved into a judicial one as the Court of Chancery did; the first reference to judicial duties dates from 1520.[5] With the Judicature Act 1873, which merged the Court of Chancery with the other major courts, the Master of the Rolls joined the Chancery Division of the High Court and the Court of Appeal,[6] but left the Chancery Division by the terms of the Judicature Act 1881. The Master of the Rolls had also been warden of the little-used Domus Conversorum for housing Jewish converts, which led to the house and chapel being used to store legal documents and later becoming the location of the Public Record Office. He retained his clerical functions as the nominal head of the Public Record Office until the Public Records Act 1958 transferred responsibility for it to the Lord Chancellor.[7] One residual reminder of this role is the fact that the Master of the Rolls of the day continues to serve, ex officio, as President of the British Records Association. The Master of the Rolls was also previously responsible for registering solicitors, the officers of the Senior Courts.[8]

One of the most prominent people to hold the position was Thomas Cromwell, a highly influential figure during the reign of Henry VIII; more recently, Lord Denning held the position for 20 years, from 1962 to 1982, and made sweeping changes in the common law. On 3 October 2016, Sir Terence Etherton succeeded Lord Dyson as Master of the Rolls.[9]

List of Masters of the RollsEdit

 
Thomas Cromwell, a highly influential figure during the reign of Henry VIII
 
Sir Thomas Egerton, who served as Lord Keeper and Lord Chancellor for 21 years
 
Sir John Trevor, the last Speaker of the British House of Commons to resign in over 400 years until the resignation of Michael Martin in 2009
 
Sir Nathaniel Lindley, who made key judgments in a variety of important cases and was the last Serjeant-at-Law appointed, the last to sit as a judge and the last surviving.
No. Portrait Name Term of office Other positions Notes
1 John Langton 2 September 1286 1 October 1295 Lord Chancellor 1292–1302, 1307–1310 [10][11]
2 Adam Osgodby 1 October 1295 19 August 1316
[10]
3 William Airmyn 19 August 1316 26 May 1324
[10]
4 Richard Airmyn 26 May 1324 4 July 1325
[10]
5 Henry de Cliff 4 July 1325 20 January 1334
[10]
6 Michael Wrath 20 January 1334 28 April 1337
[10]
7 John de St Paul 28 April 1337 10 January 1341 Archbishop of Dublin 1349–1362, Lord Chancellor of Ireland 1350–1356 [12]
8 Thomas Evesham 10 January 1341 21 February 1341
[12]
9 John Thoresby 21 February 1341 2 July 1346
[12]
10 David Wollore 2 July 1346 28 March 1371
[12]
11 William Burstall 28 March 1371 8 September 1381
[12]
12 John Waltham 8 September 1381 24 October 1386 Lord Privy Seal 1386–1389, Lord Chancellor 1349–1356 [12][13]
13 John Burton 24 October 1386 22 July 1394
[12]
14 John Scarle 22 July 1394 11 September 1397 Lord Chancellor 1399–1401 [12][14]
15 Thomas Stanley 11 September 1397 24 September 1402
[12]
16 Nicholas Bubwith 24 September 1402 2 March 1405 Lord Privy Seal 1405–1406, Lord High Treasurer 1407–1408 [15][16]
17 John Wakering 2 March 1405 3 June 1415 Lord Privy Seal 1415–1416 [15][17]
18 Simon Gauntsede 3 June 1415 28 October 1423
[15]
19 John Frank 28 October 1423 13 November 1438
[15]
20 John Stopyndon 13 November 1438 29 March 1447
[15]
21 John Kirkeby 29 March 1447 23 December 1461
[15]
22 Robert Kirkeham 23 December 1461 12 February 1471
[15]
23 William Morland 12 February 1471 29 April 1471
[15]
24 John Alcock 29 April 1471 16 March 1472 Lord Chancellor 1475, 1485–1487 [15][18]
25 John Morton 16 March 1472 9 January 1479 Lord Chancellor 1487–1500, Archbishop of Canterbury 1486–1500 [15][19]
26 Robert Morton 9 January 1479 22 September 1483
[20]
27 Thomas Barowe 22 September 1483 22 August 1485
[20]
28 Robert Morton jointly with William Eliot 22 August 1485 26 February 1487 Jointly from 13 November 1485 [20][21]
29 David William 26 February 1487 5 May 1492
[20]
30 John Blyth 5 May 1492 13 February 1494
[20]
31   William Warham 13 February 1494 1 February 1502 Keeper of the Great Seal 1502–1504, Lord Chancellor 1504–1515, Archbishop of Canterbury 1503–1532 [20][22]
32 William Barons 1 February 1502 13 November 1504
[20]
33   Christopher Bainbridge 13 November 1504 22 January 1508 Archbishop of York 1508–1514 [20][23]
34 John Yonge 22 January 1508 12 May 1516
[24]
35   Cuthbert Tunstall 12 May 1516 20 October 1522 Lord Privy Seal 1523–1530 [24][25]
36 John Clerk 20 October 1522 9 October 1523
[24]
37 Thomas Hannibal 9 October 1523 26 June 1527
[24]
38 John Taylor 26 June 1527 8 October 1534 Archdeacon of Derby 1516–1533, Archdeacon of Buckingham 1516–1534 [24]
39   Thomas Cromwell 8 October 1534 10 July 1536 Secretary of State 1533–1536, Lord Privy Seal 1536–1540 [24][26]
40 Christopher Hales 10 July 1536 1 July 1541 Solicitor General 1525–1529, Attorney General 1529–1536 [24][27]
41 Sir Robert Southwell 1 July 1541 13 December 1550
[24]
42 John Beaumont 13 December 1550 18 June 1552
[24]
43 Sir Robert Bowes 18 June 1552 18 September 1553
[24]
44 Sir Nicholas Hare 18 September 1553 5 November 1557 Speaker of the House of Commons 1539–1540 [28][29]
45   Sir William Cordell 5 November 1557 30 May 1581 Solicitor General 1553–1557, Speaker of the House of Commons 1558 [28][30]
46 Sir Gilbert Gerard 30 May 1581 10 April 1594 Attorney General 1559–1581 [28][31]
47   Sir 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 [28][32]
48   Edward Bruce, 1st Lord Kinloss, 1st Lord Bruce 18 May 1603 14 January 1611
[28]
49   Sir Edward Phelips 14 January 1611 1 September 1614 Speaker of the House of Commons 1603–1611 [28][33]
50   Sir Julius Caesar 1 September 1614 18 April 1636 Chancellor of the Exchequer 1606–1614 [28]
51   Sir Dudley Digges 18 April 1636 30 March 1639
[28]
52   Sir Charles Caesar 30 March 1639 28 January 1643
[28]
53   The Lord Colepeper (royalist) 28 January 1643 3 November 1660 Chancellor of the Exchequer 1642–1643 [28][34]
54   William Lenthall (parliamentary) 10 November 1643 14 May 1659 Speaker of the House of Commons 1640–1647, 1647–1653, 1654–1655, 1659–1660 [35][36]
55   Sir Harbottle Grimston, Bt 3 November 1660 12 January 1685 Speaker of the House of Commons 1660 [35][37]
56 Sir John Churchill 12 January 1685 20 October 1685 Attorney-General 1673–85[38] [35]
57   Sir John Trevor 20 October 1685 13 March 1689
[35]
58 Sir Henry Powle 13 March 1689 13 January 1693 Speaker of the House of Commons 1689 [35][39]
59   Sir John Trevor 13 January 1693 13 July 1717 Speaker of the House of Commons 1685–1689, 1693–1717 [35][40]
60   Sir Joseph Jekyll 13 July 1717 9 October 1738
[35]
61 Sir John Verney 9 October 1738 5 November 1741
[35]
62   William Fortescue 5 November 1741 15 January 1750
[35]
63 Sir John Strange 16 January 1750 18 May 1754 Solicitor General 1737–1742 [35][41]
64   Sir Thomas Clarke 25 May 1754 13 November 1764
[42]
65 Sir Thomas Sewell 4 December 1764 30 March 1784
[42]
66   Sir Lloyd Kenyon 30 March 1784 4 June 1788 Attorney General 1782–1783, 1783–1784, Lord Chief Justice 1788–1802 [42][43]
67 Sir 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 [42][44]
68   Sir William Grant 1801 1817 Solicitor General 1799–1801 [42][45]
69   Sir Thomas Plumer 6 January 1818 5 April 1824 Solicitor General 1807–1812, Attorney General 1812–1813 [42][46]
70   The Lord Gifford 5 April 1824 14 September 1826 Solicitor General 1817–1819, Attorney General 1819–1824, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 1824 [42][47]
71   Sir 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 [42][48]
72   Sir John Leach 3 May 1827 29 September 1834 Vice Chancellor of England 1818–1827 [42][49]
73   Sir Charles Pepys, Bt 29 September 1834 16 January 1836 Solicitor General 1834, Lord Chancellor 1836–1841, 1846–1850 [42][50]
74   The Lord Langdale 16 January 1836 28 March 1851
[51]
75   The Lord Romilly 28 March 1851 30 August 1873 Solicitor General 1848, Attorney General 1850 [51]
76   Sir George Jessel 30 August 1873 21 March 1883 Solicitor General 1871–1873 [51][52]
77   The Lord Esher 3 April 1883 19 October 1897 Solicitor General 1868 [51][53]
78   Sir Nathaniel Lindley 19 October 1897 9 May 1900
[51][54]
79   The Lord Alverstone 9 May 1900 24 October 1900 Lord Chief Justice 1900–1913 [51][55]
80   Sir Archibald Levin Smith 24 October 1900 19 October 1901
[51]
81 Sir Richard Collins 19 October 1901 6 March 1907
[51][56]
82   Sir Herbert Cozens-Hardy
(Lord Cozens-Hardy from 1914)
6 March 1907 3 May 1918
[51]
83   Sir Charles Swinfen Eady 3 May 1918 3 November 1919
[51]
84 The Lord Sterndale 3 November 1919 7 August 1923 President of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division 1918–1919 [57][58]
85   Sir Ernest Pollock
(Lord Hanworth from 1926)
11 October 1923 7 October 1935 Solicitor General 1919–1922, Attorney General 1922. [57][59]
86 The Lord Wright 7 October 1935 26 April 1937
[57]
87 The Lord Greene 26 April 1937 1 June 1949
[57]
88 Sir Raymond Evershed (Lord Evershed from 1956) 1 June 1949 19 April 1962
[57]
89 The Lord Denning 19 April 1962 30 July 1982
[57]
90 Sir John Donaldson (Lord Donaldson of Lymington from 1988) 30 July 1982 1 October 1992
[57]
91   Sir Thomas Bingham 1 October 1992 4 June 1996 Lord Chief Justice 1996–2000; Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary 2000–2008 [60]
92   The Lord Woolf 4 June 1996 6 June 2000 Lord Chief Justice 2000–2005 [61]
93   The 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 [62]
94 Sir Anthony Clarke
(Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony from May 2009)
3 October 2005 30 September 2009 Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, 2009–2017 [63]
95   The Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury 1 October 2009 30 September 2012 President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, 2012–2017 [64]
96 Lord Dyson 1 October 2012 2 October 2016 Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, 2010–2012 [65]
97 Sir Terence Etherton 3 October 2016 Incumbent Chancellor of the High Court, 2013–2016 [66]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Govt. press release https://www.gov.uk/government/news/master-of-the-rolls-sir-terence-etherton
  2. ^ Sainty (1993) p. 144
  3. ^ Hanworth (1935) p. 310
  4. ^ Hanworth (1935) p. 316
  5. ^ Hanworth (1935) p. 327
  6. ^ "Oxford DNB theme:Masters of the Rolls". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  7. ^ Records of the Master of the Rolls and the Rolls (Chapel) Office, National Archives
  8. ^ "Judicial Profiles – Master of the Rolls". Judiciary of England and Wales. Archived from the original on 21 April 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  9. ^ "Master of the Rolls: Sir Terence Etherton". 10 Downing Street. 26 May 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Sainty (1993) p. 145
  11. ^ Buck, Mark Cobden (2004). "Langton, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/16040.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Sainty (1993) p. 146
  13. ^ Davies, Richard Garfield (2008) [2004]. "Waltham, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/28645.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  14. ^ McHardy, Alison Kemp (2008) [2004]. "Scarle, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24782.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sainty (1993) p. 147
  16. ^ Davies, Richard Garfield (2009) [2004]. "Bubwith, Nicholas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/37238.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
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  21. ^ Foss, Edward. Biographia Juridica: A Biographical Dictionary of the Judges of England. p. 466.
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  38. ^ www.historyofparliamentonline.org
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  50. ^ Jones, Gareth H. (2008) [2004]. "Pepys, Charles Christopher". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/21902.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
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  53. ^ Hedley, Steve W. (2004). "Brett, William Baliol". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3350.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  54. ^ Jones, Gareth H.; Jones, Vivienne (2006) [2004]. "Lindley, Nathaniel". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/34535.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  55. ^ Mackinnon, Frank Douglas; Jones, Neil (2004). "Webster, Richard Everard". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36810.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  56. ^ "No. 27367". The London Gazette. 22 October 1901. p. 6846.
  57. ^ a b c d e f g Sainty (1993) p. 154
  58. ^ Mackinnon, Frank Douglas; Mooney, Hugh (2006) [2004]. "Pickford, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/35525.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  59. ^ Wrottesley, Frederic; Samuels, Alec (2008) [2004]. "Pollock, Ernest Murray". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/35562.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  60. ^ "Lord Bingham of Cornhill". The Times. London. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  61. ^ "The liberal arm ofthe [sic] law". The Independent. London. 20 June 2000. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  62. ^ "Lord Phillips: 'We don't need fancy dress'". The Independent. London. 18 June 2002. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  63. ^ "Sir Anthony Clarke". The Times. London. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  64. ^ Gibb, Frances (23 July 2009). "Lord Neuberger". The Times. London. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
  65. ^ "Appointment of Master of the Rolls". 10 Downing Street Press Notice. London. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  66. ^ "Master of the Rolls: Sir Terence Etherton - Press releases - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 October 2016.

BibliographyEdit