Evelyn Denison, 1st Viscount Ossington

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John Evelyn Denison, 1st Viscount Ossington, PC (27 January 1800 – 7 March 1873) was a British statesman who served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1857 to 1872. He is the eponym of Speaker Denison's rule.

The Viscount Ossington
1stViscountOssington.jpg
Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom
In office
30 April 1857 – 9 February 1872
MonarchVictoria
Preceded bySir Charles Shaw-Lefevre
Succeeded byHon. Sir Henry Brand
Personal details
Born(1800-01-27)27 January 1800
Ossington, Nottinghamshire
Died7 March 1873(1873-03-07) (aged 73)
NationalityBritish
Political partyWhig, Liberal
Spouse(s)Lady Charlotte Bentinck
(d. 1889)
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

Background and educationEdit

Denison was born at Ossington, Nottinghamshire, the eldest son of John Denison (d. 1820), and the older brother of Edward Denison, bishop of Salisbury, Sir William Denison, colonial governor in Australia and India, and George Denison, a conservative churchman. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.

Political careerEdit

 
Sir Evelyn Denison, speaker, in a Vanity Fair cartoon of 1870.

A Whig, he became Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1823,[1] being returned for Hastings three years later,[2] and holding for a short time a subordinate position in George Canning's ministry. Defeated in 1830 both at Newcastle-under-Lyme and then at Liverpool, Denison secured a seat as one of the members for Nottinghamshire in 1831. After the Great Reform Act he represented the southern division of Nottinghamshire from 1832 until the general election of 1837.[3] He was appointed High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire for 1839–40.[4]

Denison then represented Malton from 1841 to 1857,[5] and North Nottinghamshire from 1857 to 1872.[3] In April 1857 Denison was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons. He was sworn of the Privy Council at the same time.[6] Re-elected at the beginning of three successive parliaments he retained this position until February 1872, when he resigned and was raised to the peerage as Viscount Ossington, of Ossington in the County of Nottingham.[7] He refused, however, to accept the pension usually given to retiring Speakers. Denison gave an explanation – referred to as Speaker Denison's rule – as to how the Speaker should exercise his or her casting vote in the event of a tie.

The Speaker's CommentaryEdit

While in office, Denison formed the view that the public needed a plain, but complete and accurate, explanatory commentary on the Bible, and consulted some of the bishops as to the best way of supplying the work. Eventually the Archbishop of York undertook to organise the production of the commentary, under the editorship of Frederic Charles Cook, Canon of Exeter. A panel was appointed to advise the general Editor, comprising the Archbishop and the Regius Professors of Divinity of Oxford and Cambridge. Formally entitled The Bible Commentary, it became popularly known as "The Speaker's Commentary". It was first published in England, and subsequently in the United States by Charles Scribner's Sons.

FamilyEdit

Lord Ossington married Lady Charlotte, daughter of William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland, in 1827, but he left no children. He died on 7 March 1873, and his title became extinct. Lady Ossington died in 1889.

His Ossington Hall estate passed to his nephew William Evelyn Denison, son of his brother Sir William Thomas Denison.[8]

Ossington Street in London was named in his honour.

ArmsEdit

Coat of arms of Evelyn Denison, 1st Viscount Ossington
Crest
A dexter arm vested Gules cuffed Argent pointing with the forefinger to an estoile Or.[9]
Escutcheon
Argent, a bend Gules between a unicorn's head erased in chief and a cross crosslet fitchée in base Azure.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "leighrayment.com House of Commons: Na H-Eileanan An Iar to Newport". Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 19 September 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ "leighrayment.com House of Commons: Haslemere to Herefordshire". Archived from the original on 29 October 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ a b "leighrayment.com House of Commons: Northampton North to Nuneaton". Archived from the original on 7 April 2017. Retrieved 19 September 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ "No. 19704". The London Gazette. 9 February 1839. p. 214.
  5. ^ "leighrayment.com House of Commons: Macclesfield to Marylebone West". Archived from the original on 10 August 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ "No. 21998". The London Gazette. 8 May 1857. p. 1616.
  7. ^ "No. 23827". The London Gazette. 13 February 1872. p. 550.
  8. ^ "Biography of William Evelyn Denison (1843–1916)". Manuscripts and Special Collections. University of Nottingham. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  9. ^ "General Armory, page 1275". Burke's Peerage. Retrieved 15 February 2019.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme
1823–1826
With: Sir Robert Wilmot, Bt
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Hastings
18261830
With: James Lushington, to 1831;
Joseph Planta, from 1831
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Nottinghamshire
18311832
With: John Lumley
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for South Nottinghamshire
18321837
With: The Earl of Lincoln
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Malton
18411857
With: John Walbanke-Childers, to 1846;
Viscount Milton, 1846–1847;
John Walbanke-Childers, 1847–52;
Hon. Charles Wentworth-FitzWilliam, from 1852
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for North Nottinghamshire
1857–1872
With: Lord Robert Pelham-Clinton, to 1865;
Lord Edward Pelham-Clinton, 1865–1868;
Frederick Chatfield Smith, from 1868
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom
1857–1872
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Ossington
1872–1873
Extinct