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William Cope, 1st Baron Cope (18 August 1870 – 15 July 1946),[1] known as Sir William Cope, Bt, between 1928 and 1945, was a Welsh Conservative Party politician, who was also notable as an international rugby union player for Wales. He was Member of Parliament for Llandaff and Barry from 1918–29, was made a baronet in 1928 and elevated to the peerage as Baron Cope in July 1945.

The Lord Cope
Birth nameWilliam Cope
Date of birth(1870-08-18)18 August 1870
Place of birthRoath, Wales
Date of death15 July 1946(1946-07-15) (aged 75)
Place of deathSt Mellons, Wales
SchoolRepton School
UniversityClare College, Cambridge
Rugby union career
Position(s) Forward
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Cambridge University R.U.F.C.
Cardiff RFC
Blackheath F.C.
Barbarian F.C.
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1896 Wales 1 (0)


Background and educationEdit

Cope was born in Roath, Cardiff in 1870, the son of Matthew Cope from St Mellons and Margaret Harrison.[2] He was educated at Repton School before metriculating to Clare College, Cambridge in 1888.[3] He was awarded his BA in 1891 and in 1895 collected his MA. After leaving Cambridge Cope began his legal profession and was admitted to the Inner Temple, and in 1894 he was called to The Bar.[citation needed]

Political careerEdit

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Cope joined the Glamorgan Yeomanry, rising to the rank of major. On returning to Britain in 1918, he ran for Parliament, standing for the seat of Llandaff and Barry. In 1923 he became a Junior Lord of the Treasury, a post he held until 1928, with a break during the brief Labour Government of 1924. In 1928 he was created a baronet, of St Mellons in the County of Monmouth.[4]

On leaving The Treasury he was given the role of Comptroller of the Royal Household, a role he undertook for just a year when he left government in 1929. He held several offices in his home county of Glamorgan. He was a Justice of the Peace, and a Deputy Lieutenant and in 1932 was made High Sheriff of Glamorgan. In 1933 he was invested as a King's Council. In July 1945 he was elevated to the peerage as Baron Cope, of St Mellons in the County of Monmouth.[5]

Rugby careerEdit

Cope first came to note as a rugby player when he played for Cambridge University while a student. In 1891 he played in The Varsity Match against Oxford, gaining a sporting Blue. From 1891 through to 1895 Cope turned out for his home club of Cardiff,[6] and after leaving university he also represented first class English team Blackheath. During the 1891–1892 season Cope became a member of invitational team the Barbarians in only their second year.[7]

Four years later, Cope was selected to represent Wales as part of the 1896 Home Nations Championship in a match against Scotland. Cope was brought in to a much changed team after a disastrous opening match of the tournament against England; the selectors reacting to a 25–0 scoreline by selecting five new caps in the pack. Cope was one of the new members, who under the leadership of Arthur 'Monkey' Gould, managed to beat Scotland 6–0. Despite the victory, this was Cope's only international game, being replaced by a returning Arthur Boucher in the next match of the Championship.[citation needed]


Lord Cope married Helen (née Shuldham) on 5 September 1900. They had two children. He died in July 1945, aged 75, when the baronetcy and barony became extinct.[citation needed]


  • Davies, D.E. (1975). Cardiff Rugby Club, History and Statistics 1876–1975. Risca: The Starling Press. ISBN 0-9504421-0-0.


  1. ^ William Cope player profile
  2. ^ Profile,; accessed 14 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Cope, William (CP888W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ "No. 33400". The London Gazette. 3 June 1928. p. 4495.
  5. ^ "No. 37193". The London Gazette. 24 July 1945. p. 3835.
  6. ^ Davies (1975), p. 238.
  7. ^ Starmer-Smith, Nigel, The Barbarians; Macdonald & Jane's Publishers (1977) pg. 219; ISBN 0-86007-552-4

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Llandaff and Barry
Succeeded by
Charles Ellis Lloyd
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Harry Barnston
Comptroller of the Household
Succeeded by
Thomas Henderson
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Cope