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William Watson, Baron Thankerton, PC (8 December 1873 – 13 June 1948) was a Scottish Unionist Party politician and judge.

The Lord Thankerton
William Watson, Baron Thankerton.jpg
Lord Thankerton in 1942, by Walter Stoneman
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
In office
1 May 1929 – 13 June 1948
Lord Advocate
Solicitor-General for Scotland

Born in Edinburgh, Watson was the third son of Margaret Bannatyne (1846–1898) and William Watson, Baron Watson (1827–1899). He was educated at Winchester College and Jesus College, Cambridge, graduating with a Third in Law in 1895.[1] In 1899, he was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates,[2] taking silk in 1914.[3] He was Procurator to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from 1918–22, and was an advocate depute in 1919.

Watson was the Member of Parliament for Lanark South from 1913 to 1918[4] and for Carlisle from 1924 to 1929.[5] He held office as Solicitor General for Scotland from July 1922[6] to November 1922, and as Lord Advocate from November 1922[7] to February 1924 and from November 1924[8] to May 1929. He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1922. He was raised to the bench as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and created a life peer as Baron Thankerton, of Thankerton in Lanarkshire on 1 May 1929, holding the post until his death at 74 in 1948.

Lord Thankerton's hobby was knitting, and he would practise this while hearing cases.[9]


  1. ^ "Watson, the Hon. William (WT891W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Ball, W.V. (2009). Watson, William (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36778.
  3. ^ "No. 12633". The Edinburgh Gazette. 13 January 1914. p. 57.
  4. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 551. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
  5. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 114. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  6. ^ "No. 32728". The London Gazette. 11 July 1922. p. 5193.
  7. ^ "No. 13863". The Edinburgh Gazette. 3 November 1922. p. 1718.
  8. ^ "No. 14076". The Edinburgh Gazette. 18 November 1924. p. 1439.
  9. ^ Doing Judges a Discourtesy, Law Society Gazette, 27 June 2016


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Walter Menzies
Member of Parliament for South Lanarkshire
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
George Middleton
Member of Parliament for Carlisle
Succeeded by
George Middleton
Legal offices
Preceded by
Andrew Constable
Solicitor General for Scotland
Succeeded by
David Pinkerton Fleming
Preceded by
Charles David Murray
Lord Advocate
Succeeded by
Hugh Pattison MacMillan
Preceded by
Hugh Pattison MacMillan
Lord Advocate
Succeeded by
Alexander Munro MacRobert