Master of the Rolls

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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
1 geoffrey vos 2018.jpg
Incumbent
Sir Geoffrey Vos

since 11 January 2021
Style The Right Honourable
Nominator Judicial Appointments Commission
Appointer The Sovereign on recommendation of Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor, who are in turn given recommendations by a selection panel
Term length Life tenure; Retirement at age 70, or 75 if appointed to a judicial post before 31 March 1995
Inaugural holder John Langton
Formation2 September 1286
Salary£214,165
Website The Judiciary of England and Wales

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 or she 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]

Contents

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] In July 2020, it was announced that Sir Geoffrey Vos will be appointed as his replacement from 11 January 2021. [10]

List of Masters of the Rolls

Thomas Cromwell, a highly influential figure during the reign of Henry VIII Cromwell,Thomas(1EEssex)01.jpg
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 Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley from NPG.jpg
Sir Thomas Egerton, who served as Lord Keeper and Lord Chancellor for 21 years
Sir John Trevor, the last Speaker of the House of Commons to resign in over 300 years until the resignation of Michael Martin in 2009 Sir John Trevor - detail.jpg
Sir John Trevor, the last Speaker of the House of Commons to resign in over 300 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. LordLindley cropp.jpg
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.
Sir Thomas Bingham, who helped establish the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Lord Bingham.jpg
Sir Thomas Bingham, who helped establish the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
No.PortraitNameTerm of officeOther positionsNotes
1 John Langton 2 September 12861 October 1295 Lord Chancellor 1292–1302, 1307–1310 [11] [12]
2 Adam Osgodby 1 October 129519 August 1316
[11]
3 William Airmyn 19 August 131626 May 1324
[11]
4 Richard Airmyn 26 May 13244 July 1325
[11]
5 Henry de Cliff 4 July 132520 January 1334
[11]
6 Michael Wrath 20 January 133428 April 1337
[11]
7 John de St Paul 28 April 133710 January 1341 Archbishop of Dublin 1349–1362, Lord Chancellor of Ireland 1350–1356 [13]
8 Thomas Evesham 10 January 134121 February 1341
[13]
9 John Thoresby 21 February 13412 July 1346
[13]
10 David Wollore 2 July 134628 March 1371
[13]
11 William Burstall 28 March 13718 September 1381
[13]
12 John Waltham 8 September 138124 October 1386 Lord Privy Seal 1386–1389, Lord Chancellor 1349–1356 [13] [14]
13 John Burton 24 October 138622 July 1394
[13]
14 John Scarle 22 July 139411 September 1397 Lord Chancellor 1399–1401 [13] [15]
15 Thomas Stanley 11 September 139724 September 1402
[13]
16 Nicholas Bubwith 24 September 14022 March 1405 Lord Privy Seal 1405–1406, Lord High Treasurer 1407–1408 [16] [17]
17 John Wakering 2 March 14053 June 1415 Lord Privy Seal 1415–1416 [16] [18]
18 Simon Gauntsede 3 June 141528 October 1423
[16]
19 John Frank 28 October 142313 November 1438
[16]
20 John Stopyndon 13 November 143829 March 1447
[16]
21 John Kirkeby 29 March 144723 December 1461
[16]
22 Robert Kirkeham 23 December 146112 February 1471
[16]
23 William Morland 12 February 147129 April 1471
[16]
24 John Alcock 29 April 147116 March 1472 Lord Chancellor 1475, 1485–1487 [16] [19]
25 John Morton 16 March 14729 January 1479 Lord Chancellor 1487–1500, Archbishop of Canterbury 1486–1500 [16] [20]
26 Robert Morton 9 January 147922 September 1483
[21]
27 Thomas Barowe 22 September 148322 August 1485
[21]
28 Robert Morton jointly with William Eliot22 August 148526 February 1487Jointly from 13 November 1485 [21] [22]
29 David William 26 February 14875 May 1492
[21]
30 John Blyth 5 May 149213 February 1494
[21]
31 Hans Holbein d. J. 066.jpg William Warham 13 February 14941 February 1502 Keeper of the Great Seal 1502–1504, Lord Chancellor 1504–1515, Archbishop of Canterbury 1503–1532 [21] [23]
32 William Barons 1 February 150213 November 1504
[21]
33 Christopher Bainbridge.jpg Christopher Bainbridge 13 November 150422 January 1508 Archbishop of York 1508–1514 [21] [24]
34 John Yonge 22 January 150812 May 1516
[25]
35 CuthbertTunstall.jpg Cuthbert Tunstall 12 May 151620 October 1522 Lord Privy Seal 1523–1530 [25] [26]
36 John Clerk 20 October 15229 October 1523
[25]
37 Thomas Hannibal 9 October 152326 June 1527
[25]
38 John Taylor 26 June 15278 October 1534 Archdeacon of Derby 1516–1533, Archdeacon of Buckingham 1516–1534 [25]
39 Cromwell,Thomas(1EEssex)01.jpg Thomas Cromwell 8 October 153410 July 1536 Secretary of State 1533–1536, Lord Privy Seal 1536–1540 [25] [27]
40 Christopher Hales 10 July 15361 July 1541 Solicitor General 1525–1529, Attorney General 1529–1536 [25] [28]
41 Sir Robert Southwell 1 July 154113 December 1550
[25]
42 John Beaumont 13 December 155018 June 1552
[25]
43 Sir Robert Bowes 18 June 155218 September 1553
[25]
44 Sir Nicholas Hare 18 September 15535 November 1557 Speaker of the House of Commons 1539–1540 [29] [30]
45 Cornelis de Zeeuw - Portrait of a Gentleman (1565).jpg Sir William Cordell 5 November 155730 May 1581 Solicitor General 1553–1557, Speaker of the House of Commons 1558 [29] [31]
46 Sir Gilbert Gerard 30 May 158110 April 1594 Attorney General 1559–1581 [29] [32]
47 Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley from NPG.jpg Sir Thomas Egerton 10 April 159418 May 1603 Solicitor General 1581–1592, Attorney General 1592–1594, Lord Chancellor 1596–1617, First Lord of the Treasury 1613–1614 [29] [33]
48 LordKinloss.jpg Edward Bruce, 1st Lord Kinloss, 1st Lord Bruce 18 May 160314 January 1611
[29]
49 Edward Phelips.jpg Sir Edward Phelips 14 January 16111 September 1614 Speaker of the House of Commons 1603–1611 [29] [34]
50 SirJuliusCaesarCrop.jpg Sir Julius Caesar 1 September 161418 April 1636 Chancellor of the Exchequer 1606–1614 [29]
51 Sir Dudley Digges (c. 1583 - 1639).jpeg Sir Dudley Digges 18 April 163630 March 1639
[29]
52 SirCharlesCaesar.jpg Sir Charles Caesar 30 March 163928 January 1643
[29]
53 1stLordColepeper.jpg The Lord Colepeper (royalist)28 January 16433 November 1660 Chancellor of the Exchequer 1642–1643 [29] [35]
54 WilliamLenthall.jpg William Lenthall (parliamentary)10 November 164314 May 1659 Speaker of the House of Commons 1640–1647, 1647–1653, 1654–1655, 1659–1660 [36] [37]
55 Sir Harbottle Grimston.jpg Sir Harbottle Grimston, Bt 3 November 166012 January 1685 Speaker of the House of Commons 1660 [36] [38]
56 Sir John Churchill 12 January 168520 October 1685 Attorney-General 1673–85 [39] [36]
57 Sir John Trevor - detail.jpg Sir John Trevor 20 October 168513 March 1689
[36]
58 Sir Henry Powle 13 March 168913 January 1693 Speaker of the House of Commons 1689 [36] [40]
59 Sir John Trevor - detail.jpg Sir John Trevor 13 January 169313 July 1717 Speaker of the House of Commons 1685–1689, 1693–1717 [36] [41]
60 Joseph Jekyll - Richardson.jpeg Sir Joseph Jekyll 13 July 17179 October 1738
[36]
61 John Verney - detail.jpg Sir John Verney 9 October 17385 November 1741
[36]
62 Willfortescue.jpg William Fortescue 5 November 174115 January 1750
[36]
63 Sir John Strange 16 January 175018 May 1754 Solicitor General 1737–1742 [36] [42]
64 Sir Thomas Clarke.jpg Sir Thomas Clarke 25 May 175413 November 1764
[43]
65 Sir Thomas Sewell 4 December 176430 March 1784
[43]
66 Lloyd Kenyon, 1st Baron Kenyon by William Davison.jpg Sir Lloyd Kenyon 30 March 17844 June 1788 Attorney General 1782–1783, 1783–1784, Lord Chief Justice 1788–1802 [43] [44]
67 1stLordAlvanley.jpg Sir Richard Arden 4 June 178827 May 1801 Solicitor General 1782–1783, 1783–1784, Attorney General 1784–1788, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 1801–1804 [43] [45]
68 Sir William Grant by Sir Thomas Lawrence.jpg Sir William Grant 18011817 Solicitor General 1799–1801 [43] [46]
69 ThomasPlumer.jpg Sir Thomas Plumer 6 January 18185 April 1824Solicitor General 1807–1812, Attorney General 1812–1813 [43] [47]
70 RobertGifford.jpg The Lord Gifford 5 April 182414 September 1826 Solicitor General 1817–1819, Attorney General 1819–1824, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas 1824 [43] [48]
71 1stLordLyndhurst.jpg Sir John Singleton Copley 14 September 18263 May 1827 Solicitor General 1819–1824, Attorney General 1824–1826, Lord Chancellor 1827–1830, 1834–1835, 1841–1846 [43] [49]
72 SirJohnLeach.jpg Sir John Leach 3 May 182729 September 1834 Vice Chancellor of England 1818–1827 [43] [50]
73 Charles Pepys, 1st Earl of Cottenham by Charles Robert Leslie cropped.jpg Sir Charles Pepys, Bt 29 September 183416 January 1836 Solicitor General 1834, Lord Chancellor 1836–1841, 1846–1850 [43] [51]
74 Henry Bickersteth, Baron Langdale (19th century) by George Richmond and John Henry Robinson.jpg The Lord Langdale 16 January 183628 March 1851
[52]
75 1stLordRomilly.jpg The Lord Romilly 28 March 185130 August 1873 Solicitor General 1848, Attorney General 1850 [52]
76 SirGeorgeJessel.jpg Sir George Jessel 30 August 187321 March 1883 Solicitor General 1871–1873 [52] [53]
77 William Baliol Brett.jpg The Lord Esher 3 April 188319 October 1897 Solicitor General 1868 [52] [54]
78 LordLindley cropp.jpg Sir Nathaniel Lindley 19 October 18979 May 1900
[52] [55]
79 Portrait of Richard Webster, 1st Viscount Alverstone.jpg The Lord Alverstone 9 May 190024 October 1900 Lord Chief Justice 1900–1913 [52] [56]
80 SirArchibaldLevinSmith.jpg Sir Archibald Levin Smith 24 October 190019 October 1901
[52]
81 LordCollins.jpg Sir Richard Collins 19 October 19016 March 1907
[52] [57]
82 1stLordCozensHardy.jpg Sir Herbert Cozens-Hardy
(The Lord Cozens-Hardy from 1914)
6 March 19073 May 1918
[52]
83 1stLordSwinfen.jpg Sir Charles Swinfen Eady 3 May 19183 November 1919
[52]
84 William Pickford.jpg The Lord Sterndale 3 November 19197 August 1923 President of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division 1918–1919 [58] [59]
85 1stViscountHanworth - cropped.jpg Sir Ernest Pollock
(The Lord Hanworth from 1926)
11 October 19237 October 1935 Solicitor General 1919–1922, Attorney General 1922. [58] [60]
86 The Lord Wright 7 October 193526 April 1937
[58]
87 The Lord Greene 26 April 19371 June 1949
[58]
88 Sir Raymond Evershed (The Lord Evershed from 1956)1 June 194919 April 1962
[58]
89 The Lord Denning 19 April 196230 July 1982
[58]
90 Sir John Donaldson (The Lord Donaldson of Lymington from 1988)30 July 19821 October 1992
[58]
91 Thomas Bingham, Baron Bingham of Cornhill.jpg Sir Thomas Bingham 1 October 19924 June 1996 Lord Chief Justice 1996–2000; Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary 2000–2008 [61]
92 Preisverleihung der Toleranzringe der Europaischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und Kunste im Rathaus Koln-0061.jpg The Lord Woolf 4 June 19966 June 2000Lord Chief Justice 2000–2005 [62]
93 Official portrait of Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers crop 2.jpg The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers 6 June 20003 October 2005Lord Chief Justice 2005–2008, President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom 2009–2012 [63]
94 Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony 2009.jpg Sir Anthony Clarke
(The Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony from May 2009)
3 October 200530 September 2009Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, 2009–2017 [64]
95 Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury 2013.jpg The Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury 1 October 200930 September 2012President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, 2012–2017 [65]
96 Lord Dyson 2013.jpg Lord Dyson 1 October 20122 October 2016Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, 2010–2012 [66]
97 Sir Terence Etherton.jpg Sir Terence Etherton (The Lord Etherton from December 2020)3 October 201611 January 2021 Chancellor of the High Court, 2013–2016 [67]
97 1 geoffrey vos 2018.jpg Sir Geoffrey Vos 11 January 2021Incumbent Chancellor of the High Court, 2016–2021 [67]

Peerages created for the Master of the Rolls

Since the Act of Union 1707
Master of the RollsTitleCreatedCurrent statusOther Judicial Roles
Sir Lloyd Kenyon Baron Kenyon Extant Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench
Sir Richard Arden Baron Alvanley 22 May 1801Extinct 24 June 1857 Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
Sir Robert Gifford Baron Gifford 30 January 1824Extant Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
Sir John Copley Baron Lyndhurst 25 April 1827Extinct 12 October 1863 Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer
Sir Charles Pepys Earl of Cottenham 11 June 1850Extant Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Baron Cottenham 20 January 1836
Sir Henry Bickersteth Baron Langdale 23 January 1836Extinct 18 April 1851None
Sir John Romilly Baron Romilly 3 January 1866Extinct 29 June 1983None
Sir William Brett Viscount Esher 11 November 1897ExtantNone
Baron Esher 24 July 1895
Sir Nathaniel Lindley Baron Lindley as Law Lord 10 May 1900Extinct 9 December 1921None
Sir Richard Webster Viscount Alverstone 24 November 1913Extinct 15 December 1915 Lord Chief Justice of England
Baron Alverstone 18 June 1900
Sir Richard Collins Baron Collins as Law Lord 6 March 1907Extinct 3 January 1911None
Sir Herbert Cozens-Hardy Baron Cozens-Hardy 1 July 1914Extinct 11 September 1975None
Sir Charles Swinfen Eady Baron Swinfen 1 November 1919ExtantNone
Sir William Pickford Baron Sterndale 14 November 1918Extinct 17 August 1923None
Sir Ernest Pollock Viscount Hanworth 17 January 1936ExtantNone
Baron Hanworth 28 January 1926
Sir Robert Wright Baron Wright as Law Lord 11 April 1932Extinct 27 June 1964None
Sir Wilfrid Greene Baron Greene 16 July 1941Extinct 16 April 1952None
Sir Raymond Evershed Baron Evershed 20 January 1956Extinct 3 October 1966None
Sir Tom Denning Baron Denning as Law Lord 24 April 1957Extinct 5 March 1999None
Sir John Donaldson Baron Donaldson of Lymington as Life Peer 15 February 1988Extinct 31 August 2005None
Sir Tom Bingham Baron Bingham of Cornhill as Law Lord 4 June 1996Extinct 11 September 2010 Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
Sir Harry Woolf Baron Woolf as Law Lord 1 October 1992Extant Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
Sir Nick Phillips Baron Phillips of Worth Matravers as Law Lord 12 January 1999Extant President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
Sir Tony Clarke Baron Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony as Life Peer 29 May 2009ExtantNone
Sir David Neuberger Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury as Law Lord 11 January 2007Extant President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Sir Terence Etherton Baron Etherton as Life Peer 23 December 2020ExtantNone

See also

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References

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