John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Redesdale
FRS KC PC
John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale by Sir Martin Archer Shee.jpg
Lord Redesdale by Sir Martin Archer Shee
Speaker of the House of Commons
In office
1801–1802
Monarch George III
Preceded by Henry Addington
Succeeded by Charles Abbot
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
In office
1802–1806
Monarch George III
Prime Minister Henry Addington
Hon. William Pitt the Younger
Preceded by The Earl of Clare
Succeeded by George Ponsonby
Personal details
Born 18 August 1748 (1748-08-18)
London, England
Died 16 January 1830(1830-01-16) (aged 81)
Batsford Park, Gloucestershire
Nationality English
Spouse(s) Lady Frances Perceval
(d. 1817)

John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale PC, KC, FRS (18 August 1748 – 16 January 1830), known as Sir John Mitford between 1793 and 1802, was an English lawyer and politician. He was Speaker of the House of Commons between 1801 and 1802 and Lord Chancellor of Ireland between 1802 and 1806.

Background[edit]

Born in London, Mitford was the younger son of John Mitford (d. 1761) of Exbury, Hampshire,[1][2] and Philadelphia, daughter of Willey Reveley of Newton Underwood, Northumberland.[2] The historian William Mitford was his brother.

Political and legal career[edit]

Having become a barrister of the Inner Temple in 1777,[2] Mitford wrote A Treatise on the Pleadings in Suits in the Court of Chancery by English Bill, a work reprinted several times in England and America.[3] He was made a King's Counsel in 1789.[4] In 1788 he became Member of Parliament for the borough of Bere Alston in Devon,[1][5] and in 1791 he successfully introduced a bill for the relief of Roman Catholics, despite being himself a committed Anglican.[3] In 1793 he succeeded Sir John Scott as Solicitor-General for England[6] (receiving the customary knighthood at the same time), becoming Attorney General six years later,[1] when he was returned to parliament as member for East Looe in Cornwall.[1][7]

In February 1801 Mitford was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons[1] and sworn of the Privy Council.[8] Exactly a year later, he was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland[9] and raised to the peerage as Baron Redesdale, of Redesdale in the County of Northumberland.[9] Being an outspoken opponent of Catholic Emancipation, Redesdale was unpopular in Ireland. In February 1806 he was dismissed on the formation of the Ministry of All the Talents.[3]

Although Lord Redesdale declined to return to official life, he was an active member of the House of Lords on its political and its judicial sides. In 1813 he secured the passing of acts for the relief of insolvent debtors, and became an opponent of the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts and other popular measures of reform.[3]

Family[edit]

Lord Redesdale married Lady Frances, daughter of John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont and sister of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, in 1803.[1] He took the additional name of Freeman in 1809 on succeeding to the estates of Thomas Edwards Freeman.[10] Lady Redesdale died in August 1817.[1] Lord Redesdale survived her by thirteen years and died at Batsford Park, near Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Gloucestershire,[2] in January 1830, aged 81. He was succeeded in the barony by his only son, John, who was created Earl of Redesdale in 1877.[1]

References[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Viscount Feilding
Charles Rainsford
Member of Parliament for Bere Alston
with Viscount Feilding 1788–1790
Sir George Beaumont, Bt 1790–1796
William Mitford 1796–1799

1788–1799
Succeeded by
William Mitford
Lord Lovaine
Preceded by
William Frederick Buller
John Smith
Member of Parliament for East Looe
with William Frederick Buller

1799–1801
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for East Looe
with William Frederick Buller

1801–1802
Succeeded by
William Frederick Buller
James Buller
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Scott
Chancellor of Durham
1788–1791
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Manners-Sutton
Solicitor General
1793–1799
Succeeded by
Sir William Grant
Attorney General
1799–1801
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Law
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Addington
Speaker of the House of Commons
1801–1802
Succeeded by
Charles Abbot
Preceded by
The Earl of Clare
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
1802–1806
Succeeded by
George Ponsonby
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Redesdale
1802–1830
Succeeded by
John Freeman-Mitford