William Grantham

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Sir William Grantham.

William Grantham (23 October 1835 – 30 November 1911) was a British politician and judge.


He was educated at King's College School, and was called to the bar in 1863.

He was a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for East Surrey from 1874 to 1885 and was elected as for Croydon in 1885, but resigned in 1886 on his appointment as a judge of the Queen's Bench Division. In parliament, he was a fairly frequent speaker who was seen as a militant opponent of Gladstone.

As a judge, he was seen as competent but with a weakness for commenting on cases in a way that brought him into conflict with various groups, a habit that eventually led to hints in the newspapers that he should retire. His tenure as a judge was mainly uncontroversial until 1906, when, in a series of decisions on election petitions following the general election of that year, in Bodmin, Maidstone and Great Yarmouth, he was seen as favouring the Conservatives. A censure motion was proposed in the House of Commons and led to a vigorous debate, but the government declined to take it further, possibly because of the precedent it would set. Five years later, an indiscreet speech to the grand jury in Liverpool led to the judge being rebuked by the Prime Minister, H. H. Asquith, in the House of Commons,[1] 'one of the severest ever dealt to an English judge by a minister of the crown'.[2] He died later that year, of pneumonia, in his house in Eaton Square, London.


  1. ^ Hansard, HC 5ser vol 22 col 366.
  2. ^ J. B. Atlay, ‘Grantham, Sir William (1835–1911)’, rev. Robert Stevens, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Peter John Locke King
James Watney
Member of Parliament for East Surrey
With: James Watney
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Croydon
Succeeded by
Sidney Herbert