William Thomas Charley
William Thomas Charley
|W T Charley as Common Serjeant of London (1878)|
|Common Serjeant of London|
|Member of Parliament
for Salford (UK Parliament constituency)
|Preceded by||John Cheetham|
|Succeeded by||Benjamin Armitage;
5 March 1833|
Woodbourne, County Antrim
|Died||8 July 1904(aged 71)|
Charley was born in Woodbourne, County Antrim in the north of Ireland in 1833, and was the youngest son of Matthew Charley and Anne Roberts. He was educated at Elstree House School, Lee, Kent and St John's College, Oxford from where he matriculated in 1856. He enrolled as a law student at the Inner Temple, was called to the bar in 1865, and received a Doctorate in Civil Law in 1868.
He became involved in Conservative politics in the 1860s, and was elected as member of parliament for Salford at the 1868 general election. In parliament he advanced his protestant views on social matters and worked for the protection of children. He was defeated at the 1880 general election, and was an unsuccessful candidate at Ipswich at a by-election in 1883 and the 1885 general election.
In 1878 he was elected as the senior legal office of Common Serjeant by the Corporation of London. The appointment caused controversy, as it was felt to be purely political, and that there was a large number of better-qualified lawyers who should have been considered. As a result, the Local Government Act 1888 removed the right of the city corporation to choose the serjeant, which was vested in the Crown.
In spite of criticism of Charley's performance of his duties, he remained as Common Serjeant until 1892, and was knighted and made a Queen's Counsel in 1880. He became a judge of the Central Criminal Court, and of the Mayor's Court.
Charley was the author of a number of books on law, religion and the constitution in which he defended the status quo. These included The Real Property Acts (1874), The Judicature Acts (1875), The Crusade Against the Constitution: An Historical Vindication of the House of Lords (1895), Mending and Ending the House of Lords (1900) and The Holy City, Athens and Egypt (1902).
He married Clara Harbord in 1890, and they had no children. 
- J. B. Atlay, rev. H. C. G. Matthew (2004). "Charley, Sir William Thomas (1833–1904)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 20 October 2008.
- Obituary. Sir William Charley, The Times, 9 July 1904, p. 11
- Atlay, James Beresford (1912). "Charley, William Thomas". In Sidney Lee. Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by William Thomas Charley
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Salford
1868 – 1880
With: Charles Edward Cawley 1868–1877
Oliver Ormerod Walker 1877–1880