Dudley Ward (judge)

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For the Victoria Cross recipient, see Charles Ward (VC).
Dudley Ward
Dudley Ward (judge).jpg
Judge Ward
Personal details
Born Charles Dudley Robert Ward
(1827-07-09)9 July 1827
at sea (Atlantic Ocean)
Died 30 August 1913(1913-08-30) (aged 86)
Maori Hill, Dunedin, New Zealand
Spouse(s) Anne Ward (m. 1850; d. 1896)
Thorpe Talbot (m. 1902)
Parents Henry George Ward

Charles Dudley Robert Ward (9 July 1827 – 30 August 1913), known as Dudley Ward, was a New Zealand judge and a member of parliament. His first wife, Anne Ward, was a prominent suffragist.

Family and education[edit]

Ward was born at sea on board HMS Primrose in the Atlantic Ocean on 9 July 1827.[1] He was the eldest son of diplomat, politician, and later governor of Ceylon, Sir Sir Henry George Ward GCMG and Emily Swinburne, and a cousin of William Ward and William George Ward. He was educated at Rugby School and at Wadham College, Oxford (though not being awarded a degree) and completed his legal education at the Inner Temple being called to the Bar in 1853.[2] His grandfathers were Robert Plumer Ward and Sir John Swinburne, 6th Baronet.[1]

A career in New Zealand[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1855–1858 2nd Wellington Country Independent

Ward was married on 26 January 1850, at Rotherhithe, to Anne Titboald, who was born in Exeter. After his admission to the bar, the Wards set out for New Zealand, arriving on 29 September 1854 in Wellington on the Cordelia. The following year, he successfully stood for election to the lower house of the 2nd New Zealand Parliament representing the Wellington Country electorate from 15 November 1855.[3] Ward resigned on 22 March 1858 before the end of the term. He did not serve in any subsequent Parliaments.[4]


On 1 June 1857, 18 months after his election to Parliament, Ward was appointed chairman of the Courts of Sessions of the Peace for the Province of Wellington and presiding judge of the Magistrate's Courts for Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa and Wanganui. On 1 January 1864, he was given a two-year appointment as Resident Magistrate at Wellington, the capital. The remainder of his career was appointments as District Judge for a series of individual provinces until, after more than 49 years service, his retirement in March 1906, aged almost 79, on a pension of £800 per annum.

Supreme Court[edit]

Ward was appointed Acting Supreme Court Judge on four occasions: September 1867 Dunedin; September 1886 Auckland; September 1887 Christchurch; March 1894 Dunedin again.

He had been involved in the parliamentary Ward-Chapman enquiry of 1874–75 after he laid certain charges of gross partiality against Justice Chapman of the Supreme Court. Chapman retired in 1875.

Ward declined a permanent appointment on the Supreme Court bench in June 1896, the offer being received just after the death of his wife, and declined an Acting Supreme Court judgeship in the following year.[5]

Private life and death[edit]

Ward was a tall man of strong build. He stood 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) tall and weighed 17 stone (110 kg).[1] In the 1880s and 1890s, the Wards had a house in the Christchurch suburb of Burwood; it was said that they "scarcely spoke to each other".[6] Later, they had a house in Park Terrace in the Christchurch Central City.[7] He is rumoured to have had several mistresses and Judge Chapman wrote about him:

Ward's first wife died in Christchurch on 31 May 1896 and was buried at Burwood Cemetery.[3][8]

Ward is believed to have bought a house in the Dunedin suburb of Maori Hill for one of his mistresses, the writer Frances Ellen Talbot, better known under her pseudonym Thorpe Talbot (1851–1923). The house was held in the name of a farmer who Ward knew, and within a month of his wife's death, Ward's name was added to the title.[1] On 6 January 1902, Ward and Talbot were married at that house, and Ward lived in it for the rest of his life.[1] Dudley Ward died at his residence on 30 August 1913 aged 86.[5] There were no children from either marriage.[1][3] His widow sent his body to Christchurch to be buried next to his first wife. The gravestone reads:

His second wife died in 1923.[6]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Adams, Geoff (9 July 2011). "Larger-than-life ladies' man". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Scholefield, Guy, ed. (1940). A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography : M–Addenda (PDF). II. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs. p. 458. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Hutching, Megan. "Ward, Anne". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
  5. ^ a b "Obituary". Otago Daily Times (15857). 1 September 1913. p. 5. 
  6. ^ a b c Greenaway, Richard L. N. (June 2007). "Burwood Anglican Cemetery Tour" (PDF). Christchurch City Council. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Funeral Notices". The Press. LIII (9432). 2 June 1896. p. 8. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Local and General". The Star (5582). 4 June 1896. p. 3. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
William Barnard Rhodes
Member of Parliament for Wellington Country
Succeeded by
Alfred Brandon