Herbert Cozens-Hardy, 1st Baron Cozens-Hardy

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The Lord Cozens-Hardy

Master of the Rolls
In office
6 March 1907 – 3 May 1918
Preceded bySir Richard Collins
Succeeded bySir Charles Swinfen Eady
Personal details
Herbert Hardy Cozens

22 November 1838
Letheringsett, Holt, Norfolk
Died18 June 1920(1920-06-18) (aged 81)
Letheringsett, Holt, Norfolk
Spouse(s)Maria Hepburn (d. 1886)
Alma materUniversity College London
ProfessionBarrister, judge
Herbert Cozens-Hardy
"fair, if not beautiful". Caricature by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1901
Monument, Kensal Green Cemetery

Herbert Hardy Cozens-Hardy, 1st Baron Cozens-Hardy, PC (22 November 1838 – 18 June 1920) was a British politician and judge who served as Master of the Rolls from 1907 until 1918.

Early life and career[edit]

Cozens-Hardy was born in Letheringsett, Norfolk in 1838, the second son of William Hardy Cozens-Hardy, a former Norwich solicitor, and Sarah, née Theobald, daughter of Thomas Theobald, textile manufacturer. His grandmother was the diarist Mary Hardy. His family were Methodists, an connection which proved to be useful in his career at the bar.

Cozens-Hardy was educated at Amersham School and University College, London, where he read Law, graduating in 1858 and taking the LLB in 1863, later becoming a fellow of University College. He was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1862, and read in the chambers of Thomas Lewin and James Dickinson.

Cozens-Hardy acquired a large junior practice at the Chancery bar, and became Queen's Counsel in 1882. It was then the practice of Chancery Queen's Counsels to attach themselves to the court of a particular Chancery Division judge: Cozens-Hardy initially attached himself to the court of Mr Justice Fry; upon the latter's promotion to the Court of Appeal in 1883 he attached himself to Mr Justice North. In 1893 he became a 'special', a Chancery silk unattached to any particular judge, but who charged a special fee of £50 for any appearance. Popular among his peers, he was elected chairman of the General Council of the Bar and served until his elevation to the bench 1899.

Political career[edit]

In 1885, Cozens-Hardy was returned as the Liberal Member of Parliament for North Norfolk, keeping the seat until 1899. He frequently spoke on legal matters, although he was never a prominent figure. His most important achievement was the passage of the Law of Property Amendment Act 1860 (23 & 24 Vict. c. 38) relating to the law of mortmain, sometime known as Cozen Hardy's Act. He remained with Gladstone when the Liberal Party split over Irish Home Rule in 1886, although he wavered towards the defectors for a time.

Legal career[edit]

In 1899, the elevation of Sir Robert Romer to the Court of Appeal on the death of Lord Justice Chitty created a vacancy in the Chancery Division. Though Lord Halsbury, the Lord Chancellor, was known to biased toward Conservatives in judicial appointments, he nevertheless recommended Cozens-Hardy for the vacancy, writing to him that "Notwithstanding your abominable politics I think you are the fittest person to succeed Romer". Cozens-Hardy was duly appointed to the High Court and assigned to the Chancery Division, receiving the customary knighthood in the 1899 Birthday Honours. In 1901, he succeded Lord Justice Rigby as a Lord Justice of Appeal and was sworn of the Privy Council.[1][2]

In 1907 Cozens-Hardy succeeded Sir Richard Henn Collins as Master of the Rolls. He was created Baron Cozens-Hardy, of Letheringsett, in the county of Norfolk, on 1 July 1914. Retiring from in 1918, he died less than two years later in 1920, aged 81, and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery. His eldest son, the Hon William Cozens-Hardy KC MP, succeeded to the barony.


In 1868 he married Maria Hepburn,[3] who bore him two sons and two daughters before her death in 1886.

Via his elder daughter, Katharine, he was the maternal grandfather of Kenneth Horne. His younger daughter, Hope, married Austin Pilkington of the Pilkington glassmaking family.


Coat of arms of Herbert Cozens-Hardy, 1st Baron Cozens-Hardy
Coronet of a British Baron.svg
Cozens-Hardy Escutcheon.png
1st a dexter arm embowed holding in the hand an eagle’s head erased fesswise Proper (Hardy); 2nd a lion rampant Or vulned at the shoulder Proper and gorged with a ducal coronet Azure.
Quarterly: 1st & 4th per chevron Argent and Or in chief two fire balls Sable fired Proper (Hardy); 2nd & 3rd Azure a lion rampant Or gorged with a ducal coronet of the field in chief two barrulets of the second (Cozens).
Dexter an eagle Argent wings endorsed Gules holding in the beak a white rose slipped and leaved Proper, sinister a winged lion queue fourchée Argent wings endorsed Gules.
Fear One.


  1. ^ "No. 27372". The London Gazette. 5 November 1901. p. 7144.
  2. ^ "No. 27372". The London Gazette. 5 November 1901. p. 7138.
  3. ^ Who was Who 1916–1928, 1992 reprint: ISBN 0-7136-3143-0

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Birkbeck
Sir Edmund Lacon
Member of Parliament for North Norfolk
Succeeded by
William Brampton Gurdon
Legal offices
Preceded by
Richard Collins
Master of the Rolls
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Swinfen Eady
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Cozens-Hardy
Succeeded by
William Hepburn Cozens-Hardy