John Coleridge, 1st Baron Coleridge

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The Lord Coleridge

The Lord Coleridge
Lord Coleridge by Eden Upton Eddis
2nd Lord Chief Justice of England
In office
29 November 1880 – 14 June 1894
Preceded bySir Alexander Cockburn, Bt
Succeeded byThe Lord Russell of Killowen
Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
In office
November 1873 – 20 November 1880
Preceded bySir William Bovill
Succeeded byHimself
as Lord Chief Justice of England
Attorney General for England
In office
10 November 1871 – 20 November 1873
Prime MinisterWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Preceded byRobert Collier
Succeeded byHenry James
Solicitor General for England
In office
12 December 1868 – 10 November 1871
Prime MinisterWilliam Ewart Gladstone
Preceded bySir Richard Baggallay
Succeeded bySir George Jessel
Personal details
John Duke Coleridge

3 December 1820
Ottery St Mary, Devon
United Kingdom
Died14 June 1894(1894-06-14) (aged 73)
Westminster, London
United Kingdom
NationalityUnited Kingdom
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Jane Fortescue Seymour
Amy Augusta Jackson Lawford (1885–1894)
RelationsJohn Taylor Coleridge (Father)
ChildrenBernard Coleridge
Stephen Coleridge
1 Other Son
1 Daughter
Alma materEton College
Balliol College, Oxford
OccupationBarrister, Politician

John Duke Coleridge, 1st Baron Coleridge, Kt PC (3 December 1820 – 14 June 1894) was an English lawyer, judge and Liberal politician. He held the posts, in turn, of Solicitor General for England and Wales, Attorney General for England and Wales, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and Lord Chief Justice of England.

Background and education[edit]

Coleridge was the eldest son of John Taylor Coleridge, and the great-nephew of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, and was called to the bar in 1846.

Coleridge was a member of the Canterbury Association from 24 June 1851.[1]

Legal career[edit]

Coleridge established a successful legal practice on the western circuit. From 1853 to 1854 he held the post of secretary to the Royal Commission on the City of London.[2] In 1865 he was elected to the House of Commons for Exeter for the Liberal Party. He made a favourable impression on the leaders of his party and when the Liberals came to office in 1868 under William Ewart Gladstone, Coleridge was appointed Solicitor-General. In 1871 he was promoted to Attorney-General, a post he held until 1873. In 1871 he was also involved in the high-publicity Tichborne Case.

In November 1873 Coleridge succeeded Sir William Bovill as Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and in January the following year was raised to the peerage as Baron Coleridge, of Ottery St Mary in the County of Devon. In 1880 he was made Lord Chief Justice of England on the death of Sir Alexander Cockburn. Despite his health failing towards the end of his life he remained in this office until his death. In 1873 he was described by the Manchester-based Women's Suffrage Journal as a "firm and consistent" supporter of women's suffrage.[3]


Lord Coleridge married Jane Fortescue Seymour, daughter of the Reverend George Seymour of Freshwater, Isle of Wight, herself an accomplished artist who notably painted John Henry Newman. They had three sons and a daughter. His first wife died in February 1878. He remained a widower until 1885 when he married Amy Augusta Jackson Lawford, who survived him. Lord Coleridge died in June 1894, aged 74, and was succeeded by his eldest son Bernard John Seymour, who later became a Judge of the High Court of Justice. His second son Stephen also became a barrister. His daughter Mildred eloped with the lawyer Charles Warren Adams, to whom she was married in 1885. This led to two celebrated libel actions won by Adams while Coleridge was serving as lord chief justice.[4]

Leading cases and judgements[edit]


Coat of arms of John Coleridge, 1st Baron Coleridge
Coronet of a British Baron.svg
Coleridge Escutcheon.png
A crucifix Or rising from an otter as in the arms.
Argent on a mount Vert in base an otter Proper; a chief Gules charged with a dove of the field between two crosses patée fitchée Or.
Dexter an otter Proper, gorged with a garland of roses Gules leaved Vert, sinister a lion sable gorged as the former. [5]


  1. ^ Blain, Rev. Michael (2007). The Canterbury Association (1848-1852): A Study of Its Members' Connection (PDF). Christchurch: Project Canterbury. pp. 22–23. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  2. ^ "List of commissions and officials: 1850–1859 (nos. 53–94)". Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 9. 1984. Retrieved 10 March 2008.
  3. ^ "Election Intelligence". Women's Suffrage Journal. 1 December 1873. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  4. ^ ODNB entry on Coleridge, John Duke, first Baron Coleridge by David Pugsley. Retrieved 16 December 2012. Pay-walled.
  5. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 1878.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Sommers Gard
Viscount Courtenay
Member of Parliament for Exeter
With: Viscount Courtenay 1865–1868
Edgar Alfred Bowring 1868–1873
Succeeded by
Edgar Alfred Bowring
Arthur Mills
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Richard Baggallay
Solicitor General
Succeeded by
Sir George Jessel
Preceded by
Sir Robert Collier
Attorney General
Succeeded by
Sir Henry James
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir William Bovill
Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
Succeeded by
(office abolished)
Preceded by
Sir Alexander Cockburn
Lord Chief Justice of England
Succeeded by
Lord Russell of Killowen
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Coleridge
Succeeded by
Bernard John Seymour Coleridge