John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale
|The Right Honourable
The Lord Redesdale
FRS KC PC
Lord Redesdale by Sir Martin Archer Shee
|Speaker of the House of Commons|
|Preceded by||Henry Addington|
|Succeeded by||Charles Abbot|
|Lord Chancellor of Ireland|
|Prime Minister||Henry Addington
Hon. William Pitt the Younger
|Preceded by||The Earl of Clare|
|Succeeded by||George Ponsonby|
|Born||18 August 1748
|Died||16 January 1830
Batsford Park, Gloucestershire
|Spouse(s)||Lady Frances Perceval
John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale PC, KC, FRS (18 August 1748 – 16 January 1830), known as Sir John Mitford between 1793 and 1802, was an English lawyer and politician. He was Speaker of the House of Commons between 1801 and 1802 and Lord Chancellor of Ireland between 1802 and 1806.
Born in London, Mitford was the younger son of John Mitford (d. 1761) of Exbury, Hampshire, and Philadelphia, daughter of Willey Reveley of Newton Underwood, Northumberland. The historian William Mitford was his brother.
Political and legal career
Having become a barrister of the Inner Temple in 1777, Mitford wrote A Treatise on the Pleadings in Suits in the Court of Chancery by English Bill, a work reprinted several times in England and America. He was made a King's Counsel in 1789. In 1788 he became Member of Parliament for the borough of Bere Alston in Devon, and in 1791 he successfully introduced a bill for the relief of Roman Catholics, despite being himself a committed Anglican. In 1793 he succeeded Sir John Scott as Solicitor-General for England (receiving the customary knighthood at the same time), becoming Attorney General six years later, when he was returned to parliament as member for East Looe in Cornwall.
In February 1801 Mitford was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons and sworn of the Privy Council. Exactly a year later, he was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland and raised to the peerage as Baron Redesdale, of Redesdale in the County of Northumberland. Being an outspoken opponent of Catholic Emancipation, Redesdale was unpopular in Ireland. In February 1806 he was dismissed on the formation of the Ministry of All the Talents.
Although Lord Redesdale declined to return to official life, he was an active member of the House of Lords on its political and its judicial sides. In 1813 he secured the passing of acts for the relief of insolvent debtors, and became an opponent of the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts and other popular measures of reform.
Lord Redesdale married Lady Frances, daughter of John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont and sister of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, in 1803. He took the additional name of Freeman in 1809 on succeeding to the estates of Thomas Edwards Freeman. Lady Redesdale died in August 1817. Lord Redesdale survived her by thirteen years and died at Batsford Park, near Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Gloucestershire, in January 1830, aged 81. He was succeeded in the barony by his only son, John, who was created Earl of Redesdale in 1877.
- thepeerage.com John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale
- royalsociety.org Freeman-Mitford; John (1748–1830); 1st Baron Redesdale
- Greer, D. S. (2004), "Mitford, John Freeman-, first Baron Redesdale (1748–1830)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.), Oxford University Press, retrieved 20 March 2013 (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- The London Gazette: . 18 July 1789.
- leighrayment.com House of Commons: Bedford to Berwick upon Tweed
- The London Gazette: . 12 February 1793.
- leighrayment.com House of Commons: Ealing to Elgin
- The London Gazette: . 17 February 1801.
- The London Gazette: . 9 February 1802.
- The London Gazette: . 28 January 1809.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.