John Mellor (judge)

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For other people named John Mellor, see John Mellor (disambiguation).
"Judges the Claimant"
Mellor as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, May 1873

Sir John Mellor (1 January 1809 – 26 April 1887) was an English judge and Member of Parliament.


Mellor was born in Hollinwood, Oldham and raised in Leicester, where his father was mayor and a Justice of the Peace.[1]

As a young man, his Unitarian beliefs prevented Mellor attending university. He entered law, becoming Queen's Counsel in 1833. Following failed attempts in 1852 (at Warwick) and 1857 (at Coventry) he was elected to Parliament to represent Great Yarmouth in 1857, and Nottingham in 1859. He was appointed to the Queen's Bench in 1861 and knighted in 1862.[1]

Mellor was one of the two judges at the special commission set up in Manchester in 1867 to try those accused of the murder of Police Sergeant Charles Brett.[1]

He was one of three judges at the 188-day long trial in 1873 of Arthur Orton, the Tichborne claimant. In his description of the case, James Beresford Atlay described him as 'second to none amongst the Common Law judges'.[2] Hamilton notes he 'often amused the jury with his dry humour'.[1]

Mellor retired in 1879 and was raised to the Privy Council. He died at his London house in 1887 and was buried at Kingsdown, Kent.[1]


Mellor and his wife Elizabeth (née Moseley) had eight sons.[1] Sir James Robert Mellor (1839–1926), the third son, was noted as a lawyer and polo player.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hamilton, J A; Sinéad Agnew (2004). "Mellor, Sir John (1809–1887)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18534. 
  2. ^ Atlay, James Beresford (1899). ""The trial at bar"". Famous trials of the century. London: Grant Richards. p. 355. 
  3. ^ "Mellor, James Robert (MLR859JR)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ Horace A. Laffaye (10 March 2015). The Polo Encyclopedia, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-4766-1956-9. 

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Torrens McCullagh
Edward Watkin
Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth
With: Adolphus William Young
Succeeded by
Sir Edmund Lacon, Bt
Sir Henry Stracey, Bt
Preceded by
John Walter
Charles Paget
Member of Parliament for Nottingham
With: Charles Paget
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Juckes Clifton, Bt
Charles Paget