Maziere Brady

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Sir Maziere Brady, 1st Baronet PC (20 July 1796 – 13 April 1871) was an Irish judge, notable for his exceptionally long, though not particularly distinguished tenure as Lord Chancellor of Ireland.[1]


Brady was born in Dublin, the second son of Francis Brady of Booterstown and his wife, Charlotte Hodgson of Castledawson, County Londonderry.[2] He was the brother of Sir Nicholas Brady, Lord Mayor of Dublin, and uncle of the eminent ecclesiastical historian William Maziere Brady.

The Bradys were an old and distinguished Munster family who were particularly associated with the town of Bandon, County Cork. Probably the most celebrated of his ancestors was the poet Nicholas Brady (1659-1726), who collaborated with Nahum Tate, the Poet Laureate, on New Version of the Psalms of David.[3]

Other notable forebears include Hugh Brady, the first Protestant Bishop of Meath (died 1584), and the judge and author Luke Gernon (died c.1672), who is now best remembered for his work A Discourse of Ireland (1620), which gives a detailed and (from the English colonial point of view) not unsympathetic picture of the state of the country in 1620.[4]


He was educated at the University of Dublin, and took his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1816. He entered the Middle Temple in 1816, was called to the Bar in 1819 and became King's Counsel in 1835.[5]

Legal and Judicial career[edit]

In politics he was a Liberal and supported Catholic Emancipation.[6] He sat on a commission of inquiry into Irish municipal corporations in 1833. He was appointed Solicitor-General for Ireland in 1837 and Attorney-General for Ireland the following year. In 1840 he was appointed Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer in Ireland. In 1846 he was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland and served in that office, with short intervals for the next 20 years.[7] He retired in 1866 and was made a baronet, of Hazelbrook in the County of Dublin, in 1869.[8] His appointment ended the practice which grew up after the Act of Union 1800 of appointing only English lawyers as Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He sat on the Government Commission on Trinity College Dublin in 1851, and was nominated as Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast in 1850.[9]


According to Elrington Ball, Brady's Lord Chancellorship was notable for its length but for nothing else. Ball called him "a good Chief Baron spoiled to make a bad Chancellor".[10] By general agreement he had been an excellent Chief Baron of the Exchequer, but, in Ball's view the more onerous and largely political office of Chancellor was beyond his capacity. Unlike some judges whose training had been in the common law, he never quite mastered the separate code of equity.[11] Delaney takes a somewhat more favourable view of Brady as a judge, arguing that while his judgements do not show any great depth of learning they do show an ability to identify what he saw as the central issue of any case and to apply the correct legal principle.[12]

An anonymous pamphlet from 1850, which was highly critical of the Irish judiciary in general, described Brady as being unable to keep order in his Court, and easily intimidated by counsel, especially by that formidable trio of future judges, Jonathan Christian, Francis Alexander FitzGerald, and Abraham Brewster. The author painted an unflattering picture of Brady as sitting "baffled and bewildered" in a Court where he was "a judge but not an authority".[13] On the other hand, Jonathan Christian, who had often clashed with Brady in Court, later praised him as "no ordinary man" despite his shortcomings as a judge: Christian described him as "independent-minded, patriotic, natural and unaffected".[14]

Family and personal life[edit]

He was a founder member of the Stephen's Green Club and a member of the Royal Dublin Society and the Royal Irish Academy. LIke most judges of the time he had both a town house in central Dublin and a place some way out of the city centre. His country house was Hazelbrook, Terenure, Dublin; he changed his town house several times, settling finally in Pembroke Street, where he died in 1871.[15] He is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery.[16]

Brady married Elizabeth Buchanan in 1823 and they had five children:[17]

  • Sir Francis William Brady, 2nd Baronet (1824-1909), who succeeded to the title, followed his father to the Bar and later became a County Court judge
  • Maziere
  • Eleanor
  • Charlotte
  • Elizabeth-Anne

Remarriage and death[edit]

Elizabeth Buchanan Brady died in 1858. In 1860, Brady remarried Mary Hatchell, who survived him.[18]


  1. ^ Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 London John Murray 1926 Vol.II p.282
  2. ^ Ball p.352
  3. ^ O'Hart, John Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition 1892
  4. ^ O'Hart Irish Pedigrees
  5. ^ Ball p.352
  6. ^ Ball p.352
  7. ^ Ball p.352
  8. ^ Ball p.352
  9. ^ Ball p,352
  10. ^ Ball p.320
  11. ^ Ball p. 282
  12. ^ Delaney, V.T.H. Christopher Palles Alan Figgis and Co. Dublin 1960, p. 29
  13. ^ The Voice of the Bar, Issue 1 "The Reign of Mediocrity" Dublin 1850
  14. ^ Ball, p. 310
  15. ^ Ball, p. 352
  16. ^ Ball p. 352
  17. ^ Ball, p. 352
  18. ^ Ball p. 352
Legal offices
Preceded by
Stephen Woulfe
Solicitor-General for Ireland
Succeeded by
David Richard Pigot
Preceded by
Nicholas Ball
Attorney-General for Ireland
Succeeded by
David Richard Pigot
Preceded by
Stephen Woulfe
Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer
Succeeded by
David Richard Pigot
Preceded by
Sir Edward Sugden
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
Succeeded by
Francis Blackburne
Preceded by
Francis Blackburne
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
Succeeded by
Sir Joseph Napier
Preceded by
Sir Joseph Napier
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
Succeeded by
Francis Blackburne
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Hazelbrook)
Succeeded by
Francis William Brady