Samuel Shepherd

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Sir Samuel Shepherd
Samuel Shepherd.jpg
Solicitor General for England and Wales
In office
December 1813 – 1817
Attorney General for England and Wales
In office
1817 – June 1819
Lord Chief Baron of the Scottish Court of Exchequer
In office
June 1819 – February 1830
Personal details
Born6 April 1760
Died3 November 1840(1840-11-03) (aged 80)
Alma materMerchant Taylors' School
ProfessionBarrister, judge, politician

Sir Samuel Shepherd KS PC FRSE (6 April 1760 – 3 November 1840) was a British barrister, judge and politician who served as Attorney General for England and Wales and Lord Chief Baron of the Scottish Court of Exchequer.

Early life and career[edit]

Shepherd was born on 6 April 1760 to Henry Shepherd, a London jeweller.[1] From 1773 to 1774 he was educated at Merchant Taylors' School and then at a different school in Chiswick, entering the Inner Temple in July 1776. After a pupillage under Charles Runnington he was called to the Bar on 23 November 1781. He soon joined the home circuit, a place where, along with the Court of Common Pleas, he had great success. From 1790 onwards he gradually became deaf, rejecting the honour of being made a King's Counsel in 1793 but accepting a promotion to Serjeant-at-Law in 1796, becoming a King's Serjeant the next year and, after the death of Serjeant Cockell, King's Ancient Serjeant. In 1812 he became Solicitor-General of the Duchy of Cornwall.[2]

He came to fame in 1810 in his defence of Francis Burdett in his dispute with the House of Commons.[3]

Political and judicial work[edit]

In December 1813, Shepherd was made Solicitor General for England and Wales, and returned to Parliament for Dorchester on 11 April 1814. He received a knighthood from the Prince Regent on 11 May 1814, and became Attorney General for England and Wales in 1817. Shepherd was an excellent and popular lawyer, who would have become far more successful if it was not for his deafness; he refused the offices of both Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, partly due to his deafness and partly because he refused to hold a judicial office that involved the trial of prisoners. In London his address was 38 Bloomsbury Square.[3]

In June 1819 he accepted the position of Lord Chief Baron of the Scottish Court of Exchequer, becoming a member of the Privy Council on 23 July, and as Lord Chief Baron advised Scottish judges on the application of English treason law to the participants of the Radical War. He moved to Edinburgh living at Newington House.[4]

In 1820 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Sir William Adam of Blair Adam, Henry Mackenzie and Thomas Charles Hope. He served as the Society's Vice President from 1823 to 1830.[5]

In February 1830 Shepherd was forced to retire due to ill health. He became totally blind in 1837. He died in a cottage at Streatley, Berkshire on 3 November 1840.[2]

Newington House stood on what is now Blacket Avenue and was demolished in 1966.[6]


On 1 January 1783, Shepherd married Miss Elizabeth White (d. 1833), daughter of John White of Hicks Hall in St Sepulchre in outer London, sister of John White the Attorney General of Canada.[3] Their son, Henry John Shepherd KC (d. 1866), was a legal author.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Sir Samuel Shepherd (1760-1840)".
  2. ^ a b "Oxford DNB article:Shepherd, Sir Samuel (subscription needed)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/25338. Retrieved 8 January 2010. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ a b c "SHEPHERD, Samuel (1760-1840), of 38 Bloomsbury Square, MDX. | History of Parliament Online".
  4. ^ Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1822
  5. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0-902-198-84-X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  6. ^ Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh by Gifford, McWilliam and Walker
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Dorchester
With: Robert Williams
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by Solicitor-General of the Duchy of Cornwall
Succeeded by
Preceded by Solicitor General
Succeeded by
Preceded by Attorney General
Succeeded by