Denis Henry

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Sir Denis Henry
1st Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
In office
MonarchGeorge V
Preceded bynew office
Succeeded bySir William Moore, Bt
Attorney-General for Ireland
In office
MonarchGeorge V
Preceded byArthur Warren Samuels
Succeeded byThomas Watters Brown
Solicitor-General for Ireland
In office
MonarchGeorge V
Preceded byJohn Blake Powell
Succeeded byDaniel Martin Wilson
Member of Parliament
In office
Preceded byJohn Gordon
Succeeded byRobert Chichester
ConstituencySouth Londonderry
Personal details
Born(1864-03-07)7 March 1864
Cahore, Draperstown, County Londonderry, Ireland
Died1 October 1925(1925-10-01) (aged 61)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
CitizenshipBritish citizenship
Political partyUlster Unionist Party
SpouseViolet Holmes
Alma materQueen's College, Belfast

Sir Denis Stanislaus Henry, 1st Baronet, KBE, KC (7 March 1864 – 1 October 1925), was an Irish lawyer and politician who became the first Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland.

Henry was born in Cahore, Draperstown, County Londonderry, the son of a prosperous Roman Catholic businessman. He was educated at Marist College, Dundalk, Mount St Mary's College, Spinkhill, North East Derbyshire (a Jesuit foundation) and Queen's College, Belfast, where he won every law scholarship available to a student in addition to many other prizes and exhibitions. In 1885, he was called to the Bar of Ireland.

During the general election campaign of 1895, Henry spoke in support of unionist candidates in two constituencies: Thomas Lea in South Londonderry, Henry's native constituency, and E. T. Herdman in East Donegal.

Henry's legal career flourished – he became Queen's Counsel in 1896 (which became King's Counsel on 21 January 1901 when Queen Victoria died), a Bencher of the King's Inns in 1898 and ultimately Father of the North-West Circuit – but his interest in politics did not diminish. In March 1905, he was a delegate at the inaugural meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council and in the North Tyrone by-election in 1907, he was the Unionist candidate, which he lost by a mere seven votes.

On 23 May 1916, he was elected as an MP in the South Londonderry by-election, the first by-election to be held in Ireland after the Easter Rising. The rebellion had had no discernible impact on the contest.

In November 1918, he became Solicitor-General for Ireland and in July 1919, Attorney General for Ireland. He later served as the first Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland from 1921 to 1925. In 1923, he became a Baronet, of Cahore in the County of Londonderry.

He married Violet Holmes, daughter of Hugh Holmes, a judge of the Court of Appeal in Ireland, and Olivia Moule of Elmley Lovett, Worcestershire. They had five children, including James Holmes Henry, who succeeded as second baronet. It was a mixed marriage as Violet was a staunch member of the Church of Ireland. Despite their religious difference, the marriage is said to have been happy.

He died in 1925, aged 61, and was buried near his native Draperstown.


External links[edit]

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Sir Denis Henry
  • "Henry, The Right Hon. Denis Stanislaus" . Thom's Irish Who's Who . Dublin: Alexander Thom and Son Ltd. 1923. p. 109  – via Wikisource.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for South Londonderry
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by Solicitor-General for Ireland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Attorney-General for Ireland
Succeeded by
New office Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Cahore)
Succeeded by
James Holmes Henry