Sir Joseph Napier, 1st Baronet

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For the American USCGC station keeper, see Joseph Napier (USCG).

Sir Joseph Napier, 1st Baronet (26 December 1804 – 9 December 1882) was an Irish Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom Parliament and subsequently Lord Chancellor of Ireland.


He was the son of William Napier and Rosetta MacNaghten and was born in Belfast, Ireland. He attended the Belfast Academical Institution and Trinity College, Dublin, before being called to the Irish Bar in 1831. He became a Queen's Counsel (QC) in 1844.[1]

He was MP for Dublin University from 1848 to 1858, after failing to be elected in 1847. He became Attorney General for Ireland from March to December 1852. He was also made a member of the Privy Council of Ireland 1852. He received a Doctorate of Civil Law in 1853.[1]

Napier left the House of Commons when he was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1858, an office he held until 1859. He was created a Baronet in 1867[2] and appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1868, which entitled him to sit on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. His publications include educational and legal works.[1]

In 1880 he retired to St Leonards-on-Sea in Sussex and died there on 9 December 1882. He was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin with a tablet to his memory placed in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.


He married Charity (Cherry) Grace on 20 August 1831 and had 2 sons: William John Napier and Sir Joseph Napier, 2nd Baronet, and 3 daughters: Grace, Rosetta and Cherry. Lady Napier died 4 March 1901.[3]

One of his sisters, Rosetta Napier, married James Whiteside, Attorney General for Ireland, and another sister, Mary Napier, married Echlin Molyneux who later became a Professor of English Law at Queen's University Belfast.


  1. ^ a b c "Joseph Napier". Dictionary of Ulster Biography. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 23238. p. 2183. 9 April 1867.
  3. ^ "Deaths". The Times (36395). London. 6 March 1901. p. 1. 


  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Vol. I 1832-1885, edited by Michael Stenton (The Harvester Press 1976)
  • Andrew Shields, The Irish Conservative Party, 1852-1868: Land, Politics and Religion (Dublin, 2007)
  • Authorized Report of the Proceedings of the Church Congress held at York, 1866. with speech from Napier
  • Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A. 2003
  • Copy of confirmation of arms to the descendants of Joseph Napier of St. Andrews, Co. Down and to his grandson, the Rt. Hon. Joseph Napier, M.P., Lord Chancellor of Ireland, son of William Napier of St. Andrews, 16 March 1867. Dublin: National Library of Ireland, Genealogical Office: Ms. 109, pp. 143–4
  • Our portrait gallery - No. LXIX: The Rt. Hon. Joseph Napier, M. P. (With etching). The Dublin University magazine: a literary and political journal, Vol. XLI, pp. 300–314, March, 1853. National Library of Ireland.
  •  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1894). "Napier, Joseph". Dictionary of National Biography. 40. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 65–68. 
  • Ewald, Alexander Charles. The Life of Sir Joseph Napier, Bart., ex Lord Chancellor of Ireland: from his private correspondence. Longmans, Green. London, 492pp. 1887 [1]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Frederick Shaw, Bt
George Alexander Hamilton
Member of Parliament for Dublin University
With: George Alexander Hamilton
Succeeded by
Anthony Lefroy
George Alexander Hamilton
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Hatchell
Attorney-General for Ireland
Succeeded by
Abraham Brewster
Political offices
Preceded by
Maziere Brady
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
Succeeded by
Maziere Brady
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Merrion Square)
Succeeded by
Joseph Napier