William Henry Maule

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Sir William Henry Maule PC (25 April 1788 – 1858) was an English lawyer, member of parliament and judge.


Maule was born in Edmonton, Middlesex. His father, Henry, was a physician and his mother, Hannah née Rawson, a Quaker. He was educated at a private school then at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was senior wrangler and Smith's prize winner in 1810 and where he became a fellow in 1811.[1]

He initially remained in Cambridge, where he was a close friend of Charles Babbage, and worked as a mathematics tutor, including Edward Ryan[2] and Cresswell Cresswell[3] among his students. He was offered the post of professor of mathematics at the East India College but, in 1810, Maule had already entered Lincoln's Inn with the intention of practising law. He was called to the bar in 1814 and began practice in commercial law, especially marine insurance, at 3 Essex Court. Maule was appointed King's Council in 1833 and in 1835 became counsel to the Bank of England, succeeding Sir James Scarlett.[2]

His retention by the bank did not prevent him from acting for Nicholas Aylward Vigors who faced an election petition over his County Carlow by-election victory in February 1837. Maule's success established his reputation in the region and he himself was elected for Carlow Borough in the United Kingdom general election, 1837 of August.[2]

Maule was knighted and appointed a Baron of the Court of the Exchequer in 1839, transferring to the Court of Common Pleas later that year. He was a practical and knowledgeable judge with a fine judicial sense of humour (witness his pointed opinion in a case of wife selling). Maule was the only judge to dissent (in part) on the ruling in M'Naghten's Case (insanity).[4] Maule retired from the bench because of poor health in 1855 but became a Privy Councillor.[2] Maule never married, sharing a house with his widowed sister, Emma Maria Leathley, and unmarried niece, Emma Leathley. He died at home in London.[2]


  1. ^ "Maule, William Henry (ML805WH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ a b c d e FitzGerald (2004)
  3. ^ Getzler, J. S. (2004) "Cresswell, Sir Cresswell (1793–1863)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, accessed 12 August 2007 (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  4. ^ [1].


  • Obituaries:
    • Law Magazine, new ser., 5 (1858), 1–34
    • Solicitors' Journal, 2 (1857–8), 236
    • Law Times (23 Jan 1858), 247–8

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