John Copley, 1st Baron Lyndhurst

The Right Honourable
The Lord Lyndhurst
Lord Chancellor
In office
2 May 1827  24 November 1830
Monarch George IV
William IV
Prime Minister George Canning
The Viscount Goderich
The Duke of Wellington
Preceded by The Earl of Eldon
Succeeded by The Lord Brougham and Vaux
In office
21 November 1834  8 April 1835
Monarch William IV
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by The Lord Brougham and Vaux
Succeeded by The Lord Cottenham
In office
3 September 1841  27 June 1846
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by The Lord Cottenham
Succeeded by The Lord Cottenham
Personal details
Born 21 May 1772 (1772-05-21)
Boston, Massachusetts
British America
Died 21 October 1863(1863-10-21) (aged 91)
London, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Tory
Spouse(s) (1) Sarah Brunsden (d. 1834)
(2) Georgina Goldsmith
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

John Singleton Copley, 1st Baron Lyndhurst PC QS FRS (21 May 1772 – 12 October 1863), was a British lawyer and politician. He was three times Lord Chancellor of Great Britain.

Background and education

Lyndhurst was born at Boston, Massachusetts, the son of painter John Singleton Copley and his wife Susanna Farnham (née Clarke), and was educated at a private school and Trinity College, Cambridge[1] where he graduated as second wrangler.

Called to the bar at Lincolns Inn in 1804, he gained a considerable practice. He was appointed a serjeant-at-law on 6 July 1813. In 1817 he was one of the counsel for Dr J. Watson, tried for his share in the Spa Fields riots. Lyndhurst's performance attracted the attention of Lord Castlereagh and other Tory leaders, and he entered parliament as member for Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight. He afterwards sat for Ashburton (1818–1826) and for Cambridge University (1826–1827).

In December 1818, Copley was made King's Serjeant and Chief Justice of Chester. He became Solicitor General on 24 July 1819 and was knighted in October, became Attorney General in 1824, Master of the Rolls in 1826 and Lord Chancellor in 1827. On his appointment to the latter post he was raised to the peerage as Baron Lyndhurst, of Lyndhurst in the County of Southampton.[2] As solicitor-general he took a prominent part in the trial of Queen Caroline and was opposed to the Liberal measures which marked the end of the reign of George IV and the beginning of that of William IV. He was Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer from 1831 to 1834. During the Melbourne government from 1835 to 1841 he figured conspicuously as an obstructionist in the House of Lords. His former adversary Lord Brougham, disgusted at his treatment by the Whig leaders, soon became his most powerful ally in opposition. Lyndhurst held the chancellorship from 1827–1830, 1834–1835, and 1841–1846. As he was in regard to Catholic emancipation, so in the agitation against the Corn Laws, he opposed reform until Peel, his chief, gave the signal for concession.

John Copley, 1st Baron Lyndhurst in the late 1850s.

After 1846 and the disintegration of the Tory party over Peel's adoption of free trade, Lord Lyndhurst did not attend parliament sessions as often, but he continued to take a lively interest in public affairs and to make speeches. His address to the House of Lords on 19 June 1854, on the war with Russia, made a sensation in Europe, and throughout the Crimean War he was a strong advocate of the energetic prosecution of hostilities. In 1859 he denounced Napoleon III. His last speech was delivered in the House of Lords at the age of eighty-nine.


In 1819 Lord Lyndhurst married Sarah, a daughter of Charles Brunsden and widow of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Thomas, who was killed at Waterloo. She died in 1834, and three years later, in August 1837, he married secondly Georgiana Goldsmith (1807–1901), daughter of writer Lewis Goldsmith, of Paris. They had one daughter, Georgiana Susan Copley, who married Sir Charles Du Cane, Governor of Tasmania.[3]

Since his second wife came from a family of Jewish origins, it may be her influence which led Lyndhurst to support the Jewish Emancipation of 1858, when the law which had restricted the Parliamentary oath of office to Christians was changed, leading to the admission of Jews into parliament. Lyndhurst also advocated women's rights in questions of divorce.

He died in London on 12 October 1863; as he left no son, his peerage became extinct. Lady Lyndhurst died in London 22 December 1901, aged 94.[3]


  1. "Copley, John Singleton (CPLY790JS)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 18355. p. 914. 24 April 1827.
  3. 1 2 "Obituary – Lady Lyndhurst". The Times (36645). London. 23 December 1901. p. 7.

Further reading

Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Singleton Copley, Baron Lyndhurst.
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
John Copley, 1st Baron Lyndhurst
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alexander Maconochie
John Leslie Foster
Member of Parliament for Yarmouth (Isle of Wight)
March 1818–June 1818
With: John Leslie Foster
Succeeded by
John Taylor
William Mount
Preceded by
Richard Preston
John Sullivan
Member of Parliament for Ashburton
With: Sir Lawrence Palk
Succeeded by
William Sturges Bourne
Sir Lawrence Palk
Preceded by
William John Bankes
The Viscount Palmerston
Member of Parliament for Cambridge University
With: The Viscount Palmerston
Succeeded by
Sir Nicholas Conyngham Tindal
The Viscount Palmerston
Legal offices
Preceded by
William Draper Best
Chief Justice of Chester
Succeeded by
Charles Warren
Preceded by
Sir Robert Gifford
Solicitor General
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Wetherell
Attorney General
Preceded by
The Lord Gifford
Master of the Rolls
Succeeded by
Sir John Leach
Preceded by
Sir William Alexander
Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Sir James Scarlett
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Eldon
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
The Lord Brougham and Vaux
Preceded by
The Lord Brougham and Vaux
Lord Chancellor
In commission
Title next held by
The Lord Cottenham
Preceded by
The Lord Cottenham
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
The Lord Cottenham
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Lyndhurst

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/9/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.