Chief Baron of the Exchequer

The Chief Baron of the Exchequer was the first "baron" (i.e., judge) of the English Exchequer of Pleas. "In the absence of both the Treasurer of the Exchequer or First Lord of the Treasury, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it was he who presided in the equity court and answered the bar i.e. spoke for the court."[1] Practically speaking, he held the most important office of the Exchequer of Pleas.

The chief baron, along with the three puisne barons, sat as a court of common law, heard suits in the court of equity, and settled revenue disputes. A puisne baron was styled "Mr Baron X" and the chief baron as "Lord Chief Baron X".

From 1550 to 1579, there was a major distinction between the chief baron and the second, third and fourth puisne barons. The difference was in social status and education. All of the chief barons had been trained as lawyers in the inns of court. With the exception of Henry Bradshaw and Sir Clement Higham, both barristers-at-law, all of the chief barons who served Queen Elizabeth I, had attained the highest and most prestigious rank of a lawyer, serjeant-at-law.

In 1875, the Court of Exchequer became the Exchequer Division of the High Court. Following the death of the last chief baron in 1880, the division and that of Common Pleas were merged into the Queen's Bench Division.[2]

Chief Barons of the Exchequer

See also


  1. ^ Bryson, W., The equity side of the Exchequer; Its jurisdiction, administration, procedures, and records; York prize essay for 1973.
  2. ^ Lord Mackay of Clashfern (ed.) (2002) Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th ed. Vol.10 (Reissue), "Courts", 603 'Divisions of the High Court'
  3. ^ a b A Political Index to the Histories of Great Britain & Ireland; Or ..., Volume 2. p. 307.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Toone, Peter. The Chronological Historian. 1. p. 69.
  5. ^ a b c d Chapters in The Administrative History of Mediaeval England. 3. p. 46.
  6. ^ a b c d e Toone, Peter. The Chronological Historian. 1. p. 84.
  7. ^ Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.150, pedigree of Cary; See also biography of his son Sir Robert Cary in History of Parliament [1]
  8. ^ Foss, Edward (1905). The Judges of England. 4. London: Longman. pp. 303–4. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  9. ^ Roskell, J. S.; Woodger, L. S. (1993). Roskell, J. S.; Clark, C.; Rawcliffe, L., eds. COCKAYNE, Sir John (d.1438), of Ashbourne, Derbys. and Pooley, Warws. History of the Parliament, 1386–1421: Members. London: History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  10. ^ a b Toone, Peter. The Chronological Historian. 1. p. 90.
  11. ^ a b Toone, Peter. The Chronological Historian. 1. p. 101.
  12. ^ a b c Toone, Peter. The Chronological Historian. 1. p. 107.
  13. ^ Ball, F. E., The Judges in Ireland, 1221-1921, Volume 1, P 342

Further reading

  • Walker, David M., The Oxford Companion to Law, Appendix I, list of Chief Barons 1660-1880
  • Sainty (comp.), Sir John, The Judges of England, 1272-1990: a list of the judges of the Superior courts (Selden Society: Supplementary Series 1993, 10).
Baron Abinger

Baron Abinger, of Abinger in the County of Surrey and of the City of Norwich, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 12 January 1835 for the prominent lawyer and politician Sir James Scarlett, the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. Lord Abinger was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Baron. He represented Norwich and Horsham in the House of Commons. He was succeeded by his son, the third Baron. He was a lieutenant-general in the army and fought in the Crimean War. On the death of his son, the fourth Baron, the line of the eldest son of the first Baron failed. The late Baron was succeeded by his second cousin, the fifth Baron. He was the grandson of Hon. Peter Campbell Scarlett, third son of the first Baron. When he died the title passed to his younger brother, the sixth Baron, and then to another brother, the seventh Baron. As of 2016 the title is held by the latter's grandson, the ninth Baron, who succeeded his father in 2002.

The Hon. Sir James Yorke Scarlett, second son of the first Baron, was a general in the army and fought in the Crimean War. The Hon. Mary Elizabeth, daughter of the first Baron, was created Baroness Stratheden in 1836. She was the wife of John Campbell, 1st Baron Campbell.

Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland

The Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland was the head of the Exchequer of Ireland and a member of the Dublin Castle administration under the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in the Kingdom of Ireland. In early times the title was sometimes given as Chancellor of the Green Wax. The Chancellor was an MP in the Irish House of Commons.

The office was separate from the judicial role of Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer of Ireland, although in the early centuries the two offices were often held by the same person.

Although the Kingdom of Ireland merged with the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1801 under the Acts of Union 1800 to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Exchequer of Ireland did not merge with the Exchequer of Great Britain until 1817. The last separate Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland was William Vesey-FitzGerald.

Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer

The Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer was the senior judge who presided over the Court of Exchequer (Ireland). The Irish Exchequer was a mirror of the equivalent court in England and one of the four courts which sat in the building still called The Four Courts. The title Chief Baron was first used in 1309 for Walter de Islip. In the early centuries it was partly a political office, and as late as 1442 the Lord Treasurer of Ireland thought it necessary to recommend that the Chief Baron should always be a properly trained lawyer (which Michael Gryffin, the Chief Baron at the time, was not).

The last and probably greatest Chief Baron, The Rt Hon. Christopher Palles, continued to hold the title after the Court was merged into a new High Court of Justice in Ireland in 1878, until his retirement in 1916, when the office lapsed.

Clement Higham

Sir Clement Higham (or Heigham) (pre-1495 – 9 March 1571) of Barrow, Suffolk, was an English lawyer and politician. He was a Member of Parliament, Speaker of the House of Commons (1554–1555), Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer and a Privy Councillor to Queen Mary. He was also a barrister-at-law and a Reader and Governor of Lincoln's Inn in London.

Edward Ward (judge)

Sir Edward Ward (1638–1714) was an English lawyer and judge. He became chief baron of the exchequer, and is best known as the judge in the state trial for piracy of Captain Kidd.

James Dennis

James Dennis may refer to:

James Dennis, 1st Baron Tracton (1721–1782), lord chief baron of the Exchequer in Ireland

James L. Dennis (born 1936), American judge

James Dennis (athlete) (born 1976), American discus thrower

James Blatch Piggott Dennis (1815-1861), British paleontologist

John Fray

Sir John Fray (died 1461) was an English lawyer who was Chief Baron of the Exchequer and a Member of Parliament.He was elected Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire in 1419 and 1420.He served on a number of commissions before being appointed Common Serjeant of London from 1421 to 1422 and Recorder of London from 1422 to 1426. He then served as Baron of the Exchequer from 1426 to 1436 and Chief Baron of the Exchequer from 1436 to 1448.He had considerable experience of rivers and watermills. Fray had the commission for maintaining the navigation of the River Lea around the years 1430–1440. He owned watermills in Essex and interests in other property across the country. These included Cowley Hall in Hillingdon which adjoined the Frays River. The Frays River is a branch of the River Colne which may have been developed to feed watermills in the area. It is said that John Fray arranged for the cutting of a link from the Colne to a tributary rising in Harefield to increase the water volume. .He was knighted before March 1459.

He died in 1461 and was buried in the church of St. Bartholomew the Less, London. He was the second husband of Agnes Danvers, daughter of fellow MP John Danvers, and by her had 5 daughters. His eldest daughter Elizabeth married in turn Sir Thomas Waldegrave (1441–1500) and Sir William Saye (born 1454). His daughter Catherine (1437–1482) married Humphrey Stafford.

John Stowford

Sir John Stowford (c.1290 – c.1372) of Stowford, West Down in Devon, was Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1346. He is one of John Prince's Worthies of Devon.

John Wilde (jurist)

John Wilde (also known as John Wylde) (1590–1669) was an English lawyer and politician. As a serjeant-at-law he was referred to as Serjeant Wilde before he was appointed judge. He was a judge, chief baron of the exchequer, and member of the Council of State of the Commonwealth period.

Lawrence Tanfield

Sir Lawrence Tanfield (c. 1551 – 30 April 1625) was an English lawyer, politician and Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. He had a reputation for corruption, and the harshness which he and his wife showed to his tenants was remembered for centuries after their deaths.


Puisne (; from Old French puisné, modern puîné, "later born, younger" (and thence, "inferior") from Latin postea, "afterwards", and natus, "born") is a legal term of art used mainly in British English meaning "inferior in rank". The word puisne, in the anglicized spelling puny, has also become an adjective meaning "weak or undersized".The judges and barons of the common law courts at Westminster, other than those having a distinct title, were called puisne. By the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1877, a "puisne judge" is deemed a judge of the High Court other than the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice of England, the Master of the Rolls, the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and their successors respectively.Puisne courts existed as lower courts in the early stages in the judiciary in British North America, in particular Upper Canada and Lower Canada. The justices of the Supreme Court of Canada other than the Chief Justice are still referred to as puisne justices.

Richard Broke

Sir Richard Broke or Brooke (died 1529), was an English judge, who served as Chief Baron of the Exchequer.

Broke was fourth son of Thomas Broke of Leighton in Cheshire, and his wife, daughter, and heiress of John Parker of Copnall. His ancestors had been Brokes of Leighton since the twelfth century, and came of a common stock with the Brookes of Norton. On 11 July 1510 he obtained a royal exemption from becoming serjeant-at-law, an honour then conferred only on barristers of at least sixteen years practice at the bar. Perhaps he was deterred, as others had been, by the great expenses attending the promotion ; but he did not long avail himself of his privilege, he being one of the nine Serjeants appointed in the following November. He was double reader in his inn, the Middle Temple, in the autumn of 1510, and must have passed his first readership before 1502, at which date Dugdale's list of readers commences. In the spring of 1511, from undersheriff he became Recorder of London, an office he filled until 1520. Foss says he represented the city of London in the parliaments of 1511 and 1515, the returns of members to which parliaments are stated to be 'not found' in the House of Lords' Report. In the parliament of 1523 he was one of the triers of petitions. In June 1519 he appears as a junior justice of assize for the Norfolk circuit. He became a judge of the common pleas and knight in 1520, and chief baron of the exchequer on 24 January 1526, and continued in both offices till his death in May or June 1529.

As serjeant, and afterwards as judge, his name appears in many commissions for the home and Norfolk circuits. His will, dated 6 May 1529, was proved on 2 July 1529 by his widow, daughter of ___ Ledes, by whom he left three sons, Robert (afterwards of Nacton), William, and John, and four daughters, Bridget, Cicely, Elizabeth (married ___ Fouleshurst), and Margaret. Bridget had married George Fastolfe of Nacton, who died without issue in 1527, leaving his manors of Nacton, Cowhall, and Shullondhall, Suffolk, to her, with remainder to her father and his heirs, who thus became Brokes of Nacton. Margaret married William Whorwood, a prominent lawyer. Sir Richard left property in Norfolk, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex. A direct descendant, Robert Broke of Nacton, was created baronet in 1661, and died without male issue in 1693, when the estates passed to his nephew Robert, grandfather of Admiral Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke.

Robert Dundas of Arniston

Robert Dundas of Arniston (6 June 1758 – 17 June 1819) was a Scottish judge.

Dundas served as Solicitor General for Scotland between 1784 and 1789 and as Lord Advocate from 1789 to 1801. He sat as Member of Parliament for was M.P. for Edinburghshire from 1790 to 1801, and was Chief Baron of the Exchequer in Scotland from 1801 until his death in 1819.

Roger Manwood

Sir Roger Manwood (1525–1592) was an English jurist and Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer.

Stephen Rice

Stephen Rice may refer to:

Stephen Rice (footballer) (born 1984), Irish footballer

Stephen O. Rice (1907–1986), American electrical engineer

Stephen Rice (journalist) (born 1957), Australian journalist

Stephen Rice (judge) (1637–1715), chief baron of the exchequer in Ireland

Stephen E. Rice, a United States Tax Court judge

Thomas Bury

Thomas Bury may refer to:

Thomas Bury (cricketer) (1831-1918), an English cricketer

Thomas Bury (judge) (1655–1722), an English judge and Chief Baron of the Exchequer

Thomas Talbot Bury (1809–1877), a British architect and lithographer

Thomas Parker (judge)

Sir Thomas Parker, PC, KS (1695–1784) was an English barrister and judge, Privy Counsellor and Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer.

William O'Grady

William O'Grady (1801–1859) was an Anglican Archdeacon in Ireland in the middle of the nineteenth century.O'Grady was the ninth child (4th son) of Standish O'Grady, 1st Viscount Guillamore, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer for Ireland from 1805 until 1831. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He was Archdeacon of Kilmacduagh from 1857 until his death on 21 July 1859.

William de la Pole (Chief Baron of the Exchequer)

Sir William de la Pole (died 21 June 1366) was a wealthy wool merchant in Kingston upon Hull, England, a royal moneylender and, briefly, Chief Baron of the Exchequer.

He established the de la Pole family as one of the primary houses of England through his mercantile and financial success, as well as initiating the foundation of the Charterhouse monastery in Hull.

Law Officers
English Exchequer

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