William Wood, 1st Baron Hatherley

The Right Honourable
The Lord Hatherley
Lord Chancellor
In office
9 December 1868  15 October 1872
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by The Lord Cairns
Succeeded by The Lord Selborne
Personal details
Born 29 November 1801 (1801-11-29)
Died 10 July 1881 (1881-07-11) (aged 79)
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Charlotte Moor (d. 1878)
Alma mater University of Geneva
Trinity College, Cambridge
Lord Hatherley as Lord Chancellor, by George Richmond.
William Wood caricatured by "Ape" in Vanity Fair, 1869

William Page Wood, 1st Baron Hatherley, PC, QC (29 November 1801 – 10 July 1881) was a British lawyer and statesman who served as a Liberal Lord Chancellor between 1868 and 1872 in William Ewart Gladstone's first ministry.

Background and education

Wood was born in London, the second son of Sir Matthew Wood, 1st Baronet,[1] a London alderman and Lord Mayor who became famous for befriending Queen Caroline and braving George IV. Sir Evelyn Wood and Katharine O'Shea were his nephew and niece respectively. He was educated at Winchester, from which he was expelled after a revolt against the headmaster, Woodbridge School, Geneva University, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow after being 24th wrangler in 1824.[2]

Wood entered Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the Bar in 1824, studying conveyancing in John Tyrrell's chambers. He soon obtained a good practice as an equity draughtsman and before parliamentary committees. In 1845 he became a Queen's Counsel, and in 1847 was elected to parliament for the city of Oxford as a Liberal. In 1849 he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster, and in 1851 was made Solicitor General for England and Wales and knighted,[3] vacating the former position in 1852. When his party returned to power in 1853, he was raised to the bench as a Vice-Chancellor.

In 1868 he was made a Lord Justice of Appeal, but before the end of the year was selected by Gladstone to be Lord Chancellor and was raised to the peerage as Baron Hatherley, of Down Hatherley in the County of Gloucester.[4] He retired in 1872 owing to failing eyesight, but sat occasionally as a law lord.


Wood married Charlotte, daughter of Edward Moor, in 1830. They had no children. Charlotte's death in 1878 was a great blow to Wood, from which he never recovered, and he died in London on 10 July 1881, aged 79. Both are buried in the churchyard in Great Bealings, where Charlotte's brother was rector. The title became extinct on his death.

See also


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Donald Maclean
James Haughton Langston
Member of Parliament for Oxford
With: James Haughton Langston
Succeeded by
James Haughton Langston
Edward Cardwell
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir Alexander Cockburn, Bt
Solicitor General
Succeeded by
Sir Fitzroy Kelly
Preceded by
Sir John Stuart
Vice-Chancellor of the High Court
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Malins
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Cairns
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
The Lord Selborne
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Hatherley
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