John Inglis, Lord Glencorse

For other people named John Inglis, see John Inglis (disambiguation).
Lord President Inglis
Bust of John Inglis, Lord Glencorse, by Charles McBride, 1893, Old College, University of Edinburgh
Lord Glencorse's vault, New Calton Cemetery

Rt Hon John Inglis, Lord Glencorse FRSE DCL LLD (1810 – 1891) was a Scottish politician and judge. He was Lord President of the Court of Session (1867–1891).[1]


The youngest son of Rev John Inglis DD (1761–1834), minister of Old Greyfriars Kirk,[2] and his wife, Maria Moxham Passmore, Inglis was born on 21 August 1810 at 43 George Square[3] in Edinburgh. He attended the High School in Edinburgh. He then studied Law at the University of Glasgow from whence he went to Balliol College, Oxford. He graduated BA in 1834 and MA in 1836.

He was admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1835, and in 1852 he was made Solicitor General for Scotland in Lord Derby's first ministry, three months later becoming Lord Advocate, a post he held from May to December of that year. In the summer of 1857, he famously served as counsel for Madeleine Smith, a Glasgow socialite who was the defendant in a sensational murder trial.[4] Smith was freed with a verdict of "not proven".

In March 1858 he resumed this office in Lord Derby's second administration, being returned to the House of Commons as member for Stamford. Again his tenure was brief, leaving office in July 1858. He was responsible for the Universities (Scotland) Act 1858, and in the same year he was elevated to the bench as Lord Justice Clerk, with the judicial title Lord Glencorse. In 1867 he was made Lord Justice General of Scotland and Lord President of the Court of Session. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1859, and awarded a Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) by the University of Oxford in 1859.

Outside his judicial duties he was responsible for much useful public work, particularly in the department of higher education. In 1869 he was elected Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh against Gladstone, having already been Rector of the University of Aberdeen in 1857–1860 and Rector of the University of Glasgow in 1865.

He was President of Scottish Texts Society and published Historical Study of Law 1863.

He died at Loganbank, a villa in Glencorse[5] south of Edinburgh on 20 August 1891, the day before his 81st birthday.[1] He is buried in his family vault in New Calton Cemetery.


In 1842 he was married to Isabella Mary Wood (1820–1855), daughter of Alexander Wood, Lord Wood FRSE (1788–1864),[6] a law lord and one of his senior colleagues. She bore him a son, John David Inglis (1843–1861) and another, Harry Herbert Inglis WS (1848–1907).


A bust of Lord Glencorse, sculpted by Charles McBride, is held by Edinburgh University.[7]

Notable cases


  1. 1 2 3 John Inglis Lord Glencorse. University of Glasgow (see "summary" for birth/death dates)
  2. Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002: Biographical Index (PDF). I. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  3. Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1809–10
  4. James Crabb Watt, John Inglis, Lord Justice-General of Scotland: A Memoir (1893), p. 333.
  5. BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF FORMER FELLOWS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  6. BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF FORMER FELLOWS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Frederic Thesiger
Lord Robert Cecil
Member of Parliament for Stamford
March 1858 – July 1858
With: Lord Robert Cecil
Succeeded by
Lord Robert Cecil
Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt.
Legal offices
Preceded by
George Deas
Solicitor General for Scotland
Succeeded by
Charles Neaves
Preceded by
Adam Anderson
Lord Advocate
May–December 1852
Succeeded by
James Moncreiff
Preceded by
James Moncreiff
Lord Advocate
March–July 1858
Succeeded by
Charles Baillie
Preceded by
John Hope
Lord Justice Clerk
Succeeded by
Lord Glenalmond
Preceded by
Lord Colonsay
Lord Justice General
Succeeded by
Lord Robertson
Academic offices
Preceded by
Rector of King's College, Aberdeen
1857 – ?
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Viscount Palmerston
Rector of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
Earl of Derby
Preceded by
Baron Brougham and Vaux
Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
Arthur Balfour
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