John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale

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The Lord Redesdale

Sir John Freeman-Mitford by Thomas Lawrence.jpg
Sir John Mitford by Sir Thomas Lawrence
Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom
In office
11 February 1801 – 9 February 1802
MonarchGeorge III
Preceded byHenry Addington
Succeeded byCharles Abbot
Lord High Chancellor of Ireland
In office
MonarchGeorge III
Prime Minister
Preceded byThe Earl of Clare
Succeeded byGeorge Ponsonby
Personal details
John Mitford

(1748-08-18)18 August 1748
London, England
Died16 January 1830(1830-01-16) (aged 81)
Batsford Park, Gloucestershire
Lady Frances Perceval
(m. 1803; died 1817)

John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale, PC, KC, FRS (18 August 1748 – 16 January 1830), known as Sir John Mitford between 1793 and 1802, was an English lawyer and politician. He was Speaker of the House of Commons between 1801 and 1802 and Lord Chancellor of Ireland between 1802 and 1806.


Born in London, Mitford was the younger son of John Mitford (d. 1761) of Exbury, Hampshire,[1] [2] and Philadelphia, daughter of Willey Reveley of Newton Underwood, Northumberland.[2] The historian William Mitford was his elder brother. He was educated at Cheam School and studied law at the Inner Temple from 1772, being called to the bar in 1777. [3]


Having become a barrister of the Inner Temple in 1777,[2] Mitford wrote A Treatise on the Pleadings in Suits in the Court of Chancery by English Bill, a work reprinted several times in England and America.[4] He was made a King's Counsel in 1789.[5]

In 1788, he became Member of Parliament for the borough of Bere Alston in Devon,[1][6] and in 1791 he successfully introduced a bill for the relief of Roman Catholics, despite being himself a committed Anglican.[4] In 1793 he succeeded Sir John Scott as Solicitor-General for England[7] (receiving the customary knighthood at the same time), becoming Attorney General six years later,[1] when he was returned to parliament as member for East Looe in Cornwall.[1][8]

In 1794, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[9]

In February 1801, Mitford was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons[1] and sworn of the Privy Council.[10] Exactly a year later, he was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland[11] and raised to the peerage as Baron Redesdale, of Redesdale in the County of Northumberland.[11] Being an outspoken opponent of Catholic Emancipation, Redesdale was unpopular in Ireland. He had little support from his own colleagues: he was the subject of scurrilous attacks by "Juverna", who was later discovered to be a senior judge, Robert Johnson, who was convicted of seditious libel and forced to resign from the Bench as a result. In February 1806, Redesdale was dismissed on the formation of the Ministry of All the Talents.[4]

Although Lord Redesdale declined to return to official life, he was an active member of the House of Lords on its political and its judicial sides. In 1813, he secured the passing of acts for the relief of insolvent debtors, and became an opponent of the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts and other popular measures of reform.[4]


Lord Redesdale married Lady Frances Perceval, daughter of John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont, and sister of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, in 1803.[1] He took the additional name of Freeman in 1809 by royal licence on succeeding to the estates of his relative Thomas Edwards Freeman ( the heir of a previous Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Richard Freeman.[12] Lady Redesdale died in August 1817.[1] Lord Redesdale survived her by thirteen years and died at Batsford Park, near Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Gloucestershire,[2] in January 1830, aged 81. He was succeeded in the barony by his only son, John, who was created Earl of Redesdale in 1877.[1]


Coat of arms of John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale
Coronet of a British Baron.svg
Redesdale Escutcheon.png
1st: two Hands couped at the wrist proper grasping a Sword erect piercing a Boar's Head erased Sable (Mitford); 2nd: a Demi Wolf Argent charged on the shoulder with a Fess dancetty Gules and holding between the paws a Lozenge Or (Freeman)
Quarterly: 1st and 4th, Argent a Fess between three Moles Sable (Mitford); 2nd and 3rd, Azure three Lozenges conjoined in fess Or a Canton Ermine (Freeman)
On either side an Eagle wings expanded Sable beaked and membered Or charged on the breast with a Lozenge also Or and gorged with a wreath of Shamrock Vert
God Careth For Us[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 3305. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  2. ^ a b c d Freeman-Mitford; John (1748–1830); 1st Baron Redesdale
  3. ^ "MITFORD, John (1748-1830), of Lincoln's Inn, London". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Greer, D. S. (2004). "Mitford, John Freeman-, first Baron Redesdale (1748–1830)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18857. Retrieved 20 March 2013. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ "No. 13115". The London Gazette. 18 July 1789. p. 501.
  6. ^ " House of Commons: Bedford to Berwick upon Tweed". Archived from the original on 15 October 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  7. ^ "No. 13502". The London Gazette. 12 February 1793. p. 127.
  8. ^ " House of Commons: Ealing to Elgin". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  9. ^ "Fellows Details". Royal Society. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  10. ^ "No. 15338". The London Gazette. 17 February 1801. p. 201.
  11. ^ a b "No. 15452". The London Gazette. 9 February 1802. p. 140.
  12. ^ "No. 16224". The London Gazette. 28 January 1809. p. 131.
  13. ^ Anon (n.d.). "Redesdale, Baron (UK, 1902)". Cracroft's Peerage. Retrieved 2 September 2018.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Viscount Feilding
Charles Rainsford
Member of Parliament for Bere Alston
with Viscount Feilding 1788–1790
Sir George Beaumont, Bt 1790–1796
William Mitford 1796–1799

Succeeded by
William Mitford
Lord Lovaine
Preceded by
William Frederick Buller
John Smith
Member of Parliament for East Looe
with William Frederick Buller

Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for East Looe
with William Frederick Buller

Succeeded by
William Frederick Buller
James Buller
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Scott
Chancellor of Durham
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Manners-Sutton
Solicitor General
Succeeded by
Sir William Grant
Attorney General
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Law
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Addington
Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Charles Abbot
Preceded by
The Earl of Clare
Lord High Chancellor of Ireland
Succeeded by
George Ponsonby
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Redesdale
Succeeded by
John Freeman-Mitford