1st Baron Kenyon (1788-1802)
Lord Chief-Justice of England
Born 1732 Died 1802
Lloyd Kenyon was descended by his father's side from an old Lancashire family; his mother was the daughter of a small proprietor in Wales. He was born at Gredington, Flintshire, the 5th of October 1732. Educated at Ruthin grammar school, he was in his fifteenth year articled to an attorney at Nantwich, Cheshire. In 1750 he entered at Lincoln's Inn, London, and In 1756 was called to the bar. As for several years was almost unemployed, he utilized his leisure in taking notes of the cases argued in the court of King's Bench, which he afterwards published.
Through answering the cases of his friend John Dunning, afterwards Lord Ashburton, he gradually became known to the attorneys, after which his success was so rapid that 1780 he was made king's counsel. He showed conspicuous ability in the cross-examination of the witnesses at the trial of George Gordon, but his speech was so tactless that the diet of acquittal was really due to the brilliant effort of Erskine, the junior counsel. This want of tact, indeed, often betrayed Kenyon into striking blunders; as an advocate he was, moreover, deficient in ability of statement; and his position was achieved chiefly by hard work, a good knowledge of law and several lucky friendships.
Through the influence of Lord Thurlow, Kenyon in 1780 entered the House of Commons as member for Hindon, and in 1782 he was, through the same friendship, appointed attorney-general in Lord Buckingham's administration, an office which he continued to hold under Pitt. In 1784 he received the mastership of the rolls, and was created a baronet. In 1788 he was appointed lord chief justice as successor to Lord Mansfield, and the same year was raised to the peerage as Baron Kenyon of Gredington. As he had made many enemies, his elevation was by no means popular with the bar; but on the bench, in spite of his capricious and choleric temper, he proved himself not only an able lawyer, but a judge of rare and inflexible impartiality.
He died at Bath, on the 4th of April 1802. Kenyon was succeeded as 2nd baron by his son George (1776-1855), whose great-grandson, Lloyd (b. 1864), became the 4th baron in 1869.
See Life by Hon. G. T. Kenyon, 1873.
Being the entry for KENYON, LLOYD KENYON, 1ST BARON in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.