Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman

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Lord Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman of Dovedale

Birthplace: Queen Street, Golden Square, London, England
Death: September 22, 1854 (75)
Stoke Albany, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Stoke Albany, Kettering Borough, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Dr. Thomas Denman and Elizabeth Denman
Husband of Lady Theodosia Anne Denman
Father of Thomas Aitchison-Denman, 2nd Baron Denman; Theodosia Wright; Rear Admiral Joseph Denman; Frances Baynes; Hon. Richard Denman and 6 others
Brother of Lady Margaret Croft and Sophia Baillie

Occupation: Lord Chief Justice
Managed by: Michael Lawrence Rhodes
Last Updated:

About Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman

Memoir of Thomas, First Lord Denman Formerly Lord Chief Justice of England - Volume 1, by Sir Joseph Arnould (1873)


A FAMILY of DENMANS had for many generations been settled in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. They were persons of reputable condition as early as the days of the Third Edward; intermarried, in later times, with several county families of distinction; and in one of their branches became progenitors, in the female line, of Anne Hyde, the first wife of James the Second, and mother of the two queens, Mary and Anne. A more characteristic, if not a more honourable, circumstance in the family story is that a Rev. William Denman, rector of Ordsall, near Retford, in Nottinghamshire, refusing in the evil days of Queen Mary to renounce his Protestant principles, was ejected from his living, to which, however, he seems to have been restored under Elizabeth.

It is probable, but, from defect of parish registers, not provable, that Thomas Denman of Bevercotes in Nottinghamshire, the great-grandfather and first known lineal ancestor of Lord Denman, was of this family. Thomas Denman of Bevercotes died about the year 1740, at the age of 96, and was born, therefore, in the early years of the great civil war.

Lord Denman's grandfather, John Denman, the second son of Thomas of Bevercotes, settled as a general practitioner at Bakewell in Derbyshire. His family was large, his practice very small (averaging only from 501. to 1001. a year), and he died in his fifty-eighth year, leaving behind him two sons and several daughters very slenderly provided for.

The elder of his two sons, Joseph [his uncle, died without issue], a person of strong original character -- shrewd and frugal -- succeeded to and soon improved his father's business; he married a lady of some property (including the small estate of Stony Middleton, near Bakewell), used to practise a good deal at Buxton in the season, and, in his later years, was a frequent visitor at Chatsworth, being a great favourite of the fifth duke of Devonshire -- the friend of Fox and husband of the beautiful duchess.

The second son, Thomas, father of Lord Denman (born in 1733), went up to London in the twenty-first year of his age with 751. in his pocket: 501. bequeathed by his grandfather, and 251. as his share of what his father was supposed to have been worth at the time of his death.

In his autobiography ( a well-written work), Dr. Thomas Denman has given an interesting and animated account of the struggles of his early manhood, from the time when he 'passed as surgeon to a ship of sixth rate,' to the period when, after 'a wandering but not generally disagreeable life of nine years,' as a naval surgeon, having managed to scrape together 5001., he first settled himself in London as a medical practitioner in Oxenden Street, Haymarket, with a single maid-servant for his whole establishment.

From this modest commencement his progress, though for some time by no means rapid, was steady and continuous, until he ultimately became, and long remained, conspicuously known as the first accoucheur in the metropolis. He early devoted himself almost exclusively to that department of practice, and having in 1770 (the 38th year of his age ) become, jointly with Dr. Krohn, professor of midwifery to the Middlesex Hospital, and being, moreover, in the receipt of about 3001. a year from his private practice, he determined to marry.

The lady he chose for his wife was a handsome and engaging young gentlewoman of Scottish descent, Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of Mr. Alexander Brodie, then established as an army accoutrement maker in Brewer Street, Golden Square.

Mr. Brodie came of a good Scotch family -- the Brodies of Brodie in Morayshire -- and he had a son, a clergyman in the Church of England, the Rev. Peter Bullinger Brodie, whom, immediately on his taking orders, the second Lord Holland had presented to the rectory of Winterslow, near Winchester.

The rector of Winterslow [Rev. Peter Bullinger Brodie, Elizabeth Brodie's brother] Lord Denman's maternal uncle, became father, in due course, of Mr. William Brodie, afterwards a banker at Salisbury, and for many years member for the borough, of Mr. Peter Brodie, a well-known conveyancer, and of Sir Benjamin Brodie, who for some years held the highest rank in the profession of surgery, while his first cousin, Lord Denman, was presiding in Westminster Hall, as Chief of the Common Law.

Lord Thomas Denman's maternal first cousin, and you can really see the family resemblance in his photograph

Benjamin Collins Brodie, Sr., son of Reverend Peter Brodie, the rector of the parish of Winterslow, and Sarah Collins, the daughter of a banker from Salisbury. First cousin of Lord Thomas Denman

"Sir Benjamin Brodie, F.R.S. (1783-1862)" by William R. Le Fanu, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London Vol. 19, No. 1 (Jun., 1964), pp. 42-52 (13 pages)

Benjamin Collins Brodie [Sir Benjamin Brodie, F.R.S.] was born in June 1783 at Winterslow, Wiltshire, the third son of the rector of the parish, the Reverend Peter Brodie, who had married Sarah Collins, daughter of a Salisbury printer and banker. They were closely related to the Brodies of Brodie, but Sir Benjamin confessed himself uninterested in genealogy...His father died in 1804, leaving his widow badly off; lack of means was compensated for Benjamin by his connexion with the family of Thomas Denman (1733-1815), the eminent obstetrician. Mrs. Denman was his father's sister; her daughter Sophia was the wife of Dr. Matthew Baillie, F.R.S., who had inherited the flourishing Windmill Street School of Anatomy...

Miss Elizabeth Brodie [mother of Lord Thomas Denman], at the time of her marriage with Dr. Denman, which took place on the 1st of November, 1770, was in the 24th year of her age. 'It would have been impossible,' writes her husband, in his autobiography, 'to have chosen a wife more suitable to my disposition and circumstances; her manner was amiable, her disposition gentle, her understanding, naturally good, improved by reading and the conversation of reasonable people, and she has that regard for truth and propriety, that I am firmly persuaded no human consideration could induce her to depart from them. She is frugal, without meanness, temperate and cheerful, and it is impossible for any two people to have lived together with more harmony and affection than we have done.'

Within a year after the marriage of Dr. and Mrs. Denman, on the 9th of July, 1771, twin daughters were born to them -- Margaret and Sophia.

Of these Margaret, in 1789, was married to Mr. (afterwards Sir) Richard Croft (the seventh baronet of his family), who first assisted, and after 1815 succeeded, Dr. Denman in what had then long been the most extensive midwifery practice in London.

Sophia, in 1791, became the wife of the admirable and eminent Dr. Matthew Baillie, the first physician of his age, brother of Agnes and of Joanna Baillie, the gifted authoress of the 'Plays of the Passions.'

Thomas, Lord Denman, the third and last child, and only son, of his parents, was born on the 23rd of February, 1779, when the twin sisters (afterwards Lady Croft and Mrs. Baillie) were in the eighth year of their age.

The place of his birth was Queen Street, Golden Square (now called after his name, Denman Street), in a house to which Dr. Denman had removed, two years after his marriage, from his original quarters in Oxenden Street.

[footnote]1 'The birth of this child,' writes Dr. Denman in his 'Autobiography,' was an inexpressible blessing, as I had given up the hopes of having any more children, my daughters at that time being more than seven years old.' Mrs. Denman was only thirty-two and the Doctor forty-six when their son was born.

Before completing his third year he had almost perished in a fire, which utterly destroyed the house in Queen Street, and he was only rescued from the flames by the calm intrepidity of his father, who saved the child's life at the imminent risk of his own. Immediately after this providential escape Dr. Denman established himself in Old Burlington Street, where he thenceforth continued to reside during the most active portion of his distinguished professional career.

The parents had not long recovered from the shock of this appalling danger, when, fearing that the child, who had now become more than ever the pet and plaything of the family, might be spoiled by excessive indulgence, they, in the exercise of an almost Spartan self-control, sent the little creature away from home, when only about three-and-a-half years old, to be brought up by the well-known Mrs. Barbauld, who then kept a school for young children at Palgrave, near Diss in Norfolk.

His mother wrote:

  • Love only could the thought suggest,
  • Love tore the darling from our breast:
  • So much our child we prize,
  • Patient our pleasure we resign
  • That he in future years may shine
  • And be both good and wise.

The lady to whom the mother entrusted her little treasure executed her task admirably, drawing out all the child's natural powers, especially those of memory and elocution.

[footnote] Aikin, in her 'Life of Mrs. Barbauld' (published in 1825), gives a long list of the children of the nobility whose early years were spent at Palgrave. Among Denman's little companions there was Sir William Gell, of antiquarian celebrity.

The Court Magazine and Belle Assemblée - Volume 9 (1836), p.133-4


LADY DENMAN is the eldest daughter of the Rev. Richard Vevers, and wife of THOMAS, Lord DENMAN, Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench. The family of Denman was seated, at a remote period, in the county of Nottingham.

THOMAS DENMAN, Esq., of Bevercoats, in the parish of West Markham, in the county of Nottingham, left a son, John DENMAN, Esq., of Bakewell, in the county of Derby, who married Miss Elizabeth Buxton, and died in 1762, leaving issue,

  • Joseph, M.D. of Bakewell, for many years Justice of the Peace for Derbyshire: he married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Richard Finney, Esq., but died without issue, 21st July 1812.
  • Thomas

The second son, Thomas DENMAN, was one of the most celebrated physicians of his time. His life, like that of his still more conspicuous son, affords a fine example of the success that attends genius combined with patience and perseverance. He was born at Bakewell, in Derbyshire , in 1733, where his father was engaged in the medical profession. After his father's death, in 1752, he was for some time assistant to his elder brother, who was also a physician. When about twenty-one years of age, he went to London...He had married, in 1770, Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Brodie, Esq., and sister [correction: aunt] of the eminent surgeon, Sir Benjamin Brodie, Bart., by whom (who died 19th Jan . 1833,) he left issue:

  • Thomas
  • Margaret, married to Sir Richard Croft, M.D.
  • Sophia, married to Matthew Baillie, M.D., Physician to the King, and brother of Miss Joanna Baillie, the celebrated tragic writer.

Dr. Denman's only son, Thomas, the present Lord Denman, was born 23rd Feb. 1779...and on 23rd March, 1834, was created Baron DENMAN, of Dovedale, in the county of Derby. Lord Denman married, 18th Oct. 1804, THEODOSIA ANNE, eldest daughter of the Rev. Richard Vevers, the lady whose portrait forms this month's illustration, by whom he has issue:

  • Thomas, born 30th July 1805, who married, 12th August 1829, Georgiana, eldest surviving daughter of the late Rev. Thomas Roe.
  • Joseph, a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, born 23rd June 1810.
  • Richard, born 13th Jan. 1814.
  • George, born 23rd Dec. 1819.
  • Lewis William, born 23rd March, 1821.
  • Theodosia, married to Charles Wright, Esq., of Bramcott, in the county of Nottingham.
  • Elizabeth
  • Frances
  • Margaret
  • Anne
  • Caroline Amelia

Wikipedia Biographical Summary

Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman, PC KC (23 July 1779 – 26 September 1854) was a British lawyer, judge and politician. He served as Lord Chief Justice between 1832 and 1850.

Background and education

Denman was born in London, the son of Dr Thomas Denman. In his fourth year he attended Palgrave Academy in Suffolk, where his education was supervised by Anna Laetitia Barbauld and her husband. He continued to Eton and St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1800. In 1806 he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn, and at once entered upon practice. ...


Lord Denman married Theodosia Anne, daughter of Reverend Richard Vevers, in 1804. His Derbyshire seat was Middleton Hall, Stoney Middleton. He died at Stoke Albany, Northamptonshire aged 75, and was succeeded in the barony by his son Thomas.

One son, Joseph Denman, was a British Naval officer and another, George Denman, was an MP and High Court Judge.

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 December 2013, 16:17 UTC, <,_1st_Baron_Denman&oldid=585139409> [accessed 23 January 2014]

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Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman's Timeline

February 23, 1779
Queen Street, Golden Square, London, England
July 30, 1805
Bloomsbury, Middlesex, England
September 16, 1806
Saxby, Leicestershire
June 23, 1810
September 17, 1812
June 13, 1814
Phillipsburg, Warren County, New Jersey, United States
August 8, 1815
London, Middlesex, United Kingdom
December 23, 1819
March 23, 1821