SANKEY, JOHN (1866 - 1948; BARON SANKEY, 1929; VISCOUNT SANKEY of Moreton, 1932), lawyer

Name: John Sankey
Date of birth: 1866
Date of death: 1948
Parent: Catalina Sankey
Parent: Thomas Sankey
Gender: Male
Occupation: lawyer
Area of activity: Law
Author: Thomas Iorwerth Ellis

Born at Moreton, Gloucester, 26 October 1866, son of Thomas and Catalina Sankey. Educated at Lancing and at Jesus College, Oxford, he was called to the Bar in 1892, became a King's Counsel in 1909, was appointed a judge of the High Court in 1914, and a Lord of Appeal in 1928. In 1929 he became Lord Chancellor in the second Labour Government, and retained this office until 1935. He was chairman of the Coal Commission (1919) and a member of the Indian Round Table Conference, and his services were in great demand on many commissions and committees, legal, educational, and ecclesiastical (see the list in Www, 1941-50). He was a loyal and devoted churchman, and was largely responsible for the framing of the constitution of the (disestablished) Church in Wales. He was an honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, and in 1929 he received the honorary degree of LL.D. of the University of Wales. He was also an honorary graduate of the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol. He died, unmarried, in London on 8 February 1948, and was buried at Moreton.

His connexion with Wales began when he practised at Cardiff as a young barrister. There he became expert in cases under the Workmen's Compensation Act and gained a great reputation for brevity and conciseness in exposition. On the Bench his work was characterised by a deep humanity and a great concern for the dignity of the law, and on the Woolsack he made a notable contribution to political life by his dignity, his self-discipline, and his gifts of friendship. But above all else he will be remembered as a devoted Churchman and a sincere Christian.


Published date: 2001

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