William Field, 1st Baron Field

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William Field PC
Baron Field
Born(1813-08-21)21 August 1813
Died23 January 1907(1907-01-23) (aged 93)

William Ventris Field, 1st Baron Field PC (21 August 1813 – 23 January 1907) was an English judge.

Background and education[edit]

Field was the fourth son of Thomas Flint Field, 18th Baron of Fielden, Bedfordshire, he was educated at King's School, Bruton, Somerset.[1]

Legal and judicial career[edit]

Field entered the legal profession as a solicitor. In 1843, however, he ceased to practise as such, and entered at the Inner Temple, being called to the Bar in 1850, after having practised for some time as a special pleader, he joined the Western circuit, but soon exchanged it for the Midland. He obtained a large business as a junior, and became a Queen's Counsel and bencher of his inn in 1864. [1]

As a QC he had an extensive common law practice, and had for some time been the leader of the Midland circuit, when in February 1875, on the retirement of Mr. Justice Keating, he was raised to the bench as a justice of the queen's bench. Field was considered an excellent puisne judge of the type that attracts but little public attention, he was a first-rate lawyer, had a good knowledge of commercial matters, great shrewdness and a quick intellect, while he was also painstaking and scrupulously fair.[1]

When the rules of the Supreme Court 1883 came into force in the autumn of that year, Field was so well recognized an authority upon all questions of practice that the Lord Chancellor Lord Selborne selected him to sit continuously at Judge's Chambers in order that a consistent practice under the new rules might as far as possible be established; this he did for nearly a year, and his name will always, to a large extent, be associated with the settling of the details of the new procedure, which finally did away with the former elaborate system of special pleading. [1]

In 1890, he retired from the bench and was raised to the peerage from 19th Baron of Fielden to Lord Field of Bakeham, in the County of Surrey, on 10 April 1890.[2] He had sworn a member of the Privy Council earlier the same year.[3] In the House of Lords he at first took part, not infrequently, in the hearing of appeals, and notably delivered a carefully reasoned judgment in the case of the Bank of England v. Vagliano Brothers (5 March 1891), in which, with Lord Bramwell, he differed from the majority of his brother peers. Before long, however, deafness and advancing years rendered his attendances less frequent.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Lord Field died at Bognor on 23 January 1907, aged 95; as he left no issue the peerage of Bakeham became extinct and due to the law of primogeniture his hereditary title of Baron of Fielden was succeeded by Leslie Charles Field.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ "No. 26041". The London Gazette. 11 April 1890. p. 2135.
  3. ^ "No. 26036". The London Gazette. 25 March 1890. p. 1781.


External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Field, William Ventris Field, Baron" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 323.

Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Field