|Monarch George VI
Preceded by Viscount Jowitt
Political party Conservative
Name Gavin 1st
Died June 28, 1971
|Prime Minister Winston Churchill|
Alma mater New College, Oxford
Role British Politician
Party Conservative Party
|Born 28 November 1881
Reading, Berkshire (1881-11-28) |
Succeeded by David Maxwell Fyfe, 1st Earl of Kilmuir
Education New College, Oxford, Winchester College
Gavin Turnbull Simonds, 1st Viscount Simonds PC QC (28 November 1881 – 28 June 1971) was a British judge, politician and Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.
Background and education
Simonds was born in Reading, Berkshire, the son of Louis DeLuze Simonds and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Turnbull. They were members of the well-known Berkshire family of brewing magnates. He was educated at Winchester College (where he was later a Fellow, and Warden from 1946–1951) and at New College, Oxford.
Legal and political career
Simonds was called to the Bar in 1906 and appointed a King's Counsel in 1924. He was appointed a Bencher of Lincoln's Inn in 1929 and was Treasurer from 1951. He served as a Judge of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice between 1937, when he was knighted, and 1944. The latter year he was appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, sworn of the Privy Council and created a life peer as Baron Simonds, of Sparsholt in the County of Southampton.
Simonds remained a Law Lord until 1951, when Winston Churchill appointed him Lord Chancellor. He was holder of the office at the time of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, adding a major ceremonial role to his judicial one.
In June 1952 he was made a hereditary peer as Baron Simonds, of Sparsholt in the County of Southampton. He held this post until 1954, when he was created Viscount Simonds, of Sparsholt in the County of Southampton. He again served as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary from 1954 to 1962. He was also High Steward of Oxford University from 1954 to 1967 and High Steward of the City of Winchester from 1951.
Lord Simonds had three sons who all predeceased him. Robert Francis Simonds died in infancy; John Mellor Simonds (1915–1944) was killed in action at Arnhem in 1944 and Gavin Alexander Simonds (1915–1951) died as a result of illness contracted on active service in East Africa in 1951. Consequently, the hereditary barony and viscountcy became extinct on his death in June 1971, aged 89.