Local judges (3) - Whitechapel County Court

James Manning - 1847-63

Serjeant James Manning (1781-1866) was appointed the first judge of the new court. Son of James Manning, a Unitarian minister in Exeter, he was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1817. Like others mentioned on these pages, he served as a 'revising barrister' of electoral rolls, and the outcome of his proceedings for Newport, Isle of Wight in 1832 were published, with 'explanatory remarks' on that year's Reform Act, four years later by his nephew William Montagu Manning, also of Lincoln's Inn [who later became KCMG LLD, an Australian judge, politician and chancellor of Sydney University).
He was appointed Recorder of Sudbury from 1835 and of Oxford and Banbury from 1836, continuing to hold these offices when he was appointed to the Whitechapel post in 1847. His wife Clarissa, whom he married in 1820, died that year; ten years later he married a widow, Charlotte; they lived in Sussex Gardens (near Paddington Station) and were childless.

The title Serjeant-at-Law, granted to him in 1840, was an ancient one; they wore a distinctive white coif and skullcap, and were the only lawyers entitled to bring cases to the Court of Common Pleas, a privilege that was under challenge. He published a work in that year
Serviens ad Legem: a Report of Proceedings … in relation to a Warrant for the Suppression of the Antient Privileges of the Serjeants-at-Law - and he received a 'Patent of Precedence' in 1845, becoming 'Queen's Serjeant' the following year; this in theory entitled him to attend the House of Lords, but not to vote. (The title of 'Serjeant' was finally abolished in the court reforms of 1873.) He was a scholar rather than an orator, who edited law reports - A Digested Index to the Nisi Prius Reports of T. Peake, I. Espinasse, and Lord Campbell, with Notes and References (1813); The Practice of the Exchequer of Pleas, Appendix (1816); A Digest of the Nisi Prius Reports, with Notes and References (1820); with Archer Ryland (one of the 'City Pleaders'), 5 volumes of Reports of Cases in Court of King's Bench 1828–37 and with T. C. Granger and J. Scott 9 volumes of Common Bench Reports 1846–57, and  with T.C. Grainger 7 volumes of Cases in the court of Common Pleas 1841-46. Also The Practice of the Court of Exchequer, Revenue Branch, with an appendix containing an inquiry into the tenure of the conventionary estates in Cornwall (1827); and Observations on the Debate to make lawful Marriages within certain of the Prohibited Degrees of Affinity (1854) - an issue that excited churchmen at that time.

He retired in 1863 on an annual pension of £700; two further publications were the recondite An Inquiry into the Character and Origin of the Possessive Augment in English and in cognate Dialects (1864) - Journal of the Marican Oriental Society vol 9 includes this review:
The paper of Prof. Hindley was a review of an essay on 'The English Possessive Augment', by Serjeant James Manning of Oxford, Eng., published in the Transactions of the Philological Society (London 1864). Mr Manning holds that the Anglo-Saxon genitive was given up in the 13th century, and its place supplied by of with the accusative; but that for the possessive relation, a special form was then introduced, such as 'father his book', 'mother his gown',  'children his plaything', which gradually passed into 'father's book', 'mother's gown', 'children's plaything'. Against the common view, which identifies the s of our possessive with that of the A.-S. genitive, he urges that the latter was not applied to feminines and plurals, and that it was used for many relations which are not expressed by our possessive. But Prof. Hadley referred to examples of grammatical forms (as the s of plural nouns in French and Spanish) extended to classes of words that once excluded them, and of forms (as the Latin perfect indicative active in all Romance languages) restricted in the range of meanings that once belonged to them. He examined the constructions of our possessive which Mr. Manning regards as inconsistent with its genitive origin. In 'Cæsar's crossing the Rubicon' we have only the ordinary use of a genitive to denote the subject of an action. In 'John and Walter's house' the possessive s is added to 'John and Walter' taken as a complex whole; compare eth in 'three-and-twentieth'. The same explanation applies to 'King of England's crown': compare ism in 'Church-of-England-ism'. In 'a servant of my brother's', Lowth regarded 'brother's' as depending on 'servants' understood—an explanation which fails for 'that wife of my brother's': it is better to regard the genitive here as dependent on a general idea of 'belongings', 'that which belongs', the same idea which is evidently understood in 'all mine is my brother's'. Positive arguments for his own view Mr. Manning draws from the popular dialects of modern Germany, and from the usage of Semi-Saxon and early English writers. But while the common German says 'des Vaters sein Buch', he says 'der Mutter ihr Kleid': if our English possessive were of the same nature, we should have, not 'mother his gown' (according to Mr. M.'s theory) but 'mother her gown'. That the Gothic reflexive seins and the Latin reflexive suus mean her and their as well as his, proves, at most only a possibility that his]might be so used in place of her: that it was actually and currently used in this way, there is no sufficient reason for believing. In almost every instance where it seems to be used, his refers to a word like wife, maiden, child, which in Anglo Saxon were neuter not feminine. Mr Manning gives great prominence to a comparison between the two manuscripts of Layamon's Brut. in the first of which, written about 1200 A.D., the genitive expressed by his is rarely, if ever, met with; while in the second, written perhaps sixty years later, such forms are of common occurrence. Even here, in examining amining the first 9000 lines of the poem, Prof. Hadley had found, from common nouns, about eighty genitives with inflectional s, and only two expressed by his; from proper names of place, thirteen with inflectional s, and two expressed by his; even from proper names of persons, where the genitives expressed by his are numerous there are nearly as many with inflectional s, and the two forms are and freely and capriciously interchanged. In the Ormulum, written bv a very careful scribe at a time not earlier than the second text of Layamon, the form with his is never once used. And although this form is often seen in old English writings, and to the beginning of the last century, yet it appears, on the whole, as an occasional—and, seemingly, a merely orthographic—variation of the inflectional genitive—a variation suggested by a false, though plausible, etymology, and favored [sic] by general confusion of early English orthography.

In connection with this paper, Prof. Whitney referred to another and wholly account of our possessive suffix, given in the Reader for Sept. 24, 1864, in the form of a critique upon Mr. Manning's essay, under the signature of Th. G. [Prof. Goldstücker}. Its author accepts as satisfactory Mr. Manning's disproof of the relationship between the suffix in question and the ancient genitive-ending, but regards the former as a mere connecting-link between the name of the possessor and the thing possessed, binding them together into a kind of compound. Prof. Whitney combated this view, as in a high degree far-fetched and fanciful, and attempted to overthrow the arguments by which it was supported. There is no more difficulty, he claimed, in supposing the retention of a true synthetic form along with the elaboration of an analytic substitute for it in the case of John's son and the son of John, than in the case of I loved and I did love. The position of the possessive before the thing possessed is no more fixed in the case of a noun than in that of a pronoun, as his or her, which no one would think of denying to be ancient genitives. And the s in such German words as Hilfstruppen, Liebesgabe is really a genitive-ending, or introduced after the analogy of such; precisely as is the s of nachts, formed after the analogy of abends, morgens, etc.

He also wrote Thoughts upon Subjects connected with Parliamentary Reform (1866). He died in 1866, at Phillimore Gardens in South Kensington.

Sir Walter Buchanan Riddell - (1863-??)
was from an ancient 'Norman Scots' family with land in the Borders region (Roxburghshire & Northumberland) granted by Duke William of Normandy for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. However, he was born in Ramsgate, in 1810. He became the 10th Baronet Riddell 'of that ilk' of Hepple (near Rothbury in Northumberland) at the age of nine, on his father's death in 1819; his guardians carefully surveyed and valued his estate. Northumbrian connections continued: for example, in 1842, he was appointed Steward of the Manorial Courts of the Duke of Northumberland, on the elevation of Mr. Justice Cresswell to the Bench; in 1856, he was present at the opening by Duke of Northumberland of Tyne Sailors' Home, North Shields; in 1872 he was involved in creating a National Society School in Hepple (which was also licensed for worship); and in 1890 was a member of the
Jubilee Hall Committee in Rothbury though does not seem to have been actively involved in its rebuilding a few years earlier. Many papers relating to the family's Northumbrian connections  - and also Walter's 1836 journal of a summer tour of the Low Countries and German States - are held by the National Archives at the Northumberland Record Office.

Educated at Eton and Christ Church Oxford, graduating in 1831, he was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1834. (In 1848 he was appointed Special Constable for Lincoln's Inn, and he was adjutant for its Constabulary Corps, maintaining a muster roll with 34 companies, and returns of those willing to servce as captains and officers, reporting to the Commandant, Kenyon Parker QC.)

The family home by then was at (all or part of?) The Palace, Maidstone - originally, in the 14th century, a palace of the Archbishop of Canterbury (and nowadays a popular wedding venue). A younger brother, Canon John Charles Buchanan Riddell, was Rector of nearby Harrietsham.  Sir Walter was appointed Recorder of Maidstone & Tenterden in 1846 (in the room of  [= succeeding] R G Temple, deceased) and continued to hold this office alongside others until 1868, when the Mayor of Maidstone moved a vote of thanks for his contribution to the town.
The Annual Report of the Royal Humane Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Dead recorded, as 'medallion case 14,027':
On Tuesday night last, Dec. 26, 1843, Sir Walter Riddell, Bart., was returning to his residence at the Palace, Maidstone, when, on passing the mill-head of Messrs. Mercer and Parton's mills, the honourable baronet met a man and woman, and immediately afterwards heard a splash in the water and a cry of distress. Sir Walter hastened to the spot, and seeing something on the surface of the water, which is at this spot about six feet deep, and runs with a rapid current under a low archway of the mill, without hesitation plunged in with all his clothes on, and succeeded in saving from a watery grave the woman whom he had passed just before, and who, by some means or other not clearly ascertained, had got into this most dangerous situation, from which, without the honourable baronet's aid, there is no probability that she could have been rescued. The difficulty of effecting a landing from a deep piece of water on a perpendicular bricked embankment is obvious; and had not the man assisted in getting her on the bank, it is not likely that Sir Walter could have accomplished his humane object, if indeed he had himself escaped a watery grave.
(Signed) Edw. Pickard Hall, Maidstone.

N.B. The Secretary of the Institution is indebted to Sir John Croft, who resides at Millgate, near Maidstone, for the following additional particulars: — Sir Walter Riddell, on rescuing the woman, carried her towards a public-house, upwards of two hundred yards. His strength failing him, he obtained assistance, and had her conveyed to the Man of Kent, where he remained in his wet clothes, affording every means for her recovery, for an hour and a half. The night was intensely dark, and nothing but the most prompt and determined energy on his part could have saved him from being swept by the rapid mill-race through the low arch with the woman whose life he saved.
He was involved in other Kentish projects, including in 1839 proposals for the creation of an agricultural college (supported also by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other divines). He remained a member of the Royal Agricultural Society until his death.

Some further details of his career:
Judge Riddell died in 1892 at Henham Hall, Suffolk [right]  - another stately pile (at one time among the 'top five' landed estates): the redbrick Tudor house was rebuilt in the 1790s after a major fire, and given a Victorian 'makeover' by Edward Middleton Barry (third son of Sir Charles Barry); it was demolished in 1950. See further Alan Mackley 'The Construction of Henham Hall' in vol 6 of the Journal of the Georgian Group (1996).

There have been many other prominent Riddells - some of them titled, through three different branches of the family, in the UK and Canada (Nova Scotia) - including lawyers and academics as well as a sprinkling of clergy. Some emigrated to the USA and Canada (whence Judge William Renwick Riddell,1852-1945); one became Principal of Hertford College Oxford from 1922-30; and more recently another was the Prince of Wales' private secretary from 1985-90.

See separate pages for the succeeding county court judges:

Francis Henry Bacon (1878-1912)

Albert Rowland Cluer (1912-1934)

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