Gavin Simonds, 1st Viscount Simonds

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The Right Honourable
The Viscount Simonds
File:The Viscount Simonds.jpg
1953 photograph of Lord Simonds by Sir Cecil Beaton.
Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
In office
30 October 1951 – 18 October 1954
Monarch George VI
Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Preceded by Viscount Jowitt
Succeeded by The Viscount Kilmuir
Personal details
Born 28 November 1881 (1881-11-28)
Reading, Berkshire
Died 28 June 1971(1971-06-28) (aged 89)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater New College, Oxford

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.[citation needed]

Legal and political career

Simonds was called to the Bar in 1906 and appointed a King's Counsel in 1924.[1] 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,[2] when he was knighted,[3] and 1944. The latter year he was appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary,[4] sworn of the Privy Council and created a life peer as Baron Simonds, of Sparsholt in the County of Southampton.[4]

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. [5]

In June 1952 he was made a hereditary peer as Baron Simonds, of Sparsholt in the County of Southampton.[6] He held this post until 1954, when he was created Viscount Simonds, of Sparsholt in the County of Southampton.[7] 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.[citation needed]


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.[citation needed]


  1. The London Gazette: no. 32928. p. 3205. 18 April 1924.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 34377. p. 1486. 5 March 1937.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 34379. p. 1640. 12 March 1937.
  4. 4.0 4.1 The London Gazette: no. 36481. p. 1841. 21 April 1944.
  5. "ROYALTY - CORONATION OF ELIZABETH II". Bonhams.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. The London Gazette: no. 39584. p. 3520. 27 June 1952.
  7. The London Gazette: no. 40313. p. 6124. 29 October 1954.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Jowitt
Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Succeeded by
The Viscount Kilmuir
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Simonds
Baron Simonds