Robert Rolfe, 1st Baron Cranworth

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Cranworth
Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
In office
28 December 1852 – 21 February 1858
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Aberdeen
The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by The Lord St Leonards
Succeeded by The Lord Chelmsford
In office
7 July 1865 – 26 June 1866
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerston
The Earl Russell
Preceded by The Lord Westbury
Succeeded by The Lord Chelmsford
Personal details
Born 18 December 1790 (1790-12-18)
Cranworth, Norfolk
Died 26 July 1868(1868-07-26) (aged 77)
Holwood House
Keston, Kent
United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge

Robert Monsey Rolfe, 1st Baron Cranworth PC (18 December 1790 – 26 July 1868) was a British lawyer and Liberal politician. He twice served as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.

Background and education

Born at Cranworth, Norfolk, he was the elder son of the Reverend Edmund Rolfe and Jemima Alexander, James Alexander, 1st Earl of Caledon's niece and a granddaughter of physician Messenger Monsey.[note 1] Rolfe was related to Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson,[2] he was educated at Bury St Edmunds, Winchester, Trinity College, Cambridge, Downing College, Cambridge (of which he was elected fellow) [3] and was called to the bar, Lincoln's Inn, in 1816.[4]

Legal and political career

Cranworth represented Penryn and Falmouth in Parliament from 1832 until he was appointed a Baron of the Exchequer in 1839. In 1850 he was appointed a Vice-Chancellor and raised to the peerage as Baron Cranworth, of Cranworth in the County of Norfolk. In 1852 Lord Cranworth became Lord Chancellor in Lord Aberdeen's coalition ministry. He continued to hold the chancellorship also in the administration of Lord Palmerston until the latter's resignation in 1858. Cranworth was not reappointed when Palmerston returned to office in 1859, but on the retirement of Lord Westbury in 1865 he accepted the office for a second time, and held it till the fall of the Russell administration in 1866.

Personal life

In 1850 he married Laura Carr (1807–1868),daughter of Thomas William Carr (b. 1770). The couple had no children.

Lord Cranworth died at his seat, Holwood House on 26 July 1868, aged 77 after a short illness related to the heat.[5] He was childless and the title became extinct on his death.



  1. "Maryland State Archives, Reference, MSA SC 4885-1-27"
  2. "East Anglian Worthies", by John Lucius Smith-Dampier, published by B. Blackwell, 1949, p .165.
  4. "Rolfe, Robert Monsey (RLF808RM)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. Monsey was chief medical adviser to the whigs and a friend of Daniel Dulany the Younger.[1]

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Penryn and Falmouth
With: Lord Tullamore 1832–1835
James William Freshfield 1835–1840
Succeeded by
Edward John Hutchins
James William Freshfield
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir Charles Pepys
Solicitor General
Succeeded by
Sir William Follett
Preceded by
Sir William Follett
Solicitor General
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Wilde
Preceded by
James Wigram
1850 - 1851
Succeeded by
Sir George James Turner
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord St Leonards
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
The Lord Chelmsford
Preceded by
The Lord Westbury
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
The Lord Chelmsford
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Baron Cranworth
Succeeded by