Honyman, George Essex (DNB00)

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HONYMAN, Sir GEORGE ESSEX (1819–1875), judge, was born at Strawberry Hill, Middlesex, 22 Jan. 1819. His father, Sir Ord Honyman, the third baronet, born 25 March 1794, became lieutenant-colonel commanding the Grenadier guards 27 Dec. 1850 (Hamilton, Grenadier Guards, iii. 149, 150, 425, 506), and died at Nice 27 Jan. 1863, having married, 7 April 1818, Elizabeth Essex, youngest daughter of George Bowen of Coton Hall, Shropshire, an admiral of the red. She died at Boulogne 28 Oct. 1864. The eldest son, George Essex, was received in 1838 into the office of Martineau, Malton, & Trollope, solicitors, of Lincoln's Inn. In 1840 he became a pupil of Sir Fitzroy Kelly, and afterwards read with David Octavius Gibbons, the special pleader. In 1842 he commenced practice as a pleader. For seven years he had few clients, but studied hard, and mastered commercial law. On 8 June 1849 he was called to the bar at the Middle Temple, and went the home circuit, where he at once attracted the attention both of the leaders of the bar and of the bench. In 1853 he was the best commercial lawyer of the day. He was not a great orator, but he had a quick intellect, a tenacious memory, and was industrious and conscientiously thorough. He succeeded his father as fourth baronet in 1863. On 23 July 1866 he was appointed a queen's counsel, became a bencher of his inn in November 1866, and a serjeant-at-law 23 Jan. 1873. On the recommendation of Lord Selborne he became a judge of the court of common pleas, 23 Jan. 1873. He resigned in February 1875, and died at Tunbridge Wells 16 Sept. 1875. His brother, the Rev. Sir William Macdonald Honyman, succeeded as fifth baronet. He married, 26 Nov. 1860, Annie Johanna, daughter of Virtue Thirkettle of Kingston-on-Thames; she died 13 Jan. 1881.

[Law Mag. and Rev. November 1875, pp. 122–127; Law Times, 9 Oct. 1875, p. 383; Times, 20 Sept. 1875, p. 7; Morning Post, 20 Sept. 1875, p. 5; Illustr. London News, 25 Sept. 1875, p. 319, 2 Oct. p. 333, with portrait, 4 Dec. p. 566.]

G. C. B.