Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hullock, John

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HULLOCK, Sir JOHN (1767–1829), baron of the exchequer, son of Timothy Hullock, a master weaver and proprietor of a timber-yard at Barnard Castle, Durham, was born on 3 April 1767. In early life he is said to have been articled to an attorney at Stokesley in the North Riding. Subsequently, on the advice of `Jack' Lee, the well-known barrister, who was a friend of his uncle, he determined to seek his fortune at the bar, and, having been admitted a student of Gray's Inn in May 1788, became a pupil of George Sowley Holroyd, afterwards a justice of the king's bench. In 1792 Hullock published 'The Law of Costs' (London, 8vo, 2 vols.), a second edition of which, with considerable additions, appeared in 1810 (London, 8vo, 2 vols.) On being called to the bar in May 1794, Hullock joined the northern circuit, and by slow degrees gradually acquired a considerable practice. He was made a serjeant-at-law on 18 June 1816. With Scarlett, Cross, and Littledale he conducted the prosecution on behalf of the crown against Henry Hunt and his associates at Manchester in March 1820, and in July of the same year took part in the proceedings against Andrew Hardie at Stirling, in spite of Jeffrey's objection that he was not qualified to appear (Reports of State Trials, 1888, new ser. i. 649-67). On the resignation of Sir George Wood, Hullock was appointed a baron of the exchequer, took his seat on the bench for the first time on 16 April 1823 (Price, Reports, xii. 1), and was knighted on the 21st of the same month (London Gazettes, 1823, i. 651). After holding the office of judge for little more than six years he was seized with a sudden illness while on circuit, and, dying at Abingdon on 31 July 1829, aged 65, was buried in the family vault at Barnard Castle. His widow survived him many years, and died on 18 Nov. 1852.

Hullock was a sound and industrious lawyer, and a humane and charitable man. There is a curious anecdote of his conduct at the bar. In a cause which he led he was particularly instructed not to produce a certain deed unless it should be absolutely necessary. This injunction he disregarded, and produced the deed, which proved to have been forged by his client's attorney, seated behind him at the time. The judge, Sir John Bayley [q.v.], ordered the deed to be impounded that it might be made the subject of a prosecution. Hullock requested leave to inspect it, and on its being handed to him immediately returned it to his bag. The judge remonstrated, but Hullock emphatically refused (as he said) to 'put the life of a fellow-creature in peril' by restoring the deed. Bayley declined taking decisive measures till he had consulted with the associate judge, and in his absence the deed was destroyed, and the attorney escaped (Law Mag. ii. 709). Hullock was recorder of Berwick for several years, but resigned that office upon becoming serjeant-at-law in 1816, when he was succeeded by Christopher Cookson. There is a portrait of Hullock in the hall of Gray's Inn (Douthwaite, 1886, p. 441).

[Law Mag. 1829, ii. 708-10; Ann. Reg. 1829, App. to Chron. p. 239; Gent. Mag. 1829 pt.ii.p. 275, 1853 pt. i. p.106; Ann. Biog. and Obit. 1830, xiv. 308-11; Foss's Judges of England, ix. 27-9; Mackenzie and Ross's View of the County Palatine of Durham, ii. 242-3; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. viii. 48, 197.]

G. F. R. B.