Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Manning, James

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MANNING, JAMES (1781–1886), serjeant-at-law, born in 1781, was son of James Manning; unitarian minister, Exeter, by Lydia, daughter of John Edge of Bristol. He early acquired a familiarity with history, antiquities, and the European languages, was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn 28 June 1817, and went the western circuit, of which he was for many years the leader. His reputation rested mainly upon his learning. He was no orator, and his powers of advocacy were slight; but as a junior he obtained much business. By his knowledge of copyhold law he secured a perpetual retainer from the lord of the manor of Taunton Dean, Somerset, whose rights were the subject of continual litigation. He enjoyed the friendship of Lords Brougham and Denman, and rendered them assistance in the defence of Queen Caroline. He was appointed recorder of Sudbury in 1835, and recorder of Oxford and Banbury in November 1837, three offices which he held till his death. He was raised to the degree of a serjeant-at-law 19 Feb. 1840, received a patent of precedence April 1845, and was made queen's ancient serjeant in 1846. This dignity, revived at his own suggestion, after a long interval of dormancy, entitled him to a seat in the House of Lords, ex officio, but gave him no right of speaking, unless consulted, or of voting. He became judge of the Whitechapel County Court in March 1847, from which he retired in February 1863 on a pension of 700l. He died at 44 Phillimore Gardens, Kensington, London, on 29 Aug. 1866. He was twice married: first, on 7 Sept. 1820, to Clarissa, daughter of William Palmer of Kimbolton, Herefordshire (she died 15 Dec. 1847, aged 51); and secondly, on 3 Dec. 1857, to Charlotte, daughter of Isaac Solly of Leyton, Essex, and widow of William Speir, M.D., of Calcutta (she died 1 April 1871).

Manning was the author of:

  1. ‘A Digested Index to the Nisi Prius Reports of T. Peake, I. Espinasse, and Lord Campbell, with Notes and References,’ 1813.
  2. ‘The Practice of the Exchequer of Pleas, Appendix,’ 1816.
  3. ‘A Digest of the Nisi Prius Reports, with Notes and References,’ 1820.
  4. ‘The Practice of the Court of Exchequer, Revenue Branch,’ 1827, with an appendix containing an inquiry into the tenure of the conventionary estates in Cornwall, 1827.
  5. ‘Serviens ad Legem: a Report of Proceedings … in relation to a Warrant for the Suppression of the Antient Privileges of the Serjeants-at-Law,’ 1840.
  6. ‘Cases in the Court of Common Pleas, 1841–6,’ 7 vols. (with T. C. Granger).
  7. ‘Observations on the Debate to make lawful Marriages within certain of the Prohibited Degrees of Affinity,’ 1854.
  8. ‘An Inquiry into the Character and Origin of the Possessive Augment in English and in cognate Dialects,’ 1864.
  9. ‘Thoughts upon Subjects connected with Parliamentary Reform,’ 1866.

With Archer Ryland he wrote

  1. ‘Reports of Cases in Court of King's Bench, 8 Geo. IV–11 Geo. IV, 1828–37,’ 5 vols.

With T. C. Granger and J. Scott he wrote

  1. ‘Common Bench Reports, 1846–57,’ 9 vols.

[Law Mag. and Law Review, 1866, xxii. 174; Law Times, 1866, xli. 767, 808.]

G. C. B.