John Dorney Harding , Kt.

John Dorney Harding , Kt.

b: 13 JUN 1809
d: 24 NOV 1868
Doctors' Commons

City of London

England From 'Nursery Chronicles' by Mrs Anna Maria Harding, June 11th 1815

"It has frequently occurred to me that many of the observations made by children and other trifling circumstances that marked their character in infancy and the development of their faculties would, if written down, probably be read by Parents and children with interest hereafter. Still I have hitherto deferred beginning this maternal chronicle, and now and then regretted I had not begun it long ago.

This to persons unacquainted with the first years of childhood would excite much wonder and probably a smile of contempt, as my Boy, if it please God to spare him to his parents, will complete his sixth year on the 13th day of this month, being born the 13th June 1809. He was baptised that day by the name of John Dorney Harding and Christened the 14th day of August 1810. His Godfathers were Samuel Kosser Esquire of Mathern (who was the second husband of his great Grandmother Harding, who was the eldest daughter of Wyndham Esquire), and Thomas Wyndham Esquire of Dunraven Castle, the relation and most valuable friend of his father and Grandfather. They were both present, as well as his kind cousin Elizabeth Dorney, his Grandmother Frances Harding, her mother Frances Probyn, his two aunts Louisa and Catherine Harding, and some other persons. And he may hereafter be amused by hearing that he was brought in after dinner by his nurse and another servant in a very large China family Christening bowl and placed in the middle of the table -- where I think I can see him now, with a bowl in one hand and a little whip in the other. He behaved himself with much propriety, [and] was as may be guessed exceedingly admired by many of the guests, particularly as he was a very blooming intelligent looking child." [This is only the beginning - for the full text see the separate file]

From 'The Chaplin and Skinner Families' December 1902 pages 87 to 88:

1. Sir John Dorney Harding, Kt., was born on the 13th June, 1809. He was educated at Charterhouse, to which school he went at the age of twelve, having previously travelled in Italy and other countries. He is described by one of his schoolfellows as having been an interesting, excitable and talkative fellow, precocious and weakly, evidently conscious that his tongue would have to make up for the want of bodily strength; and his physical frame seemed unequal to sustain the flights of his mind and the elations of his mercurial temperament.
From Charterhouse he went to Oriel College, Oxford, where he was a friend and contemporary of Newman, Mozley, and other leading spirits of the Oxford Movement. He made a great figure at the Union, where his appearance, his agreeable voice, and his inexhaustable fluency were much in his favour. He graduated in 1830, taking his M.A. degree in 1835.
On 20 November, 1835 he was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple, and in course of time acquired a considerable practice in the Admiralty and Ecclesiastical Courts.
On 5th March, 1852, he was, on Lord Derby's recommendation, appointed Queen's Advocate General, which office he held until 1862.
He was knighted at St. James's Palace, on the 24th March, 1852, and was shortly after elected a Bencher of his Inn.
It was during his tenure of this office in the year 1862 that the episode of the Alabama occurred. After various diplomatic notes had passed between the Government and the United States Minister, and much delay had taken place, the opinion of the law officers was asked, and they ultimately advised that the Alabama, which was then at Liverpool, should be detained. Their opinion. however, was not made known until the 31st July and on the 29th of that month she had sailed unarmed and proceeded to the Azores, where, after being fully equipped as a vessel of war and commissioned as a Confederate cruiser, she commenced her adventurous career, only terminated by her destruction in the famous fight with the Kearsage off Cherbourg in June 1864.

The Government afterwards complained that Sir John Harding would not give them an opinion, and thus endeavoured to clear themselves. He himself said to a friend during the critical period, "They won't give me a case," and after the Alabama had got away he explained that he had been anxiously expecting a communication from the Government a whole week before, and that the expectation had unsettled and unnerved him for other business. He stated that he had stayed in his chambers later than usual on the critical Saturday in the expectation of hearing at last from them. He had then gone to his house in the country. Returning on Monday, when he was engaged to appear in Court, he found a large bundle of documents in a big envelope, which had been dropped into his letter box on Saturday evening, without even an accompanying note. To all appearance every letter, and every remonstrance, and every affidavit, as fast as it had arrived from Liverpool, had been piled in a pigeon-hole till four or five o'clock on Saturday, when the Minister, on taking his own departure for the country, had directed a clerk to tie up the whole heap and carry it to Doctors' Commons, where Sir John Harding had his chambers.

The people of the Alabama and their confederates among the authorities understood the ways of Her Majesty's Ministers, and the ship sailed accordingly early on Sunday (29th July 1862), when nothing could be done to stop it till the middle of the next day, as those concerned very well knew.

Within a very short time of this episode Sir John Harding's health entirely broke down, and he retired to Sandywell Asylum, near Cheltenham, where he died on 23rd November 1868 and was buried in the family vault at Rockfield on the 28th of the same month.

  • 13 JUN 1809 - Birth -
  • 24 NOV 1868 - Death - ; Rockfield
  • 1821 - Fact -
  • 1830 - Fact -
  • 1835 - Fact -
  • 5 MAR 1852 - Fact -
  • 24 MAR 1852 - Fact -
  • JAN 1858 - Fact -
  • MAY 1861 - Fact -
  • 1862 - Fact -
John Harding , (3)
21 APR 1755 - FEB 1799
John Harding , MA, Rev
5 MAY 1779 - 10 MAY 1861
Frances Probyn
1755 - 16 AUG 1845
John Dorney Harding , Kt.
13 JUN 1809 - 24 NOV 1868
Anna Maria Willoughby
1 SEP 1776 - 18 NOV 1857
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) John Harding , MA, Rev
Birth5 MAY 1779
Death10 MAY 1861 Glan Ogwr House in the Parish of Coity in the County of Glamorgan
Marriage1 SEP 1808to Anna Maria Willoughby at St. Georges, Dublin, Ireland
FatherJohn Harding , (3)
MotherFrances Probyn
PARENT (F) Anna Maria Willoughby
Birth1 SEP 1776
Death18 NOV 1857 Glan Ogwr, Lower Coity, Glamorganshire
Marriage1 SEP 1808to John Harding , MA, Rev at St. Georges, Dublin, Ireland
Father? Willoughby
FCaroline Emily Harding
Birth22 OCT 1812Rockfield, Monmouthshire, christened at Dunraven Castle December 1814
Death12 JAN 1901Abbotsham, Devonshire.
Marriage20 DEC 1837to Allan Maclean Skinner , Q.C. at Nolton Chapel, Bridgend, Glamorganshire
MJohn Dorney Harding , Kt.
Birth13 JUN 1809
Death24 NOV 1868Rockfield
Marriageto Isabella Wyld
FAnna Elizabeth Harding
Birth14 OCT 1810
Death25 AUG 1826
MWyndham Harding , F.R.S.
Birth9 AUG 1817
Death1 APR 1855Rockfield
Marriageto Eleanor Bayly
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) John Dorney Harding , Kt.
Birth13 JUN 1809
Death24 NOV 1868 Rockfield
Marriageto Isabella Wyld
FatherJohn Harding , MA, Rev
MotherAnna Maria Willoughby
PARENT (F) Isabella Wyld
Death28 NOV 1888 Sandywell Asylum, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (buried at Rockfield)
Marriageto John Dorney Harding , Kt.
Descendancy Chart
John Dorney Harding , Kt. b: 13 JUN 1809 d: 24 NOV 1868
Isabella Wyld d: 28 NOV 1888