Matthew Skinner

Matthew Skinner

b: 22 OCT 1689
d: 21 OCT 1749
From the Dictionary of National Biography:

SKINNER, MATTHEW (1689-1749), serjeant-at-law, great-grandson of Bishop Robert Skinner (q v) was the third and youngest son of Robert Skinner of Welton, Northamptonshire, and of the Inner Temple, judge of the Marshalsea court, and ' law reporter.' Born on 22 Oct. 1689, Matthew entered Westminster school at the age of fourteen, and, being elected to a studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, matriculated on 18 June 1709, and entered himself a student of Lincoln's Inn two days afterwards. Having been called to the bar on 21 April 1716, he joined the Oxford circuit, and was chosen recorder of Oxford on 30 May 1721. In 1719 he purchased from Simon Urling (afterwards recorder of London), the place of one of the four common pleaders of the city of London, who then enjoyed the exclusive right and privilege of practising in the lord mayor's court; but this position he surrendered in 1722 to Thomas Garrard (after-wards common serjeant of London). So rapidly did his practice increase that he was called to the rank of serjeant-at-law in Easter term, 1 Feb. 1724, was made one of the king's serjeants on 11 June 1728, and became his majesty's prime (or first) seqeant by letters patent on 12 May 1734. He served as treasurer of Serjeants Inn in 1728, and the same year published his father's 'Reports of Cases decided in the Court of King's Bench, 33 Charles II to 9 William III.' After making an unsuccessful attempt to enter parliament for Andover in 1727, Skinner, who resided at Oxford (1722-1739), was chosen member for that city at the general election of 1734, but on 26 Nov. 1738 vacated his seat on being appointed chief justice of Chester, and of the great sessions for the counties of Flint, Denbigh, and Montgomery, which judicial position, together with the recordership of Oxford, he occupied until his death. He was the second counsel for the crown in the prosecution of the rebels on the northern circuit in July 1746, and led for the crown at Lord Balmerino's trial in the House of Lords the same year.

Skinner married, in 1719, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Whitfield of Watford Place, Hertfordshire, and, dying at Oxford on 21 Oct. 1749, was buried in the cathedral. His eldest son died on 8 April 1735 ; while another son, Matthew Skinner, was also a barrister of Lincoln's Inn, and was invited to the bench of that society on 28 Nov. 1782, but does not appear to have sat.
[Welch's Alumni Westm.; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714; Woolrych's Serjeants-at-Law; Official Returns of Members of Parliament; Smith's Parliaments of England: Gent. Mag. 1749, p. 476 ; Ockerby's Book of Dignities.]

From "Records of the Society of Lincoln's Inn Vol 3, 1660-1775":

Page 270: Council held on December 8th, 1724. Seven Benchers present.
£500 South Sea Bonds and £600 South Sea Annuities are to be sold, and tradesman's bills amounting to £1,280 1s 61/4d shall be paid........................................
Payments: ...................... £10 10s and a purse to Sir Lawrence Carter, Knight, Serjeant-at-Law; the like to Sarjeant (Mathew] Skinner; £1 for 4 bottles of "Red Clarrott" from Fisher's;............................... From the account of Robert Skinner DD, Bishop of Worcester by Allan Maclean Skinner QC:

His eldest son, Matthew, was born October 22nd, 1689; and in 1704, aged 14, was admitted a Scholar of St. Peter's College, Westminster; was in 1709 elected a Student of Christ Church College, Oxford; and on June 20th, of the same year, was entered as a Student at Lincoln's-Inn, William Melmoth, grandfather of John Skynner, Sub-Dean of York, being his surety. On coming of age, he acquired the family property at Welton, and on April 21st, 1716, was called to the Bar, and joined the Oxford Circuit.

His mother, Anne, died at 6 a.m., June 24th, 1718, and was buried the Thursday night following, within the rails of the Chancel of St. Mary's Church, Bath. In the year following, September 8th, 1719, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Whitfield, Esq., of Watford Place, Herts. He took a residence in Watling Street, London, having been admitted, by purchase, from Simon Urling, Esq., Common Pleader of the City of London, the title given to each of the four Counsel, to whom, till lately, was given the exclusive privilege of practice in the Lord Mayor’s Court. He surrendered this office, July 4th, 1722, to Thomas Gazzard, who was afterwards Judge of the Sherriff's Court, and Common Serjeant. He then removed to the City of Oxford, where he continued in full practice for seventeen years, and constantly travelled the Oxford Circuit.

On May 30th, 1721, he was elected Recorder of Oxford, and in Easter Term, 1724, was, with eleven others, made Serjeant-at-Law, giving gold rings, with the motto "bonus felixque." At the general election in 1728, he unsuccessfully contested the borough of Andover, and in the same year, he published notes of cases argued in the King’s Bench from the 33 Car. iid., to 9th William III, made by his learned father, Robert, and now quoted as " Skinner's Reports."

He was made a King's Serjeant on June 11th, 1730, and afterwards, bv letters patent, dated May 12th, 1734, "The King's Serjeant," during pleasure then, and till 1811 the highest rank at the Bar. He was, the same year, elected M.P. for the City of Oxford.

He was Treasurer of Serjeant's-lnn, and appears to have provided, in 1737, the official mace, still used by that Society, his name being engraved on it.

He resigned his seat for Oxford in 1738, succeeding, by the appointment of his friend Sir Robert Walpole, as Chief Justice of Chester, John Verney, Esq., made Master of the Rolls; and it appears, by different letters patent, enrolled in 1739, he was made Chief Justice of Chester and Flint, and also of Denbigh and Montgomery, at the several salaries of £500, £200, and £30 a year. In these offices he was in 1740, associated with the Honourable John Talbot, as his puisne judge, ancestor of the Honourable John Chetwynd Talbot, Q.C., who by his death in 1852, made vacant the office of' Recorder of Windsor, since then held by Allan Maclean Skinner, Q.C., on the recommendation of the Right Honourable Spencer H. Walpole. He conducted for the Crown, as Prime Serjeant, on July 28th, 1746, the prosecution of Lord Kilmarnock for high treason, taking precedence, by virtue of his patents, of the Attorney General; though it would seem, that he somewhat tediously delivered his speech, (preserved in the State trials), if his manner justified the joke of Horace Walpole, who thus amusingly alludes to the recollection of Lord Cowper's eloquence, on sentencing Lord Derwentwater and others to death, in February, 1716. "After the second Scotch rebellion, Lord Hardwicke presided at the trials of the rebel Lords. Somebody said to Sir Charles Wyndham, 'Oh, you don't think Lord Hardwicke's speech good, because you heard Lord Cowper's.' 'No,' he replied, 'but I do think it tolerable, because I heard Serjeant Skinner's."'

On October 21st, 1749, he died at Oxford, Premier King's Serjeant, Chief Judge of Chester, and Recorder of Oxford. He was buried in Christ Church Cathedral, and on a slab, placed on a pillar after his wife's death, by their only surviving child Matthew, is found this epitaph to their memory:-

H. S. E.
Matthaeus Skinner, Armiger
Civitatis Oxon Recordator,
Cestriae Justiciarius Capitalis
Serenissimi Regis Georgii 2di,
Serviens ad legem Primarius
Qui hujusce sedis olim alumnus
Hic, inter socios,
Ossa sua recondi voluit
Obiit Oct. XXI. mo., A.D. MDCCXLIX., no.
AEtatis LX mo.
Sub eodem marmore
Prope Conjugis Reliquias
Repositae sunt
Etiam Elizabethae Skinner
Filiae Tliomae Whitfield
De Watford in agro Herfordiensi, arm.
Obiit XXII mo. Dec., A.D. MDCCLX mo.
AEtatis LX mo.

On a stone over the tomb is written, Hic jacent Matthaeus Skinner, arm. et Elizabetha, uxor ejus, 1761."
  • 22 OCT 1689 - Birth -
  • 21 OCT 1749 - Death - ; Oxford, as Recorder of Oxford
  • 1704 - Fact -
  • 1709 - Fact -
  • 21 APR 1716 - Fact -
  • 1719 - Fact -
  • 30 MAY 1721 - Fact -
  • 1722 - Fact -
  • 1728 - Fact -
  • 11 JUN 1730 - Fact -
  • 1734 - Fact -
  • 1737 - Fact -
  • 1738 - Fact -
Matthew Skinner
1 APR 1624 - 1698
Robert Skinner
28 MAY 1655 - 20 MAR 1697
Matthew Skinner
22 OCT 1689 - 21 OCT 1749
Anne Buckby
- 24 JUN 1718
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Robert Skinner
Birth28 MAY 1655
Death20 MAR 1697
Marriageto Anne Buckby
FatherMatthew Skinner
MotherFrances Sympson
PARENT (F) Anne Buckby
Death24 JUN 1718
Marriageto Robert Skinner
FatherWilliam Buckby
MotherMary Raynsford
MMatthew Skinner
Birth22 OCT 1689
Death21 OCT 1749Oxford, as Recorder of Oxford
Marriage1719to Elizabeth Whitfield
MRichard Skinner
Birth31 MAY 1693
Death26 JUL 1746
MSamuel Skinner
Birth13 JAN 1696
Death1731the service of the East India Company, slain by Augria or Angrea, the pirate
FAnne Skinner
FCatherine Skinner
Marriageto David James
FMary Skinner
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Matthew Skinner
Birth22 OCT 1689
Death21 OCT 1749 Oxford, as Recorder of Oxford
Marriage1719to Elizabeth Whitfield
FatherRobert Skinner
MotherAnne Buckby
PARENT (F) Elizabeth Whitfield
Marriage1719to Matthew Skinner
FatherThomas Whitfield
MMatthew Skinner
Birth8 MAR 1729Oxford
Death14 JUN 1814(According to Burkes Landed Gentry, Skinner of Shirley Park, he died 2 July)
Marriage11 MAY 1761to Anne Moody
MRobert Skinner
MGeorge Skinner
MThomas Skinner
[S6627] 'A Few Memorials of the Right Rev. Robert Skinner, D.D., Bishop of Worcester, 1663.....'
Descendancy Chart