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William Watson, Baron Watson


William Watson, Baron Watson

The Right Honourable
The Lord Watson
Lord Advocate
In office
Monarch Queen Victoria
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
Deputy John Macdonald
Solicitor General for Scotland
Preceded by Edward Gordon
Succeeded by John McLaren
Solicitor General for Scotland
In office
Monarch Queen Victoria
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by John Millar
Succeeded by John Macdonald
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities
In office
Preceded by Edward Gordon
Succeeded by James Alexander Campbell
Personal details
Born 25 August 1828
Covington, Lanarkshire
Died 14 September 1899(1899-09-14) (aged 71)
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Margaret Bannatyne
Residence 20 Queen's Gate, South Kensington
Alma mater University of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh
Profession Advocate
Baron Watson's grave, Dean Cemetery

William Watson, Baron Watson PC, LL.D (25 August 1827 – 14 September 1899)[1][2] was a Scottish lawyer and Conservative Party politician. He was Lord Advocate, the most senior Law Officer in Scotland, from 1876 to 1880, and was then appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life

Watson was born in 1827, the son of the Reverend Thomas Watson, in Covington, Lanarkshire. He was educated privately and studied at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.[1] He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1851[1] and appeared for the defence of Dr Edward William Pritchard, the poisoner, in 1865.


Watson was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland, one of the Scottish Law Officers and deputy to the Lord Advocate, in 1874,[3] and was elected Dean of the Faculty of Advocates in 1875.[1] In 1876, the Lord Advocate, Edward Gordon, was appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (Lord Gordon of Drumearn) and resigned as Lord Advocate and Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities. Watson won the ensuing by-election[4] and was appointed Lord Advocate.[5] He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1878.[6]

Watson did not stand for re-election at the 1880 general election,[4] and was instead appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary[7] as Baron Watson, of Thankerton in the County of Lanark.[7] As a member of the Privy Council, he was also entitled to sit on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Personal life

Watson married Margaret Bannatyne in 1868, and the pair had five sons and a daughter. His son William also became a law lord as Lord Thankerton. Watson lived at 20 Queen's Gate in South Kensington, and was a member of the Athenæum and the Carlton Club.[1]

He is buried in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh against the north wall.


  1. ^ a b c d e "William Watson, Baron Watson".  
  2. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "G" (part 1)
  3. ^ London Gazette 24 July 1874
  4. ^ a b  
  5. ^ London Gazette 13 October 1876
  6. ^ London Gazette 2 April 1878.
  7. ^ a b London Gazette 27 April 1880

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by William Watson
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Gordon
Member of Parliament for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities
Succeeded by
James Alexander Campbell
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Millar
Solicitor General for Scotland
Succeeded by
John Macdonald
Preceded by
Edward Strathearn Gordon
Lord Advocate
Succeeded by
John McLaren
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