Earl of Selborne



Born: No­vem­ber 27, 1812, Mix­bu­ry, Ox­ford­shire, Eng­land.

Died: May 4, 1895, Black­moor, Eng­land.

Buried: St. Mat­thew’s, Black­moor, Hamp­shire, Eng­land: me­mor­i­al in the nave, grave in the church­yard.



Roundell was the son of Will­iam Jo­ce­lyn Pal­mer, rec­tor of Mix­bu­ry. His mo­ther Do­ro­thea was the daugh­ter of min­is­ter Will­iam Roun­dell of Gled­stone Hall, York­shire. Hym­nist Will­iam Palmer was his bro­ther.

Roundell was ed­u­cat­ed at Rug­by School, Win­che­ster Col­lege, and the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Ox­ford. At Ox­ford, he be­gan at Christ Church, mov­ing to Tri­ni­ty Col­lege up­on re­ceiv­ing a schol­ar­ship, and be­came a Fel­low of Mag­da­len Col­lege. He gra­du­at­ed BA in 1834, MA in 1836. While at the Un­i­ver­si­ty, he be­came a close friend of hymn­ist Fred­er­ick Fa­ber.

Palmer was called to the bar in 1837. He en­tered par­lia­ment as a Con­ser­va­tive in 1847. He joined the Peel­ite Con­ser­va­tives who event­u­al­ly helped cre­ate the Li­ber­al par­ty in 1859. He served un­der Lord Palm­er­ston and Lord Rus­sell as So­li­ci­tor Gen­er­al (1861–63) and as At­tor­ney Gen­er­al (1863–66).

Under Glad­stone, he be­came Lord Chan­cel­lor in 1872 and be­came Bar­on Sel­borne, of Sel­borne in the Coun­ty of South­amp­ton. His first ten­ure in the of­fice saw the pass­age of the Ju­di­ca­ture Act of 1873, which re­or­gan­ized the ju­di­ci­ary. He served in the same of­fice in Glad­stone’s Se­cond Ca­bi­net (1880–85), and was made Vis­count Wol­mer, of Black­moor in the Coun­ty of South­amp­ton, and Earl of Selborne in 1882.

He broke with Glad­stone ov­er Ir­ish Home Rule in 1885, and joined the Li­ber­al Un­ion­ists.

Palmer was elect­ed a Fel­low of the Roy­al So­ci­e­ty in June 1860.