Cottenham, Charles Christopher Pepys, 1st earl of

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Cottenham, Charles Christopher Pepys, 1st earl of (1781–1851). Pepys's grandfather was William Dowdeswell, a pillar of the Rockingham party in the 1770s, and his father, a master in Chancery, was created a baronet in 1801. After Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, Pepys practised law and was brought into Parliament in 1831 on the Fitzwilliam interest. He succeeded John Campbell as solicitor-general in February 1834, became master of the rolls in September 1834, and was 1st commissioner of the great seal in 1835 when Melbourne declined to reappoint Brougham to the lord chancellorship. Pepys was promoted lord chancellor in 1836 and was given a barony, serving until the Whigs went out of office in 1841. On their return in 1846 he resumed the lord chancellorship, resigning in 1850, when he was raised to the earldom. An uncle, Sir Lucas Pepys, was a distinguished physician and a younger brother was a bishop. Cottenham was regarded as sensible and hard-working, but he was not a good speaker, often in poor health, and reserved himself largely for legal matters.

J. A. Cannon