The History of 5 Sussex Square

1 William John Law

2 Remarkable Visitor William Gladstone

1 William John Law

Law was born on 6 December 1786. His father, Ewan Law, second son of Edmund Law, Bishop of Carlisle, was Member of Parliament for Westbury, Wiltshire, 1790–5, for Newtown, Isle of Wight, 5 May to 29 June 1802, and died at Horsted, Sussex, 29 April 1829, having married, 28 June 1784, Henrietta Sarah, eldest daughter of Dr. William Markham, Archbishop of York; she died on 15 August 1844, aged 80

The eldest son, William John, was educated at Westminster School, and matriculated, 16 May 1804, from Christ Church, Oxford, where he held a studentship until 1814. He took a university prize for Latin verse in 1807, a first class in the following year, graduated B.A. 1808, and proceeded M.A. 1810. On 11 February 1813 he was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn, and on the passing of Lord Eldon’s Act in 1825 became one of the commissioners of bankruptcy. Subsequently he was appointed a commissioner of the court for the relief of insolvent debtors, and on 1 August 1853 promoted to be the chief commissioner. This court was abolished in 1861

George Ewan Law a younger brother of William Law
George Ewan Law a younger brother of William Law

He was a hard-working and intelligent lawyer, possessed of a thorough practical mastery of the branch of justice which he administered for so many years. Though he was not a betting man, he knew the ‘Racing Calendar’ by heart, and never missed seeing the Epsom Derby. His fondness for the classics never declined. Between 1854 and 1856 he was engaged in controversy with Robert Ellis (1820?–1885), whose views respecting Hannibal’s route over the Alps he sharply attacked in three pamphlets (1855–6). In 1866 he published a voluminous treatise, in 2 vols., On the Passage of Hannibal over the Alps, which had formed his employment in his intervals from business during many years.

He died at 5 Sussex Square, Brighton, 5 October 1869, having married, 1 January 1817, Charlotte Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Simpson of Middlethorpe Hall, Yorkshire.

George Ewan Law went out to work in India where he died at the age of 23 leaving a widow and three sons who returned to England and settled in Hove. The younger son returned to live in India and Burma as did the next six generations. His great grandson now lives in Marine Gate !

Michael Law

Remarkable Visitors

2 William Gladstone

In 1844 Gladstone, then President of the Board of Trade in Peel’s Government, visited for a few days, his brother John Nielson Gladstone who had taken 5 Sussex Square for nine months