John Gordon (South Londonderry MP)

John Gordon PC (23 November 1849 in County Down – 26 September 1922 in Dublin City) was an Irish lawyer and politician, who served as Attorney-General for Ireland and a Judge of the High Court.

Life and career

Gordon was the son of Samuel Gordon, of Shankhill, County Down. He was educated at Queen's College Galway, a constituent college of the Queen's University of Ireland, where he held a senior scholarship in mathematics, graduating with a B.A. degree in that subject (3rd class honours) in 1873, and LL.B. in 1876. He served as auditor of the college's Literary and Debating Society for the 1873-1874 session. He was awarded an L.L.D. (honoris causa) on the dissolution of the Queen's University in 1882. He was called to the Irish Bar at the King's Inns in 1877.

He married Dorothy Clay in 1887.

Gordon was elected a Member of Parliament for the South Londonderry constituency in 1900, as a representative of the Liberal Unionist interest, and served in the House of Commons until 1916.

On 1 October 1902, Gordon sent a letter to be read at the annual meeting of the Moray and Nairn Conservative Association. In this letter, he cited growing tensions in Europe and abroad in order to call for increased unity within the United Kingdom, stating that "We shall need amid the gathering difficulties of the future a united national voice in support of our empire's interests in peace or in where when these are threatened by a world-wide rivalry"[1]

In June 1915 when his party joined the Asquith coalition government, he was appointed Attorney-General for Ireland, an office he held until April 1916, when he was appointed a judge of the King's Bench division of the High Court of Justice in Ireland. He also became a member of the Irish Privy Council in 1915.

He died in Dublin on 26 September 1922 aged 72, having been taken ill in a tram on his journey home from the Four Courts. Maurice Healy, who vividly described many of the Irish judges of his youth in his memoir "The Old Munster Circuit" confessed that Gordon had made almost no impression on him except a refusal to wear bright colours.


  1. "Moray and Nairn Conservative Association". Aberdeen Daily Journal. 20 October 1902. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Lea
Member of Parliament for South Londonderry
Succeeded by
Denis Henry
Legal offices
Preceded by
Jonathan Pim
Attorney-General for Ireland
Succeeded by
James Campbell
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