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The Right Honourable
 The Viscount Ossington 

In office
1857 – 1872
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by Sir Charles Shaw-Lefevre
Succeeded by Hon. Sir Henry Brand

Born 27 January 1800 (2010-01-17T08:58:41)
Ossington, Nottinghamshire
Died 7 March 1873 (2010-01-17T08:58:42)
Nationality British
Political party Whig, Liberal
Spouse(s) Lady Charlotte Bentinck
(d. 1889)
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

John Evelyn Denison, 1st Viscount Ossington PC (27 January 1800 – 7 March 1873) was a British statesman. He served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1857 to 1872.


Background and education

Born at Ossington, Nottinghamshire, Denison was the eldest son of John Denison (d. 1820), and the brother of George Anthony Denison, a conservative churchman. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.

Political career

Sir Evelyn Denison, Speaker, in a Vanity Fair cartoon of 1870.

A Whig, he became Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1823, being returned for Hastings three years later, and holding for a short time a subordinate position in Canning's ministry. Defeated in 1830 both at Newcastle-under-Lyme and then at Liverpool, Denison secured a seat as one of the members for Nottinghamshire in 1831; and after the Great Reform Act he represented the southern division of Nottinghamshire from 1832 until the general election of 1837.

He represented Malton from 1841 to 1857, and North Nottinghamshire from 1857 to 1872. In April 1857 Denison was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons. Re-elected at the beginning of three successive parliaments he retained this position until February 1872, when he resigned and was created Viscount Ossington. He refused, however, to accept the pension usually given to retiring Speakers. Denison gave a justification—referred to as Speaker Denison's rule—as to why the Speaker casts his or her vote in most cases in favour of, rather than against, a government, where they have the casting vote.


In 1827 he had married Lady Charlotte (d. 1889), daughter of William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland, but he left no children. He died on 7 March 1873, and his title became extinct. However, a street in London was named in his honour.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Kinnersley
Sir Robert Wilmot, Bt
Member of Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme
1823 – 1826
With: Sir Robert Wilmot, Bt
Succeeded by
Richardson Borradaile
Sir Robert Wilmot, Bt
Preceded by
Sir William Curtis, Bt
Sir Charles Wetherell
Member of Parliament for Hastings
With: James Lushington, to 1831;
Joseph Planta, from 1831
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Fane
Joseph Planta
Preceded by
Frank Sotheron
John Lumley
Member of Parliament for Nottinghamshire
With: John Lumley
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for South Nottinghamshire
with The Earl of Lincoln

Succeeded by
The Earl of Lincoln
Lancelot Rolleston
Preceded by
Viscount Milton
John Childers
Member of Parliament for Malton
With: John Childers, to 1846;
Viscount Milton, 1846–1847;
John Childers, 1847–52;
Hon. Charles Wentworth-FitzWilliam, from 1852
Succeeded by
James Brown
Hon. Charles Wentworth-FitzWilliam
Preceded by
Lord Henry Bentinck
Lord Robert Clinton
Member of Parliament for North Nottinghamshire
1857 – 1872
With: Lord Robert Pelham-Clinton, to 1865;
Lord Edward Pelham-Clinton, 1865–1868;
Frederick Chatfield Smith, from 1868
Succeeded by
Hon. George Monckton-Arundell
Frederick Chatfield Smith
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Charles Shaw-Lefevre
Speaker of the House of Commons
1857 – 1872
Succeeded by
Hon. Sir Henry Brand
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Ossington
1872 – 1873


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