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William Cope
Personal information
Full name William Cope
Date of birth August 18, 1870(1870-08-18)
Place of birth Roath, Wales
Date of death 15 July 1946 (aged 75)
Place of death St Mellons, Wales
School Repton School
University Clare College, Cambridge
Occupation(s) politician
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Forward
Cambridge University R.U.F.C.
Cardiff RFC
Blackheath F.C.
Barbarian F.C.
National team(s) Caps (points)
1896 Wales 1 (0)

Sir William Cope, Baron Cope, Bt. (18 August 1870 – 15 July 1946)[1] was a Welsh Conservative Party politician, who was also notable as an international rugby union player for Wales.

He was Member of Parliament for Llandaff and Barry from 1918 to 1929. He as made a baronet (Cope of St Mellons) in 1928 and was elevated to the peerage as Baron Cope in July 1945.


Personal history

Cope was born in Roath, Cardiff in 1870, the son of Matthew Cope from St Mellons and Margaret Harrison.[2] He was educated at Repton School before metriculating to Clare College, Cambridge in 1888.[3] He was awarded his BA in 1891 and in 1895 collected his MA. After leaving Cambridge Cope began his legal profession and was admitted to the Inner Temple, and in 1894 he was called to The Bar.

On 5 September 1900 he married Helen Shuldham, and they had two children; Helen Margaret Latita and William Shuldham.

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Cope joined the Glamorgan Yeomanry, rising to the rank of major. On returning to Britain in 1918, he ran for Parliament, standing for the seat of Llandaff and Barry. In 1923 he became a Junior Lord of the Treasury, a post he held until 1928. On leaving The Treasury he was given the role of Comptroller of the Royal Household, a role he undertook for just a year when he left government in 1929. Now Baron Cope, he held several offices in his home county of Glamorgan. He was a Justice of the Peace, and a Deputy Lieutenant and in 1932 was made High Sheriff of Glamorgan. In 1933 he was invested as a King's Council.

Rugby career

Cope first came to note as a rugby player when he played for Cambridge University while a student. In 1891 he played in The Varsity Match against Oxford, gaining a sporting Blue. From 1891 through to 1895 Cope turned out for his home club of Cardiff,[4] and after leaving university he also represented first class English team Blackheath. During the 1891-1892 season Cope became a member of invitational team the Barbarians in only their second year.[5] Four years later Cope was selected to represent Wales as part of the 1896 Home Nations Championship in a match against Scotland. Cope was brought in to a much changed team after a disastrous opening match of the tournament against England; the selectors reacting to a 25-0 scoreline by selecing five new caps in the pack. Cope was one of the new members, who under the leadership of Arthur 'Monkey' Gould, managed to beat Scotland 6-0. Despite the victory, this was Cope's only international game, being replaced by a returning Arthur Boucher in the next match of the Championship.


  • Davies, D.E. (1975). Cardiff Rugby Club, History and Statistics 1876-1975. Risca: The Starling Press. ISBN 0950442100.  


  1. ^ William Cope player profile
  2. ^ The
  3. ^ Cope, William in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  4. ^ Davies (1975), pg238.
  5. ^ Starmer-Smith, Nigel, The Barbarians; Macdonald & Jane's Publishers (1977) pg. 219 ISBN 0860075524
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Llandaff and Barry
Succeeded by
Charles Ellis Lloyd
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Harry Barnston
Comptroller of the Household
Succeeded by
Thomas Henderson
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Cope


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