Ralph de Hengham
Judge, Deceased Person
1235 – 1311
Who was Ralph de Hengham?
Sir Ralph de Hengham was an English justice. His first employer was Giles of Erdington a justice of the Common Bench, whose service he entered as a clerk before 1255. By 1260 he had become a clerk for the King's Bench, and later passed into the service of Richard of Middleton, with whom he served on the Eyre circuit of Martin of Littlebury in 1262, and on the circuit led by Middleton himself in 1268–1269. In July 1229 Middleton became the Lord Chancellor, an event which, along with Hengham's own abilities, helped in his rapid rise. He was appointed as a junior justice to the Eyre circuit led by Roger of Seaton in 1271 while only in his mid-thirties, and in 1272 became senior justice to an Eyre circuit of his own. After the death of Henry III brought all Eyre circuits to a halt Hengham was appointed to a central court as a junior justice of the Common Bench starting in Hilary term 1273.
For the following year and a half Hengham also served as an assize judge with Walter de Heliun in the West Midlands. He left the Common Bench in 1274 after being promoted to Chief Justice of the King's Bench, a position he held until 1290.
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