CASBERD, Robert Matthew (1772-1841), of 3 Brick Court, Temple, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1812 - 1820

Family and Education

b. 19 Jan. 1772, 2nd s. of Rev. John Casberd, DD, fellow of St. John’s Coll. Oxf. and vicar of St. Augustine’s, Bristol by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Robert Mathew(s) of Maes Mawr, Glam., wid. of Jacob Elton of Bristol, Glos. educ. Bristol; St. John’s, Oxf. 1788, fellow 1791-1831, BCL 1796, DCL 1800; M. Temple 1788, called 1799. unm.

Offices Held

Patent of precedence 7 Dec. 1818, bencher M. Temple 1819, reader 1820-1, treasurer 1827; second justice of Brecon circuit July 1819-30; KC 23 Feb. 1820.

Exchequer bill loan commr. 1831-d.


The grandson, son, younger brother and uncle of Anglican clergymen,1 Casberd pursued a legal career. In the Law Lists he at first featured as a special pleader, then as a barrister on the western circuit and Wiltshire sessions (1809). On 7 Dec. 1818 he was granted a patent of precedence on the western circuit, having ‘distinguished himself greatly [as the Pagets’ counsel] in the important trial relative to Cranborne Chase, decided against Lord Rivers’.2 He sat for Milborne Port on the Paget interest, listed a supporter of administration. He obtained leave of absence in March of every year to go on circuit. When present, he voted against Catholic relief. He voted with ministers on the civil list, 6, 24 May 1816; on the finance committee, 7 Feb., against the reduction of the board of Admiralty, 25 Feb., and in favour of the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817; against the censure motion of 18 May, for the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June 1819; and he remained in town to support their measures against sedition as late as 23 Dec. 1819.

Only one speech is reported: on 13 Feb. 1817 he was given leave to bring in a bill to facilitate the progress of business in the court of King’s bench; by this, one judge was to be given competence to hear justifications for bail while the other judges went on with cases, as the number of justifications had risen to over 2,000 a year, causing a serious delay. Casberd obtained a Welsh judgeship in 1819 and retired from Parliament in the following year to give all his attention to legal business. He died, unmarried, at his chambers, 2/3 Jan. 1842, and was buried in the Temple vault.

A man of excellent moral character ... although not of brilliant talents, [he] possessed a fund of good sound practical sense ... add to which, he had read much, and possessed a large fund of useful information ... of mild and gentlemanly manners, and although reserved in a mixed company, was a pleasant companion.

He had ‘long been in habits of friendship’ with Lord Stowell (William Scott*).3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Burke LG (1846).
  • 2. The Late Elections (1818), 503; Add. 38273, f. 205; 48404, f. 103.
  • 3. Gent. Mag. (1842), i. 219; Williamson, M. Temple Bench Bk. (1912), 286.