Sir Oliver Popplewell

It is with great sadness we report the death on Thursday 6 June of Master Popplewell, beloved husband of Master Gloster and father to Master Andrew Popplewell and three other sons.


Sir Oliver Popplewell was born on 15 August 1927. After attending Charterhouse School as a scholar and Queens' College, Cambridge as an exhibitioner, where he played first class cricket, he was called to the Bar in 1951, took silk in 1969 and was elected a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 1978. Between 1983-1999, he was a Judge of the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division. He chaired the inquiry into the Bradford City Stadium fire and presided over the libel case brought by Jonathan Aiken vs The Guardian newspaper. 

Master Popplewell became President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in 1994, an office he held for two years, and was appointed Honorary Life Vice President in 2010. 

In 2003, he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Harris Manchester College, Oxford, becoming one of the university’s most mature ‘mature’ students. A prolific writer, his publications include: Benchmark: Life, Laughter and the Law, 2003; Hallmark: a Judge at Oxford, 2008; The Prime Minister and His Mistress, 2014; The Aphrodisiac of Power, 2016; A Fine Thing Chance, 2019; Munich: Why?, 2021, the last of which members of the Inn were lucky enough to hear him discuss in 2022 with Master Schiemann who described Master Popplewell as “an inexhaustible source of fun and stimulus”.

A tremendously loyal supporter of the Inn, he regularly attended educational, social and cultural events here. As recently as 20 May, he attended a performance in Hall by the Mozart Players, whose ‘cello section includes his grandson, Leo. 

Master Popplewell will be much missed. The Inn’s flag flew at half-mast in his memory on Friday 7 June 2024.