Master of the Rolls

Posted by Lewis on January 09, 2004

In Reply to: Roll Call posted by ESC on January 07, 2004

: : Is it "Roll Call" or "Role Call" and does anyone know it's origin?

: It is "roll" as in list of names (from Merriam-Webster online):

: Main Entry: roll
: Pronunciation: 'rOl
: Function: noun
: Etymology: Middle English rolle, from Old French, from Latin rotulus, diminutive of rota wheel; akin to Old High German rad wheel, Welsh rhod, Sanskrit ratha wagon
: Date: 13th century
: 1 a : a written document that may be rolled up : SCROLL; specifically : a document containing an official or formal record. The rolls of parliament. : a manuscript book b : a list of names or related items : CATALOG c : an official list: as : MUSTER ROLL : a list of members of a school or class or of members of a legislative body

Not the CEO of Andrex, the government-appointed 'Master of the Rolls' has traditionally been one of the top figures of the English legal system. I met Lord Denning when he was MotR - a maverick whose kind nature would often create new (and sometimes convoluted) interpretations of the law to suit the justice of the case. he may have been overturned on appeal more than most Court of Appeal judges, but he made a lot of landmark decisions along the way. The jobsworths hated him!

In that usage, the MotR had nominal responsibility for the list of qualified Solicitors of the High Court of Judicature and had to sign each certificate.