Yesterday, England and Wales welcomed its (at least) 98th Master of the Rolls, Sir Geoffrey Vos. As long ago as 2018 he extolled ‘telepresence’ videoconferencing, and argued for judges and lawyers to be trained in tech.

The office goes back to 1286 or earlier — which doesn’t seem much longer ago than 2018. It was already old when Thomas Cromwell held it.

The first Master of the Rolls of Ireland was Edmund de Grimsby who went home to England after a year (1333). John Philpott Curran held the office and Daniel O’Connell is said to have turned it down. Charles O’Connor was the last. He is most remembered for finding in 1920 that a military court lacked power to impose a death sentence, and then holding the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief in contempt for refusing to obey a habeas corpus writ. O’Connor MR was appointed to the Irish Free State Supreme Court, one of only two judges from the old regime to move into the new judiciary.