Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Roper, Roper Stote Donnison

ROPER, ROPER STOTE DONNISON (1771–1823?), legal writer, born on 9 March 1771, was only son of the Rev. Watson Stote Donnison of Trimdon, Durham. Through his mother, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Jonathan Sparke, esq., of Hutton-Henry (by Elizabeth daughter of William Roper, esq., of Clayport), he became heir to the Trimdon estates, the property of the Roper family, and at the age of about twenty-five assumed the surname of Roper. On 29 March 1793 he was admitted at Gray's Inn, and on 6 Feb. 1799 was called to the bar. In 1805 he appeared in the ‘Law List’ as of 2 Lincoln's Inn Square, equity draughtsman. His name figured there for the last time in 1823. Roper Stote Donnison Rowe Roper of Trimdon, probably a son, married, 25 Oct. 1838, Jemima Margaret, daughter of the Rev. John Gilpin of Sedbury Park, Yorkshire (Burke, Landed Gentry).

Roper was the author of several legal works. The first, a ‘Treatise upon the Law of Legacies,’ appeared in 1799, and was reissued in 1805. It was commended by Lord Eldon, Story, and Kent. The author at his death left a portion of it thoroughly revised. The work was completed by Henry Hopley White, and issued in two volumes, 1828, as a third edition. A fourth edition appeared in 1847, and a second American edition in 1848. Roper also published ‘Treatise on the Revocation and Republication of Wills and Testaments, together with tracts upon the law concerning Baron and Ferme,’ 1800, 8vo (American edition, 1803), and ‘Treatise on the Law of Property arising from the Relation between Husband and Wife,’ 1820, 2 vols. 8vo. A second edition of the latter, with additions, was issued by E. Jacob in 1826, and American editions appeared in 1824, 1841, and 1850. J. E. Bright's ‘Treatise on the Law of Husband and Wife’ (1849) was largely founded on it.

[Surtees's Hist. of Durham, i. 105–7, ii. 205; Foster's Gray's Inn Register; Law Lists; Allibone's Dict. Engl. Lit. ii. 1863; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

G. Le G. N.