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Our History

Winckworth Sherwood can trace its history back to the late 1700’s when John Ellis, one of the founders of the firm, started practicing law. Since then, the firm has gone through several transformations, each bringing a new focus and a new addition to our clientele.

Many of our existing client relationships were formed well over a century ago. We are proud of our ability to adapt and truly understand the needs of our clients at any given point in time.

Trollope & Winckworth

The name under which the firm first opened for business. John Ellis, one of the founders, started practising law in 1777 and was joined by George Crawley a year later. Ellises and Crawleys figure prominently among the firm’s partners for the greater part of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The firm has always had a strong connection with clients based in Westminster. The Ellises and Crawleys acted in all the Metropolitan Police Receiver’s early property transactions (the Police Office was set up in Whitehall Place in 1829, moving to the Norman Shaw building on the Victoria Embankment in 1890 and to its present home in Victoria in 1967).

One of the partners, George Ellis, was Secretary of the Westminster Hospital, for whom the firm continued to act for over 150 years. It has similar long-standing relationships with United Westminster Almshouses, the Greycoat School and other Westminster charities.

Trollope & Winckworth was the chief source of the firm’s church and charity connections.


Winckworth & Pemberton

Trollope & Winckworth merged with Meynell & Pemberton in 1967, bringing to the firm a significant private client practice. To this day, we continue to have very strong associations with the Leigh-Pemberton family, having acted for some of their family interests since the early part of the nineteenth century. The Pemberton name has been retained in the firm’s nominee and service companies. Edward Leigh-Pemberton of Torry Hill was a founder of Meynell & Pemberton and was President of the Law Society from 1857 to 1858.

In the late 1980s the firm incorporated elements of another Westminster firm, Knapp-Fishers, and Lavington Thatcher & Taylor. They brought with them important and unusual client connections, notably in licensed property and education.

Winckworth Sherwood

Winckworth & Pemberton merged with Sherwood & Co. in 1991 and we then practised as Winckworth & Pemberton incorporating Sherwood & Co.

Sherwood & Co. was founded as a firm of Parliamentary Agents in the early nineteenth century. It specialised in water and transport affairs, and in particular in railways, from Stephenson’s Rocket through to Eurostar. The firm acted as Parliamentary Agents for the enabling legislation for the Channel Tunnel and Crossrail.

In 1998 the firm changed its name to Winckworth Sherwood and the rest, as they say, is history. Our current structure and specialisms reflect the unique heritage and client relationships we have forged since 1777. But it’s not all about the past; we are fully focused on the needs of our current and future clients, adapting the way we work accordingly.