Charles James Monk was born at Peterborough in 1824, the son of James Henry Monk and Jane Smart Monk, née Hughes. He attended Eton and was admitted a pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge, on 9 July 1842, becoming a Fellow Commoner on 18 October 1843. He was Browne Medallist in 1845 and graduated BA in 1847 and MA in 1850. In 1850 he married Julia Ralli. Monk was admitted at Lincoln’s Inn in 1845 and called to the Bar in 1855. In the latter year his father made him Chancellor of Bristol and Vice-Chancellor of Gloucester – he became Chancellor of Gloucester in 1859 – holding both Chancellorships until 1885. In April 1859 he was elected Liberal MP for Gloucester, but was unseated on petition. He represented the constituency from 1865 to 1885 and from 1895 until just before his death in 1900.