George Delaval

Admiral George Delaval by Sir Godfrey Kneller. Collection of Seaton Delaval Hall.

George Delaval (c. 1667 22 June 1723) was an English naval admiral and diplomat.


He was of a junior branch of the Delaval family, the son of George Delaval of North Dissington, Northumberland. His father left him a legacy of only £100 but he went on to make a large fortune from his naval and diplomatic career.

Naval career

He joined the Royal Navy and by 1693 had achieved the rank of 3rd lieutenant aboard HMS Lenox. In 1698 he travelled to North Africa to negotiate the release of British prisoners and on his return as Captain Delaval in May 1700 he took command of the newly commissioned 4th rate man of war HMS Tilbury.

He commanded HMS Tilbury in the vanguard at the Battle of Málaga in the War of the Spanish Succession on 24 August 1704. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1718 and to Vice Admiral in 1722.

Diplomatic and political career

His diplomatic career took him in 1705 to Spain with Lord Peterborough, in 1707 as Envoy to Lisbon and Morocco, and in 1710 to Portugal as Envoy Extraordinary to the King of Portugal.

He served as the member for West Looe, Cornwall in the first and second parliaments of George I from 1715 to 1723, and was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Northumberland in 1716.


In 1716 he purchased for £5000 the forfeited estate of the Shafto family at Bavington Hall, Northumberland, and in 1718 he bought the ancient seat of the Delaval family at Seaton Delaval from his impoverished cousin, Sir John Delaval, 3rd Baronet. He retained the services of the architect Sir John Vanbrugh and began an ambitious rebuilding of Seaton Delaval Hall. He did not live to see the new house completed; in 1723, at the age of 55, he died as a result of falling off his horse. The site of the accident was marked by the erection of an obelisk, the base of which survives to the west of the hall, next to the turning to New Hartley.

He left no issue. He restored Bavington Hall to the Shaftos by bequeathing it to George Shafto, who had married his sister. He left Seaton Delaval Hall to his nephew Francis Blake Delaval.


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