George Hay (politician)

Sir George Hay (25 January 1715 6 October 1778)[1] was a British judge and Member of Parliament (MP) who ultimately committed suicide.

The son of John Hay, a Church of England clergyman who was Rector of St Stephen's, Coleman Street, London, he was educated at the Merchant Taylors' School and St John's College, Oxford.[2]

He was Chancellor of the Diocese of Worcester 1751-64; King's Advocate General from 1755-64 (with interval in 1756) and Vicar General to the Archbishop of Canterbury for the same period;[2] He was Dean of Arches 1764–1778[3] and also Judge of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Chancellor of the Diocese of Lichfield for the same period.[2] In 1773, the year he was knighted, he was appointed Judge of the High Court of Admiralty.[2]

In 1754, he was returned as one of the two MPs for Stockbridge,[1] but left the House of Commons in 1756 to take up the post of Commissioner of the Admiralty.[4] He returned to Parliament in July 1757 for Calne[5][6] in Wiltshire, at the request of Pitt the Elder. At the 1761 election, he was returned as MP for Sandwich[7] in Kent, holding that seat until the next election, in 1768, when he stood unsuccessfully for Oxford University. Later that year, through a by-election, he became MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, holding the seat until his death.[2]

In May 1778, he became ill and was known to be 'lunatic' by August. Arrangements to terminate his legal offices were being made, when in October he escaped from his asylum and drowned himself at the age of 63. He never married.[2]


  1. 1 2 Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 5)
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Article by Sir Lewis Namier in History of Parliament Online.
  3.  Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, eds. (1891). "Hay, George (1715-1778)". Dictionary of National Biography. 25. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  4. The Parliaments of England by Henry Stooks Smith (1st edition published in three volumes 1844–50), 2nd edition edited (in one volume) by F.W.S. Craig (Political Reference Publications 1973). Page 512
  5. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "C" (part 1)
  6. Stooks Smith, op. cit. page 363
  7. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 2)
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Daniel Boone
William Chetwynd
Member of Parliament for Stockbridge
With: John Gibbons
Succeeded by
John Gibbons
The Viscount Powerscourt
Preceded by
Thomas Duckett
William Northey
Member of Parliament for Calne
With: William Northey
Succeeded by
Thomas Duckett
Daniel Bull
Preceded by
John Clevland
The Viscount Conyngham
Member of Parliament for Sandwich
With: The Viscount Conyngham
Succeeded by
Philip Stephens
The Viscount Conyngham
Preceded by
John Wrottesley
Alexander Forrester
Member of Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme
With: Alexander Forrester (1768-1774)
George Waldegrave, Viscount Chewton (1774-1778)
Succeeded by
George Leveson-Gower, Viscount Trentham
George Waldegrave, Viscount Chewton

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