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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George Hammond Whalley (January 22 1813 – October 8 1878) was a British lawyer and politician.

He was the eldest son of James Whalley, a merchant and banker from Gloucester, and a direct descendant of Edward Whalley, the famous regicide. George was educated at University College London, gaining a first class degree in Metaphysics and Rhetoric, and entered Gray's Inn in 1835, being called to the bar in 1839. He was an assistant tithe commissioner between 1836 and 1847, writing over 200 articles for the Justice of the Peace between 1838 and 1842.[1] In 1838 and 1839 he published a pair of treatises on the Tithe Acts, which were expanded, bound and published in 1848 as The Tithe Act and the Whole of the Tithe Amendment Acts.

In 1846 he married Anne Wakeford, with whom he had a son and two daughters. During the Irish Potato Famine in 1847 he established several fisheries on the Irish west coast. In 1852 he was made High Sheriff of Caernarvonshire, a Deputy Lieutenant of Denbighshire and a captain in the Denbighshire Yeomanry.

Parliamentary career

He unsuccessfully stood for Parliament in 1845 at Leominster and in 1852 at Montgomery, and was finally returned in December 1852 as a Liberal for Peterborough. There were reports of irregularities in the election, which had been heavily influenced by Earl Fitzwilliam, and a Committee of the House of Commons was established in July 1853 to investigate the case.[2] The committee determined that he had not been legitimately elected, and reinstated his opponent, Thomas Hankey.[3] He was once again elected, however, in the 1859 general election.

An Anglican, Whalley was persuaded to lead the parliamentary campaign against Roman Catholicism, taking over from the ailing Richard Spooner. His principal aim was to abolish the Maynooth Grant, claiming that Britain was paying for the creation of priests whose goal was to turn Britain into a "citadel of Popery". His three motions for the creation of a committee to consider repeal of the grant were all defeated in 1861, 1862, and 1863, and he experienced difficulty in getting his anti-Catholic speeches heard due to opposition from the numerous Irish MPs.[4]

In 1866 he claimed to have evidence that Vatican machinations had caused the defeat of British troops in New Zealand, that Cardinal Cullen, the Irish primate, intended to place a Stuart pretender on the throne of England, and that the Pope had taken control of the British artillery corps, the police, the telegraph office, and railway companies.[5] He was also a zealous supporter of Arthur Orton, the notorious Tichborne Claimant, and was eventually jailed by Lord Chief Justice Cockburn, who tried the case, for contempt of court.[6]

He died in 1878, still in office; his son, George Hampden Whalley, later became another MP for Peterborough between 1880 and 1883.

External links


  1. ^ T. Nicholas, Annals and antiquities of the counties and county families of Wales p. 416 ISBN 0806313145
  2. ^ Hansard, vol. 129 cols. 544-56. 21st July 1853
  3. ^ Hansard, vol. 129 col. 1726, 15th August 1853
  4. ^ F. H. Wallis, Popular anti-Catholicism in mid-Victorian Britain p. 122 ISBN 0773493247
  5. ^ W. Arnstein, Protestant vs. Catholic in mid-Victorian England p212 ISBN 9780826203540
  6. ^ Dictionary of National Biography
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Watson
Member of Parliament for Peterborough
Succeeded by
Thomson Hankey
Preceded by
Thomson Hankey
Member of Parliament for Peterborough
Succeeded by
William Wells
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Martin Williams
High Sheriff of Caernarvonshire
Succeeded by
Robert Vaughan Wynne Williams


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