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Lord Coleraine

George Hanger, 4th Baron Coleraine (13 October 1751 – 31 March 1824) was an British soldier, author, and eccentric. He was born into a prosperous family in Gloucestershire, being the third son of seven children. His father, was Gabriel Hanger, a Parliamentarian, who in 1762 was created Baron Coleraine.

George Hanger's education was geared towards entering the army. He was sent to Reading School and then Eton before going to the University of Göttingen. After joining the army of Frederick the Great, he returned to England and purchased an Ensigncy in the 1st Regiment of Footguards in 1771 . About this time, he married his first wife, a gypsy, who soon ran off with a tinker.

In the army he gained the reputation of being a womaniser, to the detriment of his military duties. He purchased a Lieutenantcy in 1776, but retired in disgust after a more junior officer purchased promotion over him. He then purchased a Captaincy in the Hessian Jägers. He served throughout the American Revolution, transferring to Sir Banastre Tarleton's British Legion as commander of its light dragoons, and rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1793.

He also became involved in a minor literary feud, in 1789, publishing An Address to the Army; In Reply To 'Strictures', by Roderick M'Kenzie (Late Lieutenant in the 71st Regiment) On Tarleton's History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781.[1] The full title of M'Kenzie's book was Strictures on Colonel Banaster Tarleton's History of the Southern Campaigns of 1780 and 1781[2] and was itself critical of Tarleton's 1787 account of the Battle of Camden called A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces of North America[3]. Discussion of this apparently continues to this day.[4]

After returning to England, he became a companion of the Prince Regent (later King George IV). They became great friends, the prince apparently loving both his humour and his exploits in both the army and with women, and appointing him Equerry in 1791. The only surviving painting of Hanger comes from this period. Commissioned by the prince, it remains in the Royal Collection. Hanger was also the butt of caricaturists and many prints of him survive. The National Portrait Gallery in London has a collection of twenty prints by James Gillray satirising him. [5]. In 1795 he purchased the Lieutenant-Colonelcy of the 125th Foot. Six months later he exchanged into the 1st Battalion of the 82nd Foot.

In 1814, he declined a seat in the House of Commons (even though his father and two of his brothers had done so before him). Instead, he took a place in the House of Lords when he succeeded to the family title. In need of money, he sold his Lieutenant-Colonel's ciommission in 1796 and purchased an Ensigncy in the 70th Foot and was appointed Captain-Commissary in the Royal Artillery in 1806. He died in London in 1824, at the age of 74.

Further reading

  • Hanger's biography
  • Hanger also published two other works:
    • Life, Adventures, and Opinions (London, 1801), about his life and other military subjects.
    • Lives, Adventures, and Sharping Tricks of Eminent Gamesters (1804), about his life.


Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
William Hanger
Baron Coleraine
Succeeded by

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