Saturday, 12 October 2013

Right. Hon. George Augustus Chichester May PC QC.

Foyle College, Lawrence Hill, - 12th October 2013.


Born in Belfast in 1815 George Augustus Chichester May attended Foyle College during the headmastership of Rev. John Knox. He was a son of the Rev. Edward May and his wife Elizabeth Sinclair. The young George was only four years of age when his father died in 1819. His grandfather Sir James Edward May, 2nd Bt. of Mayfield in the County of Wexford and MP for Belfast had died in 1814. One of Sir Jame's daughters had married the 2nd Marquess of Donegall which presumably explains the inclusion of the name, "Chichester," in George's baptismal records.


May's education was continued at Shrewsbury School and Magdalene College Oxford where he graduated in 1838. He was called to the Irish Bar in the Hilary term of 1844 and by 1865 he had been appointed QC. In 1873 he was elected a bencher of King's Inns and in 1874 he was appointed the legal advisor to The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The following year saw him appointed as the Attorney General of Ireland by Disraeli. His legal career progressed further when on 8th February 1877 he was appointed Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and sworn in as a Privy Councillor. He retained his title of Lord Chief Justice of Ireland until his retirement for reasons of ill health in 1887. He died on 16th August 1892.


May's wife, Olivia, was the the fourth daughter of Sir Matthew Barrington Bt. The couple had ten children, one of whom, Sir Francis Henry May would serve as the fifteenth Governor of Hong Kong, from 1912 to 1919.


References: Our School Times; The Peerage.


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