Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Right Hon. Sir George Fitzgerald Hill, Bt. PC.

Born on 1st June 1763 the eldest son of Sir Hugh Hill and his second wife Hannah, (dau of John McClintock of Dunmore, Co Donegal), George Fitzgerald Hill was a pupil of the Diocesan School, later to become known as Foyle College. He entered Trinity College Dublin on 22nd June 1780 and graduated with a BA in 1783. During his time at Trinity he befriended Theobald Tone, an individual more usually known by his middle name of Wolfe. The erstwhile friends were to meet again briefly on 8th November 1898. Hill's militia regiment was sent to Buncrana to escort the prisoners from the French vessel, "La Hoche," to Londonderry's gaol.


He succeeded to the Baronetcy in 1779 upon the death of his father. On 10th September 1788 he married Jane Beresford daughter of Rt Hon John de la Poer Beresford and Anne Constantia de Ligondes. It seems probable that it was in or about that time that Sir George bought the Brook Hall Estate on the outskirts of Londonderry.


Sir George held various public appointments and offices. He was MP for Coleraine, (1791-95) and was appointed Recorder of Londonderry in 1791. He was MP for Londonderry City (1795-1801 and 1802-1830) and MP for County Londonderry (1801-02). From 1796 he was Captain-Commandant of the Londonderry Yeoman Legion and from 1797 until 1823 he was an officer in the County Londonderry Militia, ultimately becoming its Colonel for a brief period.


In 1798 he was appointed Clerk of the Irish Parliament and when this was abolished he received an annual pension of £2265 in compensation for his loss of office. Between 1817 and 1830 he was Vice Treasurer for Ireland having previously held a Lordship of the Irish Treasury (1807-17).


By 1830 it seems that Sir George was being pursued by creditors and using family influence he was appointed Governor of St Vincent in November of that year. On 14th April 1833 he succeeded Sir Lewis Grant as Governor of the island of Trinidad where he was to die on 8th March 1839. His wife had predeceased him having died on 2nd November 1836.


Sources: PRONI; Londonderry Sentinel 4/7/1940; "Romantic Inishowen",H P Swann; The Londonderry Standard 15/7/1839

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