BANKES, George (1787-1856), of Kingston Lacy and Studland, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



13 Feb. 1816 - Mar. 1823
13 Feb. 1826 - 1832
1841 - 5 July 1856

Family and Education

b. 1 Dec. 1787, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Henry Bankes* by Frances, da. of William Woodley, gov. Leeward Islands; bro. of William John Bankes*. educ. Westminster 1795-1803; Trinity Hall, Camb. 1805, LLB 1812, fellow 1814-22; L. Inn 1810, called 1813; I. Temple 1815. m. 8 June 1822, Georgina Charlotte, da. and h. of Adm. Sir Charles Edmund Nugent,1 3s. 5da.

Offices Held

Commr. appeals, excise ct. 1816, of bankrupts 1822; cursitor baron of Exchequer July 1824-d., sec. to Board of Control 1828-Feb. 1830; commr. India Board Feb.-Nov. 1830; ld. of Treasury Apr.-Nov. 1830; PC 27 Feb. 1852; judge adv.-gen. Feb.-Dec. 1852.

Recorder, Weymouth 1823-d.; mayor, Corfe Castle 1838, 1840, 1847.


Bankes was a barrister practising on the western circuit when he unexpectedly joined his father in the representation of Corfe Castle. The co-patron of the borough John Bond* offered it ‘gratuitously’ on a vacancy in the recess of 1815 to Bankes senior for either of his sons. As the elder was abroad and George just back from Paris, he was chosen. Almost as soon as he took his seat he obtained leave of absence to go the circuit, 29 Feb. 1816, pairing with Francis Horner. His father had already procured for him the ‘sinecure place’ of commissioner of appeals (vice Peter Touchet, deceased).2 On resuming his seat, he voted with ministers, 24 May, 14 and 17 June 1816, and such was his habit.

His father had encouraged him to support a bill amending the Game Laws which made poaching a felony, punishable by transportation for seven years. He defended it against Romilly, 12 Feb. 1817, and denied it was an innovation, 4 Mar. On 6 Mar. the Speaker informed his father that he was glad to see that Bankes was

so well able to do justice to his own good sense and abilities. He must at the same time be careful in choosing the times when the House is disposed to listen. And upon whatever subjects, it is best, as a beginner, not to be long.3

On his return from the circuit, he found it abandoned in favour of a game preservation bill, which he criticized, 5 May, 9 June. On 10 Feb. he introduced the game purchase bill, which obtained a second reading by 116 votes to 21 on 18 May and passed the Lords on 3 June. He subsequently objected to Brand’s Game Laws amendment bill, 14 May 1819, as being too severe.

Bankes voted against Catholic relief, 21 May 1817. He both spoke and voted for the suspension of habeas corpus, 23, 27 June 1817. His only known vote with opposition was on the ducal marriage grants, 15 Apr. 1818. He voted against Brougham’s motion for an inquiry into the education of the poor, 3 June 1818. He appeared in the majorities against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819, for the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June, and for the extension of the franchise at Penryn, 22 June. On 13 Dec. 1819 he was a spokesman for the seditious meetings prevention bill and he stayed in town as late as 23 Dec. to support government measures against disaffection. He died 8 July 1856.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. According to family tradition, her real father was the Duke of Cumberland, Viola Bankes, A Dorset Heritage, 180.
  • 2. PRO 30/9/16, Bankes to Abbot, 19 Sept. 1815; Dorset RO, Bond mss D367, Jekyll to Bond, 29 Jan., 15 Feb., 4 Mar. [1816]; Horner mss 6, f. 37.
  • 3. Colchester, ii. 607.