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George Bankes (1788–1856) was the last of the Cursitor Barons of the Exchequer, the office being abolished on his death in 1856.


Early lifeEdit

Bankes was the third son of Henry Bankes, MP of Kingston Hall, Dorsetshire, who represented Corfe Castle for nearly fifty years, and of Frances, daughter of William Woodley, governor of the Leeward Islands. Bankes was a lineal descendant of Sir John Bankes, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in the reign of Charles I. He was educated at Westminster School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge.[1]


Bankes studied law first at Lincoln's Inn, and afterwards at the Inner Temple, and was called to the bar by the latter society in 1815. In the following year he entered Parliament as his father's colleague for the family borough of Corfe Castle, which he represented in every succeeding Parliament until 1823. He was again returned for Corfe Castle in 1826, and sat until 1832, when the family borough was united with that of Wareham.

Kingston Lacy House - the Bankes family seat

He does not appear to have achieved any remarkable professional success, but owing, presumably, to his family influence, he was appointed one of the bankruptcy commissioners in 1822, and Cursitor Baron in 1824. In 1829, under the Wellington administration, he became chief secretary of the Board of Control, and in the next year a Junior Lord of the Treasury, and one of the commissioners for the affairs of India. At the general election in 1841 he again entered Parliament, being returned by the county of Dorset, for which he continued to sit until his death. A Tory, he strenuously opposed Robert Peel's commercial reforms. During the short administration of the Earl of Derby in 1852, Bankes held the office of Judge Advocate General, and was sworn a Privy Councillor.

On the death of his elder brother, William John Bankes, in 1855, he succeeded to the family estate at Kingston Lacy, but died himself the following year at his residence in Old Palace Yard, Westminster. He left issue three sons and five daughters by his wife Georgina Charlotte, only child of Admiral Sir Charles Nugent, G.C.B.. Kingston Lacy passed to his eldest son, Edmund George Bankes.


Bankes was the author of The Story of Corfe Castle and of many who have lived there, and of Brave Dame Mary, a work of fiction inspired by the life of Mary Bankes.


  1. ^ "Bankes, George (BNKS805G)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Bankes, George". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

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