George Ellis

19th Dec 1753 - 10th Apr 1815


George Ellis was born 19 December 1753, three months after the death of his father George Ellis of Greencastle, Jamaica [the ODNB entry for George Ellis erroneously gives his father as 'member of the house of assembly of St George, Grenada, West Indies']. His mother was Charlotte, daughter of Samuel Long of Longville, Jamaica. Charlotte's brother was Edward Long the author of History of Jamaica (1774) - Ellis and his uncle apparently shared a close relationship. Ellis's father made provision for his wife Charlotte in his will with an annuity of £1,200 but made no reference to the children arising from their union. Instead the infant George's uncle John Ellis inherited the property as heir-at-law. Samuel Long intervened as the child's grandfather and convinced his daughter to allow 'John Ellis possession of the property and to surrender £500 of her annuity during her child’s minority, in return for which John Ellis agreed to pay for his education and, when he came of age, to give him £20,000 and a life interest in a small Jamaican sugar plantation, on condition that his nephew then executed a release confirming to him his ‘absolute right for ever to the property’.'

There is conflicting information on where Ellis was schooled. The Eton College Register contains an entry for a G. Ellis in 1764-70 although the text makes clear that the identification of G. Ellis as George Ellis is tentative. The ODNB states that Ellis was educated at Westminster School and then at Trinity College Cambridge. Ellis went on to publish several work of note including Specimens of the Early English Poets (1790) which went through six editions between 1801 and 1851. He was also wrote poetry and contributed to the journal The Rolliad, in which he criticised the Pitt administration. In 1801 Ellis struck up a friendship with Walter Scott and the two remained close until the former's death. Ellis was a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries.

In 1796 he entered Parliament as a junior member for the rotten borough of Seaford joining his cousin Charles Rose Ellis who was the senior member. He remained in Parliament until 1802 but did not seek re-election.

'As one of the leading "moderate" West Indians in the House, he was opposed to immediate abolition of the slave trade, but prepared to support measures designed to ensure its limitation and eventual cessation.' (Fisher)

On 10 September 1801 Ellis married Anne, the daughter of Sir Peter Parker, first baronet, of Basingbourn, admiral of the fleet. The couple had no children. They resided in Sunninghill, near Ascot: Ellis died at Connaught Place in 1815. At the time of his death Ellis was in possession of 'the Jamaican plantation and other property, and his estate was valued at £30,000.'


D. R. Fisher, entry in History of Parliament, accessed 20 November 2013.

J. M. Rigg, ‘Ellis, George (1753–1815)’, rev. Rebecca Mills, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Richard Austen-Leigh, The Eton College register, 1753-1790 : alphabetically arranged and edited with biographical notes, (Eton, Spottiswoode, 1921), p.179. Available online.

Humphrey Gawthorp, 'George Ellis of Ellis Caymanas: A Caribbean Link to Scott and the Bronte Sisters' (2005). Available online. Accessed 25 November 2013.

Thomas Thomason, History of the Royal Society: From its Institution to the End of the Eighteenth Century, Appendix IV (London, Robert Baldwin, 1812), p.lxv.

D. R. Fisher, entry in History of Parliament, accessed 20 November 2013.

We are grateful to Mary Cornelius for her assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Anne Parker

National Archive PROB 11/1568/115

Eton? Westminster? [see biog notes] [1764-70 ]
Trinity College Cambridge
Politician, poet, plantation owner

Associated Estates (2)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1782 [EA] - 1819 [EY] → Owner
1777 [EA] - 1815 [EY] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (2)

Royal Society...... 
notes →
For the full record of Ellis's membership of the Royal Society see Royal Society:...
Society of Antiquaries...... 

Historical (8)

Journal ArticlesAuthor?
Journal ArticlesAuthor?
notes →
George Canning, William Gifford and George Ellis founded The Anti-Jacobin. Ellis appears to have been a constant contributor to The Anti-Jacobin in the 1790s....
Poetical Tales by Sir Gregory Gander... 1778 
Memoir of a map of the countries comprehended between the Black sea and the Caspian; with an account of the Caucasian nations, and vocabularies of the... 1788 
History Of The Late Revolution In The Dutch... 1789 
Specimens of the early English poets; to which is prefixed, an Historical sketch of the rise and progress of the English poetry and language, with a biography of each... 1803 
Specimens of early English metrical romances, chiefly written during the early part of the fourteenth century; to which is prefixed an historical introduction, intended to illustrate the rise and... 1805 
Journal ArticlesAuthor?
Review of Scott, Lady of the... 1810 

Political (1)

Tory / West India interest 
election →
Seaford Sussex
1796 - 1802

Relationships (4)

First Cousins
First Cousins
Nephew → Uncle
Son → Father

Addresses (1)

Sunning Hill, Ascot, Berkshire, Central England, England