Hadfield, George (1787-1879) (DNB00)

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HADFIELD, GEORGE (1787–1879), member of parliament and author, son of Robert Hadfield, manufacturer, by Anne, daughter of W. Bennett, was born at Sheffield 28 Dec. 1787. He served his articles with John Sherwood of Sheffield, and was admitted an attorney in January 1810. For over forty years he practised in Manchester, in partnership first with James Knight, next with James Grove, and lastly with his son, George Hadfield, jun. He contested Bradford in the liberal interest 12 Jan. 1835, but was defeated by John Hardy, the father of Lord Cranbrook. Subsequently Hadfield took a prominent part in the formation of the Anti-Cornlaw League. Many years of his life were spent in litigation and controversy respecting the alienation of Lady Hewley's and other charities, a dispute which was only settled by the passing of the Dissenters' Chapels Act of 1844. In the framing of this enactment he gave much assistance. On 7 July 1852 he was sent to parliament by his native town, and continued to represent it to 29 Jan. 1874. In parliament he acted with the advanced liberal party. He was a frequent speaker in the House of Commons, where his advice was much appreciated on questions of legal reform. He introduced the act relating to the registration of judgments, gave great help in passing the Common Law Procedure Act of 1854, and was the author of the Qualification for Offices Abolition Act of 1866. He was a prominent member of the congregational church. In 1864 he offered 1,000l. a year for five years on condition that during that time fifty independent chapels should be built. He afterwards repeated the offer with the same success. In association with Dr. Thomas Raffles and William Roley he established the Lancashire Independent College, first at Blackburn and then at Whalley Range, where in 1840 he laid the foundation-stone of the new building, and gave 2,000l. towards the cost of the erection. He was the editor of: 1. ‘The Report of H. M. Commissioners on Charities. With Notes and an Appendix by G. Hadfield,’ 1829. 2. ‘The Attorney-General versus Shore. An Historical Defence of the Trustees of Lady Hewley's Foundations. By the Rev. Joseph Hunter,’ 1834; this refers to Hadfield's notes on the report. 3. ‘The Debate on Church Reform,’ republished by Hadfield, 1867. 4. ‘The Expediency of Relieving the Bishops from Attendance in Parliament,’ 1870. He died at his residence, Victoria Park, Manchester, 21 April 1879, and his personalty was sworn under 250,000l. on 28 June. He married in 1814 Lydia, daughter of Samuel Pope of Cheapside, London.

[Times, 22 April 1879, p. 5; Leeds Mercury, 22 April 1879, p. 5; Solicitors' Journal, 26 April 1879, p. 503; Law Times, 17 May 1879, p. 52; Sutton's Lancashire Authors, 1876, p. 47.]

G. C. B.