Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Nares, George

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NARES, Sir GEORGE (1716–1786), judge, born at Hanwell, Middlesex, in 1716, was the younger son of George Nares of Albury, Oxfordshire, steward to the Earl of Abingdon. James Nares [q. v.] was his elder brother. He was educated at Magdalen College School, and having been admitted a member of the Inner Temple on 19 Oct. 1738, was called to the bar on 12 June 1741. He appears to have practised chiefly in the criminal courts. He defended Timothy Murphy, charged with felony and forgery, in January 1753 (Howell, State Trials, 1813, xix. 702), and Elizabeth Canning, charged with perjury, in April 1754 (ib. xix. 451). He received the degree of the coif on 6 Feb. 1759, and in the same year was appointed one of the king's serjeants. He was employed as one of the counsel for the crown in several of the cases arising out of the seizure of No. 45 of the ‘North Briton’ (ib. xix. 1153; Harris, Life of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, 1847, iii. 349). At the general election in March 1768 he was returned to the House of Commons for the city of Oxford, of which he was already recorder. He spoke in favour of Lord Barrington's motion for the expulsion of Wilkes on 3 Feb. 1769, and declared that he would ‘rather appear before this house as an idolater of a minister than a ridiculer of his Maker’ (Cavendish, Debates, i. 156). On the delivery of the great seal to Bathurst, Nares was appointed a justice of the common pleas, and was sworn in at the lord-chancellor's house in Dean Street, Soho, on 26 Jan. 1771 (Sir William Blackstone, Reports, 1781, ii. 734–5). He was knighted on the following day.

Nares took part in the hearing of Brass Crosby's case (Howell, State Trials, xix. 1152), Fabrigas v. Mostyn (ib. xx. 183), and Sayre v. Earl of Rochford (ib. xx. 1316). A number of his judgments will be found in the second volume of Sir William Blackstone's ‘Reports.’ After holding office for more than fifteen years, Nares died at Ramsgate on 20 July 1786, and was buried at Eversley, Hampshire, where there is a monument to his memory (Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century, vii. 635). He married, on 23 Sept. 1751, Mary, third daughter of Sir John Strange, master of the rolls, who died on 6 Aug. 1782, aged 55. Their eldest son, John, a magistrate at Bow Street and a bencher of the Inner Temple, died on 16 Dec. 1816, and was the grandfather of Sir George Strong Nares, K.C.B., the well-known Arctic explorer. George Strange, their second son, became a captain in the 70th regiment of foot, and died in the West Indies in 1794. Their youngest son, Edward, is noticed separately.

Nares was created a D.C.L. of Oxford University on 7 July 1773. He is ridiculed by Foote in his farcical comedy of the ‘Lame Lover,’ under the character of Serjeant Circuit. There is a mezzotint engraving of Nares by W. Dickinson after N. Hone.

[Foss's Judges of England, 1864, viii. 348–9; Gent. Mag. 1751 p. 427, 1782 p. 406, 1786 pt. ii. p. 622; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Martin's Masters of the Bench of the Inner Temple, 1883, p. 92; Alumni Westmon. 1852, p. 405; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, pt. ii. p. 141; Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1890; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. ii. 29, 91, 173, 478.]

G. F. R. B.