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

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PERROT, GEORGE (1710–1780), baron of the exchequer, born in 1710, belonged to the Yorkshire branch of the Perrots of Pembrokeshire. He was the second son of Thomas Perrot, prebendary of Ripon and rector of Welbury in the North Riding of Yorkshire, and of St. Martin-in-Micklegate in the city of York, by his wife Anastasia, daughter of the Rev. George Plaxton, rector of Barwick-in-Elmet in the West Riding of Yorkshire. After receiving his education at Westminster School, he was admitted a student of the Inner Temple in November 1728, and was called to the bar in 1732. In May 1757 he was elected a bencher of his inn, and in 1759 was made a king's counsel. On 16 April 1760 he opened the case against Laurence Shirley, fourth earl Ferrers, who was tried for the murder of John Johnson by the House of Lords (Howell, State Trials, xix. 894). On 24 Jan. 1763 he was called to the degree of serjeant, and appointed a baron of the exchequer in the place of Sir Henry Gould the younger [q. v.] He was seized with a fit of palsy at Maidstone during the Lent assizes in 1775, and shortly afterwards retired from the bench with a pension of 1,200l. a year. Having purchased the manor of Fladbury and other considerable estates in Worcestershire, he retired to Pershore, where he died on 28 Jan. 1780, in the seventieth year of his age. A monument was erected to his memory in the parish church at Laleham, Middlesex, in pursuance of directions contained in his widow's will. He was never knighted.

He married, in 1742, Mary, only daughter of John Bower of Bridlington Quay, Yorkshire, and widow of Peter Whitton, lord mayor of York in 1728. Perrot left no children. His widow died on 7 March 1784, aged 82. According to Horace Walpole, Perrot while on circuit ‘was so servile as to recommend’ from the bench a congratulatory address to the king on the peace of 1763 (History of the Reign of George III, 1894, i. 222). His curious power of discrimination may be estimated by the conclusion of his summing-up on a trial at Exeter as to the right to a certain stream of water: ‘Gentlemen, there are fifteen witnesses who swear that the watercourse used to flow in a ditch on the north side of the hedge. On the other hand, gentlemen, there are nine witnesses who swear that the watercourse used to flow on the south side of the hedge. Now, gentlemen, if you subtract nine from fifteen there remain six witnesses wholly uncontradicted; and I recommend you to give your verdict accordingly for the party who called those six witnesses’ (Foss, Judges of England, 1864, viii. 355). It appears from a petition presented by Perrot to the House of Commons that in 1769 he was the sole owner and proprietor of the navigation of the river Avon from Tewkesbury to Evesham.

[The authorities quoted in the text; Barnwell's Perrot Notes, 1867, pp. 108–9; Memorials of Ripon (Surtees Soc. Publ. 1886), ii. 315; Nash's Worcestershire, 1781, i. 383, 447–8, Suppl. pp. 59, 61; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1846, i. 128; Martin's Masters of the Bench of the Inner Temple, 1883, p. 76; Alumni Westmon. 1852, p. 546; Gent. Mag. 1775 p. 301, 1780 p. 102, 1784 pt. i. p. 238; Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1890; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. v. 347, 411.]

G. F. R. B.