George Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover

George James Welbore Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover PC FRS FSA (14 January 1797  10 July 1833) was a British politician and man of letters. He was briefly First Commissioner of Woods and Forests under Lord Grey between 1830 and 1831.

For others named George Agar, see the George Agar navigation page

The Lord Dover

First Commissioner of Woods
and Forests
In office
2 December 1830  7 February 1831
MonarchWilliam IV
Prime MinisterThe Earl Grey
Preceded byViscount Lowther
Succeeded byViscount Duncannon
Personal details
George James Welbore Agar-Ellis

(1797-01-14)14 January 1797
Died10 July 1833(1833-07-10) (aged 36)
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Lady Georgiana Howard
(d. 1860)
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

Background and education

Agar-Ellis was the only son of Henry Agar-Ellis, 2nd Viscount Clifden, and Lady Caroline, daughter of George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. He was elected a Fellow of both the Society of Antiquaries and Royal Society in 1816.[1]

Political career

Agar-Ellis was returned to Parliament for Heytesbury in 1818, a seat he held until 1820.[1][2] He afterwards represented Seaford between 1820 and 1826,[1][3] Ludgershall between 1826 and 1830[1][4] and Okehampton between 1830 and 1831.[1][5] He supported George Canning's motion in 1822 for a bill to relieve the disabilities of Roman Catholic peers, and consistently supported liberal principles. He took little interest in party politics but was a strong advocate of state support for the causes of literature and the fine arts.

In 1824 Agar-Ellis was the leading promoter of the grant of £57,000 for the purchase of John Julius Angerstein's collection of pictures, which formed the foundation of the National Gallery. On the formation of Lord Grey's Whig administration in November 1830, he was sworn of the Privy Council[6] and appointed First Commissioner of Woods and Forests.[7] However, he was forced to resign after two months due to bad health.

In June 1831, during his father's lifetime, Agar-Ellis was raised to the peerage as Baron Dover, of Dover in the County of Kent.[8] He was president of the Royal Society of Literature in 1832, a trustee of the British Museum and of the National Gallery, and a commissioner of public records.


Lord Dover married his third cousin once removed Lady Georgiana Howard, daughter of George Howard, 6th Earl of Carlisle, in 1822. They had two sons, who became respectively the 3rd Viscount and 5th Viscount, and two daughters. He died on 10 July 1833, aged only 36, predeceasing his father by three years. Lady Dover died in March 1860.[1]


Lord Dover's works were chiefly historical, and include:

  • The True History of the State Prisoner, Commonly Called the Iron Mask (1826)
  • Inquiries respecting the Character of Clarendon (1827)
  • a Life of Frederick II. (1831)

He also edited the Ellis Correspondence (1829) and Walpole's Letters to Sir Horace Mann (1833).


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Samuel Hood
Charles Duncombe
Member of Parliament for Heytesbury
With: William Henry John Scott
Succeeded by
Edward Henry A'Court
Charles Ashe A'Court
Preceded by
Charles Ellis
George Watson-Taylor
Member of Parliament for Seaford
With: Charles Ellis
Succeeded by
John Fitzgerald
Augustus Frederick Ellis
Preceded by
Sandford Graham
The Earl of Brecknock
Member of Parliament for Ludgershall
With: Edward Thomas Foley
Succeeded by
Edward Thomas Foley
Sir Sandford Graham, Bt
Preceded by
Sir Compton Domvile, Bt
Joseph Strutt
Member of Parliament for Okehampton
With: Lord Seymour
Succeeded by
William Henry Trant
John Thomas Hope
Political offices
Preceded by
Viscount Lowther
First Commissioner of Woods and Forests
Succeeded by
Viscount Duncannon
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Dover
Succeeded by
Henry Agar-Ellis
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