1714 – 1727 George I – Loxwood in the Georgian period


George was elector of Hanover and, from 1714, the first Hanoverian king of Great Britain.

In 1701, under the Act of Settlement, George’s mother Sophia was nominated heiress to the English throne if the reigning monarch William III and his heir Anne died without issue. The Act sought to guarantee a Protestant succession and George’s mother was the closest Protestant relative, although there were at least 50 Catholic relatives whose claims were stronger. The Electress Sophia and Anne died in quick succession and George became king in August 1714.

The following year George was faced with a rebellion by the Jacobites, supporters of the Catholic James Stuart, who had a strong claim to the throne. This was concentrated mainly in Scotland, and was suppressed by the end of the year. Another smaller rebellion in 1719 was not a serious threat.




George I was the first Hanoverian king of Great Britain


In September 1715, John Erskine, Earl of Mar, raised the standard for a ‘Jacobite’ rising, intended to restore the exiled Stuart monarchy to the throne, and proclaimed James Francis Edward Stuart (James II’s son) king of Scotland. The Jacobites were defeated by government forces at the battles of Sheriffmuir and Preston in November 1715. Three months later the rebellion had been quashed. The Jacobite leaders were impeached and some were executed.


The Transportation Act introduced penal transportation. People convicted of capital crimes had their sentences ‘commuted’ to 14 years or life in the Americas. Convicts found guilty of non-capital crimes received seven-year sentences. Between 1718 and 1776, over 50,000 convicts were transported to Virginia and Maryland in the modern United States. The American Revolution made further transportation impossible.


The South Sea Company was a financial and trading organisation mainly dealing with Spanish America. It received trading rights to the South Seas in return for financing the British government’s debt. Shares were issued and unrealistic expectations cultivated. A monopoly of the slave trade was envisaged. When it was discovered that the directors of the profitless company had sold out, it sparked a massive panic and a major financial crash occurred in the City of London. Huge fortunes were lost.


In April 1721, Sir Robert Walpole became first lord of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer, in the wake of the South Sea Bubble financial crash of 1720. He confirmed the Whig party’s allegiance to the Hanoverian monarchy. He never held the actual title of ‘prime minister’, but was given the powers that came to be associated with the office. George I also gave him 10 Downing Street, still the official residence of the prime minister.


George died on 11 June during a visit to Hanover and was succeeded by his son.

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