About George Hills, Rear-Admiral R.N.
George was the youngest of ten children, born while the family lived in Dover, Kent - one of the Cinque Ports ("Wikipedia" - "The Confederation of Cinque Ports was originally formed for military and trade purposes, but is now entirely ceremonial. It lies at the eastern end of the English Channel, where the crossing to the continent is narrowest. The five ports are Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich")
8 November 1777 George was born.
23 Nov 1777 - Baptised
23 December 1777 George's father's drowned - his ship sank off the Hanois Reef, Guernsey (British Channel Islands)
His mother Lydia then had the burden of raising ten children on her own, doubtless helped by her father Admiral Barker, and perhaps the Verney's (George was second cousin of Sir Henry Verney).
Said to have been good-looking and tall. His son, George, was 6ft 4in and said to have had his father's stature.
- Naval: 13 Jun 1792 Under the auspices of his uncle, Captain John Hills, George entered the Navy at 16 years old as Captain's Servant ( Two years later, in September 1794 , his uncle died of yellow fever at
Port Royal, St Andrew Parish, Jamaica)
- Naval: Feb 1793; Aboard HMS Bulldog (16-gun sloop launched in 1782 but converted to a Royal Navy bomb vessel in 1798) under command of Commodore George Hope on the Mediterranean station under Rear-Admiral Samuel Granston Goodall
- Naval: Abt. Aug 1793; Accompanied Captain George Hope aboard HMS L'Eclair (22-gun Sixth Rate Post-ship that HMS Leda captured from the French in 1793), which was later commanded by Captain George Henry Towry, he served in that vessel at the ensuing occupation of Toulon
- Naval: 6 Jun 1797; Captain Campbell was one of the officers detained by the "Mutineers at the Nore"
- "By George Hill's persuasion and unflinching attitude brought them(the mutineers) to reason". Captain Campbell (afterwards Cawder) gifted George a sword as acknowledgement and courage, which has been handed down through the generations to a member of the McSwiney family.
Parties and property as in JARVIS I/D/1/29 Consideration: 10/-.(Brothers) Harry and George Hills conveyed the property to John Barker and Lydia Hills in trust to be sold and the money invested in government funds, of which one moiety was to go to Lydia Hills and......... (Source: These documents are held at Lincolnshire Archives)
Lease for a year to George's uncle, John Barker of Wentford:
Harry Hills, Lieutenant on H.M.S. La Nereide at Plymouth, (brother) George Hills, Lieutenant on H.M.S. Amethyst at Deptford, the only surviving sons of William Hills, late of Buckland, lieutenant of the Royal Navy, heirs of Edward Baker (of the Buckland Estates, Kent)' (a lease) to "their uncle"John Barker of Wentford. (Source: These documents are held at Lincolnshire Archives)
1807 His surviving brother, Harry, drowned at sea, off Cape Horn, Chile
1808, April 20 George Hills (just short of his 31st birthday) was given command of the Columbine sloop on the North American station.
MUTINY There was an unsuccessful mutiny on board in 1809- George discovered a plot to kill him and his officers and take over the brig. An amazing story of the mutiny has been written in "Mass desertion and mutiny - The case of HM Brig Columbine" By Martin Hubley http://museum.gov.ns.ca/mma/research/web/mutiny.html " Also "Mutiny and Desertion in the Bay of Fundy" by Joshua M. Smith - page 29 "Battle for the Bay: Naval War of 1812"
George was later commended for his actions in preventing the mutiny.
- 1810, April 26 - George Hills relinquished command of the Columbine sloop, attained post rank 7 June, 1814,
He was offered command of another ship (in 1810) but turned it down, citing as a reason his desire to be nearer his aging mother (Lydia Hills)......whom he had hardly seen since age 16 when he joined the Navy. (She died within three years, 29 March 1813)
[ This information was taken from his own notes]
Dec. 1820 to Nov. 1825 Last employed as an Inspecting Commander in the Preventive Water Guard
1812, August 28 - Last Will and Testament of his father-in-law Thomas Hammersley - Executors (brother-in-law) Charles Greenwood of Auberries, William Danby Esquire, (son) Hugh Hammersley. Will proved in the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The will stipulated that "on the marriage of George Hills and Diana Hammersley (Thomas' daughter) that 4831 British Pounds, 19 shillings and 3 pence - 3 per cent consolidated bank annuities should be purchased in the names of James Halford and Hugh Hammersley and settled upon the trusts..which purchase hath accordingly been made and the said Charles Greenwood in consideration of the natural love and affection which he bore towards the said Diana Hammersley his Niece did agree to advance on the said marriage in augmentation of the fortune of the said Diana Hammersley the sum of one thousand pounds and the further sum of one thousand pounds payable upon the death of her said mother ..."
1813 March 10 Marriage of Capt. Hills, Royal Navy (aged 35), to Diana (aged 30), third daughter of the late Thomas Hammersley, Esq. by whom he had eight children.
1813, March 29 - his mother, Lydia, died in Suffolk. George Hills and his new wife were living in London with his in-laws at the time.
'1814 moved to "The Parade", Tunbridge Wells, where their first daughter Diana was born. His mother-in-law wrote to his wife Diana a couple of months after the birth of their first child, that George was "one of the tenderest of husbands – but My Love I begin to think he is too fond of you – so you see I am never satisfied............ your George as you call him". 1814 September 28 His solicitor W.V.J. Thurker of Dover wrote to George Hills at his mother's former home - Auberries, Sudbury, Suffolk regarding Thomas Lamb and his claim to a portion of the Buckland Estates. Another letter of the same period was forwarded to him at (his friend) Edward Perkins of Chestfield Lodge in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
1828 Captain Hills and his wife Diana were experiencing financial difficulties, evidenced by an exchange of letters on the 1st and 4th February between Diana and her niece Frances Ann Smith of Woodhall Park (a vast estate in Watton, Hertfordshire) on the subject of a loan to Diana. Frances turned down her aunt's request because she did not feel justified broaching the subject to her husband when he already had numerous calls upon him of a similar nature. She recommended that Diana call upon other 'nearest' 'opulent' relatives.
His boys were educated in the face of many difficulties. In all minor matters of life he was a martinet of the most unbending sort. His children's upbringing was spartan, stern and severe. The children were accustomed to deliberate acts as a method of learning to accept disappointment.
He did not believe in advanced education for everyone, and in the case of his daughters, he would not hear of it - much in keeping with the times where women were educated to the point of being well versed in writing, literature, the arts, and needlework.
His oldest son, George, spent his boyhood years at King William's College on the Isle of Man and left Oct. 23rd, 1833 - he went on to become the first consecrated Anglican Bishop of Western Canada.
1838, George, in a "Deed of Arrangement", received an advance of 3300 British Pounds against the settlement (of his marriage to Diana) from 1814. This was in agreement with his brother-in-law, the banker Charles Hammersley.
George made notes that this advance was to pay Cambridge University expenses for his second son, Charles (17 years old at that time) as well as expenses for his youngest son, Thomas, who was leaving home for India. (although in fact Thomas didn't leave for a few years and was still only 12 years old at this point.)
1841 England Census, living at Ashen Hall in the Parish of Ashen, Hinckford Hundred, Essex;
- George (60) - Navy H.P. (half pay),
- Diana (55),
- Diana (25),
- Lydia (25),
- Caroline (20),
- Charles (20),
- Emily (19),
- Hariet (16) - born in County
- Thomas (15) - born in County
Ashen Hall is viewable on Google Maps.
1845, 2nd July signed and dated last Will and Testament while residing at Ashen Hall, witnessed in Clare. - Proved by his surviving Executor and son, George Hills, 8th May 1854 (four years after his death) [Source: Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers Volume number: 8 Quire numbers: 351-400 PROB 11/2191]
1846, October - George, well after his retirement, accepted the rank of a Retired Captain in Her Majesty's Fleet (Source: document signed 31 October 1846, signed by ...Ward)
Listed in "White's Directory of Essex 1848 for the town of Ashen as Captain George Hills R.N., Ashen Hall.
Oct 1849 Finally, six months before his death, George Hills received the rank of
'''Rear Admiral gazetted'''
Death 4 April 1850
RISBRIDGE, a district and a hundred in Suffolk. The district comprehends parishes partly in Suffolk and partly in Essex: the sub-district of Clare, containing the parishes of Clare, Ashen, and Ovington, the two last electorally in Essex;
Saint Augustine’s Church, Ashen: "The three stained glass windows in the south side of the Chancel commemorate Rear Admiral George Hills, of Ashen Hall, his wife Diana who died in 1854 and Daughter Harriet Maria who died aged 23 in 1845 of typhus fever. "Admiral Hills, who embarked on his Naval career in 1792 as a Captain’s servant, was to serve with distinction in 10 ships in the American, Mediterranean, Irish and Home stations before his death in 1852." [Source: Ashen Parish Council Website]
His widow and some of his children moved to live in Great Yarmouth with son Rev. George Hills (they are shown in the 1851 Census) and presumably Ashen Hall was sold.
The United service magazine, Volume 63
By Arthur William Alsager Pollock=== 4th April, Rear-Admiral G. Hills, on the Retired List, at Ashen Hall, near Halstead, Essex, in the 73rd year of his age. (rest of details same as below)
Source: The Gentleman's Magazine
"CAPTAIN HILLS, R.N. (died) April 4 (1850). At his residence, Ashen Hall, Essex, in his 73rd year, Capt. George Hills, R.N. He was born NOV. 8, 1777, and was the only surviving son of Lieut. William Hills, R.N. of Buckland, Kent; who perished when in command of H.M. cutter Mutine, in a heavy gale of wind, in Dec. of the same year as his birth (1777); was grandson of the late Admiral John Barker, and nephew of Capt. John Hills, R.N. who lost his life from yellow fever, at Jamaica, in 1794, while commanding the Hermione 32.
He entered the Navy, 13 June, 1792, as Captain's servant, on board the Bulldog 16 (guns), to Capt. George Hope, on the Mediterranean station, accompanying the same Captain, in Aug. 1793, onto L'Eclair 18 (guns), commanded next by Captain George Henry Towry he served in that vessel at the ensuing occupation of Toulon ; after which we find him employed for a few months in the Leviathan 74(guns), Capt. Lord Hugh Seymour, and for four years, as midshipman and master's mate, in the Ranger 18 (guns), commanded on the Home station by Capts. James Hardy and Charles Campbell. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, 17 July, 1798 ; after which he served in 1' Atalante 18 (guns). On the 6th May, 1799, he was appointed to the Amethyst 36 (guns), in which ship he assisted at the debarkation of the troops in the Expedition of 1800 to Ferrol, in the conveyance of royal and diplomatic personages ; in the capture of three privateers, carrying 34 guns, and 270 men, and at the taking of the French 36-gun frigate La Daidaigneuse, Jan. 28, 1801, and the national corvette le General Brune of 14 guns, on the 9th April following.
In the autumn of 1804 he was transferred to the Dryad, in which, in the winter of 1806-7, he was for six weeks employed, in company with H.M.S. Diana, in a fruitless quest of two French frigates among the icebergs, on the coast of Greenland, and in Davis' straits.
On the 7th Dec. 1807, he was appointed to the Swiftbure 74 (guns), bearing the flag of Sir J. B. Warren, and 28 Jan. 1808, to the Atalante 18 (guns).
He was ultimately advanced, 20 April, 1808, to the command of the Columbine sloop, on the North American station; whence he returned home, and was paid off in March 1810.
He attained post rank 7 June, 1814, and was last employed as an Inspecting Commander in the Preventive Water Guard, from Dec. 1820 to Nov. 1825."
George Hills, Rear-Admiral R.N.'s Timeline
November 8, 1777
Eythorne, Kent, England
November 23, 1777
Parish of Buckland, Dover, Kent
March 11, 1813
Kensington, Greater London, UK
January 22, 1814
Pall Mall, London, United Kingdom, Middlesex, UK
April 5, 1815
June 26, 1816
Eythorne, Kent, UK
November 27, 1818
Dover, Kent, UK
April 22, 1819
Dover, Kent, UK
August 3, 1819
Colchester, Essex, England