Ambrose Hardinge Giffard

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Ambrose Hardinge Giffard
Ambrose Hardinge Giffard.jpg
4th Chief Justice of Ceylon
In office
8 April 1819 – 2 March 1827
Preceded byAlexander Johnston
Succeeded byRichard Ottley
5th Advocate Fiscal of Ceylon
In office
26 February 1811 – 1821
Preceded byWilliam Coke
Succeeded byHenry Mathews
Personal details
Dublin, Ireland
Died20 April 1827
Alma materTrinity College, Dublin

Sir Ambrose Hardinge Giffard (1771–1827) was chief justice of British Ceylon.


Giffard was born in Dublin in 1771, the eldest son of John Giffard (1745–1819), high sheriff of Dublin in 1794, accountant-general of customs in Dublin, and a prominent loyalist. His mother was Sarah, daughter of William Norton, esq., of Ballynaclash, co. Wexford. Giffard's grandfather was John Giffard of Torrington, Devon, who gave crucial evidence in the famous Annesley trial of 1743, evidence that turned the scales dramatically in favour of the claimant, James Annesley. Ambrose Hardinge was an attorney engaged in the case by James Annesley's patron Daniel Mackercher. These two names, Mackercher and Hardinge, recurred in the career of John’s son, John, and their kindness to the son sprang from the great esteem in which they held his father - esteem that was reciprocated by John junior when he christened his eldest son Ambrose Hardinge Giffard.

After studying for the law he was called to the bar of the Inner Temple, and was appointed chief justice of Ceylon in April 1819. Giffard's health failed, and he was granted leave of absence, but he died on 30 April 1827, while on the homeward voyage, in the Lady Kennaway, East Indiaman. Before his death a knighthood was conferred upon Giffard, but the title was never gazetted.


Giffard's leisure was devoted to literature, and a selection of poems was published at Ceylon about 1822. Some are reproduced in the Traditions and Recollections of Richard Polwhele.


He married in 1808 Harriet, daughter of Lovell Pennell, esq., of Lyme Regis, and left five sons and five daughters. Admiral Sir George Giffard (1815–1888) was his third son.[1]


  1. ^  "Giffard, Ambrose Hardinge" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gentleman's Magazine 1827
  • Burke's Peerage, s. v. 'Halsbury.'

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Giffard, Ambrose Hardinge" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

Legal offices
Preceded by
Alexander Johnston
Chief Justice of Ceylon
Succeeded by
Richard Ottley
Preceded by
William Coke
Advocate Fiscal of Ceylon
Succeeded by
Henry Mathews