George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers

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George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers (1 May 1721 – 7 May 1803) was an English diplomat and politician.

Background and education[edit]

He born in Geneva, the eldest son of George Pitt of Stratfieldsaye, Hampshire, and his wife Mary Louise Bernier from Strasbourg. General Sir William Augustus Pitt was his younger brother. He was educated at Winchester and Magdalen College, Oxford, from which he graduated with MA in 1739 and DCL in 1745. He then travelled on the continent from 1740 to 1742.


In 1742, he was elected as a Member of Parliament at a by-election for Shaftesbury and sat as a Tory. At the General Election in 1747, he was returned both for Shaftesbury and for Dorset and to sit for the County, which he represented continuously until 1774, becoming an independent, supporting the government from the accession of George III.


From 1761 to 1768, he served as Envoy-extraordinary and Minister-plenitpotentiary to the Kingdom of Sardinia at Turin. In 1770 he was appointed Ambassador to Spain, but was superseded the following year.[1]


In 1776, he was raised to the peerage as Lord Rivers. In 1780, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, but was replaced in 1782, when he became a Lord of the Bedchamber. He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Dorset in 1793. In 1802, be obtained a new patent as Lord Rivers with special remainder in default of male issue to the son of his daughter Louisa, William Beckford. Beckford took the surname Pitt-Rivers in 1828, on succeeding to the title and estates of his brother-in-law George Pitt, 2nd Baron Rivers.[2]


In 1746, he married Penelope, daughter of Sir Henry Atkins, 4th Baronet, of Clapham, Surrey. They had four children:

Their marriage was unhappy and they separated in 1771, living mostly in France and Italy until her death in 1795; she was buried in the Old English Cemetery in Livorno, Italy.


Rivers Inlet, a fjord on the Central Coast of British Columbia, was named by Captain George Vancouver for George Pitt.[3]


  1. ^ J. Haydn, Book of Dignities (1851), 82–3.
  2. ^ Burke's Peerage (1939), s.v. Rivers
  3. ^ "Rivers Inlet". BC Geographical Names. 
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Charles Ewer
Peter Walter
Member of Parliament for Shaftesbury
with Peter Walter

Succeeded by
Cuthbert Ellison
William Beckford
Preceded by
George Chafin
Edmund Morton Pleydell
Member of Parliament for Dorset
with George Chafin 1747–1754
Humphry Sturt 1754–1774

Succeeded by
George Pitt
Humphry Sturt
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Mackenzie
Minister at Turin
Succeeded by
William Lynch
Preceded by
Sir James Gray, Bt
Ambassador to Spain
Succeeded by
The Lord Grantham
Honorary titles
Preceded by
the Duke of Chandos
Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
Succeeded by
The Duke of Bolton
Preceded by
The Earl Digby
Lord Lieutenant of Dorset
Succeeded by
The Earl of Dorchester
Peerage of England
New creation Baron Rivers (of Stratfieldsaye)
Succeeded by
George Pitt
Baron Rivers (of Sudeley)