Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Flitton > George Hadley

George Hadley

It is always nice to add pages to the Community Histories and the following piece is by Margaret Butt. It first appeared in the Flitton Parish Newsletter.

It’s a constant source of amazement to me that there is always more to find out about our relatively small village, and how many important people have been connected with it.

You may have been fascinated with the photographs being sent from Mars but did you know that the village has a connection with that planet?

In the chancel, there is a monument to George Hadley – born February 12th 1685, died June 28th 1768 aged 83 years. He was a lawyer but was more interested in science, becoming an amateur meteorologist. He was in charge of the meteorological observations for the Royal Society for seven years, and in 1735, he presented a paper to the society on the trade winds. At this time, the trade winds were vital for sailing vessels reaching North America, and Hadley was intrigued by the fact that winds which should have blown north, actually went westwards. He formulated a theory which described the trade winds and the associated north-south circulation pattern, and explained the trade wind currents to the Earth’s daily rotation. This became known as the Hadley Cell although it was not acknowledged until after his death.

George Hadley never married and his later years were spent at Flitton with his nephew, son of his sister Elizabeth, who was vicar there between 1763 and 1782. Hadley Cox was born in 1748, was a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and became Archdeacon of Bedford in 1771. At this time, Bedford and Flitton were in the Diocese of Lincoln. As was often the case in those days, vicars could hold several posts at the same time. As well as being Archdeacon and vicar at Flitton cum Silsoe, he was also Vicar of Blunham in the north of the county. There would have been resident curates to do much of the parish work. Hadley Cox died in 1782 and is buried at Flitton.

George Hadley died at Flitton in the Vicarage and was buried in the chancel where the monument now stands. It is on the north side on the wall adjoining the mausoleum.

The Hadley Centre for Climate Research and Prediction was founded in 1990 at the Met Office. It is now known as The Hadley Centre for Climate Change. In 1973, a crater on Mars was named after him with a diameter of 119 kilometers. Craters on Mars over 60 kilometers in diameter are named after famous past scientists. Next time that Mars is mentioned on TV, you can think of how we are connected to that planet.