Little is known of the early life and education of James Barlow Hoy (c. 1794-1843). Originally named James Barlow, he was serving as a surgeon in the ordnance medical department in 1828, when a fortunate inheritance dramatically altered his life. His distant cousin, Michael Hoy, the wealthy merchant and owner of both Midanbury House and Thornhill Park House Michael Hoy, died and bequeathed to Barlow in his will the entirety of his estates and fortune. In 1829 Barlow adopted the name Hoy out of gratitude and affection.

He was elected to parliament for Southampton in 1830. Although declaring himself an independent, he was supported by local Tory interests. Both he and the other Southampton MP, Abel Dottin, voted against the Reform Bill then being debated in parliament. Hoy spoke against the Bill too, although admitting that sentiment in Southampton generally favoured the Bill. At the 1831 election, Dottin stood down and Hoy was defeated by two pro-reform candidates, Arthur Atherley and John Story Penleaze. He was returned to parliament again in 1832 and 1835, but retired permanently in 1837.

In 1831 he married Marian Bird at Westminster. James and Marian spent much of their time after 1837 on the continent, ostensibly for the sake of Marian’s health but probably also because of James’s mounting debts. He died on 13 August 1843 at the Hospice de Vielle in the French Pyrenees. He had left England about a month earlier with an old friend, Captain Richard Meredith RN, to collect rare bird specimens but suffered a fatal accident when his gun burst as he was crossing a ravine. He was buried in the Protestant cemetery at Toulouse. James was posthumously declared insolvent, with mortgage debts of £58,000.


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