Elisha De Hague was born in Norwich on 16 May 1755. The family had fled religious persecution in the Netherlands in the 16th century. De Hague's father had a strong background of civic service in Norwich. He was speaker of the Common Council 1754-74, and Town Clerk from 1774 until his death in 1792.
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
By 1783 De Hague was working with his father as a lawyer at No 5 Elm Hill Street, Norwich, and had already begun to follow in his father's footsteps when he was elected as a councillor in 1780.
Between 1789 and 1792 he served on the Chamberlain's Council and then succeeded his father as Town Clerk, a demanding but very influential position. De Hague held this last office until his own death in 1826, a record of service indicative of the significant role he played in Norwich's affairs.
By holding such prominent public offices De Hague was well qualified to serve as a land tax commissioner.
De Hague was a member of the Society of United Friars, a learned and philanthropic society which ran a soup charity for the benefit of the poor. A generous contributor to charity, he was also a founding member of the Norfolk and Norwich Association of the Blind. He also served as a Churchwarden at the church of St Peter Hungate and commissioner to the Foundry Bridge in Norwich.
De Hague's involvement in Acts of Parliament
At the Parliamentary Archives the detectives found De Hague's name in two Acts Of Parliament: one from 1820 for introducing gas lighting to Norwich introducing gas lighting to Norwich where he was listed as a proprietor of the Norwich Gas Light Company, and the second for the building of a road from Norwich to Fakenham in 1823, where he was listed as a trustee of the road.
At the Parliamentary Archives the history detectives uncovered evidence of property owned by De Hague. This appeared in a book detailing owners and occupiers in Brundall documenting an unsuccessful 1826 scheme to build a waterway from Norwich to Lowestoft.
The detectives were able to cross-reference the numbers in the book with the accompanying plan to see exactly where De Hague's property was located. This suggested that De Hague would have been affected by the scheme.