He was Lord Chancellor of Great Britain from 1771 to 1778. Educated at Balliol College, Oxford, he was called to the Bar, Lincoln"s Inn, in 1736, and became a King"s Counsel in 1745. Resigning his seat in parliament in April 1754 he was made a judge of the Court of Common Pleas in the following month.
He was admitted to the Privy Council and appointed Lord High Chancellor in January 1771, when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Apsley, in the County of Sussex.
Having succeeded his father as second Earl Bathurst in September 1775, he resigned his office somewhat unwillingly in July 1778 to enable Lord Thurlow to join the cabinet of Lord North. In November 1779 he was appointed Lord President of the Council, and left office with North in March 1782.
Lord Bathurst married firstly Anne James in 1754. Lady Bathurst died in 1807.
Apsley House, in Hyde Park, known as "Number One London", was built for him by Robert Adam.
In April 1735 he had been elected member of parliament for Cirencester, and was rewarded for his opposition to the government by being made solicitor-general and then attorney-general to Frederick, Prince of Wales.