DORMER, Fleetwood (1657-1723), of Lincoln’s Inn and Chipping Wycombe, Bucks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



28 Mar. 1696 - 1698
Feb. 1701 - 1710
30 Nov. 1719 - 1722

Family and Education

bap. 14 Apr. 1657, 3rd s. of John Dormer† of Lee Grange, Quainton, Bucks. by Katherine, da. of Thomas Woodward of Ripple, Worcs.; bro. of Robert Dormer*.  educ. Trinity, Oxf. 1674; L. Inn 1676, called 1683, bencher 1707, treasurer 1710.  unm.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Chipping Wycombe 1695; recorder 1695–1718.2

Commr. of prizes May 1706–7; master in Chancery 1710–21.3


A lawyer, like his brother, though less well known, Dormer was appointed recorder of Wycombe in August 1695 and quickly cultivated an interest in the borough, regularly inviting members of the common council to dinner, at Christmas and Easter. Indeed, in 1706 it was noted that ‘the chief inhabitant of the town is their recorder and burgess, Fleetwood Dormer’, and it is known that he was an active j.p. between 1693 and 1711. His earliest political activity seems to have been in support of the Whig interest at Aylesbury in 1691 and his chance of a seat in Parliament came at the Wycombe by-election of March 1696, presumably with the backing of Hon. Thomas Wharton*. His first act in the Commons was to add his name to the Association before it was presented to the King on 4 Apr. Unlike his brother he was not an active Member, being granted leave of absence on 2 Mar. 1697 for a fortnight and again on 11 Mar. 1698, presumably to go on the spring circuit.4

Dormer was defeated at Wycombe in 1698, despite Wharton’s efforts, being listed in September as a member of the Court party ‘left out’ of the new Parliament. He represented Wycombe in the next four Parliaments, but references to ‘Mr Dormer’ in the Journals have been taken to refer to his elder brother, Robert. Dormer was classed as a Whig by Robert Harley* in December 1701, and voted on 13 Feb. 1703 for agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time for taking the oath of abjuration. He was forecast as likely to oppose the Tack and indeed did not vote for it on 28 Nov. 1704. An analysis of 1705 classed Dormer as a ‘Churchman’, but in the new Parliament he voted for Smith as Speaker on 25 Oct. 1705 and voted again with the Court on 18 Feb. 1706 over the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill. Having been rewarded with a commissionership of prizes in May 1706 he was forced to resign this place in November 1707 in order to remain in the House under the Regency Act. Two lists from 1708 classed Dormer as a Whig. In the following Parliament he voted in 1709 for the naturalization of the Palatines and in 1710 for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell.5

Dormer stood for Wycombe in 1710, but withdrew before the poll. At the end of the year he was appointed a master in Chancery, and did not attempt to regain his seat in 1713. In October 1714 he suffered a serious accident on his way from Wycombe to London, being thrown from his horse and breaking a leg. He resigned his recordership of Wycombe in March 1718 and his mastership three years later. He was buried at Quainton on 21 Oct. 1723.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley


  • 1. IGI, Bucks.; Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 415.
  • 2. Ledger Bk. of Chipping Wycombe ed. Newall, 42.
  • 3. Info. from Sir John Sainty.
  • 4. Ledger Bk. of Chipping Wycombe, 42; CSP Dom. July–Dec. 1695, p. 67; L. J. Ashford, Hist. High Wycombe, 168; Bucks. Dissent and Parish Life 1668–1712 ed. Broad (Bucks. Rec. Soc. xxviii), 255; Bucks. Sess. Recs. i.509; ii. 454; iii. 306; BL, Verney mss mic. 636/45, John Verney* (Ld. Fermanagh) to Sir Ralph Verney, 1st Bt.†, 14 Apr. 1691.
  • 5. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 142; Cal. Treas. Bks. xx. 647; xxi. 50; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 235.
  • 6. Verney Letters 18th Cent. i. 302; Verney mss mic. 636/55, Fermanagh to Ralph Verney†, 1, 7 Nov. 1714.