DAVIS, Hart (1791-1854), of Bere Hill House, Whitchurch, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



30 June 1812 - Feb. 1818

Family and Education

b. 6 Mar. 1791, 1st s. of Richard Hart Davis* by Sarah, da. of William Whittingham of Earlsmead, nr. Bristol, Glos. educ. Eton 1805; Christ Church, Oxf. 1809; L. Inn 1810. m. 10 July 1813, Charlotte, da. of Thomas Dundas of Fingask, Stirling, s.p. suc. fa. 1842.

Offices Held

Collector of customs, Mauritius 1820-4; commr. excise Aug. 1824, dep. chairman Sept. 1837-Jan. 1849.


Hart Davis came in unopposed for Colchester shortly before the dissolution of 1812, succeeding to his father’s seat when the latter took advantage of an opening at Bristol. Like his father he supported Lord Liverpool’s administration, the friends of which backed him far more in the contest he faced at the ensuing general election than they did the other sitting Member Robert Thornton. After heading the poll, he went off to fight his father’s battle for the control of Cardigan Boroughs.1

On 30 Nov. 1812 he seconded the address. According to one report:2

Young Davis distinguished himself very much indeed at the opening of Parliament, and I understand from experienced Members of the House, he promises very fairly, as the Speaker complimented him most highly on his maiden speech and said he had seldom heard a better on such an occasion. Those who differed from him in his political sentiments were equally flattering in the opinions they formed.

On 1 Mar. 1813 he spoke again, in opposition to Catholic relief, against which he voted throughout that session, as well as in 1816 and (by pair) in 1817. On 16 Mar. 1813 he was obliged to apologize to the House for his absence from an election ballot. He obtained leaves of absence for a month because of illness on 28 Apr. 1814 and 24 May 1815. When present he supported ministers, like his father, except that he joined the latter in opposing the Duke of Cumberland’s marriage grant, 3 July 1815. He no longer attempted to figure in debate. There is no clear evidence that he attended in person after 25 Feb. 1817, when he voted with the majority on the Admiralty question. When he resigned his seat on health grounds in February 1818, his opponent at Colchester, Daniel Whittle Harvey, diagnosed his illness as ‘financial’. In any case, Davis obtained an appointment in Mauritius.3 On his return, he settled for a place on the board of excise. He died 17 June 1854.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Add. 38328, f. 15; Essex RO, Strutt mss, Davis to Strutt, 21 Oct. [1812].
  • 2. Essex RO, Barrett Lennard mss C59, Brooke to Barrett Lennard, 3 Dec. [1812], cf. Colchester, ii. 412.
  • 3. Observer, 9 Mar. 1820, cited by J. Williams, ‘Bristol in the General Elections of 1818 and 1820’, Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. lxxxvii (1968), 197.