DOWDESWELL, William (1682-1728), of Pull Court, Bushley, Worcs.

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



1 Jan. 1712 - 1722

Family and Education

bap. 18 Aug. 1682, 1st s. of Richard Dowdeswell*.  educ. ?Eton 1698; Christ Church, Oxf. 1700; travelled abroad.  m. (1) 13 Mar. 1712, Katherine (d. 1716), da. of Charles Cokayne, 3rd Visct. Cullen [I], 1s. d.v.p. 1da.; (2) 5 Aug. 1719, Amy, da. of Anthony Hammond*, 4s. (1 d.v.p.).  suc. fa. 1711.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Worcs. 1726–7.


As the heir to a considerable interest at Tewkesbury, Dowdeswell was well placed to embark on a parliamentary career. However, his immediate prospects were put in jeopardy as a result of an unfortunate incident in which he was involved while travelling on the Continent. While journeying through France to England in July 1709, having been granted a safe conduct, he killed a Roman Catholic servant who had robbed him. A letter survives to his uncle, Hon. Robert Tracy, a judge of common pleas, asking that the government demand his return to stand trial in England, but in fact no action was taken against him. It is not certain whether the incident played any direct part in the defeat of his father at Tewkesbury at the 1710 election, but in the year following his father’s death, Dowdeswell himself was able to reassert the family’s claim to a seat in the by-election to replace Henry Ireton*.2

Like his father, Dowdeswell was a committed Whig. He voted on 18 June 1713 against the French commerce bill, being classed as a Whig in the ensuing printed division list. Re-elected in 1713 with his kinsman Charles Dowdeswell, he was classed as a Whig on the Worsley list. In the 1714 session he voted on 18 Mar. against the expulsion of Richard Steele. Returned again in the 1715 election, he was classed as a Whig on two comparative analyses of the old and new Parliaments. After loyally supporting the Whig ministry, he retired from Parliament in 1722. Dowdeswell died on 5 Sept. 1728, being succeeded by his son, William†, chancellor of the Exchequer in the Rockingham administration, 1765–7.

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Stuart Handley


  • 1. Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, vii. 64–67.
  • 2. Add. 61129, f. 36.