COURTENAY, Sir William, 2nd Bt. (1676-1735), of Powderham Castle, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1701 - 1710
22 July 1712 - 6 Oct. 1735

Family and Education

b. 11 Mar. 1676, 1st s. of Francis Courtenay, M.P., by Mary, da. of John Boevey of Flaxley Abbey, Glos., London merchant. educ. ?Exeter, Oxf. 1695. m. 20 July 1704, Lady Anne Bertie, da. of James, 1st Earl of Abingdon, 5s. 8da. suc. fa. who d.v.p. 1699; gd.-fa. as 2nd Bt. 4 Aug. 1702.

Offices Held

Ld. Lt. Devon 1714-16.


Courtenay’s family had been settled at Powderham and had represented Devon in Parliament since the fourteenth century. As lords of the manor of Honiton, about 15 miles from Powderham, they appointed the returning officer, as well as other officials of that borough. Returned as a Tory for the county in 1715 (when he was also elected at Honiton), Courtenay sat for it in every succeeding Parliament till his death. From 1715 all his recorded votes were against the Government. His name was sent to the Pretender as a Jacobite supporter in 1721, and he was in contact with Atterbury’s agents during the plot of 1722.1 He seconded a motion for a bill to prevent the translation of bishops in March 1731, and one for a place bill in January 1733.2 On 16 Mar. 1733, when Sir William Yonge declared that his constituents at Honiton had signified to him their approbation of the excise scheme, Courtenay replied that

he knew the borough the hon. gent. stood for; he knew almost every man in it, he had but lately come from there, and he knew that they were all against it. The whole people of that country were against and had joined in their solicitations for him to come up of purpose to oppose it.3

He died 6 Oct. 1735.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Stuart mss 65/16; Rep. from the Cttee appointed by the House of Commons to examine Christopher Layer and others, App. F. 11.
  • 2. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 153, 312.
  • 3. Stuart mss Box 1/125.