DASHWOOD, Sir James, 2nd Bt. (1715-79), of Kirtlington Park, Oxon.

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



30 Jan. 1740 - 1754
1761 - 1768

Family and Education

b. 7 Aug. 1715, 1st surv. s. of Robert Dashwood (1st surv. s. of Sir Robert Dashwood, 1st Bt., M.P.) by Dorothy, da. of Sir James Reade, 2nd Bt., of Brocket Hall, Herts., sis. and coh. of Sir John Reade, 3rd Bt. educ. Eton 1725; Abingdon g.s.; Grand Tour (France, Italy, Netherlands) 1732-6. m. 17 Feb. 1739, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Edward Spencer of Rendlesham, Suff., 3s. 3da. suc. fa. 29 Sept. 1728; gd.-fa. 14 July 1734.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Oxon. 1738-9; high steward, Oxford 1759-d.


Inheriting estates in Oxfordshire so extensive that the owner could ride from Kirtlington to Banbury on his own lands,1 Dashwood built himself ‘a vast new house’ at Kirtlington, the largest in the county after Blenheim, ‘situated so high’, Horace Walpole wrote (4 Aug. 1753, to John Chute) ‘that it seems to stand for the county as well as himself’. Returned unopposed as a Tory for the county in 1740, he abstained on the motion for the dismissal of Walpole in February 1741. Re-elected unopposed in 1741 and 1747, he voted against the Government in all recorded divisions, refusing in 1745 to join the association in defence of the Hanoverian succession.2 In 1747 he attended the anniversary dinner of the independent electors of Westminster, at which treasonable healths were said to have been drunk, being chosen one of their stewards for the following year.3 The 2nd Lord Egmont wrote of him in his electoral survey, c. 1749-50:

He is deemed strongly tainted with Jacobitism, yet I don’t think him irreclaimable. He has a great fortune, is of a rough temper with a great deal of spirit — if he would speak more and attend a little business he is capable of acquiring a very great influence among the Tories.

In October 1753 he anticipated the Administration by moving for the repeal of the Act for the naturalization of the Jews, making a violent speech against it.4 A month later he moved for the repeal of the Plantation Act, under which foreigners could be naturalized after seven years residence in the colonies.5

He died 10 May 1779.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. J. Townsend, Oxfordshire Dashwoods, 24.
  • 2. R. J. Robson, Oxfordshire Election of 1754, p. 2.
  • 3. Gent. Mag. 1747, p. 150.
  • 4. AEM & D Angl. 51, ff. 189-90.
  • 5. Walpole, Mems. Geo. II, i. 364.