NORTON, Hon. William (1742-1822).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



21 Nov. 1768 - 1774
1774 - 23 Mar. 1775
19 Dec. 1775 - 1780
4 Apr. 1782 - 1784
1784 - 1 Jan. 1789

Family and Education

b. 19 Feb. 1742, 1st s. of Fletcher Norton, and bro. of Hon. Chapple, Hon. Edward, and Hon. Fletcher Norton.  educ. Harrow c.1757; St. John’s, Camb. 1759; M. Temple 1755.  m. 27 Sept. 1791, Anna Margaretta, da. and coh. of Jonathan Midgeley of Beverley, Yorks., 2s. both d.v.p.  suc. fa. as 2nd Baron Grantley 1 Jan. 1789.

Offices Held

Minister to Switzerland Jan. 1765-July 1783; resided March 1765-Apr. 1768, but, except from July-Dec. 1769 and a few days in June 1776 was absent in England during the remainder of his appointment.


Norton sat for Richmond on the interest of Sir Lawrence Dundas, and for Guildford on his family interest. In 1774 he stood for Wigtown Burghs on Lord Stair’s interest, recommended by Lawrence Dundas, but was unseated on petition. He stood for Surrey at the by-election of 1775, with the support of Government and the Onslow interest, but was defeated. He does not appear to have stood at the general election of 1780, and was returned unopposed for Surrey in 1784.

Norton supported Government until 1780, but voted with Opposition on economical reform, 8 and 13 Mar. 1780, on Dunning’s motion, 6 Apr., and on the motion against prorogation, 24 Apr. On 17 Feb. 1783, during the debate on Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, he declared his approval of the treaties with France and Spain but not of that with the U.S.A., ‘on account of the article relating to the loyalists’,1 and did not vote. He did not vote on Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783, and was classed in Stockdale’s list of 19 Mar. 1784 as a supporter of Pitt. Yet he voted against the Duke of Richmond’s fortifications plan, 27 Feb. 1786, and against Pitt on the Regency, 16 Dec. 1788. He rarely spoke in the House.

He died 12 Nov. 1822.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Debrett, ix. 288.