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William Dowdeswell 

In office
16 July 1765 – 2 August 1766
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Marquess of Rockingham
Preceded by Hon. George Grenville
Succeeded by Hon. Charles Townshend

Born 1721 (1721)
Died 6 February 1775 (1775-02-07)
Nice, France
Nationality British
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Bridget Codrington
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
University of Leiden

William Dowdeswell PC (1721 – 6 February 1775) was a British politician. He went abroad to recover his health in 1774 but died the next February in Nice[1].


Background and education

A son of William Dowdeswell of Pull Court, Bushley, Worcestershire, he was educated at Westminster School, at Christ Church, Oxford, then at the University of Leiden.

Political career

Dowdeswell became member of Parliament for the family borough of Tewkesbury in 1747, retaining this seat until 1754, and from 1761 until his death he was one of the representatives of Worcestershire. Becoming prominent among the Whigs, Dowdeswell was made Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1765 under the Marquess of Rockingham, and his short tenure of this position appears to have been a successful one, he being in Lecky's words a good financier, but nothing more.

To general astonishment, he refused to abandon his friends and to take office under Chatham, who succeeded Rockingham in August 1766. Dowdeswell then led the Rockingham party in the House of Commons, taking an active part in debate until his death.


Dowdeswell married Bridget, daughter of Sir William Codrington, 1st Baronet, in 1747. He died at Nice in February 1775. The highly eulogistic epitaph on his monument at Bushley was written by Edmund Burke.


  1. ^ Jeremy Black, "The British and the Grand Tour", (1985), p128
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
The Viscount Gage
John Martin
Member of Parliament for Tewkesbury
Served alongside: The Viscount Gage
Succeeded by
Nicholson Calvert
John Martin
Preceded by
John Bulkeley Coventry
Edmund Pytts
Member of Parliament for Worcestershire
Served alongside: John Ward 1761–1774
Edward Foley 1774–1775
Succeeded by
Edward Foley
William Lygon
Political offices
Preceded by
George Grenville
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Charles Townshend

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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