CODRINGTON, Sir William, 2nd Bt. (1719-92), of Dodington, Glos.

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



1747 - 1761
1761 - 11 Mar. 1792

Family and Education

b. 26 Oct. 1719, 1st s. of Sir William Codrington, 1st Bt., M.P., by Elizabeth, da. of William Bethell of Swindon, Yorks. and sis. and coh. of Slingsby Bethell. Codrington’s sis. m. William Dowdeswell. educ. Westminster 1736; Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1736. m. 22 Feb. 1736, Anne Acton of Fulham, Mdx., 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 17 Dec. 1738.

Offices Held


It is probable that Codrington sat for Beverley on the interest of his uncle Slingsby Bethell who owned considerable property in that part of Yorkshire. At the contested election of 1754 Codrington was returned head of the poll and was listed by Dupplin as an Opposition Whig. He sat for Tewkesbury on the interest of his brother-in-law William Dowdeswell, supported by the corporation.

He did not receive Newcastle’s whip in October 1761; was marked in Bute’s list of December 1761 as ‘Tory and West Indian’ (he owned plantations in Barbados and Antigua); and voted against the peace preliminaries, 9 and 10 Dec. 1762. In the autumn of 1763 he was marked by Jenkinson as ‘doubtful’.

In October 1763 he wished to stand against Edward Southwell at the by-election for Gloucestershire, and wrote to Grenville on 14 Oct.:1

He [Southwell] is supported by the Beaufort family and Mr. [Norborne] Berkeley with the Tory interest. I have the assistance of Lord Chedworth, the influence of Berkeley Castle, and the Whig interest.

Codrington saw Grenville on 14 Oct. and ‘desired earnestly’ to have an office which would vacate his seat.2 Grenville refused, having promised to give the Chiltern Hundreds to Southwell and not wishing to countenance an opposition against him. ‘Had he been permitted to vacate his present seat in Parliament’, wrote Samuel Rogers3 to the Duke of Portland on 19 Oct.,4 ‘I think he would not have succeeded at Gloucester as Southwell’s interest was so much bigger than his.’

Codrington voted against the Government over general warrants, 6, 15 and 18 Feb. 1764. Classed in November 1766 by Rockingham as ‘Whig’ and by Newcastle in March 1767 as ‘friend’, he voted regularly with the Rockinghams. He voted against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and was classed by Robinson, March 1783, as a friend of Fox; did not vote on the East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783, but was reckoned among the opponents of Pitt in Stockdale’s list of 19 Mar. 1784. He voted against Pitt on the Irish commercial propositions, 13 May 1785, on the Duke of Richmond’s fortifications plan, 27 Feb. 1786, and on the Regency.

His only recorded speech, 29 Mar. 1762, was on the game bill, when he is included by Harris in a list of ‘all such speakers as did never speak’.

Codrington died 11 Mar. 1792.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Grenville mss (Bodl.).
  • 2. Grenville to Norborne Berkeley, 20 Oct. 1763, Grenville mss (HL).
  • 3. For Samuel Rogers, rector of St. Mary Magdalen, Oxford, and a Gloucestershire man, see Barker Stenning, Old Westminsters.
  • 4. Portland mss.