DUGDALE, William Stratford (1800-1871), of Blyth Hall, Warws.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Education
b. 1 Apr. 1800, o.s. of Dugdale Stratford Dugdale* and 1st w. Hon. Charlotte Curzon, da. of Assheton Curzon†, 1st Visct. Curzon. educ. Westminster 1812-16; Christ Church, Oxf. 1818. m. 1 Mar. 1827 Harriet Ella, da. of Edward Berkeley Portman I*, 7s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. (1 d.v.p.) suc. fa. 1836. d. 15 Sept. 1871.
Lt. Warws. yeoman cav. 1825, capt. 1833.
Dugdale, an only child, was his father’s heir and intended successor as Member for Warwickshire. After leaving Oxford and touring the continent with his parents in 1821, he assisted with the management of their north Warwickshire estates and colliery at Baddesley and county business. His diaries and family papers indicate that he was an active local magistrate and huntsman and a close friend of Sir George Chetwynd*, Evelyn John Shirley* of Ettington Hall and the latter’s brother Edward.1 At the general election of 1830 his father financed his return for Lord Grosvenor’s borough of Shaftesbury, where, to their annoyance, he was opposed. During the election he voiced reservations about the enactment of Catholic emancipation, but indicated that he would support ministers ‘so long as they preserve in the road of economy’.2 He attended the Birmingham dinner in honour of the duke of Wellington, 23 Sept., and was counted among his ministry’s ‘friends’, but he failed to divide with them on the civil list when they were brought down, 15 Nov. 1830.3 His attendance thereafter was sporadic. Although he encouraged reports to the contrary, he voted against the Grey ministry’s reform bill at its second reading, 22 Mar. 1831, when his father divided for it, and was obliged by Grosvenor to vacate his seat.4 He joined his father in professing support for reform at the Warwickshire meeting, 4 Apr., but their remarks were ridiculed. His father retired to avoid defeat at the general election precipitated by the bill’s defeat.5 Dugdale, however, was ‘returned for Bramber on my relative Lord Calthorpe’s interest. The electors, few in numbers but of salient minds would not elect his brother the Hon. Frederick Calthorpe ... because he voted for the reform bill’.6
He voted against the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July, and committal, 12 July, to make the 1831 census the criterion for English borough disfranchisements, 19 July, and to postpone consideration of the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July 1831. He supported its proposal for the division of counties, 11 Aug., and from 1832 represented a constituency so created. He voted against the bill’s passage, 21 Sept. He paired against the revised reform bill at its second reading, 17 Dec. 1831, and voted against enfranchising Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. His wife, a sister of the Whig Edward Portman II, was dangerously ill that month, and he and Portman had agreed to pair if her condition did not improve by the 19th.7 He divided with opposition on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July. He presented Warwickshire petitions complaining of distress in the ribbon trade, 28 Feb. 1832.
A lifelong Conservative, Dugdale canvassed Warwickshire North early at the general election of 1832 and was returned in second place.8 The victor in two further contests, he remained loyal to Peel on corn law reform and retired at the dissolution in 1847 to avoid defeat. He died in September 1871 at Blyth Hall, to which with Merevale, Warwickshire, he was succeeded by his eldest son William (1828-82). His father’s will remained largely unadministered and in his own will, which was proved in Birmingham, 11 Dec. 1871, Dugdale left detailed instructions for the financial management of the family estates and collieries. His wife (d. 1903) was one of the principal beneficiaries.9
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Authors: Margaret Escott / Howard Spencer
- 1. Add. 52286, D.S. Dugdale to John Craddock, 10 Sept. 1821; Warws. RO TD75/34; Dugdale of Merevale mss (NRA 8199).
- 2. Warws. RO TD 75/34, diaries of William Stratford Dugdale, mem. for 1830; Hist. Shaftesbury Election (1830).
- 3. The Times, 25 Sept. 1830.
- 4. Grey mss, Durham to Grey, 8 Apr.; Chester Courant, 19 Apr.; Dorset Co. Chron. 21 Apr. 1831.
- 5. Warwick Advertiser, 9, 30 Apr. 1831; Warws. RO (MI 247), Philips Mems. ii. 124.
- 6. Coventry Mercury 1 May; Dugdale diaries, mem. for 1831.
- 7. Derby mss 920 Der (14) 128/10, Portman to Smith Stanley, 11 Mar. 1832.
- 8. Dugdale diaries, mem. June-Dec.; Coventry Mercury, 2, 16, 30 Dec. 1832.
- 9. N. Gash, Sir Robert Peel, 605; The Times, 22 Sept. 1871; PROB 6/212.