DAMER, Joseph, 1st Baron Milton [I] (1718-98), of Milton Abbey, Dorset, and Shronell, co. Tipperary

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



1747 - 1754
1754 - May 1762

Family and Education

b. 12 Mar. 1718, 1st s. of Joseph Damer, M.P., of Winterbourne Came, Dorset, by Mary, da. of John Churchill of Henbury, Dorset, and bro. of John Damer. educ. Trinity, Dublin 1734-5. m. 27 July 1742, Lady Caroline Sackville, da. of Lionel, 1st Duke of Dorset, 3s. 1da. suc. fa. 1 Mar. 1737; and uncle John Damer of Shronell 1768; cr. Baron Milton [I] 3 July 1753; Baron Milton [GB] 10 May 1762; Earl of Dorchester [GB] 18 May 1792.

Offices Held


Joseph Damer, father of the 1st Lord Milton, married a niece of Awnsham Churchill, ‘the greatest bookseller and stationer of his time’,1 who had considerable interest at Dorchester and represented the borough 1705-10. Joseph Damer sat for Dorchester 1722-7; and in the years 1750-1 and 1754-91 one Member was always a Damer.

Milton had Government support when a contest threatened at Dorchester in 1754. His career in the Commons was uneventful.

As a peer he was closely associated in politics with his brother-in-law, Lord George Sackville, and from 1768 to 1775 with Rockingham. Walpole wrote about him in 1778:2

Lord Milton was in a kind of mad state, and had appeared nowhere since his wife’s death, near two years before. He had been in opposition ... till the breaking out of the American war, when he had taken up violent animosity to the Americans, probably instigated by his brother-in-law, Lord George Germain.

His income was variously estimated at between £15,000 and £30,000 a year. Walpole describes him as ‘the most arrogant and proud of men’,3 and Wraxall writes:4

At his seat of Milton Abbey in Dorsetshire, where he maintained a gloomy and sequestered splendour, analogous to his character and habits, he had made immense landed purchases, which, exhausting his pecuniary means, extensive as they were, reduced him to a species of temporary distress.

He died 12 Jan. 1798.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. James Granger, quoted by H. R. Plomer, Dictionary of Printers Booksellers, 1668-1725, p. 69.
  • 2. Last Jnls. ii. 125.
  • 3. Ibid. i. 254.
  • 4. Mems. iii. 249-50.