DAWNAY, Henry Pleydell, 3rd Visct. Downe. [I] (1727-60), of Cowick Hall, Yorks.

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



25 Apr. 1750 - 26 Dec. 1760

Family and Education

b. 8 Apr. 1727, 1st s. of Hon. John Dawnay, M.P. (1st s. of Henry, 2nd Visct. Downe, M.P.), by Charlotte Louisa, da. and h. of Robert Pleydell of Ampney Crucis, Glos. educ. Eton 1742; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1745. unm. suc.gd.-fa. as 3rd Visct. May 1741.

Offices Held

Ld. of the bedchamber to Prince of Wales 1751-60.


Downe was closely connected with the Pelhams, who had proposed his standing for Yorkshire in 1750. He was returned in 1754 without a contest.1

His one recorded speech (23 Mar. 1756, against the subsidy treaty with Hesse) is thus reported by Sir Roger Newdigate in his diary:2

Lord Downe with a truly British spirit expressed his indignation at calling in the Hessians, and called upon the Administration to arm the nation. That when the French landed the gentry and yeomanry might not be drove about the nation along with the herd of helpless women and children.

On 26 Apr. 1757 Downe voted against Newcastle and Fox on the Minorca inquiry.3 In May 1758 he went as a volunteer on the expedition to St. Malo; in 1759 commanded the 25th Foot in Germany; fought at Minden (1 Aug. 1759); was wounded at Campen (16 Oct. 1760), and died 26 Dec. 1760.4

Walpole wrote to Mann on 2 Jan. 1761:

We have lost poor Lord Downe, one of the most amiable men in the world. Frank, generous, spirited, and odd, with a large independent fortune, he had conceived a rage for the army. He received twelve wounds in the affair of Campen; and though one of them was in his knee, he was forced to walk five miles. This last wound was neglected and closed too soon, with a splinter in it, not being thought of consequence; and proved mortal. He bid the surgeons put him to as much pain as they pleased, so they did but make him fit for the next campaign. He languished ten weeks; and not a mouth is opened but in praise or regret of him.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. C. Collyer, ‘The Rockinghams Yorks. Politics, 1742-61’, Thoresby Soc. xli. 360-1.
  • 2. Newdigate mss, Warws. RO.
  • 3. Add. 35877, f. 363.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. 1760, p. 594. CP, Lodge, and Burke give d. 9 Dec. but he was alive 18 Dec. (Granby to Ligonier), 18 Dec. 1760, HMC Rutland, ii. 236.