WILLIAMS, Robert II (1735-1814), of Bridehead, nr. Dorchester, Dorset and Moor Park, Herts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1807 - 1812

Family and Education

bap. 23 Apr. 1735, 4th s. of Robert Williams of Charminster, Dorset by 2nd w. Anne Shaw of Manchester, Lancs. m. 27 Oct. 1764, Jane, da. of Francis Chassereau of Marylebone, Mdx., 2s. 3da.

Offices Held

Dir. E.I. Co. 1809-12.

Sheriff, Dorset 1804-5.


Williams came of a cadet branch of the Dorset family long settled at Herringstone. He and his brothers sought their fortunes in London. At 14 he was apprenticed to a cabinet maker of Covent Garden. After fitting out the cabins of East India Company ships he became a shipbuilder, and at his death owned 14 East Indiamen.1 He entered the commercial aristocracy as a partner in the bank of Vere, Williams, Son, Wilkinson and Drury. In 1790 he became senior partner. The bank was styled Williams, Son, Moffat and Burgess from 1810.2 He purchased Bridehead in 1799, and the magnificent Moor Park in 1801 from the widow of Thomas Bates Rous. In 1795 he and his son Robert signed the London declaration of loyalty to Pitt. In 1797 he subscribed £20,000 and his bank £80,000 to the loyalty loan. He invested in East India Company stock and by 1806 was entitled to four votes for the directorate, to which he was eventually elected at his third attempt.

Williams, whose son Robert entered Parliament in 1802, contested Dorchester on the independent interest in 1806. He was defeated then, but came in unopposed in 1807. He supported administration, but not as actively as his son, like whom he voted against parliamentary reform, 21 May 1810. He was listed as ‘against the Opposition’ at that time. No speech of his is known. In 1812 he retired in favour of his son Robert. He died 17 Jan. 1814, worth over half a million.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Lawrence Taylor


  • 1. Burke LG (1847), ii. 1594; Cussans, Herts. Cashio, 127.
  • 2. Hilton Price, London Bankers, 177.
  • 3. Gent. Mag. (1814), i. 202; Cornw. RO, Mems. of J. C. Rashleigh (T/S), iii. 10.