Sir Christopher Bethell Codrington soi-disant Bart.

1st Oct 1764 - 4th Feb 1843

Claimant or beneficiary


Slave-owner and anti-abolitionist, with a recent entry in the ODNB as 'slave owner and politician.' Son of Edward Codrington and Rebecca Le Sturgeon. Married 15/08/1796 Hon. Caroline Georgiana Harriet Foley, daughter of Thomas Foley, 2nd Baron Foley of Kidderminster and Lady Henrietta Stanhope. He used the baronetcy title of his uncle Sir William Codrington 2nd bart., but Christopher Bethell Codrington's right to the title was never legitimated.

  1. His father was a West India merchant in partnership with John Miller and handled ('presumably') the estates in Antigua belonging to his eldest brother Sir William Codrington, Whig MP for Tewkesbury, 1761-1792 [in fact, Sir William Codrington held Barbuda, Betty's Hope, Cables and Cotton: other estates descending from their father Sir William Codrington first bart descended to each of his younger children, including Edward, Christopher Bethell Codrington's father.] Christopher Codrington, nephew of Sir Wm., 'inherited the Antiguan plantations and estates in south Gloucestershire' when Sir Wm.'s eldest son (also William and the only son) disinherited in 1789. (Conditions included spending 6 months in Antigua to learn planting.) Christopher also inherited in 1797 from his uncle Christopher Bethell, who also had property in the West Indies and Yorkshire. In consequence he changed his name to Bethell-Codrington by Royal License on 17/11/1797. Bethell-Codrington was elected unopposed at Tewkesbury in 1802, taking over the seat from his cousin William Dowdeswell on his appointment as Governor of the Bahamas. (In turn Dowdeswell was successor to Sir William Codrington). He was a Tory and supporter of Pitt, having rejected the Whig and 'latitudinarian' principles he had been brought up with. In March 1806 he refused to support the request from a group of dissenters, Quakers and professionals in Tewkesbury for the abolition of the slave trade, although when it came to the key votes on abolition (23 February and 6 March 1807) he didn't vote. In 1817 he purchased the Hill estates at Wapley in Gloucestershire for £45,000. (This made his estates 'extend upwards of 15 miles in one continued line'.) In 1821, he bought the 'Sherrett' [= Skerrett] plantation in Antigua.

  2. Christopher Bethell Codrington inherited '4240 acres, £108,500 and valuable West Indian plantations' 'in 1792' as the great-nephw [sic] of Sir William Codrington. He spent £68,478 on building Dodington 1796-1814 and 'supposedly, a further £60,000' on the interior. His English estates appear to have produced £34,801 towards new building to New Year 1814. Between 1793 and 1809 Codrington spent £78,340 on land and legal fees, and a further £50,500 between 1814 and 1819. 'Sums of this extent were met by the sale of investments and from plantation profits.'

  3. Codrington was descended from the family which had had estates in Barbados and Antigua since the C17th as well as estates in Gloucestershire. He was also related to Bethel Walrond [q.v.], also a recipient of compensation money.

  4. The will of Sir Christopher Bethell Codrington of Dodington Park, Gloucestershire, was proved in 1843.


Draper, Nicholas. "Codrington, Christopher Bethell (1764–1843), slave owner and politician." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 6 Oct. 2016; Accessed 17 Jan. 2020.; T71/877 Antigua claim nos. 101 (Clare Hall, St John), 329 (New Work, St Peters), 332 (Cotton, St Peters), 334 (Betty's Hope, St Peter), 338 (Garden, St Peter) and 558 (Island of Barbuda, a dependency of Antigua); T71/891 Tobago claim nos. 1 (Bon Accord), 32 (Courland).

  1. R. G. Thorne (ed.), The House of Commons, 1790-1820 (5 vols., London, Secker & Warburg for the History of Parliament Trust, 1986), vol. 3, pp. 201-203.

  2. Richard Wilson and Alan Mackley, Creating Paradise: the Building of the English Country House 1660-1800 (2000) pp. 325-327.

  3. [accessed 17/10/2011]; Mrs. Flannigan, Antigua and the Antiguans: a full account of the colony and its inhabitants from the time of the Caribs to the present day ... Also, an impartial view of slavery and the free labour systems, etc. (2 vols., London, Saunders & Otley, 1844), vol. 2, pp. 334-6.

Christopher Codrington I Lt. Col. in Royalist armies; settled in Barbados 1649 (d. c. 1656). Two sons: Christopher II, Governor of the Leeward Islands 1689; died 1698 and John, Colonel of the Life-guards in Barbados.

Christopher had two sons: Christopher III and John.

Christopher III 'founder' of All Souls’, Oxford. Purchased Dodington, Gloucestershire from his cousin Samuel. Succeeded his father as Governor of the Leeward Islands 1698. Owned ‘Betty’s Hope’ in Antigua. Died 1710. Bequeathed £20,000 to Society for Propagating the Faith (in the West Indies) and £10,000 to All Souls. Also left his library valued at £600 to the College.

Most of his estate left to his first cousin Colonel William Codrington of Barbados and Antigua.

William member of the Council of Antigua. Created Baronet 1721; died 1738.

M. Elizabeth, daughter of William Bethel of Swindon [Swinton?], Yorkshire.

4 sons: William (2nd Bart.), John-Archibald (died s.p. 1759), Christopher (died s.p. 1797), Edward.

(Died s.p. = sine prole, i.e. ‘without issue’.)

Distribution of Sir William’s estate at his death in 1738: to:

John Archibald: Barbados estates

Christopher: ‘Room’s’ estate, Antigua

Edward: Folly estate, Antigua. Married Rebecca Le Sturgeon.

William (eldest son) got the general bequest including the whole of Barbuda, ‘Betty’s Hope’, ‘Cotton Estate’ and the ‘Cables’. [the account in Antigua and the Antiguans garbles this legacy, attributing the three named estates erroneously as subsets of The Folly].

Sir William (2nd Bart.) was MP for Minehead, Somerset; died 11 March 1792.

He and his wife Anne Acton had a son Sir William, 3rd Bart.

Sir William (3rd Bart.) died in France 1816.

His cousin Christopher Bethel Codrington of Dodington Park, Gloucestershire assumed the title (Bart.) on the grounds that his cousin had died without lawful issue. This was disputed.

Christopher the son of Edward (above) and the brother of Sir Edward Codrington (Royal Navy Admiral) and Caroline.

Caroline married Joseph Lyons Walrond of Walrond’s and Lyons’ estate, Antigua and of Dulford House, Devon. Caroline and Joseph Lyons Walrond the parents of Bethel Walrond (MP for Sudbury 1826-1831). Bethel Walrond married Lady Janet Erskine, daughter of the Earl of Rosslyn, 1829.

15 August 1796 Christopher Bethel Codrington married the Hon. Carolina Georgiana Harriott Foley, daughter of Thomas, second Lord Foley. Their children included Sir William Christopher Codrington (b. 12 March 1805) who married Lady Georgiana Somerset, daughter of the Duke of Beaufort.

PROB 11/1979/33.

See also notes on Marmaduke Trattle, sole consignee for estates of Codrington family c. 1789-1829.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
Sir Christopher Bethell Codrington Bart.
Hon. Caroline Georgiana Harriet Foley
Charlotte Octavia (?-1895), Emma (?-1884), Caroline Anna Maria (1798-1877), Georgina Elizabeth (1799-1877), Christopher William (1805-1864), Edward (1813-1870)
Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Claims (9)

£4,442 2s 0d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£2,468 10s 2d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£2,078 1s 7d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£4,920 9s 10d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£2,227 13s 8d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£6,286 18s 11d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£2,260 4s 5d
Claimants in List E or Chancery cases
£3,581 14s 6d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£3,861 6s 5d

Associated Estates (8)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1834 [SY] - 1834 [EY] → Owner
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1792 [SY] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1792 [SY] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1792 [SY] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

Country house
Dodington Park [Built] 
description →
Image from <a...
notes →
Re-built for Sir Christopher Bethell Codrington c. 1798-1817 by James. Capability Brown gardens. In the family until the 1980s. (Subsequently owned by James Dyson.) Dates of occupation by the...

Political (1)

Tory / West India interest 
election →
Tewkesbury Gloucestershire
1797 - 1812
parliamentary notes →

Relationships (8)

Brother-in-law → Sister-in-law
Uncle → Nephew
Brother → Sister
Nephew → Uncle
Notes →
Christopher Bethell Codrington was also the heir to Sir William Codrington 2nd bart after the latter disinherited his son (also William, later the third bart.) ...
Son → Father

Addresses (1)

Dodington Park, Dodington, Gloucestershire, South-west England, England