Henry Dawkins II

24th May 1728 - 19th Jun 1814

Slave-owner and antecedent of claimant or beneficiary


Son of Henry Dawkins I and Elizabeth Pennant, brother of James Dawkins, cousin of Edward Morant and Richard Pennant, and father of James Colyear Dawkins (q.v.), George Hay Dawkins Pennant (q.v.), and Henry Dawkins (q.v.). He has a recent entry in the ODNB as 'plantation and slave owner and politician.'

A very wealthy man, he owned 20,000 acres in Jamaica and of estates in Wiltshire and Oxfordshire. He seems to have lived in Jamaica from c.1751 to 1759, when he left to reside permanently in England. Member of Jamaica Assembly, 1752-58 and of the Jamaican council, 1758-59.

Henry Dawkins was listed in the Jamaican Quit Rent books for 1754 as the owner of 1300 acres of land in St Elizabeth, 4232 acres in Clarendon and 229 acres in Vere, total 5761 acres.

Dawkins and Cunningham were listed in the Jamaican Quit Rent books for 1754 as the owners of 500 acres of land in St Elizabeth. This may refer to James Dawkins, James Dawkins the younger or Henry Dawkins II. The Cunningham may be James Cunningham of Chesterfield or perhaps one of the Cunninghames of Grandvale.

In 1759 married Lady Juliana Colyear (1736-1821), daughter of Charles Colyear, Earl of Portmore and Juliana Hele.

Lived at Over Norton, Oxfordshire and Standlynch Park, Wiltshire. Left £150,000.

Variously MP for Southampton, Hindon and Chippenham 1760-1784.

John Brooke observes in the History of Parliament that "Southampton was a borough with a strong West Indian connexion, and Dawkins was first returned there on the death of Anthony Langley Swymmer, another West Indian. In Bute’s list he is marked ‘West Indian—son-in-law to Ld. Portmore—Tory’."

He appears never to have spoken in Parliament though it should be noted that he was returned for Hindon in the Beckford interest and that when he was MP for Chippenham he bought property in the borough 'to secure his interest' and was able to hand the seat over to his son in 1784.

The portrait of Henry Dawkins (probably c. 1750) is by Maurice-Quentin de La Tour (1704-1788) and is pastel on paper, mounted on canvas. It measures 66.7 x 53.3 cm and is in the National Gallery, London (NG5118). See National Gallery: Henry Dawkins


Dawkins, James. "Dawkins, Henry (1728–1814), plantation and slave owner and politician." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 6 Oct. 2016; Accessed 22 Jan. 2020. https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-107418; William D. Rubinstein, Who were the rich? A biographical dictionary of British wealth-holders Volume One 1809-1839 (London, Social Affairs Unit, 2009) reference 1814/23; 'A List of landholders in the Island of Jamaica together with the number of acres each person possessed taken from the quit rent books in the year 1754', TNA CO 142/31 transcribed at http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Samples2/1754lead.htm.; Morning Post, 5/5/1821; Salisbury and Winchester Journal, 7/5/1821; John Brooke, entry in History of Parliament online.

We are grateful to William Norton for his help compiling this entry.

Further Information

Lady Julia Colyear, daughter of 2nd Earl of Portmore
James Colyear Dawkins; George Hay Dawkins Pennant; Henry Dawkins; Charles Dawkins; John Dawkins
Wealth at death

Associated Estates (14)

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
1771 [EA] - 1778 [LA] → Owner
1760 [EA] - 1815 [EY] → Owner
1760 [EA] - 1815 [EY] → Owner
1807 [EA] - 1809 [LA] → Owner
1757 [SY] - 1814 [EY] → Owner
1757 [SY] - 1814 [EY] → Owner
1757 [SY] - 1814 [EY] → Owner

Inherited Parnassus estate under the will of his brother James Dawkins (1722-1757).

1817 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Previous owner

Jamaica Almanac (1817) gives Sandy Gully against Henry Dawkins. This is presumed to be Henry Dawkins II, although in fact he died in 1814.

1809 [EA] - 19/06/1814 [ED] → Owner
1760 [EA] - 1814 [EY] → Owner
1809 [EA] - 19/06/1814 [ED] → Owner
1762 [EA] - 1800 [LA] → Owner
1776 [EA] - 1807 [LA] → Owner
1760 [EA] - 1803 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (2)

The Family of Henry Dawkins, by Richard Brompton, group portrait now help by the National Trust at Penrhyn Castle.... 
notes →
Old Abingdonian Club...... 

Physical (1)

Country house
Standlynch, now Trafalgar Park [Purchased] 
description →
Grade I country house, purchased by Henry Dawkins II in 1764 and transformed by him into the mansion purchased by the nation for Nelson's family after Henry's death in...
notes →

Political (1)

West India interest 
election →
Southampton Hampshire
1760 - 1768
election →
Chippenham Wiltshire
1769 - 1774
election →
Hindon Wiltshire
1776 - 1780
election →
Chippenham Wiltshire
1780 - 1784

Relationships (15)

Father → Son
Father → Son
Father → Son
Father → Son
Son → Father
First Cousins
Nephew → Uncle
Grandson → Grandfather
Grandson → Grandfather
Nephew → Uncle
Nephew → Uncle
Nephew → Uncle
Principal → Attorney
Notes →
Shickle was Attorney to Dawkins...
Great-nephew → Great-uncle
Notes →
John Sutton described Henry Dawkins [II] as his godson and nephew, but he was in fact Henry Dawkins II's...

Addresses (2)

Over Norton, Oxfordshire, Central England, England
Standlynch Park, Standlynch, Wiltshire, South-west England, England