DUGDALE, Dugdale Stratford (?1773-1836), of Merevale Hall, Warws.
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Family and Education
b. ?1773, 1st surv. s. of Richard Geast (afterwards Dugdale), barrister, of Blythe Hall, by Penelope Bate, da. and coh. of Francis Stratford of Merevale. educ. Corpus, Oxf. 30 May 1792, aged 18; L. Inn 1795. m. (1) 27 June 1799, Hon. Charlotte Curzon (d. 30 Dec. 1832), da. of Assheton Curzon*, 1st Visct. Curzon, 1s.; (2) 16 Sept. 1834, Mary Elizabeth, da. of William Egerton* of Tatton Park, Cheshire, wid. of Sir Mark Masterman Sykes*, 3rd Bt., of Sledmere, Yorks., s.p. Took name of Dugdale 16 Mar. 1799; suc. fa. 1806.
Capt. commdt. Atherstone vols. 1798; capt. Warws. yeoman cav. 1803.
Dugdale’s barrister father, Richard Geast of Handsworth, changed his name on inheriting the Blythe estate from his maternal uncle, and his wife brought him Merevale. Dugdale was returned unopposed for the county in 1802, it being understood that he was the representative of the Birmingham interests.1 He figured in debate virtually only in this capacity. In general he was a supporter of the government of the day. After voting with the majorities against Melville, 8 Apr. and 12 June 1805, he was transferred by the Treasury from ‘Pitt’ to ‘doubtful Pitt’ in their lists. He supported the Grenville ministry’s repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806. He failed to promote the Birmingham canal bill in the House, 27 June 1806, but fared better with the Birmingham playhouse bill a year later. He had taken two months’ leave for ill health on 9 Mar. 1807. His only known vote against the Portland ministry was on allegations of ministerial corruption, 25 Apr. 1809. He failed to obtain a place on the finance committee that session. He rallied to Perceval’s ministry on the address, 23 Jan. 1810, and opposed inquiry into the Scheldt expedition, 26 Jan.; changed sides on that question on 23 Feb. and 5 Mar.; but reverted to ministers on 30 Mar. The Whigs classed him ‘Government’. Nevertheless, he deserted them on the Regency question, 1 Jan. 1811.2 He also voted with the majorities for sinecure reform, 24 Feb. and 4 May 1812. He denied that the president of the Board of Trade had given a negligent reception to the Birmingham deputation protesting against the orders in council, 28 Apr. 1812, and apparently did not share his constituents’ hostility to them.
Dugdale appeared on the Treasury list of supporters after the election of 1812. He was an opponent of Catholic relief throughout in 1813 and again in 1817. He voted with ministers on the Regent’s expenditure, 31 May 1815, and on civil list questions, 6 and 24 May 1816, but joined opposition on the army estimates, 6 Mar., and the property tax, 18 Mar. 1816. His father-in-law was reported as saying (December 1816) that he ‘must either vote against government or give up his seat’, in view of his constituents’ hostility.3 His only known speech that year was on the manufacture of small arms, 11 June: praising Birmingham workmanship, he admitted that only government-sponsored manufacture could prevent abuses in their registration. Next session he voted with ministers on the composition of the finance committee, 7 Feb., and for the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817; as also on its consequences in Scotland, 10 Feb. 1818. He was on the ministerial dinner list and invited to Fife House in April 1818 to hear the government’s proposals for the ducal marriage grants, but did not vote on the issue.4 Disguised as ‘D. S. Douglas’, he was in the minority for Mackintosh’s motion on bank-note forgery, 14 May 1818, but this was under constituents’ pressure. Both on 12 Feb. 1818 and 13 May 1819 he supported the Coventry ribbon weavers’ petition for relief. He missed most of the early 1819 session through illness and bereavement and his only known vote in that Parliament was with ministers against Tierney’s censure motion.
Dugdale died 5 Nov. 1836, regarded as a conscientious Member and ‘a truly fine example of the old English gentleman’.5