NORTON, Hon. Chapple (1746-1818), of Wonersh, Surr.

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



1784 - 1790
1796 - 1806
16 Mar. 1807 - 1812

Family and Education

b. 2 Apr. 1746, 3rd s. of Fletcher Norton, 1st Baron Grantley, by Grace, da. of Sir William Chapple, j.KB, of Wonersh. unm.

Offices Held

Capt. 19 Ft. 1763; maj. 1 Ft. 1769; capt. and lt.-col. 2 Ft. Gds. 1774, brevet col. 1780; maj.-gen. 1787; maj. 2 Ft. Gds. 1789; lt.-gen. 1797; col. 81 Ft. 1795, 56 Ft. 1797-d.; gen. 1802; gov. Charlemont 1808-d.


At the dissolution of 1790 Norton was the only member of his family left in the House and proceeded to lose his seat on the family interest to George Sumner. In his first Parliament he had acted independently and opposed Pitt over the Regency. In 1796 he recovered his seat and held it without difficulty until 1806, when Sumner again defeated him. He was seated on petition and averted Sumner’s turning the tables on him after a further contest in 1807 by supporting him for the county.

Norton opposed Pitt in the Parliament of 1796 only, it seems, on the triple tax assessment, 4 Jan. 1798. Not much attention was paid by the reporters to his speeches. All but one of those known were on military questions. He opposed inquiry into the failure of the Ferrol expedition, 19 Feb. 1801. He spoke on Addington’s defence measures in June and December 1803 critically but not unsympathetically and appeared against him only perhaps in the last division that toppled his government, 25 Apr. 1804. He approved Pitt’s additional force bill ‘in a few words’, 8 June, and was stopped from doing so in a few more on 18 June by clamour for the question. He opposed the repeal, 6 Mar. 1805, and saw no necessity for Craufurd’s critical motion on the state of the army, 28 June. Listed ‘Pitt’ in September 1804, he was again in that category in July 1805, after voting with the government minority of 8 Apr. on Melville’s question. He opposed the Grenville ministry’s repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, which he maintained had been effective, 3, 30 Apr. 1806, and opposed Windham’s plan for limited army service, especially for troops on foreign service, 30 May, 2, 7 June 1806.

Norton had always stood well with his c.-in-c. the Duke of York and in February 1809 gave information in the House and asked questions for his benefit; on 22 Feb. he was one of the generals who testified to the benefits conferred on the army by the duke’s regime. On 23 and 26 Jan., 23 Feb. and 5 Mar. 1810 he rallied to Perceval’s ministry in crucial divisions after the Walcheren fiasco. The Whigs listed him ‘Government’. He voted against parliamentary reform, 21 May 1810. He was in the government minority on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811, as also against a remodelling of the ministry after Perceval’s assassination, 21 May 1812. He voted against Catholic relief, 22 June 1812. At the ensuing dissolution he retired. Norton died 19 Mar. 1818.

J. Wilson, Biog. Index (1808), 255; Geo. III Corresp. iii. 2367; v. 3804, 3821; Gent. Mag. (1818), i. 472-3.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: Brian Murphy / R. G. Thorne