Abel Dottin was born c.1769 the son of a West Indian planter. His early years were spent in the army where he became a captain in the Life Guards. He retired from the army in 1799, after which he lived in Bath. His family had an estate in Oxfordshire as well as property in the West Indies, but Dottin apparently preferred the life of a politician to that of a landed gentlemen. He became MP for Gatton in Surrey in 1818-1820.

By 1820 he was living at Bugle Hall in Southampton. He offered himself at the parliamentary elections of that year as a supporter of the Tory administration, but failed narrowly to be elected. He remained in Southampton and quickly became an important political and social figure in the town. In 1820 he became a burgess; in 1822 he was appointed steward at the revived town’s race meeting on the Common; in 1823 he became a captain in the South Hants militia, and was made a deputy lieutenant of Hampshire. He also did much charitable work and was made a JP.

In 1826 he was elected to parliament as one of the MPs for the town. He was elected again in 1830 when he opposed the Reform Bill on the grounds that half the voters in Southampton would have been disenfranchised. He stated that he would support any reform bill that upheld the monarchy and constitution.

He did not contest the 1831 election on health grounds and moved away from Southampton. He put Bugle Hall on the market, but failed to find a buyer. He was persuaded to stand again for Southampton in 1835 and 1837, being elected both times. After retiring from national politics in 1841 he sold Bugle Hall and left Southampton. He died in 1852 and was buried in the family vault in Oxfordshire.

Newspaper clippings:

Picture of Dottin - (Southampton Times 25/06/1910)

Further reading:

History of Parliament Trust Website: http://www.histparl.ac.uk/volume/1820-1832/member/dottin-abel-1768-1852


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