Viscount Downe is a title that has been created twice in the Peerage of Ireland. The first creation came in 1675 for William Ducie. However, the title became extinct on his death in 1679. The second creation came in 1680 for John Dawnay. He had earlier represented Yorkshire and Pontefract in the English House of Commons. His son, the second Viscount, also represented these constituencies in the House of Commons. His grandson, the third Viscount, sat as a Member of Parliament for Yorkshire but died from wounds received at the Battle of Campen in 1760. He was succeeded by his younger brother, the fourth Viscount, who represented Cirencester and Malton in Parliament.
His son, the fifth Viscount, sat as a Member of Parliament for Petersfield and Wootton Bassett. In 1797 he was created Baron Dawnay, of Cowick in the County of York, in the Peerage of Great Britain. However, this title became extinct on his death while he was succeeded in the viscountcy by his younger brother, the sixth Viscount. His son, the seventh Viscount, was a Member of Parliament for Rutland. His son, the eighth Viscount, was a Major-General in the Army and served in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 and in the Second Boer War. In 1897 he was created Baron Dawnay, of Danby in the North Riding of the County of York, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. This peerage gave him and his descendants an automatic seat in the House of Lords until the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999. As of 2010[update] the titles are held by his great-great-grandson, the twelfth Viscount, who succeeded his father in 2002.
The Hon. Guy Dawnay, fourth son of the seventh Viscount, was a soldier and Conservative politician.
The first Viscount of the second creation was the brother of Sir Christopher Dawnay, 1st Baronet, of Cowick, a title which became extinct in 1644 (see Dawnay baronets, of Cowick).
Viscounts Downe, First Creation (1675)
- William Ducie, 1st Viscount Downe (c. 1612–1679)
Viscounts Downe, Second Creation (1680)
- Henry Pleydell Dawnay, 3rd Viscount Downe (1727–1760)
- John Dawnay, 4th Viscount Downe (1728–1780)
- John Christopher Burton Dawnay, 5th Viscount Downe (1764–1832)
- William Henry Dawnay, 6th Viscount Downe (1772–1846)
- William Henry Dawnay, 7th Viscount Downe (1812–1857)
- Hugh Richard Dawnay, 8th Viscount Downe (1844–1924)
- John Dawnay, 9th Viscount Downe (1872–1931)
- Richard Dawnay, 10th Viscount Downe (1903–1965)
- John Christian George Dawnay, 11th Viscount Downe (1935–2002)
- Richard Henry Dawnay, 12th Viscount Downe (b. 1967)
The heir presumptive is the present holder's cousin Thomas Payan Dawnay (b. 1978)
- Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
- Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]