Sir William Dugdale, 2nd Baronet

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For the 17th century antiquarian, see William Dugdale. For the 19th century publisher, see William Dugdale (publisher).
Sir William Dugdale, Bt
Chairman of Aston Villa Football Club
In office
Preceded by Doug Ellis (1975)
Succeeded by Doug Ellis (1982)
Personal details
Born William Stratford Dugdale
(1922-03-29)29 March 1922
Died 13 November 2014(2014-11-13) (aged 92)

Sir William Stratford Dugdale, 2nd Baronet, CBEMCDL (29 March 1922 – 13 November 2014)[1] was the chairman of Aston Villa Football Club from 1975 to 1982, during the club's most successful period in modern times. Dugdale arrived at Aston Villa as a director when they were in the third division, having been relegated due to poor performances on and off the pitch. He left the club in 1982, the year they won the European Cup. Following several successful years as a director in the early 70's he was elected Chairman in 1975 taking over the position from Doug Ellis, the package holiday businessman, in 1975, before being replaced by the same man seven years later. During his seven-year spell, the club's proudest moment came as Bayern Munich were beaten 1–0 in the final of the 1981–82 European Cup.[2]


Dugdale was born on 29 March 1922, the son of Sir William Francis Stratford Dugdale, 1st Bt and Margaret Gilmour, a maternal descendant of the ancient Stratford family. Educated at Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford, he succeeded to the title of 2nd Baronet Dugdale, of Merevale and Blyth, co. Warwick [U.K., 1936] on 18 April 1965.

He fought in the Second World War, where he was mentioned in despatches, gaining the rank of Captain in the service of the Grenadier Guards. He was decorated with the award of Military Cross (M.C.) in 1943 for outstanding bravery whilst under fire. He fought at Anzio, and ended the war guarding the German generals at Nuremberg.

He was a practising solicitor in 1949. He held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for Warwickshire in 1951 and office of Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) of Warwickshire in 1955. He held the office of High Sheriff of Warwickshire for 1971. He held the office of Sheriff of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1976. He was invested as a Commander, Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in 1985.

He also enjoyed success in racing, riding in the Grand National in 1953 and then becoming the Chief Disciplinary steward in the Jockey Club, the organisation that ran the Racing industry.

He was chairman of General Utilities plc between 1988 and 1999 and was made head of the National Water Council in 1983, helping then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with the powerful Unions in the water industry. His position and the fact he was a distant relation of IRA terrorist Rose Dugdale, made him a target for the IRA. He lived in 2003 at Merevale Hall, Atherstone, Warwickshire and at 24 Bryanston Mews West, London, England.


He married, firstly, Lady Belinda Pleydell-Bouverie, daughter of William Pleydell-Bouverie, 7th Earl of Radnor and Helena Olivia Adeane, on 13 December 1952. Lady Belinda died of cancer in 1961.[3] He married, secondly, Cecilia (Cylla) Mary Mount, daughter of Sir William Mount, 2nd Baronet and Elizabeth Nance Llewellyn, on 17 October 1967.

Children of Sir William Dugdale, Bt and Lady Belinda Pleydell-Bouverie:

Children of Sir William Dugdale, Bt and Cecilia Mary Mount:

  • Adelaide Margaret Victoria Jane Dugdale b. 9 Jul 1970
  • Thomas Joshua Stratford Dugdale b. 20 Sep 1974

Dugdale's youngest son is the British documentary film-maker Joshua Dugdale. Dugdale's niece Elizabeth Dugdale, daughter of his brother Sir John Dugdale, is a god-daughter of Queen Elizabeth II.[4]

The present-day Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, is the nephew by marriage of Sir William Dugdale.[5]


  • [S8] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, page 888. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition.
  • [S300] Michael Rhodes, "re: Ernest Fawbert Collection," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 8 February. Hereinafter cited as "re: Ernest Fawbert Collection."
  • [S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003). Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
  • [S37] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 1, page 1198.
  • [S8] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, volume 1, page 889.