|Former Borough constituency |
for the House of Commons
|Number of members||Two|
|Replaced by||East Cornwall|
Bossiney was a parliamentary constituency in Cornwall, one of a number of Cornish rotten boroughs. It returned two members of Parliament to the British House of Commons from 1552 until 1832, when it was abolished by the Great Reform Act.
Bossiney was one of a number of small parliamentary boroughs established in Cornwall during the Tudor period, and was not a town of any importance even when first enfranchised. The borough consisted of the hamlet of Bossiney itself and the nearby village of Trevena, both in the parish of Tintagel on the North Cornwall coast. In 1831, the borough contained only 67 houses, and had a population of 308.
The right to vote was vested in the mayor and freemen of the borough, collectively called the burgesses; the freedom of the borough was hereditary, passing to the eldest son of any burgess possessing freehold property within the borough. The number of burgesses was always small, with only 25 being entitled to vote in 1831. In 1816 Oldfield recorded that there were only nine voters, eight of whom belonged to the same family.
Like most of the tiny boroughs, Bossiney was completely under the control of its "patrons", who had such influence over the voters that they could in practice choose whoever they wanted as MPs. From the middle of the 18th century, the patrons were the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe and the Wortley family. Usually they chose one member each and, indeed, a formal agreement to that effect, dated 3 July 1752, survives. In Bossiney, the patrons habitually secured their interests by obtaining for the burgesses lucrative appointments in the customs-house at Padstow. In 1758, there was a dispute between Lord Edgcumbe and Samuel Martin, patron of nearby Camelford, over a commissionership of customs that both wanted for one of their constituents; a Camelford man was appointed, and at the election that followed in 1761 Edgcumbe was unable to secure the election of his candidate.
The abuse of government patronage was considered a scandal even in the 18th century, and in 1782 an act of Parliament was passed to disqualify the holders of certain posts, including customs officers, from voting. While the new law was not aimed specifically at Bossiney it had a more dramatic effect there than anywhere else: the borough established an unbeatable record at the general election of 1784, when so many of the burgesses were disqualified that there was only a single qualified voter (the vicar, Arthur Wade) to return the two MPs.
Bossiney was disfranchised by the Great Reform Act of 1832.
|Parliament||First member||Second member|
|Parliament of 1547–1552||William Carnsew (?)||John Withypoll (?)|
|First Parliament of 1553||Humphrey Cavill||Edward Grimston|
|Second Parliament of 1553||Robert Gayer||Robert Beverley|
|Parliament of 1554||John Beaumont||William Roscarrock|
|Parliament of 1554–1555||Richard Forset||George Harrison|
|Parliament of 1555||Ralph Skinner||?|
|Parliament of 1558||Thomas Stanley||John Kempthorne|
|Parliament of 1559||Robert Warner||Francis Walsingham|
|Parliament of 1563–1567||Hugh Owen||Stephen Bradden|
|Parliament of 1571||Robert Wrothe||George Basset|
|Parliament of 1572–1581||Francis Kinwellmarsh||Robert Doyly|
|1581–1584||Francis Bacon||Robert Redge|
|Parliament of 1584–1585||Sir Francis Drake||John Leveson|
|Parliament of 1586–1587||William Pool||John Peryam|
|Parliament of 1588–1589||Henry Savile||John Hender|
|Parliament of 1593||Thomas Harris|
|Parliament of 1597|
|Parliament of Oct. 1597||John Agmondesham||Percival Hart sat for Kent|
|Parliament of 1601||William Hakewill||Sir Jerome Horsey|
|Parliament of 1604–1611|| George Upton (died)|
1609–11 George Calvert
|Addled Parliament (1614)||John Wood|
|Parliament of 1621–1622||Anthony Manaton|
|Happy Parliament (1624–1625)||Sir Richard Weston||Thomas Bevans|
|Useless Parliament (1625)||Sir Francis Cottington||Jonathan Prideaux|
|Parliament of 1625–1626||The Lord Lambart||Paul Specot|
|Parliament of 1628–1629||Richard Edgecumbe|
|No Parliament summoned 1629–1640|
|Year||First member||First party||Second member||Second party|
|April 1640||Edward Herle||Parliamentarian||Anthony Nicholl||Parliamentarian|
|November 1640||Sir John Clotworthy||Parliamentarian||Sir Christopher Yelverton||Parliamentarian|
|1641 (?)||Sir Ralph Sydenham||Royalist|
|September 1642||Sydenham disabled from sitting - seat vacant|
|December 1648||Copley excluded in Pride's Purge - seat vacant||Yelverton not known to have sat after Pride's Purge|
|1653||Bossiney was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate|
|January 1659||Thomas Povey||Samuel Trelawney|
|May 1659||Not represented in the restored Rump|
|April 1660||Francis Gerard||Charles Pym|
|June 1660||Sir William Brereton|
|1661||Robert Robartes||Richard Rous|
|February 1679||William Coryton||John Tregagle|
|October 1679||Charles Robartes||Narcissus Luttrell|
|1681||Sir Peter Colleton|
|1685||John Cotton||John Mounsteven|
|1689||Sir Peter Colleton||Humphrey Nicoll|
|1695||George Booth||John Manley|
|1698||Sir John Pole||John Tregagle|
|January 1701||Francis Robartes|
|March 1701||Thomas Watson-Wentworth|
|December 1701||Sir John Molesworth||John Manley|
|1705||Sir Simon Harcourt||Tory|
|1708||Samuel Travers||Francis Foote|
|October 1710||Francis Robartes||John Manley|
|December 1710||Henry Campion|
|1713||Sir William Pole|
|1715||Henry Cartwright||Samuel Molyneux|
|1722||Robert Corker||Henry Kelsall|
|1734||The Viscount Palmerston||Townshend Andrews|
|May 1741||Richard Liddell||Thomas Foster|
|December 1741||John Sabine||Christopher Tower|
|1742||Richard Liddell||Thomas Foster|
|July 1747||Edward Wortley||Whig||Richard Heath|
|December 1747||William Ord|
|1754||Edwin Sandys||Edward Wortley Montagu|
|1761||John Richmond Webb||Tory|
|1769||Sir George Osborn|
|1774||Hon. Henry Luttrell||Tory|
|1776||Hon. Charles Stuart|
|1784||Bamber Gascoigne (senior)|
|1790||Hon. James Archibald Stuart||Humphrey Minchin|
|April 1796||Hon. Evelyn Pierrepont|
|May 1796||John Stuart-Wortley||John Lubbock|
|1797||Hon. James Stuart-Wortley||Tory|
|1802||John Hiley Addington||Tory|
|1808||John Otway Cuffe||Tory|
|1817||William Yates Peel||Tory|
|1818||Sir Compton Domvile|
|1819||Hon. John Ward||Tory|
|1826||Edward Rose Tunno||Tory|
|1830||Charles James Stuart-Wortley||Tory|
|Tory||Edward Rose Tunno||Unopposed|
|Registered electors||c. 25|
|Registered electors||c. 25|
|Tory||Edward Rose Tunno||Unopposed|
Tintagel or Trevena is a civil parish and village situated on the Atlantic coast of Cornwall, England. The village and nearby Tintagel Castle are associated with the legends surrounding King Arthur and in recent times has become a tourist attraction.
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