Bridport (UK Parliament constituency)

Last updated

Bridport
Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
1295–1885
Number of memberstwo (1295-1868); one (1868-1885)
Replaced by West Dorset

Bridport was a parliamentary borough in Dorset, England, which elected two Members of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons from 1295 until 1868, and then one member from 1868 until 1885, when the borough was abolished.

Dorset County of England

Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority areas of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and Dorset. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres (1,024 sq mi), Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, and Hampshire to the east. The county town is Dorchester which is in the south. After the reorganisation of local government in 1974 the county's border was extended eastward to incorporate the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. Around half of the population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is largely rural with a low population density.

Contents

History

Bridport was continuously represented in Parliament from the first. The medieval borough consisted of the parish of Bridport, a small port and market town, where the main economic interests were sailcloth and rope-making, as well as some fishing. (For some time in the 16th century, the town had a monopoly of making all cordage for the navy.) By 1831, the population of the borough was 4,242, and the town contained 678 houses.

Bridport market town in Dorset, England

Bridport is a market town in Dorset, England, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) inland from the English Channel near the confluence of the River Brit and its tributary the Asker. Its origins are Saxon and it has a long history as a rope-making centre. On the coast and within the town's boundary is West Bay, a small fishing harbour previously known as Bridport Harbour.

The right to vote was at one period reserved to the town corporation (consisting of two bailiffs and 13 "capital burgesses"), but from 1628 it was exercised by all inhabitant householders paying scot and lot. This was a relatively liberal franchise for the period but nevertheless meant that only a fraction of the townsmen could vote: in 1806, the general election at which Bridport had the highest turnout in the last few years before the Reform Act, a total of 260 residents voted.

Scot and lot phrase common in the records of English medieval boroughs, applied to householders who were assessed for a borough tax

Scot and lot is a phrase common in the records of English medieval boroughs, referring to local rights and obligations.

1806 United Kingdom general election

The 1806 United Kingdom general election was the election of members to the 3rd Parliament of the United Kingdom. This was the second general election to be held after the Union of Great Britain and Ireland.

Bridport never reached the status of a pocket borough with an openly recognised "patron": the voters retained their freedom of choice and generally expected to extort a price for their votes, so much so that Oldfield recorded of one election in the early 19th century that "several candidates left them at the last election, in consequence of their demanding payment beforehand". Nevertheless, at various periods the borough came under the influence of local grandees and would usually return at least one of their nominees as MPs: the Russells (Dukes of Bedford) in the Elizabethan period and the Sturts in the latter half of the 18th century could normally rely on choosing one member. In 1572 the then Earl of Bedford made use of this influence to have his oldest son elected in defiance of the convention that the heirs of peers could not be members of the House of Commons; the only previous instance had been that of the Earl himself, who had remained an MP when he became heir to the Earldom in 1555. By vote of the House, the young Lord Russell was allowed to keep his seat for Bridport, and the precedent allowed other peers' heirs to sit from that point onwards.

Duke of Bedford owner of Woburn Abbey

Duke of Bedford is a title that has been created six times in the Peerage of England. The first and second creations came in 1414 in favour of Henry IV's third son, John, who later served as regent of France. He was made Earl of Kendal at the same time and was made Earl of Richmond later the same year. The titles became extinct on his death in 1435. The third creation came in 1470 in favour of George Neville, nephew of Warwick the Kingmaker. He was deprived of the title by Act of Parliament in 1478. The fourth creation came 1478 in favour of George, the third son of Edward IV. He died the following year at the age of two. The fifth creation came in 1485 in favour of Jasper Tudor, half-brother of Henry VI and uncle of Henry VII. He had already been created Earl of Pembroke in 1452. However, as he was a Lancastrian, his title was forfeited between 1461 and 1485 during the predominance of the House of York. He regained the earldom in 1485 when his nephew Henry VII came to the throne and was elevated to the dukedom the same year. He had no legitimate children and the titles became extinct on his death in 1495.

Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford English politician

Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford, KG of Chenies in Buckinghamshire and of Bedford House in Exeter, Devon, was an English nobleman, soldier, and politician. He was a godfather to the Devon-born sailor Sir Francis Drake. He served as Lord Lieutenant of Devon (1584-5).

Bridport retained both its seats under the Reform Act, the boundaries being extended to give it the requisite population - parts of the neighbouring parishes of Bradpole, Allington and Waldich, as well as Bridport Harbour, were brought in, increasing the population to about 6,000; in the election of 1832, the first after Reform, the registered electorate was 425. However, the constituency was too small to survive for long. One of its members was removed after election of 1868 by the Second Reform Act; and the borough was abolished altogether in 1885, the town being incorporated into the Western Dorset county division.

Bradpole village in United Kingdom

Bradpole is a village and civil parish in south west Dorset, England, in the Brit valley, 1 mile (1.6 km) outside Bridport. In the 2011 census the population of the parish was 2,339.

Allington, Dorset village and civil parish in Dorset, England

Allington is a village and civil parish in Dorset, England, 1 mile (1.6 km) north-west from the town of Bridport, with which it is physically contiguous; much of Allington lies within Bridport parish. In the 2011 census Allington civil parish had 371 dwellings, 339 households and a population of 766.

1832 United Kingdom general election

The 1832 United Kingdom general election, the first after the Reform Act, saw the Whigs win a large majority, with the Tories winning less than 30% of the vote.

Members of Parliament

MPs 1295-1640MPs 1640-1868MPs 1868-1885ElectionsReferencesSources

MPs 1295–1640

ParliamentFirst memberSecond member
1386 John Hayward John Tracy [1]
1388 (Feb.) John Hayward John Tracy [1]
1388 (Sep) John Tracy William Cordell [1]
1390 (Jan) John Tracy John Hayward [1]
1390 (Nov)
1391
1393 John Tracy John Hayward [1]
1394 John Tracy Gilbert Draper [1]
1395 John Roger I John Hayward [1]
1397 (Jan) John Palmer John Crouk [1]
1397 (Sep) John Hayward John Crouk [1]
1399 John Hayward John Tracy [1]
1401
1402 Simon atte Ford Nicholas Tracy [1]
1404 (Jan)
1404 (Oct)
1406 Henry Rauf Roger Stikelane [1]
1407 Henry Rauf Walter Batcok [1]
1410 Thomas Lovell John Roger I [1]
1411
1413 (Feb)
1413 (May) William Mountfort II John Roger I [1]
1414 (Apr) Simon atte Ford John Stampe [1]
1414 (Nov) Simon atte Ford Andrew Forshey [1]
1415
1416 (Mar)
1416 (Oct)
1417 Simon atte Ford Edward Stikelane [1]
1419 Walter Tracy William Mountfort II [1]
1420 Simon atte Ford John Stampe [1]
1421 (May) Simon atte Ford John Hore [1]
1421 (Dec) Simon atte Ford William Pernham [1]
1422 Simon atte Ford [2]
1423 Simon atte Ford [2]
1425 Simon atte Ford [2]
1426 John Hore Simon atte Ford [3]
1437 John Hore [3]
1529 William Chard Richard Furloke
1545 John Lympany Richard Watkins
1547 Sir Henry Gates William Grimston
First Parliament of 1553??
Second Parliament of 1553 Christopher Smith William Pole
Parliament of 1554 Robert Neyl Edward Prout
Parliament of 1554-1555 John Alferd John Moyne or Moon
Parliament of 1555 Robert Fowkes Thomas Chard
Parliament of 1558 John Hippisley Thomas Welshe
Parliament of 1559 William Page Robert Moon
Parliament of 1563-1567 John Hastings Richard Inkpenne
Parliament of 1571 Thomas Parry George Trenchard
Parliament of 1572-1581 Miles Sandys Lord Russell (Summoned to the Lords)
1581: Hugh Vaughan
Parliament of 1584-1585 Dr Peter Turner Morgan Moon
Parliament of 1586-1587
Parliament of 1588-1589 George Pawlet Gregory Sprint
Parliament of 1593 Christopher Lambert John Fortescue
Parliament of 1597-1598 Leweston Fitzjames Adrian Gilbert
Parliament of 1601 Sir Robert Napier Richard Warburton
Parliament of 1604-1611 Sir Robert Miller John Pitt
Addled Parliament (1614) Sir William Bampfield John Jeffrey
Parliament of 1621-1622 John Strode John Browne
Happy Parliament (1624-1625) William Muschamp Robert Browne
Useless Parliament (1625) Sir Lewis Dyve Sir John Strode
Parliament of 1625-1626 Sir Richard Strode
Parliament of 1628-1629 Thomas Pawlet Bampfield Chafin
No Parliament summoned 1629-1640

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MPs 1640–1868

YearFirst memberFirst partySecond memberSecond party
April 1640 Thomas Trenchard Sir John Meller
November 1640 Roger Hill [4] Parliamentarian Giles Strangways Royalist
January 1644Strangways disabled from sitting - seat vacant
1645 Thomas Ceeley
December 1648Ceeley excluded in Pride's Purge - seat vacant
1653Bridport was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 Edward Cheek John Lee
May 1659 Roger Hill One seat vacant
April 1660 John Drake Henry Henley
1661 Humphrey Bishop John Strangways
February 1677 George Bowerman
February 1677 Wadham Strangways
February 1679 John Every
August 1679 Sir Robert Henley, Bt William Bragge
1681 John Michell
1685 Hugh Hodges Thomas Chafe
1689 Richard Brodrepp John Manley
1690 John Michell Sir Stephen Evance
1695 Nicholas Carey
1697 Peter Battiscombe
1698 Alexander Pitfield
1701 William Gulston
1702 Richard Bingham
1705 Thomas Strangways
1708 William Coventry
1713 John Hoskins Gifford
February 1715 John Strangways [5]
May 1715 Peter Walter
1719 Sir Dewey Bulkeley
1727 William Bowles [6] James Pelham [7]
1730 John Jewkes
1734 Solomon Ashley
1741 George Richards
1742 Viscount Deerhurst Tory
1744 Viscount Deerhurst Tory
1746 Thomas Grenville
May 1747 James Grenville
July 1747 John Frederick Pinney
1754 Thomas Coventry
1761 Sir Gerard Napier, Bt
1765 Benjamin Way
1768 Sambrooke Freeman
1774 Hon. Lucius Cary
1780 Thomas Scott Whig [8] Richard Beckford
1784 Charles Sturt Whig [8]
1790 James Watson Whig [8]
1795 George Barclay Whig [8]
1802 Sir Evan Nepean, Bt Tory [8]
1807 Sir Samuel Hood, Bt Tory [8]
1812 William Best Whig [8] Sir Horace St Paul, Bt Tory [8]
1817 Henry Sturt Tory [8]
March 1820 James Scott Whig [8] Christopher Spurrier Whig [8]
June 1820 Sir Horace St Paul, Bt Tory [8]
1826 Henry Warburton Radical [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]
1832 John Romilly Whig [8] [14] [15]
1835 Horace Twiss Conservative [8]
1837 Swynfen Jervis Radical [8] [16] [17] [18]
June 1841 Thomas Alexander Mitchell Radical [19] [20] [21]
September 1841 by-election Alexander Baillie-Cochrane Conservative [8]
1846 by-election [22] John Romilly Whig [8] [14] [15]
1847 Alexander Baillie-Cochrane Conservative
1852 John Patrick Murrough Radical [23] [24] [25] [26]
1857 Kirkman Hodgson Whig
1859 Liberal Liberal
1868 Representation reduced to one member

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MPs 1868–1885

YearMemberParty
1868 Thomas Alexander Mitchell Liberal
1875 by-election Pandeli Ralli Liberal
1880 Charles Warton Conservative
1885 Constituency abolished

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Elections

1830s1840s1850s1860s1870s1880sReferencesSources

Elections in the 1830s

General election 1830: Bridport [8]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Radical Henry Warburton Unopposed
Tory Horace St Paul Unopposed
Radical hold
Tory hold
General election 1831: Bridport [8]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Radical Henry Warburton Unopposed
Tory Horace St Paul Unopposed
Radical hold
Tory hold
General election 1832: Bridport [27] [28]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Radical Henry Warburton 271 40.3 N/A
Whig John Romilly 219 32.6 N/A
Tory Richard William Astell18227.1N/A
Turnout 40094.1N/A
Registered electors 425
Majority527.7N/A
Radical hold Swing N/A
Majority375.5N/A
Whig gain from Tory Swing N/A
General election 1835: Bridport [27] [28]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Radical Henry Warburton 244 37.5 2.8
Conservative Horace Twiss 207 31.8 +4.7
Whig John Romilly 19930.62.0
Turnout 39493.80.3
Registered electors 420
Majority375.72.0
Radical hold Swing 2.6
Majority81.2N/A
Conservative gain from Whig Swing +3.4
General election 1837: Bridport [27] [28]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Radical Henry Warburton 283 38.9 +20.2
Radical Swynfen Jervis 232 31.9 +13.2
Conservative Henry Baillie 21229.22.6
Majority202.82.9
Turnout 44588.15.7
Registered electors 505
Radical hold Swing +10.8
Radical gain from Conservative Swing +7.3

Elections in the 1840s

General election 1841: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Radical Henry Warburton 304 36.6 2.3
Radical Thomas Alexander Mitchell 282 34.0 +2.1
Conservative Alexander Baillie-Cochrane 24429.4+0.2
Majority384.6+1.8
Turnout 50690.8+2.7
Registered electors 557
Radical hold Swing 1.2
Radical hold Swing +1.0

Warburton resigned by accepting the office of Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds, causing a by-election.

By-election, 15 September 1841: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Conservative Alexander Baillie-Cochrane Unopposed
Conservative gain from Radical

Baillie-Cochrane resigned by accepting the office of Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds in order to seek re-election as a supporter of free trade.

By-election, 7 March 1846: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Conservative Alexander Baillie-Cochrane 240 50.1 +20.7
Whig John Romilly 23949.9N/A
Majority10.2N/A
Turnout 47983.96.9
Registered electors 571
Conservative gain from Radical Swing N/A

After scrutiny, Baillie-Cochrane's election was declared void and Romilly was declared elected on 28 April 1846.

General election 1847: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Conservative Alexander Baillie-Cochrane 276 35.6 +6.2
Radical Thomas Alexander Mitchell 267 34.4 36.2
Whig Edward Richard Petre [29] [30] 22228.6N/A
Conservative Robert Montgomery Martin [31] 111.4N/A
Turnout 388 (est)58.5 (est)32.3
Registered electors 663
Majority91.2N/A
Conservative gain from Radical Swing +21.2
Majority455.8+1.2
Radical hold Swing 21.2

Martin withdrew his name early into polling. [32]

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Elections in the 1850s

General election 1852: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Radical Thomas Alexander Mitchell 366 45.4 +28.2
Radical John Patrick Murrough 249 30.9 +13.7
Conservative John Rolt [33] 19123.713.3
Majority587.2+1.4
Turnout 403 (est)76.9 (est)+18.4
Registered electors 524
Radical hold Swing +17.4
Radical gain from Conservative Swing +10.2
General election 1857: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Radical Thomas Alexander Mitchell 330 45.3 0.1
Whig Kirkman Hodgson 290 39.8 N/A
Conservative William Unwin Heygate 10915.08.7
Turnout 365 (est)76.4 (est)0.5
Registered electors 478
Majority405.51.7
Radical hold Swing +4.3
Majority18124.8N/A
Whig gain from Radical Swing N/A
General election 1859: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Liberal Thomas Alexander Mitchell 334 42.1 3.2
Liberal Kirkman Hodgson 290 36.5 3.3
Conservative Henry Hyde Nugent Bankes [34] 17021.4+6.4
Majority12015.1+9.6
Turnout 397 (est)79.2 (est)+2.8
Registered electors 501
Liberal hold Swing 3.2
Liberal hold Swing 3.2

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Elections in the 1860s

General election 1865: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Liberal Thomas Alexander Mitchell Unopposed
Liberal Kirkman Hodgson Unopposed
Registered electors 472
Liberal hold
Liberal hold

The seat was reduced to one member.

General election 1868: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Liberal Thomas Alexander Mitchell Unopposed
Registered electors 1,027
Liberal hold

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Elections in the 1870s

General election 1874: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Liberal Thomas Alexander Mitchell Unopposed
Registered electors 1,045
Liberal hold

Mitchell's death caused a by-election.

By-election, 31 Mar 1875: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Liberal Pandeli Ralli 620 76.6 N/A
Conservative Charles Whetham [35] 18923.4N/A
Majority43153.3N/A
Turnout 80980.0N/A
Registered electors 1,011
Liberal hold Swing N/A

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Elections in the 1880s

General election 1880: Bridport [27]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Conservative Charles Warton 468 50.5 N/A
Liberal Pandeli Ralli 45949.5N/A
Majority91.0N/A
Turnout 92785.4N/A
Registered electors 1,085
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing N/A

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References

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  4. Sir Lewis Dyve petitioned against the result. Cobbett records Dyve as MP from 1640, and the Dictionary of National Biography has Hill filling the vacancy in 1645; however Brunton & Pennington list Hill as the MP from 1640. The House of Commons Journals show Dyve was a petitioner rather than MP, and that Hill was an MP by 1643 at the latest
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  22. Cochrane resigned to seek re-election as a supporter of free trade, and a by-election was held on 7 March 1846. Cochrane was initially declared re-elected by a majority of 1 vote, but on petition his election was declared void and after scrutiny of the votes Romilly was declared duly elected.
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Sources