Norfolk (UK Parliament constituency)

Last updated

Norfolk
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
1290–1832
Number of memberstwo

Norfolk was a County constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It was represented by two Members of Parliament. In 1832 the county was divided for parliamentary purposes into two new two member divisions – East Norfolk and West Norfolk.

Contents

History

Boundaries

The constituency consisted of the historic county of Norfolk in the East of England, excluding the city of Norwich which had the status of a county in its itself after 1404. (Although Norfolk contained four other parliamentary boroughsCastle Rising, Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn and Thetford – each of which elected two MPs in its own right for part of the period when Norfolk was a constituency, these were not excluded from the county constituency: owning property within a borough could confer a vote at the county election. This was not the case, though, for Norwich.)

Franchise and electorate

As in other county constituencies the franchise between 1430 and 1832 was defined by the Forty Shilling Freeholder Act, which gave the right to vote to every man who possessed freehold property within the county valued at £2 or more per year for the purposes of land tax; it was not necessary for the freeholder to occupy his land, nor even in later years to be resident in the county at all.

Except during the period of the Commonwealth, Norfolk had two MPs elected by the bloc vote method, under which each voter had two votes. In the nominated Barebones Parliament of 1653, five members represented Norfolk. In the First and Second Parliaments of Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate, however, there was a general redistribution of seats and Norfolk elected ten members, while the two smallest of the county's boroughs (Castle Rising and Thetford) lost their seats. The traditional arrangements were restored from 1659.

At the time of the Great Reform Act in 1832, Norfolk had a population of approximately 390,000, though only a fraction of these could vote: the highest recorded turnouts in Norfolk were at the 1802 and 1806 elections, at each of which under 12,000 votes were cast, even though each voter could cast two votes.

Political character

Norfolk's electorate was predominantly rural, partly as an effect of the Norwich freeholders voting in the city rather than the county. It has been estimated from the pollbooks that in the early 19th century only around one in six of the voters lived in towns, with Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn contributing the largest numbers of these. Fittingly for such a constituency, the families of two of the best-known pioneers of the agrarian revolution, Coke of Holkham and "Turnip" Townshend, frequently provided the county's Members of Parliament.

Nevertheless, no one or two families controlled the constituency, and competition was fostered by the leading families lining up on different sides of the partisan divide. The leading Whig families around the turn of the 18th century were those of Walpole and Townshend, while the most important Tory interests were those of the Wodehouse and Astley families, until Sir Jacob Astley defected to the Whigs before the 1715 election. By the middle of the 18th century, the list of local peerage families who could expect to exert influence at Norfolk elections had grown to include the Hobart Earls of Buckinghamshire, the Earls Cholmondeley and the Lord Suffield, but these magnates remained divided, with contention between support for the "court" and "country" factions within the Whigs as well as between Whigs and Tories.

Consequently, the independent voters generally held the balance of power. But this did not prevent the various leading families from monopolising the representation between them, a process that accelerated in the 18th century: 16 different families represented Norfolk in the 22 Parliaments from 1660 to 1746, but only 7 in the 18 Parliaments from 1747 to 1832. The minor gentry could not expect to secure election for themselves, only to choose between the candidates of the major families. The Cokes of Holkham were generally regarded as the champions of the independent freeholders, and were frequently elected. Elections in Norfolk were therefore rarely a foregone conclusion, and often hard-fought at the canvassing stage even when the contest was not carried to a poll.

Elections were held at a single polling place, Norwich, and voters from the rest of the county had to travel to the county town to exercise their franchise. It was normal for voters to expect the candidates for whom they voted to meet their expenses in travelling to the poll, making the cost of a contested election substantial. Contested elections were therefore the exception rather than the rule, potential candidates preferring to canvass support beforehand and usually not insisting on a vote being taken unless they were confident of winning; at all but 8 of the 29 general elections between 1701 and 1832, Norfolk's two MPs were elected unopposed, with only two contests after 1768. But this was more frequent than in many other counties of Norfolk's size.

Members of Parliament

1290–1640

ParliamentFirst memberSecond member
c1290–1327 Robert Baynard
1377 (Jan) Sir Stephen Hales
1379Sir Thomas Gissing
1380 (Jan) Sir Stephen Hales
1380Sir Thomas Gissing
1380Sir Roger Walsingham
1381 Sir Stephen Hales Sir Thomas Gerbridge
1382 (May) Sir Stephen Hales Sir Thomas Gerbridge
1382 (Oct) Sir Stephen Hales Sir Roger Walsingham
1383 (Feb) Sir Stephen Hales
1383 (Oct) Sir Stephen Hales
1383Sir Roger Walsingham
1384 (Nov) Sir Stephen Hales
1386 Sir Stephen Hales Sir Thomas Gerbridge [1]
1388 (Feb)Sir John Strange Sir John White [1]
1388 (Sep)Sir John Strange Sir John White [1]
1390 (Jan) William Rees Sir John White [1]
1390 (Nov)Sir Robert Berney Hugh Fastolf [1]
1391Sir Robert Berney Sir John White [1]
1393Sir Ralph Shelton Sir John Curson [1]
1394 William Rees Sir John White [1]
1395Sir Robert Berney Sir John White [1]
1397 (Jan) William Rees Sir John Curdon [1]
1397 (Sep)Sir Nicholas Dagworth Sir Edmund Thorpe [1]
1399Sir Robert Berney John Gurney [1]
1401 John Payn John Wynter [1]
1402Sir Ralph Shelton Sir Robert Berney [1]
1404 (Jan) John Reymes John Wynter [1]
1404 (Oct) John Gurney Sir Edmund Oldhall [1]
1406Sir Edmund Noon John Reymes [1]
1407Sir Edmund Thorpe John Wynter [1]
1410 John Wodehouse John Wynter [1]
1411 Sir Edmund Oldhall John Wynter [1]
1413 (Feb)
1413 (May) Sir Edmund Oldhall John Wynter [1]
1414 (Apr)Sir Robert Berney John Wynter [1]
1414 (Nov)Sir John Ingoldisthorpe John Wodehouse [1]
1415
1416 (Mar) Sir Edmund Oldhall John Wodehouse [1]
1416 (Oct)
1417 Sir Edmund Oldhall John Wodehouse [1]
1419 John Lancaster [2] Oliver Groos [1]
1420Sir John Radcliffe Edmund Winter [1]
1421 (May) John Lancaster [2] John Wodehouse [1]
1421 (Dec) John Lancaster [2] Edmund Winter [1]
1422 John Lancaster [2] Edmund Winter
1427 Edmund Winter
1429 Edmund Winter
1432 Edmund Winter Sir Thomas Tuddenham
1435 Edmund Winter Sir Thomas Tuddenham
1437 Edmund Winter
1442 Sir Thomas Tuddenham
1449Thomas Shernborne [3]
1450 Henry Gray
1460 John Paston [3]
1461 John Paston [3]
1467 John Paston [3]
1491__? Calthorpe [4]
1492 Ralph Shelton
1495 Sir Thomas Lovell [5]
1510–1523No names known [6]
1529 Sir Roger Townsend Sir James Boleyn [6]
1536 ?Sir Roger Townsend  ? [6]
1539 Richard Southwell Edmund Wyndham [6]
1539 ?Sir Nicholas Hare
1542 Sir Roger Townsend  ?Sir Richard Southwell [6]
1545Sir Thomas Paston Christopher Heydon [6]
1547Sir Edmund Knyvet, died 1550
and repl.Jan 1552 by
Sir Robert Dudley
Sir Nicholas Lestrange [6]
1553 (Mar) Sir Robert Dudley Sir Thomas Radcliffe [6]
1553 (Oct) Sir Richard Southwell Sir Henry Bedingfield [6]
1554 (Apr) Sir Richard Southwell Sir Henry Bedingfield [6]
1554 (Nov) Sir Richard Southwell Sir John Shelton [6]
1555Sir John Clere John Appleyard [6]
1558Sir Henry Bedingfield Sir William Woodhouse [6]
1558–59 Sir Robert Dudley Sir Edmund Wyndham [7]
1562–63Sir William Woodhouse Sir Edward Warner
1566Both died and replaced 1566 by Clement Paston and Roger Townshend [7]
1571 Sir Christopher Heydon Sir William Butts [7]
1572 Henry Woodhouse Francis Wyndham made judge
and repl. 1581 by
Sir Roger Woodhouse [7]
Parliament of Oct 1584–1585 Sir Drue Drury Nathaniel Bacon
Parliament of 1586–1587 Thomas Farmer William Gresham [8]
Parliament of 1588–1589Sir Henry Woodhouse Christopher Heydon
Parliament of 1593 Edward Coke Nathaniel Bacon
Parliament of 1597–1598 Henry Gawdy Sir John Townshend
Parliament of 1601 Sir Bassingbourne Gawdy
Parliament of 1604–1611 Sir Nathaniel Bacon Sir Charles Cornwallis
Addled Parliament (1614) Sir Henry Bedingfield Sir Hamon le Strange
Parliament of 1621–1622 Drue Drury
Happy Parliament (1624–1625)Sir Thomas Holland Sir John Corbet, 1st Baronet
Useless Parliament (1625) Sir Edward Coke Sir Edmund Bacon, 2nd Baronet, of Redgrave
Parliament of 1625–1626 Sir Anthony Drury
Parliament of 1626 Sir Edward Coke Sir Robert Bell
Parliament of 1628 Sir Roger Townshend, 1st Baronet John Heveningham
1629–1640No Parliaments summoned

1640–1832

Ashe Windham was an MP for Norfolk from 1708 to 1710. Ashe Windham.jpg
Ashe Windham was an MP for Norfolk from 1708 to 1710.
Year1st Member1st Party2nd Member2nd Party
April 1640 Sir Edmund Moundeford [9] Parliamentarian Sir John Holland, Bt Parliamentarian
November 1640 (Sir) John Potts [10] Parliamentarian
1645 Sir John Hobart, Bt
1647 Sir John Palgrave, Bt
December 1648Palgrave and Potts excluded in Pride's Purge – both seats vacant
Norfolk was represented by five members in the Barebones Parliament
1653Robert Jermy (?); Tobias Frere; Ralph Wolmer; Henry King; William Burton
Norfolk was represented by ten members in the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
1654 Sir John Hobart; Sir William D'Oyly; Sir Ralph Hare, Bt; Thomas Weld; Robert Wilton
Thomas Sotherton; Philip Wodehouse; Robert Wood (senior); Philip Bedingfield (senior); Tobias Frere
1656 Sir John Hobart; Charles Fleetwood; Sir William D'Oyly; Sir Ralph Hare, Bt; Sir Horatio Townsend; Colonel Robert Wilton
Philip Wodehouse; Colonel Robert Wood; John Buxton; Thomas Sotherton
Representation reverted to two members in the Third Protectorate Parliament
January 1659 Sir Horatio Townsend Sir William D'Oyly
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 The Lord Cramond Sir Horatio Townshend
1661 Sir Ralph Hare, Bt
1673 Sir John Hobart, Bt
1675 Sir Robert Kemp, Bt
February 1679 [11] Sir Christopher Calthorpe Sir Nevill Catlin
May 1679 Sir John Hobart, Bt
August 1679 Sir Peter Gleane, Bt
1685 Sir Thomas Hare, Bt Sir Jacob Astley, Bt Tory
1689 Sir William Cook, Bt Tory Sir Henry Hobart, Bt Whig
1690 Sir Jacob Astley, Bt Tory
1695 Sir Henry Hobart, Bt Whig
1698 Sir William Cook, Bt Tory
January 1701 Hon. Roger Townshend Whig
December 1701 Sir John Holland, Bt
1702 Sir Jacob Astley, Bt Tory
1705 Hon. Roger Townshend Whig
1708 Ashe Windham
1710 Sir John Wodehouse, Bt Tory Sir Jacob Astley, Bt Tory
1713 Sir Edmund Bacon, Bt Whig
1715 Thomas de Grey Whig
1722 Sir Thomas Coke Whig
1727 Sir John Hobart, Bt Whig
1728 Harbord Harbord Sir Edmund Bacon, Bt Tory
1734 William Wodehouse Tory
1737 Armine Wodehouse [12] Tory
1741 Viscount Coke Whig
1747 Hon. George Townshend Whig
1764 Thomas de Grey
1768 Sir Edward Astley, Bt
1774 Wenman Coke
1776 Thomas Coke
1784 Sir John Wodehouse, Bt
1790 Thomas Coke Whig
1797 Jacob Astley [13]
1806 [14] William Windham Whig
March 1807 Edward Coke Whig Sir Jacob Astley, Bt Whig
May 1807 Thomas Coke Whig
1817 Edmond Wodehouse Tory
1830 Sir William ffolkes, Bt Whig
1832 Constituency abolished see: Norfolk East and Norfolk West

Election results 1710–1832

Note on percentage change calculations: Where there was only one candidate of a party in successive elections, for the same number of seats, change is calculated on the party percentage vote. Where there was more than one candidate, in one or both successive elections for the same number of seats, then change is calculated on the individual percentage vote.

Note on sources: The information for the election results given below is taken from Sedgwick 1715–1754, Stooks Smith 1715–1754, Namier and Brooke 1754–1790 and Stooks Smith 1790–1832.

1710s1720s1730s1740s1750s1760s1770s1780s1790s1800s1810s1820s1830s

Elections in the 1710s

General election 1710: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Tory John Wodehouse 3,21627.73N/A
Tory Jacob Astley 3,20027.60N/A
Non Partisan Ashe Windham 2,78324.00N/A
Whig Robert Walpole 2,39720.67N/A
Turnout 11,596N/AN/A
General election 18 February 1715: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Thomas de Grey 3,18327.17N/A
Whig Jacob Astley 3,05926.11N/A
Tory Sir Ralph Hare [15] 2,84024.24N/A
Tory Erasmus Earle 2,63522.49N/A
Turnout 11,717N/AN/A

Elections in the 1720s

General election 11 April 1722: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Thomas Coke UnopposedN/AN/A
Whig Thomas de Grey UnopposedN/AN/A
General election 23 August 1727: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig John Hobart UnopposedN/AN/A
Whig Thomas Coke UnopposedN/AN/A
By-Election 26 June 1728: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Tory Edmund Bacon UnopposedN/AN/A
Non Partisan Harbord Harbord UnopposedN/AN/A

Elections in the 1730s

General election 22 May 1734: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Tory Edmund Bacon 3,22425.58N/A
Tory William Wodehouse 3,15325.01N/A
Whig William Morden 3,14724.97N/A
Whig Robert Coke 3,08124.44N/A
Turnout 12,605N/AN/A
By-Election 23 March 1737: Norfolk
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Tory Armine Wodehouse UnopposedN/AN/A
Tory hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1740s

General election 13 May 1741: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Tory Armine Wodehouse UnopposedN/AN/A
Whig Edward Coke UnopposedN/AN/A
General election 1 July 1747: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Tory Armine Wodehouse UnopposedN/AN/A
Whig George Townshend UnopposedN/AN/A

Elections in the 1750s

General election 8 May 1754: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig George Townshend UnopposedN/AN/A
Tory Armine Wodehouse UnopposedN/AN/A

Elections in the 1760s

General election 1 April 1761: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig George Townshend UnopposedN/AN/A
Tory Armine Wodehouse UnopposedN/AN/A
By-Election 11 April 1764: Norfolk
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Non Partisan Thomas de Grey UnopposedN/AN/A
Non Partisan hold Swing N/A
General election 23 March 1768: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Non Partisan Edward Astley 2,97827.02N/A
Non Partisan Thomas de Grey 2,75424.99N/A
Non Partisan Armine Wodehouse 2,68024.32N/A
Non Partisan Wenman Coke 2,60923.67N/A
Turnout 11,021N/AN/A

Elections in the 1770s

General election 26 October 1774: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Non Partisan Edward Astley UnopposedN/AN/A
Non Partisan Wenman Coke UnopposedN/AN/A
By-Election 8 May 1776: Norfolk
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Non Partisan Thomas Coke UnopposedN/AN/A
Non Partisan hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1780s

General election 20 September 1780: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Non Partisan Edward Astley UnopposedN/AN/A
Non Partisan Thomas Coke UnopposedN/AN/A
General election 14 April 1784: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Non Partisan Edward Astley UnopposedN/AN/A
Non Partisan John Wodehouse UnopposedN/AN/A

Elections in the 1790s

General election 1790: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Non Partisan John Wodehouse UnopposedN/AN/A
Non Partisan Thomas Coke UnopposedN/AN/A
General election 1796: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Non Partisan John Wodehouse UnopposedN/AN/A
Non Partisan Thomas Coke UnopposedN/AN/A

Elections in the 1800s

By-Election November 1801: Norfolk
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Non Partisan Jacob Henry Astley Unopposed N/AN/A
Non Partisan hold Swing N/A
General election 1802: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Thomas Coke 4,31737.72New
Whig Jacob Henry Astley 3,61231.56New
Tory John Wodehouse 3,51730.73New
Majority950.83N/A
Turnout 11,446 (7,251 voted)N/AN/A
Whig gain from Non Partisan Swing
Whig gain from Non Partisan Swing
General election 1806: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Thomas Coke 4,11836.59−1.13
Whig William Windham 3,77233.51N/A
Tory John Wodehouse 3,36529.90−0.83
Majority1073.61+2.78
Turnout 11,255N/AN/A
Whig hold Swing
Whig hold Swing
By-Election March 1807: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Jacob Henry Astley Unopposed N/AN/A
Whig Edward Coke Unopposed N/AN/A
General election 1807: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Thomas Coke Unopposed N/AN/A
Whig Jacob Henry Astley Unopposed N/AN/A

Elections in the 1810s

General election 1812: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Thomas Coke Unopposed N/AN/A
Whig Jacob Henry Astley Unopposed N/AN/A
By-Election May 1817: Norfolk
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Tory Edmond Wodehouse 3,86154.00New
Whig Edward Roger Pratt 3,28946.00N/A
Majority5728.00N/A
Turnout 7,150N/AN/A
Tory gain from Whig Swing N/A
General election 1818: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Thomas Coke Unopposed N/AN/A
Tory Edmond Wodehouse Unopposed N/AN/A

Elections in the 1820s

General election 1820: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Thomas Coke Unopposed N/AN/A
Tory Edmond Wodehouse Unopposed N/AN/A
General election 1826: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Thomas Coke Unopposed N/AN/A
Tory Edmond Wodehouse Unopposed N/AN/A

Elections in the 1830s

General election 1830: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Thomas Coke Unopposed N/AN/A
Whig William ffolkes Unopposed N/AN/A
General election 1831: Norfolk (2 seats)
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Whig Thomas Coke Unopposed N/AN/A
Whig William ffolkes Unopposed N/AN/A

See also

Notes and references

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 "History of Parliament" . Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 History of Parliament Online: John Lancaster II, accessed November 2018.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Davis, Norman. The Paston Letters: A Selection in Modern Spelling.
  4. Cavill. The English Parliaments of Henry VII 1485-1504.
  5. Cavill. The English Parliaments of Henry VII 1485-1504.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 "History of Parliament" . Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  7. 1 2 3 4 "History of Parliament" . Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  8. Christopher Heydon was defeated, but the Privy Council ordered a fresh poll, which Heydon won; the House of Commons then challenged the Council's right to interfere in elections, and the second poll was quashed. See Capp, Bernard, Heydon, Sir Christopher (1561–1623), soldier and writer on astrology in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  9. Died 1643
  10. Created a baronet, August
  11. On petition, Calthorpe and Sir Nevill Catlin were adjudged not to have been duly elected, and the House of Commons ordered the arrest of two of the under-sheriffs responsible for conducting the election.
  12. Succeeded to a baronetcy, October 1754
  13. Succeeded to a baronetcy, March 1802
  14. On petition, Coke and Windham were adjudged not to have been duly elected, and a by-election was held. Windham had also been elected for New Romney, and sat for that borough for the remainder of the Parliament.
  15. 3rd Baronet of Stow Bardolph, son of Sir Thomas Hare, 2nd Baronet

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