The Electoral Structure of England

  • Lewis Namier


The British House of Commons in the eighteenth century consisted of 558 Members—489 elected in England, 24 in Wales, and 45 in Scotland. Of the 245 English constituencies, the City of London and Weymouth cum Melcombe Regis returned four Members each, 238 two Members, and 5 one Member each; Scotland and Wales had single-member constituencies. Of the 489 English Members at the accession of George III, 80 represented the forty counties, 4 the two Universities, while 405 were returned by 203 cities and boroughs; of the 24 Welsh Members, 12 sat for counties and 12 for boroughs or groups of boroughs; of the 45 Scottish Members, 30 represented counties, one was returned by Edinburgh, and 14 by groups of boroughs.


Eighteenth Century Parliamentary Election Electoral Structure Government Influence Government Interest 
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  1. 2.
    John Morley, The Life of William Ewart Gladstone(1905), vol. i, p. 239.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See F. Harrison, ‘The Great Election Contest in Wiltshire in 1772’, Wiltshire Notes and Queries, Mar 1906, p. 339.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Thomas A. Blyth, History of Bedford, p. 113; tee also Dodsley’s Annual Register, 1769, under date of 4 Sep, p. 128; and T. W. Pearse, Observations on the Schedule of the Records and other Documents of the Corporation of Bedford(1876), p. 11: ‘In 1780, Sir Robert Bernard lent the Corporation £950, and it may be assumed that the loan was not entirely unconnected with this last admission of freemen’.Google Scholar
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    Josiah Tucker, Reviere of Lord Claris Conduct(1775), p. 5.Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    Henry Cruger, a New-Yorker by birth, but settled in trade at Bristol, represented it as an Opposition Whig 1774–80, but was defeated both at the general election of 1780 and at the by-election in 1781. He was again returned for Bristol in 1784, though at that time absent in America, but in 1790 moved to New York, where he was elected to the Senate in 1792 (about him see Henry C. Van Schaack, Henry Cruger, New York, 1859).Google Scholar
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    A. B. Beaven, ‘Bristol Men in the Eighteenth Century’, in the Bristol Times and Mirror, 15 Feb 1913.Google Scholar
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    Memoirs of the House of White of Wallingwells(1886), pp. 40–1. About Waring and his Coventry elections, see also H. T. Weyman, ’Members of Parliament for Bishop’s Castle’, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeol. Soc, second series, vol. x (1898), p. 61.Google Scholar
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    In his Historical Memoirs of the Town and Parish of Tiverton(1790), pp. 245–52. About Dunsford see M. L. Banks, Blundell’s Worthies(1904), pp. 89–97.Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    See W. Albery, A Parliamentary History of Horsham(1927).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lewis Namier

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