Cornwall (UK Parliament constituency)

Cornwall is a former county constituency covering the county of Cornwall, in the South West of England. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of England then of the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It was represented by two Knights of the Shire, elected by the bloc vote system.

Cornwall
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
CountyCornwall
1290–1832
Number of membersTwo
Replaced byEast Cornwall and West Cornwall

Under the Reform Act 1832, it was divided between the constituencies of East Cornwall and West Cornwall.

Boundaries and franchise

The constituency consisted of the whole of the historic county of Cornwall, the most south-westerly county of England, occupying the part of the South West peninsula to the west of the River Tamar which divides the county from Devon. (Although Cornwall contained a number of parliamentary boroughs, each of which elected two MPs in their own right, these were not excluded from the county constituency, and owning property within a borough could confer a vote at the county election. For a summary of the boroughs represented before 1832 see Parliamentary representation from Cornwall.)

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.

By the time of the Great Reform Act in 1832, the population of Cornwall was about 300,000. Only a tiny fraction of these were entitled to vote. Sedgwick estimated there were about 2,300 electors in this constituency in the 1715–1754 period, and Namier and Brooke suggest this had increased to about 2,500 electors in the 1754–1790 period. At the vigorously contested election of 1790, when a high turnout can be assumed, 4,656 valid votes were cast (each voter being entitled to vote twice). At Cornwall's final election, in 1831, 5,350 votes were cast.

Members of Parliament

  • Constituency created (1290)

1290–1510

ParliamentFirst memberSecond member
1298Thomas Pridias[1]
1301Michael Petyt
1307Henry Bodrugan
1314Michael Petyt
1324Otto BodruganWilliam Hureward
1336William BodruganRichard Hiwis
1337William BodruganRichard Hiwis
1341Ralph Speccot[2] of Speccot, Merton, Devon
1357John Hamely[3]
1360John Hamely [3]
1362John Hamely [3]
1366John de Tremayne[4]
1369Otto BodruganRobert Tresilian[5]/John de Tremayne[4]
1384Otto Bodrugan
1386Sir Ralph CarminoweJohn Beville [6]
1388 (Feb)Sir Henry IlcombeSir John Reskymer [6]
1388 (Sep)Sir William LambourneSir John Reskymer [6]
1390 (Jan)Sir Richard CergeauxSir William Lambourne [6]
1390 (Nov)Sir John ReskymerMichael Archdeacon [6]
1391John ColshullJohn Treverbyn [6]
1393John TrevarthianJohn Treverbyn [6]
1394John ColshullJohn Treverbyn [6]
1395Sir Henry IlcombeJohn Chenduyt [6]
1397 (Jan)John Arundell of LanherneJohn Colshull [6]
1397 (Sep)John Arundell of LanherneJohn Trevarthian [6]
1399Sir William LambourneJohn Colshull [6]
1401Sir John TrevarthianWilliam Bodrugan [6]
1402Sir William TalbotJohn Whalesborough [6]
1404 (Jan)Sir John Arundell of LanherneJohn Chenduyt [6]
1404 (Oct)Sir John Arundell of LanherneSir Ralph Botreaux [6]
1406Sir John Arundell of LanherneNicholas Broomford [6]
1407John ChenduytRichard Trevanion [6]
1410Sir Ralph BotreauxSir John Herle [6]
1411Sir John Arundell of LanherneJohn Urban [6]
1413 (May)John WybburyJohn Trelawny [6]
1414 (Apr)Sir John Arundell of LanherneJohn Colshull II [6]
1414 (Nov)Sir William TalbotJohn Colshull II [6]
1416 (Mar)Sir John Arundell of LanherneWilliam Bodrugan II [6]
1416 (Oct)
1417Sir John Arundell of LanherneThomas Arundell [6]
1419John ArundellSir Thomas Arundell[6]
1420Sir William BodruganJohn Tretherf [6]
1421 (May)Sir John Arundell of LanherneSir John Trelawny [6]
1421 (Dec)Sir John TrelawnyJohn Arundell[6]
1422Sir John Arundell of LanherneJohn Arundell[6]
1423Sir John Arundell of Lanherne
1429Sir Thomas Arundell
1435Sir Thomas Arundell
1453/4John Coleshill, of Duloe, Cornwall[7]
1472Sir Henry Bodrugan
1478Sir Thomas Vaughan [8]
1483John Beaumont alias BodruganJames Tyrrell
1484John Beaumont alias Bodrugan

1510–1629

As there were sometimes significant gaps between Parliaments held in this period, the dates of first assembly and dissolution are given. Where the name of the member has not yet been ascertained or (before 1558) is not recorded in a surviving document, the entry unknown is entered in the table.

The Roman numerals after some names are those used in The House of Commons 1509–1558 to distinguish a member from another politician of the same name.

In 1529 alternative versions are given of the names for one member. The first comes from the above book on the House of Commons. The second originates from another source.

ElectedAssembledDissolvedFirst MemberSecond Member
151021 January 151023 February 1510unknownunknown
15124 February 15124 March 1514unknownunknown
15155 February 151522 December 1515Sir Peter Edgecombeunknown
152315 April 152313 August 1523unknownunknown
15293 November 152914 April 1536Sir Peter EdgecombeRichard Grenville
15368 June 153618 July 1536unknownunknown
153928 April 153924 July 1540Sir John ChamondWilliam Godolphin I
154216 January 154228 March 1544Richard Edgcumbeunknown
154523 November 154531 January 1547Richard ChamondJohn Beauchamp
15474 November 154715 April 1552(Sir) Richard EdgecumbeJohn Reskymer
15531 March 155331 March 1553(Sir) William Godolphin IHenry Chiverton
15535 October 15535 December 1553John CarminoweRichard Roscarrock
15542 April 15543 May 1554Sir John Arundell
155412 November 155416 January 1555? Thomas Trefry IHenry Chiverton
155521 October 15559 December 1555Richard Chamond
155820 January 155817 November 1558John ArundellJohn Polwhele
155923 January 15598 May 1559John TrelawnyRichard Chamond
1562 or 156311 January 15632 January 1567Peter EdgcumbeJohn Trelawny
died and repl. 1566 by Richard Chamond
15712 April 157129 May 1571Richard GrenvilleWilliam Mohun
15728 May 157219 April 1583Peter Edgcumbe to 1581
(Unknown from 1581)
Richard Chamond
158423 November 158414 September 1585Richard Grenville(Sir) William Mohun
158613 October 158623 March 1587Peter Edgcumbe
15884 February 158929 March 1589Sir Francis Godolphin
159318 February 159310 April 1593William Bevil
159724 October 15979 February 1598William KilligrewJonathan Trelawny
160127 October 160119 December 1601Sir Walter RaleighJohn Arundell
160419 March 16049 February 1611Sir Anthony RousSir Jonathan Trelawny died 1604
Sir William Godolphin
16145 April 16147 June 1614Richard CarewJohn St Aubyn
1620 or 162116 January 16218 February 1622Bevil GrenvilleJohn Arundell
1623 or 162412 February 162427 March 1625William Coryton
162517 May 162512 August 1625Sir Robert KilligrewCharles Trevanion
16266 February 162615 June 1626Sir Francis GodolphinWilliam Coryton
162817 March 162810 March 1629Sir John Eliot

1640–1832

YearFirst memberFirst partySecond memberSecond party
April 1640 William Godolphin Richard BullerParliamentarian
November 1640 Sir Bevil GrenvilleRoyalist Alexander CarewRoyalist [9]
September 1642 Grenville disabled to sit – seat vacant
September 1643 Carew expelled – seat vacant
1646 Hugh Boscawen [10] Nicholas Trefusis
December 1648 Boscawen not recorded as sitting after Pride's Purge Trefusis excluded in Pride's Purge – seat vacant
YearFirst memberSecond memberThird memberFourth member
1653 Robert Bennet Francis Langdon Anthony Rous John Bawden
YearFirst memberSecond memberThird memberFourth memberFifth memberSixth memberSeventh memberEighth member
1654 Anthony Rous Anthony Nicholl Thomas Silly Richard Carter Walter Moyle Charles Boscawen Thomas Gewen James Launce
1656 Francis Rous William Braddon John St Aubyn
YearFirst memberFirst partySecond memberSecond party
January 1659 Hugh Boscawen Francis Buller
Cornwall not represented in restored Rump
April 1660 Sir John Carew, Bt Robert Robartes
September 1660 Hugh Boscawen
1661 Jonathan Trelawny Sir John Coryton, Bt
1679 Francis Robartes Sir Richard Edgcumbe
May 1685 Lord Lansdown Viscount Bodmin
August 1685 Francis Robartes
1689 Sir John Carew, Bt Hugh Boscawen [10]
1690 Francis Robartes
1695 John Speccot
June 1701 Richard EdgcumbeWhig
December 1701 John Granville James Buller
1703 Sir Richard Vyvyan, BtTory
1703 Hugh BoscawenWhig
1708 James Buller
1710 George GranvilleTory John Trevanion [11]Tory
1712 Sir Richard Vyvyan, Bt
1713 Sir William Carew, BtTory
1722 Sir John St Aubyn, BtTory
April 1744 Sir Coventry Carew, BtTory
December 1744 Sir John Molesworth, BtTory
1748 James BullerTory
1761 Sir John St Aubyn, Bt
1765 Sir John Molesworth, Bt
1772 Humphrey Mackworth-Praed
1774 Sir William Lemon, BtWhig
1775 Edward Eliot
1784 Sir William Molesworth, Bt
1790 Francis GregorTory
1806 John Hearle TremayneTory
1825 Sir Richard Rawlinson Vyvyan, BtTory
1826 Edward William Wynne PendarvesWhig
1831 Sir Charles Lemon, BtWhig
  • Constituency abolished (1832)

Elections

The bloc vote electoral system was used in two seat elections and first past the post for single member by-elections. Each elector had as many votes as there were seats to be filled. Votes had to be cast by a spoken declaration, in public, at the hustings, which were usually held at the county town. The expense and difficulty of voting at only one location in the county, together with the lack of a secret ballot contributed to the corruption and intimidation of electors, which was widespread in the unreformed British political system.

The expense, to candidates and their supporters, of contested elections encouraged the leading families of the county to agree on the candidates to be returned unopposed whenever possible. Contested county elections were therefore unusual.

There were no contested general election polls in Cornwall between 1710 and 1774. Leading Whig politicians, like Sir Robert Walpole, were happy to let Tory squires represent the county; to avoid them interfering with Whig plans in the county's numerous borough constituencies. The related families of Carew, Molesworth, St Aubyn and Buller monopolised the representation for much of the 18th century, until the partners in the Miners' Bank at Truro, Humphrey Mackworth Praed and William Lemon, became involved in elections in the 1770s.

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, Namier and Brooke 1754–1790 and Stooks Smith 1790–1832.

1710s1720s1730s1740s1750s1760s1770s1780s1790s1800s1810s1820s1830s

Elections in the 1710s

General election 16 February 1715: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir William Carew, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory John Trevanion Unopposed N/A N/A

Elections in the 1720s

General election 2 May 1722: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir William Carew, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory Sir John St Aubyn, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
General election 13 September 1727: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir William Carew, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory Sir John St Aubyn, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A

Elections in the 1730s

General election 15 May 1734: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir William Carew, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory Sir John St Aubyn, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A

Elections in the 1740s

General election 20 May 1741: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir William Carew, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory Sir John St Aubyn, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
  • Death of Carew
By-Election 4 April 1744: Cornwall
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir Coventry Carew, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory hold Swing N/A
  • Death of St Aubyn
By-Election 12 December 1744: Cornwall
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir John Molesworth, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory hold Swing N/A
General election 22 July 1747: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir Coventry Carew, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory Sir John Molesworth, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
  • Death of Carew
By-Election 27 April 1748: Cornwall
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory James Buller Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1750s

General election 1 May 1754: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir John Molesworth, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory James Buller Unopposed N/A N/A

Elections in the 1760s

General election 8 April 1761: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Non Partisan Sir John St Aubyn, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory James Buller Unopposed N/A N/A
  • Death of Buller
By-Election 15 May 1765: Cornwall
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Non Partisan John Molesworth Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan gain from Tory Swing N/A
General election 29 March 1768: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Non Partisan Sir John St Aubyn, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan Sir John Molesworth, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A

Elections in the 1770s

  • Death of St Aubyn
By-Election 16 December 1772: Cornwall
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Non Partisan Humphrey Mackworth Praed Elected N/A N/A
Non Partisan William Lemon Defeated N/A
Non Partisan hold Swing N/A
General election 25 October 1774: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Non Partisan Sir William Lemon, Bt 1,099 27.48 N/A
Non Partisan Sir John Molesworth 1,050 26.26 N/A
Non Partisan John Buller, junior 960 24.01 N/A
Non Partisan Humphrey Mackworth Praed 890 22.26 N/A
Turnout 3,999 N/A N/A
  • Death of Molesworth
By-Election 15 November 1775: Cornwall
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Non Partisan Edward Eliot Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan hold Swing N/A

Elections in the 1780s

General election 13 September 1780: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Non Partisan Sir William Lemon, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan Edward Eliot Unopposed N/A N/A
  • Creation of Eliot as 1st Lord Eliot
By-Election 25 February 1784: Cornwall
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Non Partisan Sir William Molesworth, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan hold Swing N/A
General election 21 April 1784: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Non Partisan Sir William Molesworth, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Non Partisan Sir William Lemon, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A

Elections in the 1790s

General election 1790: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Sir William Lemon, Bt 2,250 48.32 N/A
Tory Francis Gregor 1,270 27.28 N/A
Whig Sir Jonathan St Aubyn, Bt 1,136 24.40 N/A
Turnout 4,656 N/A N/A
  • Note (1790): This was the first election, for this constituency, where Stooks Smith used party labels for candidates.
General election 1796: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Sir William Lemon, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory Francis Gregor Unopposed N/A N/A

Elections in the 1800s

General election 1802: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Sir William Lemon, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory Francis Gregor Unopposed N/A N/A
General election 1806: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Sir William Lemon, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory John Hearle Tremayne Unopposed N/A N/A
General election 1807: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Sir William Lemon, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory John Hearle Tremayne Unopposed N/A N/A

Elections in the 1810s

General election 1812: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Sir William Lemon, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory John Hearle Tremayne Unopposed N/A N/A
General election 1818: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Sir William Lemon, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory John Hearle Tremayne Unopposed N/A N/A

Elections in the 1820s

General election 1820: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Sir William Lemon, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory John Hearle Tremayne Unopposed N/A N/A
  • Death of Lemon
By-Election February 1825: Cornwall
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir Richard Rawlinson Vyvyan, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Tory gain from Whig Swing N/A
General election 1826: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir Richard Rawlinson Vyvyan, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Whig Edward William Wynne Pendarves Unopposed N/A N/A

Elections in the 1830s

General election 1830: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Tory Sir Richard Rawlinson Vyvyan, Bt Unopposed N/A N/A
Whig Edward William Wynne Pendarves Unopposed N/A N/A
General election 1831: Cornwall (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Edward William Wynne Pendarves 1,819 35.42 N/A
Whig Sir Charles Lemon, Bt 1,804 35.13 N/A
Tory Sir Richard Rawlinson Vyvyan, Bt 901 17.55 N/A
Tory Viscount Valletort 611 11.90 N/A
Turnout 5,135 N/A N/A
  • Note (1831): Stooks Smith records that the poll took five days.
  • Constituency divided (1832)

See also

References

Sources

  • D Brunton & D H Pennington, Members of the Long Parliament (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954)
  • Cobbett's Parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the year 1803 (London: Thomas Hansard, 1808)[12]
  • F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1832–1885 (2nd edition, Aldershot: Parliamentary Research Services, 1989)
  • J E Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London: Jonathan Cape, 1949)
  • Historical Parliamentary Papers at British History Online
  • The House of Commons 1509–1558, by S.T. Bindoff (Secker & Warburg 1982)
  • The House of Commons 1715–1754, by Romney Sedgwick (HMSO 1970)
  • The House of Commons 1754–1790, by Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke (HMSO 1964)
  • The Parliaments of England by Henry Stooks Smith (1st edition published in three volumes 1844–50), second edition edited (in one volume) by F.W.S. Craig (Political Reference Publications 1973))
  • Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 ... London. p. 1.
  • Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "C" (part 6)

Notes in text

  1. Maclean, Sir John, Parochial and Family History of the Deanery of Trigg Minor, in the County of Cornwall, Vol.2, London, 1876.
  2. "Ranulphus" perVivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.706; "Raph" per Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.381
  3. "HAMELY (HAMYLYN), Sir John (aft.1324–1399), of Wimborne St. Giles, Dorset". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  4. Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.730, pedigree of Tremayne
  5. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 55. Oxford University Press. 2004. p. 318. ISBN 0-19-861405-5.Article by John L. Leland.
  6. "History of Parliament: Cornwall". Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  7. Richardson, Douglas, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, p.144
  8. "Vaughan,Sir Thomas". Oxford DNB. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  9. Carew is classified as a Royalist by Brunton and Pennington on the grounds thathe was disabled for adhering to the king. However, he began the Civil War as a Parliamentarian and was appointed to the governorship of a crucial stronghold; he attempted to betray this to the Royalists when it seemed that their cause was prospering, but being discovered was arrested, disabled, and later executed as a traitor.
  10. This Hugh Boscawen was NOT Hugh Boscawen, the first Earl of Falmouth, mentioned below.
  11. This John Trevanion was NOT John Trevanion, the Civil War hero, who died in 1643.
  12. "Cobbett's Parliamentary History (A-Z)". www2.odl.ox.ac.uk. 2007. Archived from the original on 4 September 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2013.

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