Fowey (UK Parliament constituency)

Fowey was a rotten borough in Cornwall which returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons in the English and later British Parliament from 1571 to 1832, when it was abolished by the Great Reform Act.

Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of membersTwo


The borough consisted of the town of Fowey, a seaport and market town, and the neighbouring hamlet of Mixtow. Unlike many of the most notorious Cornish rotten boroughs which were enfranchised in Tudor times, Fowey had once been a town of reasonable size, and returned members to a national council in 1340, although it had to wait until 1571 for representation in Parliament.

Fowey was a feudal tenure of the Prince of Wales, and by a judgment of 1701 the right to vote was held to rest with "the Prince's tenants", which in practice was interpreted to include all the householders paying scot and lot; there were 331 voters in 1831. However, most of the property in the borough was owned by the Rashleigh family of nearby Menabilly, and in 1816 they and the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe shared the "patronage", each having considerable influence if not quite absolute power to choose one of the MPs.

In 1831, the borough had a population of 1,600, and 340 houses.

Members of Parliament


ParliamentFirst memberSecond member
Parliament of 1571 Robert Peter Thomas Cromwell
Parliament of 1572–1583 William Russell Edward Harrington
Parliament of 1584–1585 Reginald Mohun William Treffry
Parliament of 1586–1587 John Bonython
Parliament of 1588–1589 John Rashleigh Arthur Atye
Parliament of 1593 William Killigrew Samuel Lennard
Parliament of 1597–1598 John Rashleigh Thomas Treffry
Parliament of 1601 Carew Raleigh Sir William Courtney, junior
Parliament of 1604–1611 Henry Peter Francis Vyvyan
Addled Parliament (1614) Jonathan Rashleigh Sir Edward Boys
Parliament of 1621–1622 John Treffry
Happy Parliament (1624–1625) William Noy Sir Robert Coke
Useless Parliament (1625) Jonathan Rashleigh Arthur Basset
Parliament of 1625–1626 William Murray
Parliament of 1628–1629 Robert Rashleigh Sir Richard Grenville
No Parliament summoned 1629–1640


YearFirst memberFirst partySecond memberSecond party
April 1640 Jonathan RashleighRoyalist Edwin Rich
November 1640 Sir Richard BullerParliamentarian
November 1642 Buller died – seat vacant
January 1644 Rashleigh disabled from sitting – seat vacant
1646 Nicholas Gould Gregory Clement
May 1652 Clement expelled[1] – seat vacant
1653 Fowey was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 John Barton Edward Herle
May 1659 Nicholas Gould One seat vacant
April 1660 John Barton Edward Herle
1661 Jonathan Rashleigh John Rashleigh
1675 Jonathan Rashleigh II
1679 John Treffry
1685 Bevil Granville
1689 Jonathan Rashleigh II Shadrach Vincent
1695 Thomas Vivian Sir Bevil Granville
January 1701 John Williams John Granville
December 1701 John Hicks
1702 George Granville Tory
1708 Henry Vincent (junior)
1710 Viscount Dupplin
1712 Bernard Granville
1713 Jermyn Wych
1715 Jonathan Elford
1719 Nicholas Vincent
1722 John Goodall
1725 William Bromley
January 1727 The Viscount FitzWilliam
August 1727 Jonathan Rashleigh Tory
1734 John Hedges
1737 William Wardour
1746 Captain the Hon. George Edgcumbe Whig
1761 Hon. Robert Boyle-Walsingham
1765 Philip Rashleigh Tory
1768 James Modyford Heywood
1774 The Lord Shuldham Whig
1784 John Grant Tory
1786 Hon. Richard Edgcumbe[2] Tory
1795 Sylvester Douglas Tory
1796 Reginald Pole-Carew Tory
1799 Edward Golding[3] Tory
July 1802 Reginald Pole Carew Tory
December 1802 Robert Wigram (senior) Tory
1806 Robert Wigram (junior) Tory
1812 William Rashleigh Tory
1818 George Lucy Tory Hon. James Hamilton Stanhope
5 March 1819[4] Seat vacant (death of Viscount Valletort) Alexander Glynn Campbell Tory
24 March 1819 Matthias Attwood[5] Tory
May 1819 Viscount Valletort Tory
1820 George Lucy Tory
1826 Hon. Robert Henley Tory
February 1830 Lord Brudenell Tory
July 1830 John Cheesment Severn Tory
1832 Constituency abolished


  1. Clement was expelled from the house for immorality (for "lying with his maid" according to the wording of the motion)
  2. Styled Viscount Valletort from August 1789
  3. In 1802 Golding was also elected for Plympton Erle, which he chose to represent, and did not sit again for Fowey
  4. At the 1818 election Lucy and Stanhope were declared to have defeated Viscount Valletort and Alexander Glynn Campbell, but on petition the result was reversed. However, Valletort had died in the interim and a by-election was held to fill his seat
  5. Attwood was initially declared to have defeated Valletort at the by-election, but the result was reversed on petition


  • Robert Beatson, A Chronological Register of Both Houses of Parliament (London: Longman, Hurst, Res & Orme, 1807)
  • 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)
  • Maija Jansson (ed.), Proceedings in Parliament, 1614 (House of Commons) (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1988)
  • Lewis Namier, "The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III" (2nd edition – London: St Martin's Press, 1961)
  • J Holladay Philbin, "Parliamentary Representation 1832 – England and Wales" (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)
  • Henry Stooks Smith, "The Parliaments of England from 1715 to 1847" (2nd edition, edited by FWS Craig – Chichester: Parliamentary 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 "F"
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