Helston (UK Parliament constituency)

Helston, sometimes known as Helleston,[1] was a parliamentary borough centred on the small town of Helston in Cornwall.

Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Major settlementsHelston
Number of members1298–1832: Two
1832–1885: One
Replaced byTruro

Using the bloc vote system of election, it returned two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons of England until 1707, then to House of Commons of Great Britain until 1800, and to House of Commons of the United Kingdom until the 1832 general election.

The Reform Act 1832 reduced its representation to one member, elected by the first-past-the-post system. Under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, it was abolished with effect from the 1885 general election.

Members of Parliament

MPs before1640

  • Constituency created (1298)
ParliamentFirst memberSecond member
1298 R de Rosemayn I de Kellyhellan[2]
1323/24 John Tremayne[3]
1325 David De Autrenon[3]
1341/42 John Tremayne[3]
1351/52 Johannes De Tremayn[3][a 1]
1358 John Hamely [4]
1361 John Hamely [4]
1384 William Bodrugan[5]
Parliament of 1386 Roger Trewythenick John Urban
First Parliament of 1388 (Feb) Thomas Tregadereth Roger Trewythenick
Second Parliament of 1388 (Sep) Thomas Bray John Symon
First Parliament of 1390 (Jan) Roger Trewythenick John Urban
Second Parliament of 1390 (Nov) ? ?
Parliament of 1391 Roger Trewythenick William Glasen
Parliament of 1393 John Trereise Michael Trereise
Parliament of 1394 ? ?
Parliament of 1395 Roger Trewythenick Roger Skewys
First Parliament of 1397 (Jan) Thomas Beville John Urban
Second Parliament of 1397 (Sep) John Pengersick John Skewys
Parliament of 1399 Roger Trewythenick John Pengersick
Parliament of 1401 ? ?
Parliament of 1402 Roger Trewythenick John Masselegh
First Parliament of 1404 (Jan)
Second Parliament of 1404 (Oct)
Parliament of 1406 Walter Badrygy William Penalewy
Parliament of 1407 John Pengersick Matthew Skewys
Parliament of 1410
Parliament of 1411 John Glasen Thomas Pellour
First Parliament of 1413 (Feb)
Second Parliament of 1413 (May) Thomas Treffidowe Thomas Polglas
First Parliament of 1414 (Apr)
Second Parliament of 1414 (Nov) John Clink John Baker
Parliament of 1415 or 1416 (Mar) John Glasen Robert Treage
Parliament of 1416 (Oct)
Parliament of 1417 John Glasen Thomas Gurtaboys
Parliament of 1419 Robert Treage John Cork
Parliament of 1420 William Richard William Trethake II
First Parliament of 1421 (May) Thomas Carathyn John Treffridowe
Second Parliament of 1421 (Dec) William Penpons Adam Vivian
1491–92 William Antron[3]
Parliament of 1529 Edmund Smith John Holdiche
Parliament of 1542 William Trewynnard ?
Parliament of 1545 John Arundell Richard Heywood
Parliament of 1547 Thomas Mildmay John Trengove
First Parliament of 1553 (Mar) Thomas Mildmay Robert Docatt
Second Parliament of 1553 (Oct) William Bendlowes Henry Trengove alias Nance
First Parliament of 1554 (Apr) William St Aubyn John Kyme
Second Parliament of 1554 (Nov) Reginald Mohun William St Aubin
Parliament of 1555 Thomas Mildmay Edward Neville
Parliament of 1558 Peter Martyn
Parliament of 1559 John Trendeneck Francis Goldsmith
Parliament of 1562–1567 William Porter John Dudley
Parliament of 1571 Sir Edward Bray John Gayer
Parliament of 1572–1581 William Killigrew John Vivian (died c.1578)
Parliament of 1584–1585 Humphrey Prideaux William Lewis
Parliament of 1586–1587 Hannibal Vyvyan William Godolphin
Parliament of 1588–1589 William Buggin Christopher Osborne
Parliament of 1593 William Gardiner Ralph Knevitt
Parliament of 1597–1598 William Cooke Nicholas Saunders
Parliament of 1601 William Twysden Hannibal Vyvyan
Parliament of 1604–1611 Sir John Leigh John Bogans (died)
Robert Naunton (from 1606)
Addled Parliament (1614) Sir Robert Killigrew Henry Bulstrode
Parliament of 1621–1622 Sir Thomas Stafford William Noy
Happy Parliament (1624–1625) Thomas Carey Francis Carew
Useless Parliament (1625)
Parliament of 1625–1626 Francis Godolphin
Parliament of 1628–1629 Sidney Godolphin William Noy
No Parliament summoned 1629–1640

MPs 1640–1832

Year1st Member1st Party2nd Member2nd Party
April 1640 Sidney GodolphinRoyalist William Godolphin
November 1640 Francis GodolphinRoyalist
February 1643 Sidney Godolphin killed in battle - seat vacant
January 1644 Francis Godolphin disabled from sitting - seat vacant
1646 John Penrose John Thomas
December 1648 Penrose not recorded as having sat after Pride's Purge Thomas excluded in Pride's Purge - seat vacant
1653 Unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 Robert Rous Thomas Juxon
May 1659 Helston was unrepresented in the restored Rump
April 1660 Anthony Rous Alexander Penhellick
July 1660 Thomas Robinson (Sir) Francis Godolphin
1661 Sir Peter Killigrew
1665 Sir William Godolphin, Bt
1668 Sidney Godolphin Tory
Feb 1679 Sir Vyell Vyvyan, Bt
Sep 1679 Sidney Godolphin Tory
1681 Charles Godolphin
1685 Sidney Godolphin
1689 Sir John St Aubyn, Bt
1695 Francis Godolphin
1698 Sidney Godolphin
1701 Francis Godolphin[6]
1708 John Evelyn
Oct 1710 George Granville [7] Tory
Dec 1710 Robert Child
1713 Henry Campion [8] Charles Coxe [9]
1714 Thomas Tonkin Alexander Pendarves Tory
1715 Sir Gilbert Heathcote, Bt Whig Sidney Godolphin
1722 Sir Robert Raymond Tory Walter Carey
1724 Sir Clement Wearg Whig
1726 Exton Sayer
1727 John Evelyn John Harris
1741 Francis Godolphin Thomas Walker Whig
1747 (Sir) John Evelyn [10]
1766 William Windham
1767 William Evelyn [11]
1768 The Earl of Clanbrassil
1774 [12] Marquess of Carmarthen Tory Francis Owen
1775 Francis Cust Philip Yorke
1780 Jocelyn Deane [13]
March 1781 Richard Barwell
June 1781 Lord Hyde Tory
1784 John Rogers
1786 Roger Wilbraham
1787 James Burges
1790 Sir Gilbert Elliot, Bt Whig Stephen Lushington [14] Whig
1795 Charles Abbot Tory [15]
1796 Richard Richards
1799 Lord Francis Osborne
1802 Viscount Fitzharris John Penn
1804 Davies Giddy
1805 Viscount Primrose
April 1806 Sir John Shelley, Bt
November 1806 Nicholas Vansittart [16] Tory John Du Ponthieu
January 1807 Thomas Brand Whig
May 1807 Sir John St Aubyn, Bt Richard Richards
July 1807 The Lord Dufferin and Claneboye
1812 William Horne Whig Hugh Hammersley
1818 Lord James Townshend Tory Harrington Hudson
1826 The Marquess of Carmarthen
1830 Sir Samuel Brooke-Pechell, Bt Whig
1831 Sackville Lane-Fox Tory
1832 Representation reduced to one member

MPs 1832–1885

1832 Representation reduced to one member
1832 Sackville Lane-Fox Conservative[17]
1835 Lord James Townshend Conservative[17]
1837 Viscount Cantelupe Conservative[17]
1840 by-election John Basset Conservative[17]
1841 Sir Richard Vyvyan, Bt Conservative[17]
1857 Charles Trueman Whig[18]
1859 John Jope Rogers[19] Conservative
1865 Adolphus William Young Liberal
1866 by-election[20] Robert Campbell Liberal
Sir William Brett Conservative
1868 Adolphus William Young Liberal
1880 William Molesworth-St Aubyn Conservative
1885 constituency abolished


Elections in the 1880s

General election 1880: Helston [21][22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Molesworth-St Aubyn 466 52.1 +5.1
Liberal Adolphus William Young 429 47.9 5.1
Majority 37 4.1 N/A
Turnout 895 84.2 1.7
Registered electors 1,063
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +5.1

Elections in the 1870s

General election 1874: Helston [22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Adolphus William Young 473 53.0 3.9
Conservative William Nassau Lees[23] 420 47.0 +3.9
Majority 53 5.9 7.9
Turnout 893 85.9 +1.5
Registered electors 1,040
Liberal hold Swing 3.9

Elections in the 1860s

General election 1868: Helston [22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Adolphus William Young 494 56.9 +5.2
Conservative Thomas Charles Bruce[24] 374 43.1 5.2
Majority 120 13.8 +10.4
Turnout 868 84.4 1.2
Registered electors 1,029
Liberal hold Swing +5.2
By-election, 19 February 1868: Helston [22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Brett Unopposed
Conservative gain from Liberal
By-election, 1 May 1866: Helston [22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Brett 153 50.2 +1.9
Liberal Robert Campbell 152 49.8 1.9
Majority 1 0.3 N/A
Turnout 305 87.6 +2.0
Registered electors 348
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +1.9
  • Caused by the 1865 election being declared void on petition, due to bribery.[25] At the original count for the by-election, both candidates received 153 votes apiece, but Campbell was declared elected after the Returning officer (who was the father of his election agent) cast a vote for him, after consulting a legal textbook which suggested he could make the casting vote. A petition was lodged, and a committee decided the returning officer had no right to cast the vote and should have declared both candidates elected. However, on scrutiny one vote was taken from Campbell's total, leaving Brett elected alone. This election led to Parliament deciding that "according to the law and usage of Parliament, it is the duty of the sheriff or other returning officer in England, in the case of an equal number of votes being polled for two or more candidates at an election, to return all such candidates".[22]
General election 1865: Helston [22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Adolphus William Young 154 51.7 +6.9
Conservative Shadwell Morley Grylls 144 48.3 6.9
Majority 10 3.4 N/A
Turnout 298 85.6 4.3
Registered electors 348
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +6.9

Elections in the 1850s

General election 1859: Helston [22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative John Jope Rogers 158 55.2 N/A
Liberal Charles Trueman 128 44.8 N/A
Majority 30 10.5 N/A
Turnout 286 89.9 N/A
Registered electors 318
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing N/A
General election 1857: Helston [22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Whig Charles Trueman Unopposed
Registered electors 309
Whig gain from Conservative
General election 1852: Helston [22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard Vyvyan Unopposed
Registered electors 317
Conservative hold

Elections in the 1840s

General election 1847: Helston [22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard Vyvyan Unopposed
Registered electors 385
Conservative hold
General election 1841: Helston [22][17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard Vyvyan 159 54.5
Whig William Revell Vigors[26] 133 45.5
Majority 26 8.9
Turnout 292 73.4
Registered electors 398
Conservative hold Swing
By-election, 12 March 1840: Helston [22][17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative John Basset Unopposed
Conservative hold


  1. Also member for Bodmin


  1. "No. 19008". The London Gazette. 28 December 1832. p. 2836.
  2. Toy, Henry, Spencer (1912). The Ancient Borough of Helston. Helston: John Lander & Son. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  3. Tremayne, Joy; Chapple, Mandy. Tremayne Family History. p. 4.
  4. "HAMELY (HAMYLYN), Sir John (aft.1324-1399), of Wimborne St. Giles, Dorset". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  5. "BODRUGAN, William I, of Markwell in St. Erney, Cornw. | History of Parliament Online".
  6. Styled Viscount Rialton from 1706. He was re-elected for Helston in 1708, but had also been elected for Oxfordshire, which he chose to represent, and did not sit again for Helston
  7. Granville was also elected for Cornwall, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Pontefract
  8. Campion was also elected for Sussex, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Helston
  9. Coxe was also elected for Gloucester, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Helston
  10. Succeeded to a baronetcy, 1763
  11. Major-General from 1770
  12. On petition, Carmarthen and Owen were adjudged not to have been duly elected, and their opponents, Cust and Yorke, were declared to have been duly elected instead
  13. Dean was elected at a disputed election where the returning officer made a double return. Although eventually adjudged to have been duly elected, he never sat as he had died before the case was heard.
  14. Sir Stephen Lushington from 1791
  15. Speaker from 1802
  16. Vansittart was also elected for Old Sarum, which he chose to represent, and never sat for Helston
  17. Stooks Smith, Henry. (1973) [1844-1850]. Craig, F. W. S. (ed.). The Parliaments of England (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. pp. 39–41. ISBN 0-900178-13-2.
  18. "Truro". Royal Cornwall Gazette. 3 April 1857. p. 5. Retrieved 14 May 2018 via British Newspaper Archive.
  19. Marchant, E. C. (1897). "Rogers, John (1778–1856), divine, by E. C. Marchant". Dictionary of National Biography Vol. IL. Smith, Elder & Co. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  20. At the Helston by-election, 1866, both candidates polled exactly the same number of votes. The mayor, as returning officer, gave his casting vote for the Liberal candidate Robert Campbell. As this vote was given after four o'clock, however, an appeal was lodged, and the House of Commons declared that the returning officer had no right to a casting vote, and that he should have returned the names of both tied candidates. On scrutiny of the votes, one vote was struck off Campbell's total, and the Conservative candidate Sir William Baliol Brett declared duly elected.
  21. "Helston". The Cornishman (91). 8 April 1880. p. 5.
  22. Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (e-book)|format= requires |url= (help) (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. pp. 148–149. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
  23. "Colonel Lees Before the Helston Electors". Western Morning News. 30 January 1874. p. 6. Retrieved 31 December 2017 via British Newspaper Archive.
  24. "The Representation of Helston". Royal Cornwall Gazette. 27 August 1868. p. 3. Retrieved 17 February 2018 via British Newspaper Archive.
  25. "Helston". The Scotsman. 19 April 1866. p. 2. Retrieved 17 February 2018 via British Newspaper Archive.
  26. "The Elections". Western Courier, West of England Conservative, Plymouth and Devonport Advertiser. 7 July 1841. p. 1. Retrieved 6 November 2018 via British Newspaper Archive.

Further reading

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