Heytesbury (UK Parliament constituency)

Heytesbury was a parliamentary borough in Wiltshire which elected two Members of Parliament. From 1449 until 1707 it was represented in the House of Commons of England, and then in the British House of Commons until 1832, when the borough was abolished by the Reform Act 1832.

Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of membersTwo


The borough consisted of a small part of the small market town or large village of Heytesbury, in the south-west of Wiltshire. In 1831, when the population of the whole parish was 1,394, the borough had a population of only 81. Already a small settlement, much of Heytesbury burned to the ground in 1765, but this did not affect its right to return members to parliament. The houses lost were subsequently rebuilt.

Heytesbury was a burgage borough, meaning that the right to vote was reserved to the householders of specific properties or "burgage tenements" within the borough; there were twenty-six of these tenements by the time of the Reform Act, and all had been owned by the heads of the A'Court family since the 17th century, giving them control of the choice of the two Members. Shortly before the Reform Act, the head of the family, Sir William Ashe A'Court, was raised to the peerage as Lord Heytesbury. By 1832 there had been no contested elections for more than half a century.

Heytesbury was abolished as a constituency by the Reform Act. Its residents who were qualified to vote were transferred into the new South Wiltshire county division.

Members of Parliament


ParliamentFirst memberSecond member
1491John Kingsmill [1]
1510–1523No names known[2]
1529Sir John SeymourRobert Seymour[2]
1545William SharingtonEdward Chamberlain[2]
1547Thomas ThrockmortonThomas Eynns[2]
1553 (Mar)?
1553 (Oct)Fulk Mounslowe alias LangleyThomas Hill[2]
1554 (Apr)Richard ForsettChristopher Dymars[2]
1554 (Nov)Henry Unton?Thomas Chaffyn[2]
1555Thomas HungerfordFulk Mounslowe alias Langley[2]
1558Christopher SackvilleHenry Partridge[2]
1559Sir Ralph HoptonRichard Pallady[3]
1562/3Richard KingsmillRichard Cabell[3]
1571Thomas WroughtonRichard Cabell[3]
1572Sir John Thynne, died
and replaced 1580 by
Jasper Moore
Edward Stafford[3]
1584John ThynneLawrence Hyde I (died 1590)[3]
1586John ThynneJohn Bennett[3]
1588Francis ZoucheJoshua Elmer[3]
1593John ThynneThomas Thynne[3]
1597John ThynneLawrence Hyde II[3]
1601John ThynneRichard Smythe[3]
1604–1611Sir William EyreWalter Gowen
1614Sir Henry LudlowWalter Gowen
1621–1622Sir Thomas ThynneSir Henry Ludlow
1624Sir Thomas ThynneSir Henry Ludlow
1625Sir Charles BerkeleyEdward Bysshe
1626Sir Charles BerkeleyWilliam Blake
1628–1629Sir Charles BerkeleyWilliam Rolfe
1629–1640No Parliaments summoned


YearFirst memberFirst partySecond memberSecond party
April 1640 Sir John Berkeley Thomas Moore
November 1640 Edward AsheParliamentarian Thomas MooreParliamentarian
December 1648 Moore excluded in Pride's Purge – seat vacant
1653 Heytesbury was unrepresented in the Barebones Parliament and the First and Second Parliaments of the Protectorate
January 1659 John Ashe Samuel Ashe
May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump
April 1660 Thomas Moore John Jolliffe
1661 Sir Charles Berkeley
1668 William Ashe Whig
February 1679 Edward Ashe
1689 William Sacheverell Whig
1690 William Trenchard
1695 Edward Ashe
1701 Sir Edward Ernle
1702 William Monson
1708 William Ashe
1713 Pierce A'Court
1715 William Ashe
1722 Pierce A'Court
1725 Lord Charles Cavendish Whig
1727 Horatio Townshend
1734 Pierce A'Court-Ashe
1747 William Ashe
1751 William A'Court[4]
1768 Charles FitzRoy-Scudamore
1774 Hon. William Gordon
September 1780 William Eden[5]
December 1780 Francis Burton
1781 William Pierce Ashe A'Court
1784 William Eden[6]
1790 Michael Angelo Taylor
1791 The Earl of Barrymore
1793 Charles Rose Ellis
1793 The Viscount Clifden
1796 Sir John Leicester, Bt
February 1802 William Wickham
July 1802 Charles Abbot[7] Viscount Kirkwall
December 1802 Dr Charles Moore
1806 Charles Abbot[8] Sir William a'Court
January 1807 Dr Charles Moore Michael Symes
May 1807 Viscount Fitzharris
1812 Samuel Hood[9] Charles Duncombe
1818 George James Welbore Agar-Ellis William Henry John Scott
March 1820 Edward Henry A'Court Charles Ashe A'Court
August 1820 Henry Handley
1826 Henry Stafford Northcote
1830 Sir George Staunton
1832 Constituency abolished


  1. Cavill. The English Parliaments of Henry VII 1485-1504.
  2. "History of Parliament 1509–1558: Heytesbury". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  3. "History of Parliament 1558–1603: Heytesbury". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  4. William A'Court Ashe from 1768
  5. Eden was also elected for Woodstock, which he chose to represent, and did not sit for Heytesbury in this Parliament
  6. Created The Lord Auckland (in the Peerage of Ireland), September 1789
  7. Abbot was also elected for Woodstock, which he chose to represent, and did not sit for Heytesbury
  8. Abbot was also elected for Oxford University, which he chose to represent, and did not sit for Heytesbury
  9. Succeeded as The Lord Bridport (in the Peerage of Ireland), May 1814


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