How to use the History of Parliament's constituency articles


This database holds the 2,831 constituency surveys so far published by the History of Parliament. The articles for the 1422-1504 and 1640-60 Sections are currently under preparation.

The History's constituency surveys provide information on elections and politics in each constituency. They are divided up by the section in which they were published, covering a specific period. They normally give information on the constituency’s type of franchise, internal politics and distinctive features, but the main emphasis is placed on an account of the general and by-elections, where this can be traced.The History has been compiled over a long period of time: the first articles were published in 1964 and the most recent were published in 2010. There is a considerable variation in the size and amount of information provided.

Please bear in mind the following points when consulting the constituencies:

  • a constituency’s name is given in a standard contemporary spelling – for variants (Pomfret for Pontefract, Brecknockshire for Breconshire, Derry for Londonderry etc.), try using the Search rather than the Browse facilities
  • a constituency article will usually be included under several different sections (but Irish ones only appear in the 1790-1820 section) – where applicable, follow the links to entries covering the earlier or later electoral history of the constituency
  • a county article gives an account of the county constituency only – for entries on its boroughs, see under the name of the borough (or, in the case of contributory boroughs, of the head borough, e.g., Tain Burghs)

  • a constituency article begins with the size of electorate etc., and then lists all the elections held during the section period – dates given in italics refer to by-elections rather than general elections


  • the rest of the summary of information presented at the start of an article provides the names of successful (and defeated) candidates (and, where relevant, the number of votes obtained) – more detail will be found in the body of the text
  • where relevant, the summary also gives a reason for the holding of a by-election, according to a set formula (e.g., ‘re-elected after appointment to office’) – explanations of the terms used can be found in the Glossary
  • more information will be found in the related Member biographies and, where relevant, in articles on neighbouring or similar constituencies – follow the links to view these pages.
  • For more clarification on the layout and meaning of the various elements of the constituency article, go to the Method section of the relevant section’s introductory Survey.



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