Cambridge

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Elections

DateCandidate
1558/9THOMAS VENTRIS 1
 ROGER SLEGGE 2
1562/3HENRY SERLE
 ROGER SLEGGE
20 Mar. 1571ROBERT SHUTE
 ROGER SLEGGE
18 Apr. 1572ROBERT SHUTE
 ROGER SLEGGE
20 Jan 1581JOHN NORTH vice Shute, became a judge3
17 Nov. 1584HENRY NORTH
 ROGER SLEGGE
24 Oct. 1586JOHN EDMONDS
 ROGER SLEGGE
16 Oct. 1588NICHOLAS GAUNTE
 ROGER SLEGGE
1593THOMAS GOLDSBOROUGH
 CHRISTOPHER HODSON
7 Oct. 1597ROBER WALLIS
 JOHN YAXLEY
15 Oct. 1601ROBERT WALLIS
 JOHN YAXLEY

Main Article

All the Members for Cambridge in this period were townsmen, with the exception of the two North brothers, who were sons of the high steward, the 2nd Lord North, and Robert Shute the recorder, who lived outside the town. Indeed, an ordinance made in the fifteenth century to ensure that only inhabitants could be returned to Parliament, was modified in 1571 to provide for an exception in the case of the recorder. Shute had been chosen on 20 Mar., ‘resigned’ as MP on the 26th, and subsequently withdrew his ‘resignation’. The importance Cambridge attached to residence can be seen also in an incident of 1566. When the corporation wished to get rid of Serle and Slegge, one of the grounds was that they had ceased to live within the borough.

There was an ingenious system of choosing MPs. One man was selected by the mayor and aldermen, another by the common council. These two then selected eight others to choose the Members. From 1571 a majority of five would suffice. The MPs were paid 1s. a day in 1559, 2s. in 1563, 4s. in 1589, 2s. again in 1593, 4s. in 1597 and 1601. Henry North received £6 13s.4d. instead of wages.4

Author: P. W. Hasler

Notes

  • 1. E371/40