Dunwich

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
1558/9SIR EDMUND ROUS 1
 GREGORY COPPYN 2
1562/3ROBERT HARE
 ROBERT COPPYN
1571WILLIAM HUMBERSTON
 ARTHUR HOPTON
29 Apr. 1572ROBERT COPPYN
 RICHARD SONE
1576GODFREY FOLJAMBE vice Coppyn, deceased
10 Nov. 1584WALTER DUNCH
 ANTHONY WINGFIELD I
6 Oct. 1586ANTHONY WINGFIELD I
 ARTHUR MELLES
6 Nov. 1588EDWARD HONING
 WALTER DUNCH
1593HENRY SAVILE II
 THOMAS CORBET
18 Oct. 1597ARTHUR ATYE
 CLIPSBY GAWDY
11 Oct. 1601JOHN SUCKLING
 FRANCIS MYNGAYE

Main Article

The right of election at Dunwich was in the ‘bailiffs, burgesses and commonalty’. By the beginning of this period the port was declining through the ‘force and violence of the rages of the sea, nigh whereunto it standeth’ and the governing body (two bailiffs, 10 aldermen and 24 common councilmen) was anxious to return MPs who would serve without wages. Hence the Chancery suit between the borough and the local gentleman Sir Edmund Rous, who having said that he would serve as MP ‘freely without receiving any wages’, afterwards ‘nothing regarding his said promise’ claimed £19. 4 s. He did not himself again represent Dunwich, but was apparently responsible for the return of Robert Hare in 1563. The junior Members in 1559 and 1563 were townsmen, son and father respectively. Robert Coppyn came in again in 1572. Arthur Hopton (1571), probably Richard Sone (1572), Anthony Wingfield I (1584, 1586), Arthur Melles (1586) and Edward Honing (1589) were related to each other and to Lord Wentworth, lord lieutenant for a short time about 1570. Of the other Members between 1571 and 1589, Humberston (1571) owned the harbour; Foljambe (1576) may have owed his return to Francis Beaumont, and Dunch (1584, 1589) had no ascertained claim to a seat, though it has been guessed that his surname may have derived from Dunwich, and so be indicative of an old connexion.

From 1593 Dunwich had a high steward in the person of the Earl of Essex, who brought in Savile (1593) and Atye (1597). Another magnate who began to intervene at Dunwich at this time was Edward Coke the attorney-general, to whom Dunwich was payin