Andover

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the corporation

Number of voters:

24

Elections

DateCandidate
6 Mar. 1604SIR THOMAS JERMYN
 THOMAS ANTROBUS
c. Mar. 1614RICHARD VENABLES
 PETER NOYES
7 Dec. 16201JOHN SHUTER , steward
 RICHARD VENABLES
22 Nov. 1621ROBERT WALLOP vice Venables, deceased
7 Jan. 1624ROBERT WALLOP
 JOHN SHUTER , steward
29 Apr. 1625SIR HENRY WALLOP
 JOHN SHUTER , steward
24 Jan. 16262LORD HENRY PAULET
 JOHN SHUTER , steward
29 Feb. 1628ROBERT WALLOP
 RALPH CONWAY

Main Article

Andover, in north-west Hampshire close to the border with Wiltshire, received a charter as early as 1175 and sent Members to Parliament intermittently between 1295 and 1307. Although benefiting from its proximity to Weyhill fair, one of the largest in the region, the borough had no significant industries, and fell into decline in the late medieval period; its parliamentary representation lapsed and was not restored until 1586.3 In 1599 Andover obtained a new charter, vesting town government in a corporation consisting of a bailiff, a ‘steward’ or recorder, ten ‘approved men’ and 12 capital burgesses.4 The charter did not specify the franchise, but it was effectively monopolized by the corporation.5 The 4th marquess of Winchester, who held extensive property in the town, including the watermill, exerted no influence on elections except on one occasion, in 1626.6 The 3rd earl of Southampton, as lord lieutenant of Hampshire, may have nominated both candidates in 1604. He became the borough’s high steward two years later, but made no further attempt to use his interest there.7 Instead, electoral patronage during the rest of the period was dominated by the rich gentry Wallop family of Farley Wallop, 15 miles east of Andover.

The Members returned in 1604 were both strangers to the borough: Sir Thomas Jermyn, a courtier who had fought alongside Southampton in Ireland,8 and Thomas Antrobus, a London lawyer who settled in the county soon after the election. In 1610, Richard Venables, one of the ‘approved men’, sued the corporation in Chancery for misappropriating funds to the detriment of the poor, with whom the town was ‘much oppressed’. They dismissed his claims as merely ‘a show to the world that his charity and devotion should exceed others’, and may have bought him off by promising a seat in the next Parliament.9 Another of their number, Peter Noyes, was returned with Venables in 1614. Venables was re-elected in 1620, yielding the senior seat to his cousin John Shuter, steward of the borough. Venables died in August, and at the ensuing by-election Robert Wallop, the under-age son of Sir Henry Wallop, was chosen with ‘the whole assent and consent of the approved men and burgesses’. Wallop and Shuter were re-elected in 1624.

In the first Caroline Parliament Sir Henry Wallop was returned with Shuter. Although there is no evidence that the town paid wages to any of its representatives during the early Stuart period, the corporation disbursed 5s. to celebrate Sir Henry Wallop’s birthday with music on 13 Oct. 1625.10 In 1626 the borough chose as its senior Member Lord Henry Paulet, a younger son of the 4th marquess of Winchester, with Shuter re-elected to his fourth Parliament. Robert Wallop was re-elected in 1628, and the junior seat was solicited by Hampshire’s lord lieutenant, the 1st Viscount Conway (Sir Edward Conway I*), for one of his sons. Conway wrote on 2 Feb. 1628 to Wallop’s cousin, Sir Thomas Jervoise*, that ‘I am in some distress where to provide a burgess place for my son Ralph’, and asked for his assistance at Andover. Jervoise controlled extensive Hampshire estates including the advowson of Upper Clatford, adjoining the town. On 15 Feb. Conway was able to write to the Andover corporation that he had been informed by Jervoise ‘how much I am beholding to you for your good affection towards me and your readiness to make choice of a son of mine to serve you as one of the burgesses in the next Parliament’.11 Ralph Conway was duly returned.

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi

Notes

  • 1. C219/37/217.
  • 2. C219/40/239.
  • 3. VCH Hants, iv. 345-51; Woodward, Hants, iii. 173; D.K. Coldicott, Elizabethan Andover, 9-10.
  • 4. Andover Charters ed. E. Parsons, 1, 18-19, 20, 24; R.A. Jones, Andover Members, 6, 8.
  • 5. V. Hodges, ‘The Electoral Influence of the Aristocracy 1604-41’ (Columbia Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1977), pp. 401, 425.