Available from Boydell and Brewer
Right of Election:
in the freeholders and inhabitants paying scot and lot
Number of voters:
|16 Apr. 1660||THOMAS TURGIS||11|
|Double return. Election declared void, 5 May 1660|
|19 June 1660||SIR EDMUND BOWER|
|2 Apr. 1661||THOMAS TURGIS|
|29 Nov. 1664||SIR NICHOLAS CAREW vice Oldfield, deceased|
|10 Feb. 1679||SIR NICHOLAS CAREW|
|?Sir John Thompson, Bt.|
|18 Aug. 1679||SIR NICHOLAS CAREW|
|8 Feb. 1681||SIR NICHOLAS CAREW|
|23 Mar. 1685||SIR JOHN THOMPSON, Bt.|
|7 Jan. 1689||SIR JOHN THOMPSON, Bt.|
Gatton, already a classic case of a ‘pocket borough’, was controlled by Thomas Turgis, the son of a London Grocer, who bought the manor in 1654 and sat for the constituency in 13 consecutive Parliaments. His cautiously country politics harmonized with those of the owners of Upper Gatton, which passed from the Oldfield family to the Thompsons during this period. The constable of the parish acted as returning officer, and the indentures were signed by some 15 or 20 ‘inhabitants’ and ‘burgesses’, many of them local gentlemen, others imported from London for the occasion. The unfortunate constable serving in 1660 had to cope not only with the rarity of a contested election but also with a dead heat. On one indenture he accordingly returned Turgis and William Oldfield, on another Roger James. A third indenture was submitted without the constable’s signature in favour of James and Robert Wood, who had represented the county in the second Protectorate Parliament; but this was ignored by the elections committee. On 5 May Edward Turnor reported:
Thomas Turgis, William Oldfield and Roger James, esquires, who were returned by two several indentures, had all of them equal votes; and that Robert Wood, esquire, who is returned in the same indenture with the said Roger James, had the minority of votes; and the opinion of the committee that the whole election is void.
The House agreed, and at the ensuing by-election, held after the Restoration, Turgis was re-elected with the royalist Sir Edmund Bowyer. In 1661 Bowyer was returned for Surrey and James for Reigate. Oldfield took the second seat at Gatton, apparently without opposition. After his death the Upper Gatton interest passed to Maurice Thomson as guardian of the young heir; but his Cromwellian past precluded him from exercising it, and Sir Nicholas Carew was elected to fill the vacancy ‘with the unanimous assent and consent of the majority of the freemen’. Carew and Turgis continued to represent Gatton in the Exclusion Parliaments, though there was opposition at one election from Sir John Thompson, who had succeeded to the Oldfield estate. On this occasion ‘Mr Turgis brought some persons down from London, as having estates in Nutwood’, and their votes for the sitting Members were accepted by the constable, though they were total strangers to the constituency. In James II’s Parliament Thompson replaced Carew, a prominent exclusionist, and held the seat until he was raised to the peerage in 1696. Carew died on 9 Jan. 1688, and the royal electoral agents correctly reported that ‘the town belongs to Sir John Thompson and Mr Turgis, who will be chosen’.
VCH Surr. iii. 198-9; CJ, viii. 13; xi. 626; Duckett, Penal Laws (1883), 250.