Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen paying scot and lot

Number of Qualified Electors:


Number of voters:

about 50 in 17151


11 Mar. 1690John Tanner
 Walter Vincent
24 Nov. 1692John Buller vice Vincent, deceased
25 Oct. 1695Hugh Fortescue
 John Tanner
1 Aug. 1698Sir William Scawen
 John Tanner
16 Jan. 1699Francis Scobell vice Tanner, chose to sit for St. Germans
13 Jan. 1701Sir William Scawen
 Francis Scobell
3 Dec. 1701Sir William Scawen
 Francis Scobell
25 July 1702Francis Scobell
 James Craggs
18 May 1705Francis Scobell
 James Craggs
15 May 1708James Craggs
 Thomas Scawen
19 Oct. 1710Thomas Coke
 James Craggs
8 Sept. 1713Thomas Coke
 Andrew Quick

Main Article

The chief interest at Grampound was in the corporation consisting of a mayor, eight aldermen, a recorder and a town clerk. On being elected, the mayor

chose from among the aldermen two who were called eligers, who with himself had the power of selecting 11 freemen. Those 14 formed a jury; they made presentments, appointed the municipal officers and created freemen. Payment by scot and lot was the only qualification. By the magistrates and freemen the Members of Parliament were elected.

The principal families attempting to influence the corporation, and hence the number of freemen, were the Vincents, the Tanners and the Boscawens.2

In 1690 John Tanner, a Tory who had property near the borough, was returned with Walter Vincent, a Court supporter of a family influential in Cornish elections. John Buller I, a member of a major county family and a Court supporter, replaced Vincent at a by-election in 1692. In 1695 Tanner was returned with Hugh Fortescue, a Cornish relation of the Boscawens. At the 1698 general election Sir William Scawen, deputy-governor of the Bank of England, was returned with Tanner who, choosing to sit for St. Germans, was replaced by Francis Scobell, a prominent Cornish Tory. At the first 1701 election Scawen was ‘complimented’ by being returned without having to come down to attend the election, and he was again elected with Scobell at the second election of that year. In 1702 Grampound chose James Craggs I, prompting James Lowther* to write ‘Mr Craggs is got to be a member in Cornwall, I know not by whose interest. I suppose he thinks it will forward his getting a place’. Craggs continued to sit in the next three Parliaments. On 7 May 1708 Craggs wrote from Tregothnan (the seat of Hugh Boscawen II, a government manager for the Cornish boroughs):

Mr Scobell has been haranguing the corporation I am to stand for with the great dangers that will attend them and all England by inconsiderably choosing men in places and citizens of London, who are actuated by the ministers only to serve turns, which must tend to the utter ruin of the honest country gentlemen, and in the end to the country itself, and the jest of it is, as they tell me here, that the ministry allow his brother to hold a place of £1,000 p.a. for his use, which is the only power he has to oppose them with or indeed to subsist himself.

Scobell does not seem to have gone to a poll but transferred to St. Germans instead, and Craggs was returned with Thomas Scawen, a director of the Bank of England, and Sir William’s brother.3

In 1710, Henry Vincent I*, the most active electioneer in Cornwall, was said to have promised to support Spencer Compton*, but instead put up Thomas Coke, vice-chamberlain to Queen Anne, who was dropped as knight of the shire in his native Derbyshire for deserting the Church interest over Dr Sacheverell, and who was returned with his friend Craggs. According to William Smyth, rector of Probus, Alexander Pendarves* had desired James Buller to recommend Coke to Grampound, and after Buller’s death this had been confirmed by his heir (his uncle), John Buller II. Smyth had then attended the election, where mourning gloves (for Buller) were handed out to Coke’s supporters. In June 1712, John Trevanion* believed that the interests lay with ‘Roger Teage for Vincent one, the other disputable’. Trevanion may have known about the disputes within the corporation at this date for on 3 July Teage reported to Coke that the mayor and recorder had sworn a jury and voted two of Coke’s supporters ‘out of the magistracy’. Following legal advice, Teage believed that the corporation had no legal mayor, but that their opponents would engineer matters so that another of their party was mayor during the election year. Meanwhile, Smyth was urging Coke to use his interest with Lord Lansdown (George Granville*) to ensure that Teage and his supporters were protected from the machinations of Hugh Boscawen II, and given posts as rewards for their support. Boscawen, similarly, cultivated the Whig interest at Grampound with frequent treats from December 1712 to September 1713, spending £53. Asking Coke to procure the place of collector of excise in Cornwall for his brother, Smyth added, ‘I only wish my Lord [Lansdown] and you would forthwith agree upon a good partner at Grampound’. Smyth thought that Coke should compliment Buller again in asking him to join with Lord Lansdown in recommending him. Smyth did not think Coke’s election was dependent on Buller, merely that his support could neutralize some of those ‘magistrates’ in the opposite interest. Andrew Quick, agent for the pre-emption of the tin in Devon and a Tory who in the 1713 session had presented a Tanner estate bill to the House, was returned with Coke, leaving Craggs without a seat.4

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley


  • 1. Willis, Not. Parl. ii. 96.
  • 2. Polsue, Complete Paroch. Hist. Cornw. ii. 113.
  • 3. Evening Post, 25–27 Dec. 1700; Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/5, James to Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. I*, 1 Aug. 1702; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 58(2), p. 244.
  • 4. BL, Evelyn mss, Anne to John Evelyn II*, 28 Oct. 1710; Add. 70314–15, Trevanion’s list; HMC Cowper, iii. 100–2, 104–5, 107; Cornw. RO, DDJ 1988/1–34.