Herefordshire

County

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of voters:

about 3,800

Elections

DateCandidateVotes
9 Feb. 1715SIR THOMAS MORGAN 
 RICHARD HOPTON 
6 Mar. 1717SIR HUNGERFORD HOSKYNS vice Morgan, deceased 
28 Mar. 1722VELTERS CORNEWALL2421
 SIR EDWARD GOODERE2222
 Sir Hungerford Hoskyns1426
6 Sept. 1727VELTERS CORNEWALL 
 EDWARD HARLEY, jun. 
8 May 1734EDWARD HARLEY, jun. 
 VELTERS CORNEWALL 
27 May 1741EDWARD HARLEY 
 VELTERS CORNEWALL 
6 Jan. 1742THOMAS FOLEY vice Harley, called to the Upper House 
15 July 1747EDWARD HARLEY, Lord Harley 
 VELTERS CORNEWALL 

Main Article

Throughout the reigns of George I and George II Herefordshire returned Tories at every general election. The only contest occurred in 1722, when Sir Hungerford Hoskyns, a Whig, who had been returned at a by-election in 1717, stood with the backing of his uncle by marriage, the Duke of Chandos, lord lieutenant of the county. Chandos instructed his agent

to wait upon as many of the gentlemen as are in the neighbourhood, and in my name to desire their favour on his [Hoskyns’s] behalf, and also you’ll endeavour to engage as many of the freeholders as you can.

On second thoughts he sent another letter enjoining the agent to

be cautious not to use my name in speaking to any of the gentlemen or freeholders. You know the votes of the House of Commons don’t allow lord lieutenants to interfere in elections but your appearing for Sir Hungerford will be a sufficient indication.1

With a view to averting an opposition, Chandos proposed to Lord Oxford, the leading Herefordshire Tory, that Hoskyns should stand jointly with Oxford’s son, Lord Harley. Oxford replied:

Some time since some well wishers to our family asked me the question whether if there was a new election Lord Harley would stand, to which I answered that if the county were pleased to continue the same good opinion of my son as they had expressed to his ancestor he would endeavour to do them the best service he could, and added also that he would observe the maxim of the family not to presume to dictate or intermeddle who should be his partner.

To Harley, Oxford wrote:

I have for a year and a half told everybody you would stand if the honest gentlemen approved it. ... For want of a meeting the gentlemen (though all for you) are yet divided for others, from particular reasons personal to themselves and having rashly engaged themselves for one are afraid of a meeting. The family interest will be very far from suffering by this management.

But a few weeks later Oxford ‘received a letter from several of my worthy friends at Hereford, who mentioned Sir Edward Goodere and my cousin Cornewall’,2 both of whom were returned, defeating Hoskyns. During George II’s reign the representation of the county was virtually monopolized by Cornewall and the Harleys.

Author: A. N. Newman

Notes

  • 1. Chandos to Woodhouse, 26, 28 Nov. 1721, Chandos letter bks.
  • 2. Oxford to Chandos, 17 Nov. 1721, to Harley, 19 Jan. 1722, to Edward Foley, 17 Mar. 1722, Portland mss.

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