Pontefract

Borough

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

Background Information

Right of Election:

in burgage holders

Number of voters:

about 320

Elections

DateCandidateVotes
3 Feb. 1715JOHN DAWNAY149
 ROBERT FRANK145
 Sir William Lowther122
 Hugh Bethell111
 LOWTHER and BETHELL vice Dawnay and Frank, on petition, 22 Mar. 1716 
27 Mar. 1722SIR WILLIAM LOWTHER 
 JOHN LOWTHER 
22 Aug. 1727SIR WILLIAM LOWTHER 
 JOHN LOWTHER 
8 Apr. 1729SIR WILLIAM LOWTHER vice Sir William Lowther, deceased 
7 Feb. 1730JOHN MORDAUNT vice John Lowther, deceased 
29 Apr. 1734JOHN MONCKTON, Visct. Galway 
 SIR WILLIAM LOWTHER 
5 May 1741JOHN MONCKTON, Visct. Galway 
 GEORGE MORTON PITT 
1 July 1747WILLIAM MONCKTON 
 GEORGE MORTON PITT 
5 Jan. 1749JOHN MONCKTON, Visct. Galway, vice Monckton, appointed to office 
26 Nov. 1751ROBERT MONCKTON vice Galway, deceased 

Main Article

Under George I about half the Pontefract burgages were owned by a few local families, of whom the chief were the Lowthers of Swillington (60), the Moncktons (10), and the Winns (10), Whig; the Blands (40), the Dawnays (20), and the Franks (20), Tory. In 1715 the former Members, John Dawnay and Robert Frank, were re-elected, but on petition the seats were awarded to Sir William Lowther and his friend, Hugh Bethell, on the ground that the mayor, Frank’s uncle, had as returning officer wrongfully rejected a number of their votes. Quelling the Tory elements in the corporation by a threat to impose a new charter,1 Lowther thenceforth nominated both Members without opposition.

After Lowther’s death in 1729 his son concluded an agreement with Robert Monckton, 1st Viscount Galway, who had bought the Bland, Dawnay, Frank and other burgages for £6,000. Under this agreement Galway and Lowther, who between them now owned a majority of the burgages, each nominated one Member.

In 1741 Lowther sold his burgages, then totalling 86, for £9,600 to George Morton Pitt, who thenceforth shared the borough with Galway, owning between them about 180 burgages, of which 22 were held jointly. In the 2nd Lord Egmont’s electoral survey, c.1749-50, Pontefract is put down as ‘in G. Morton Pitt and Lord Galway’.

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick

Notes

C. Bradley, ‘Parl. Rep. of Pontefract, Newark and East Retford 1754-68’ (Manchester Univ. M.A. thesis).

  • 1. See LOWTHER, Sir William, 1st Bt.

Go To Section