Single Member Scottish County

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Alternated with Cromartyshire

Number of voters:

19 in 1774, 20 in 1788


18 Apr. 1761Pryse Campbell 
4 Dec. 1766Campbell re-elected after appointment to office 
25 Oct. 1774Cosmo Gordon11
 William Pulteney2
18 Apr. 1777John Campbell vice Gordon, appointed to office 
1 May 1784Alexander Campbell 
22 Dec. 1785Alexander Brodie vice Campbell, deceased9
 George Campbell7

Main Article

In Nairnshire the leading interest throughout this period was that of the Campbells of Calder. Of the 20 voters on the roll in 1788, eight were said to be in the Calder interest, and three in that of Brodie of Brodie.

Pryse Campbell, whose father had represented the county 1747-54, was returned unopposed in 1761. At the election of 1774 the family interest was given to Cosmo Gordon, the lawyer, who had purchased the estate of Kinsteary from James Sutherland in 1763. The opposition offered by William Pulteney was feeble: he was not present at the election, received only two votes, and did not pursue his petition to a hearing. When Gordon was appointed a baron of the Exchequer in 1777, John Campbell, son of Pryse Campbell, was returned unopposed.

In 1784, though the Campbells were supporters of the Coalition, there was only a token opposition, James Brodie voting for himself against Alexander Campbell, Pryse’s second son.1 But when Campbell died in November 1785 and his brother George was put up as candidate, Alexander Brodie, with the full support of Administration, was able to defeat him, by nine votes to seven; and Campbell’s petition was rejected.

Author: J. A. Cannon


  • 1. G. Bain, Hist. Nairnshire, 305.