Castle Rising

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Background Information

Right of Election:

in burgage holders.

Estimated number qualified to vote:

401

Population:

884 (1821); 888 (1831)2

Elections

DateCandidate
10 Mar. 1820GEORGE HORATIO CHOLMONDELEY, earl of Rocksavage
 HON. FULKE GREVILLE HOWARD
1 Feb. 1822LORD WILLIAM HENRY HUGH CHOLMONDELEY vice Rocksavage, called to the Upper House
12 June 1826LORD WILLIAM HENRY HUGH CHOLMONDELEY
 HON. FULKE GREVILLE HOWARD
31 July 1830LORD WILLIAM HENRY HUGH CHOLMONDELEY
 HON. FULKE GREVILLE HOWARD
30 Apr. 1831LORD WILLIAM HENRY HUGH CHOLMONDELEY
 HON. FULKE GREVILLE HOWARD

Main Article

The 1st marquess of Cholmondeley had abandoned his attempt to sell the Houghton estate by 1820, and the representation of the pocket borough of Castle Rising, three miles from King’s Lynn, remained exclusive to his sons and Fulke Howard, younger son of the 1st Baron Templemore, who was by marriage the manorial lord and largest burgage holder.3 These properties were ill defined and the patrons vied to purchase any which became available, among them the five held by their erstwhile rival Philip Hamond of Westacre (d. 1824), which Cholmondeley bought and refused to sell on to Howard.4 Elections were entrusted to Howard’s stewards, James Bellamy (d. 1826) and William Newton, and the borough recorder from 1828, Frederick Lane of King’s Lynn. Habbakuk Engelstown, Thomas Holland and John Freeman, three local farmers who alternated as mayor, were paid to sign the returns.5

Castle Rising was scheduled for disfranchisement by the Grey ministry’s reform bill, and amid rumours that it would be contested at the 1831 general election, when Lord Henry Cholmondeley was a candidate for Cheshire, a crowd from King’s Lynn came to watch the proceedings. The sitting Members were returned quietly in absentia, and a plan to replace Cholmondeley with another anti-reformer, the former Member for Chester, Sir Philip Egerton, foundered with his Cheshire campaign.6 The disfranchisement was carried unopposed, 20 July, and in December 1831, with 169 houses and assessed tax payments of £127, it was ranked 23rd in the list of boroughs to be disfranchised under the revised reform bill.7 Discussing their response to parliamentary inquiries with Howard, Lane observed that that the ‘number of electors’ was ‘awkward to state ... for the signatories to the election deeds (the only means of furnishing an accurate test) are so few in number that we shall not cut so respectable a figure as I could wish on such an occasion’.8 His return of 13 Jan 1832 stated that the ‘burgage tenements’ were ‘numerous ... but I have not the means of ascertaining their number, indeed I do not see how the precise number can be ascertained without an inspection of the title deeds of the several owners, and that of course I cannot command’. The number (60-65) was classified as ‘unknown’.9 The Howards’ proprietorial influence continued after the disfranchisement was effected through the 1832 Reform Act.10

Author: Margaret Escott

Notes