Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the corporation

Number of voters:



2 Apr. 1660SIR JOHN HOTHAM, 2nd Bt.
14 June 1660MICHAEL WARTON vice Bethell, chose to sit for Hedon
19 Mar. 1679SIR JOHN HOTHAM, 2nd Bt.
27 Aug. 1679SIR JOHN HOTHAM, 2nd Bt.
10 Feb. 1681SIR JOHN HOTHAM, 2nd Bt.
 Sir John Hotham, 2nd Bt.
11 Jan. 1689SIR JOHN HOTHAM, 2nd Bt.
7 May 1689SIR JOHN HOTHAM, 3rd Bt. vice Hotham, deceased

Main Article

The corporation of Beverley consisted of the mayor and 12 ‘life governors’ to whom were added 13 ‘freemen’ elected annually by the companies from a list of 26 submitted by the ‘governors’. For most of the period Michael Warton, as lord of the manor, was content to divide the borough with Sir John Hotham of Scorborough, a prominent local landowner. At the general election of 1660, however, he was ineligible under the Long Parliament ordinance, and Hotham’s colleague was Hugh Bethell, who, like Hotham’s father and grandfather, had been in arms for Parliament in the Civil War, but had taken part in the Yorkshire rising against Lambert. The two Members, after election, undertook to serve at their own charge. Bethell opted to sit for his own borough of Hedon, but the by-election did not take place till after the Restoration, when Warton was returned, presumably unopposed. He was re-elected as senior ‘burgess’ with Hotham in 1661, immediately after which the corporation passed a resolution declaring that future elections should be by the ‘commonalty’ in the hall. In September 1662, after the commissioners had restored two royalist ‘governors’ and replaced four others, this resolution was rescinded. Nevertheless a new charter confirming the narrow franchise was granted in 1663, despite Warton’s opposition.1

Hotham and Warton were re-elected as country candidates to the Exclusion Parliaments, though their seniority was reversed. Of the 1681 election an opposition news-sheet reported:

The mayor, attended with all the corporation, was at Sir John Hotham’s house on Monday, to desire him to serve for them in Parliament; which when he assented to, they desired him he would not be there at the election, for they designed to put him to no charge, in regard it was advantage enough that gentlemen would venture themselves to serve their country; so today they unanimously chose Sir John and Mr Warton, neither of them being there, nor at a farthing cost.

In fact the two Members contributed £20 to the poor. But in 1683 Hotham fell foul of the corporation over their request for a formal acquittance of all his parliamentary wages. He replied indignantly that the proposal must have been inspired by a few men ‘’who are equally false to me and your government’. After alluding to his 20 years’ service, he concluded: ‘If I shall have reason to believe the friendship of the corporation and borough of Beverley dies not before me, then I intend at my death they shall receive the release they desire as a legacy from their most faithful servant’. The corporation produced congratulatory addresses on the failure of the Rye House Plot, but failed to save their charter. A warrant was issued in January 1685 for its successor, in which the ‘governors’ and select freemen were renamed aldermen and common council, and the crown reserved the right to remove officials. Judge Jeffreys wrote to the corporation before the next election, no doubt to urge the rejection of Hotham, who had been implicated in the Duke of Monmouth’s confession, and he was defeated by Wartoh’s brother Ralph. His petition was never reported, and in 1687 he went abroad. In May 1688 the Government ordered the replacement of the recorder, four aldermen, and four common councilmen. But because the last four names had never been presented to the commonalty the corporation refused to accept them. Warton died in August, and the royal electoral agents expected Sir Ralph Warton to be re-elected unopposed with his nephew Sir Michael. But Hotham returned with the Prince of Orange in November, and was returned with Sir Michael Warton both at the abortive election of 27 Dec. and again a fortnight later. Hotham died in March, and was replaced by his son, the 3rd baronet, without a contest.2

Authors: P. A. Bolton / Virginia C.D. Moseley


  • 1. Beverley Bor. Recs. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. lxxxiv), 103-4, 132, 164.
  • 2. Prot. Dom. Intell. 22 Feb. 1681; Beverley Bor. Recs. 107-8, 167, 170-3, 178; London Gazette, 18 Aug. 1683; CSP Dom. 1684-5, pp. 127, 293; CJ, ix. 723; PC2/72/672; Duckett, Penal Laws (1882), 103; English Currant, 26 Dec. 1688; London Mercury, 27 Dec. 1688.