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 freemen

Number of voters:

about 701


30 July 1660HENRY HILDYARD vice Cloberry, chose to sit for Launceston
8 Mar. 1670HENRY GUY vice Appleyard, deceased
10 Mar. 1679(SIR) HUGH BETHELL
26 Aug. 1679(SIR) HUGH BETHELL
11 Nov. 1680WILLIAM BOYNTON vice Bethell, deceased
11 Feb. 1681HENRY GUY
11 Mar. 1685HENRY GUY
 Charles Duncombe

Main Article

The corporation of Hedon, which controlled the freeman roll, consisted of the mayor, who acted as returning officer, nine aldermen, and two bailiffs. The borough had been controlled by the Constables in Tudor times and the Hildyards before the Civil War; but both were driven out of politics by recusancy. Hugh Bethell of Rise controlled one seat until his death in 1679; but the most remarkable feature was the interest gained by a courtier, Henry Guy from Hertfordshire, as farmer of the Yorkshire excise.2

At the general election of 1660, Bethell, a Presbyterian Royalist who had played a prominent part in the rising against the military regime, was returned, and brought in a southerner, John Cloberry, one of the most trusted officers of George Monck. When Cloberry chose to sit for Launceston after the Restoration, he was replaced ‘with unanimous assent and consent’ by the inactive Royalist Henry Hildyard, who had lived for many years in Surrey and never stood again. His seat was taken in 1661 by Sir Matthew Appleyard, a local Cavalier with a distinguished military record. In the following year the commissioners for corporations removed the town clerk and an alderman, and a new charter was granted in 1664. Hildyard, who had been given a sinecure office in the Exchequer, may have introduced Guy to the constituency. On receiving the freedom of the borough in 1669 Guy presented the corporation with a silver cup and salver, a silver mace, and a book of statute law. He also settled an annuity of £20 on them in perpetuity, of which a quarter was appropriated to the mayor’s expenses. Appleyard died in the following year; Hildyard’s son was unacceptable as a Roman Catholic, and ‘with the whole assent and consent ... of the burgesses’ Guy succeeded to the seat, which he held for the next six Parliaments. Not to be outdone by his new colleague, Bethell gave the corporation £50 in 1676.3

Bethell and Guy were re-elected at both elections of 1679. Guy voted against the first exclusion bill, but Bethell was absent from the division. He died before the second Exclusion Parliament met, and a local exclusionist, William Boynton, was elected ‘by the greater part of the burgesses’. The sitting Members were re-elected to the Oxford Parliament. Guy refused an invitation to stand for his own county in 1683 because ‘he had an interest in a borough that he would not forsake’, and this interest was probably strengthened by the new charter of February 1685. The corporation congratulated James II on his accession, and at the general election Guy was able to procure the return by ‘the greater part of the burgesses’ of himself and his business associate, Charles Duncombe, who presented the corporation with a silver flagon and the parish church with four new bells. In September 1688 the royal electoral agents reported that Hedon would re-elect the sitting Members, ‘the town being theirs’. But the old charter was restored in the following month, and at the abortive election in December Duncombe was defeated by Appleyard’s son, a Tory who had inherited his father’s post in the Hull customs house. The result was repeated in January 1689, when Appleyard presented the corporation with a large silver tankard.4

Authors: Paula Watson / Virginia C.D. Moseley


  • 1. Information from W. A. Speck.
  • 2. G. Poulson, Holderness, ii. 140-2; G. R. Park, Hedon, 42; Northern Hist. iii. 92-93.
  • 3. Poulson, ii. 155, 174; Park, 37, 157.
  • 4. HMC Lords, ii. 198, R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 1, p. 388; Poulson, ii. 175; CSP Dom. 1684-5, pp. 194, 254; London Gazette, 19 Mar. 1685; Duckett Penal Laws (1882), 103.