New Romney


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:



24 Oct. 1665HON. HENRY BROUNCKER vice Berkeley, called to the Upper House9
 Sir Charles Sedley, Bt.8
8 May 1668SIR CHARLES SEDLEY, Bt. vice Brouncker, expelled the House 
10 Feb. 1679SIR CHARLES SEDLEY, Bt. 
 John Strode II 
6 Oct. 1679SIR CHARLES SEDLEY, Bt.14
 Nicholas Barbon4
 Peter Lancaster1
 John Hunt1
 John Strode II 0
25 Feb. 1681SIR CHARLES SEDLEY, Bt. 
30 May 1685THOMAS CHUDLEIGH vice Bathurst, chose to sit for Bere Alston 
16 Jan. 1689JOHN BREWER 
 Sir Charles Sedley, Bt. 

Main Article

In 1660 New Romney returned Sir Norton Knatchbull, who had represented the port in the Long Parliament, and his son John, presumably unopposed. But in 1661 the younger Knatchbull had to make way for the court nominee, Sir Charles Berkeley. After Berkeley’s elevation to the peerage Henry Brouncker, groom of the bedchamber to the Duke of York, was nominated by his master, the lord warden. Nevertheless Sir Charles Sedley offered himself as a candidate, writing to the mayor that he would have had the Duke’s recommendation ‘being prevented only in a day’s time by the too early application of another’. At the election the vote stood at 8-8 and the mayor, who was one of the eight for Brouncker, cast a second and deciding vote. When Brouncker was expelled from the House it was reported that

the Marquis of Blanquefort, a Frenchman, stands for Parliament man for Romney in Kent in the room of Mr Brouncker, and ’tis said he hath the Duke of York’s letter to recommend him to the town, but for all that he will not be chosen.

Blanquefort (later 2nd Earl of Feversham) was perfectly eligible as a Protestant and a naturalized Englishman, but Sedley was elected.

Even after Sedley went into opposition, his interest at New Romney was unaffected. He was returned with Paul Barret, a court supporter and counsel for the Cinque Ports, to all three Exclusion Parliaments. On 8 Feb. 1679, two days before the election to the first Exclusion Parliament, Edward Hales I reported to Sir Edward Dering that the elder Knatchbull had written on behalf of his son John, ‘but I believe he could find little encouragement there’, for Sedley and Barret were ‘settled’. Hales himself received some encouragement to stand as a country candidate, but pinned his hopes (mistakenly) on Queenborough. There were, however, contests in both elections in 1679, and it is significant that John Strode, though lieutenant-governor of Dover Castle, was twice rejected. The election to the Oxford Parliament was probably uncontested, and the corporation failed to produce any loyal address.2

Although in 1683 New Romney refused to acknowledge the lord warden’s right to nominate one Member, in 1685 they returned not only the official nominee, Sir Benjamin Bathurst, but also a local Tory, Sir William Goulston. The King, Bathurst had written to the mayor, ‘would be pleased’ if Goulston were elected. Sedley had withdrawn, and the offers of Barret and John Brewer, a resident lawyer, to stand were ignored. When Bathurst chose to serve for Bere Alston another royal nominee, Thomas Chudleigh, took his place without a contest. This compliance did not save New Romney’s charter. It was surrendered in June and a new one issued in August 1685. As early as 6 Oct. 1688 James Chadwick, the dean of Canterbury’s son-in-law, wrote to the mayor that he had heard of the corporation’s ‘favour to me in designing me for one of the burgesses... when there shall be occasion, and I esteem the favour the greater because I am wholly a stranger to you’, and promised to ‘preserve our religion and laws’. On 9 Dec. 1688 Brewer offered himself again, as did Sedley four days later. Brewer and James Chadwick, both Whigs, were returned, ‘Sir Charles Sedley being flung out’, possibly because of his past connexion with the Stuart Court.3

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Kent AO, NR/AC2, f. 429.
  • 2. Kent AO, NR/JBf/22, 26; NR/AEp/6; Bodl. Rawl. A190, f. 168; Add. 36916, f. 96; Stowe 746, f. 14.
  • 3. Kent AO, NR/AEp/46-55; Rye common ass. bk. p. 638; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 291; Add. 33923, f. 462.