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 freeholders

Number of voters:

225 in 1698


9 Apr. 1660JOHN HELE
22 Mar. 1661ROGER JAMES
31 Jan. 1673SIR JOHN WERDEN, Bt. vice Thurland, appointed to office
  Election declared void, 6 Feb. 1673
11 Feb. 1673SIR JOHN WERDEN, Bt.
10 Feb. 1679ROGER JAMES
 Sir John Werden, Bt.
10 Oct. 1679ROGER JAMES
 Deane Goodwin
 GOODWIN vice Freeman, on petition, 9 Dec. 1680
27 Mar. 1685SIR JOHN WERDEN, Bt.
11 Jan. 1689ROGER JAMES
 Thomas Vincent
 VINCENT vice Parsons, on petition, 1 Mar. 1689

Main Article

At the Restoration the principal manor of Reigate was held in moieties by the regicide Viscount Monson and the scarcely less enthusiastic republican John Goodwin. The bailiff, who acted as returning officer, was chosen in their court leet. Other important property interests were in the hands of the royalist conspirator John Mordaunt, John Hele of Flanchford, and Roger James, who owned the Rectory manor. Most of the indentures bear the names and signatures of between 40 and 50 ‘burgesses’. At the general election of 1660 Goodwin was returned for Bletchingley and James was involved in a double return at Gatton. Reigate returned Hele and a local lawyer, Edward Thurland, who had represented the borough in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament. Both supported the Restoration, and Thurland entered the service of the Duke of York, who acquired the Monson property forfeited under the Act of Indemnity. Hele died before the next election, and was succeeded in the Cavalier Parliament by James, who was decidedly less well-disposed to the Court.1

Thurland became a judge on 24 Jan. 1673, and was at once succeeded by another servant of the Duke of York, Sir John Werden, probably without a contest. This election was among those declared void because Lord Chancellor Shaftesbury had issued the writs without the Speaker’s warrant; but Werden was re-elected five days later. He was rejected at the next general election, however, ‘not that they had any dislike to him, but because he is secretary to the Duke of York’. Reigate was represented in the first Exclusion Parliament by James and Goodwin’s grandson, Deane Goodwin, both of whom voted for the bill. In the autumn election Ralph Freeman, a court supporter, defeated Goodwin, but was unseated on petition, and in 1681 Freeman replaced James. These defeats for the country party are probably to be associated with the purchase of Reigate Priory from the Mordaunt trustees by the excise farmer John Parsons. In 1685 he was returned for the borough with Werden. Goodwin sold his moiety of the manor to the crown in the following year. In September 1688 the royal electoral agents reported:

Sir John Parsons and his son and Sir John Werden are proposed to be chosen. The election will be sure in case your Majesty’s interest here be improved, it being one of your Majesty’s manors.

Sunderland wrote to Parsons to instruct him to stand, but as his partner proposed the high Tory London alderman, Sir Basil Firebrace. Werden’s career ended with the Revolution, and at the general election of 1689 James and Parsons were returned. But the latter was unseated on petition by an obscure Surrey Whig, Thomas Vincent.2

Author: J. S. Crossette


  • 1. Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 281, 295, 304, 321; VCH Surr. iii. 235-9; W. Hooper, Reigate , 118-19.
  • 2. BL, M636/32, John to Sir Ralph Verney, 17 Feb. 1679; CJ , ix. 673; x. 37; Duckett, Penal Laws (1882), 250; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 274.