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 burgage-holders 1660-81, 1689; in the corporation 1685


292 in 1679; 38 in 1685


3 Apr. 1660HON. JAMES DARCY 
9 Apr. 1661SIR JOHN YORKE 
 John Wandesford 
 WANDESFORD vice Cradock, on petition, 17 Jan. 1662 
9 Apr. 1664SIR WILLIAM KILLIGREW vice Yorke, deceased 
9 Feb. 1665HON. MARMADUKE DARCY vice Wandesford, deceased 
13 Feb. 1679THOMAS CRADOCK245
 Hon. Marmaduke Darcy961
11 Feb. 1681HON. JOHN DARCY 
25 Mar. 1685HON. JOHN DARCY 
10 Jan. 1689HON. JOHN DARCY 
15 Feb. 1689HON. JOHN DARCY vice John Darcy, deceased 

Main Article

Under the charter of 1577 the corporation of Richmond consisted of the alderman, who acted as returning officer, 12 ‘head burgesses’, and the recorder. The franchise was vested in the ‘burgesses’, a term not defined until 1679; it is possible that before the charter of 1668 it was exercised only by the corporation, including an unspecified number of common councilmen. The dominant interest in the period was exercised by the royalist Darcy family of Hornby Castle, stewards of the liberty from 1661. Even at the general election of 1660, when they were ineligible under the Long Parliament ordinance, James Darcy of Sedbury Park was returned with his brother-in-law, Sir Christopher Wyvill, a Presbyterian and a committeeman. Neither appears to have sought re-election in 1661, when two of the candidates were residents in the borough. Sir John Yorke of Gouthwaite had acquired a house in Richmond by marrying the daughter of Maulger Norton, who had represented the borough in the Short Parliament. He came from a Roman Catholic family, but little is known of his politics. Joseph Cradock, a civilian, had been appointed commissary to the archdeacon before the Civil War, and although fined as a royalist delinquent built a house in Richmond during the Interregnum. The third candidate, John Wandesford, was the younger son of a royalist family with estates in the neighbourhood. He was unsuccessful, but unseated Cradock on proving that he had taken deacon’s orders in 1625. This was the last occasion upon which a clergyman was declared ineligible by the Commons. The commissioners of corporations seem to have found little amiss in Richmond, apart from ordering the restoration of two aldermen and two of the common council. Yorke died young in 1663, and was succeeded ‘with unanimous assent and consent’ by a stranger, Sir William Killigrew, who like the Wandesfords was interested in drainage projects. He was also a courtier, like Danby’s brother Marmaduke, who was elected in the following year after Wandesford’s death. The new charter of 1668 changed the alderman into a mayor and the head burgesses into aldermen. It also gave legal authority to the common council, though without specifying numbers, and required crown approval for the recorder.2

Darcy stood for re-election in 1679, but was confronted by two country candidates, Cradock’s son Thomas, the recorder, and Humphrey Wharton, a local squire whose lead-mines made him the largest employer of labour in the county, or so he claimed. Before the election Cradock, together with the mayor, undertook a careful survey of the burgages, arriving at a total of 292. Only 26 persons at this date owned more than one burgage, and the maximum holding was seven. It was agreed that ‘no widow should vote, it being against common right; but that widows should have power to assign their right to other persons; whereupon Mr Wharton did have 30 assignments, who did then and there vote’. But no vote could be exercised in respect of divided and demolished burgages, nor on behalf of minors. Cradock and Wharton easily defeated Darcy, and were re-elected in the autumn. They probably paired on the first exclusion bill, and Cradock may have voluntarily given way to Darcy’s nephew John in 1681.3

In August Marmaduke Darcy presented an address from the corporation, free burgesses and inhabitants of Richmond approving the dissolution of Parliament, and two years later the corporation sent an address under the common seal abhorring the Rye House Plot. Richmond surrendered its charter in May 1684, and the new charter, dated 9 July, provided that

to prevent the abuses formerly experienced in the election of Parliament men by drinking and excesses used in procuring votes from every individual burgher, though ever so poor, the said election be for the future in the mayor, aldermen, recorder and common council, as being the representative body of the burghers, the grants in former charters being to the burgesses in general.

The common council was fixed at 24, and Marmaduke Darcy replaced Cradock as recorder. In March 1685 the corporation and free burgesses sent a loyal address by ‘unanimous consent’ congratulating James II on his accession. At the general election John Darcy was returned with Cradock, but went into opposition in the second session. In June 1687, in response to the Declaration of Indulgence, the corporation presented an address thanking the King for his promise to preserve the established Church. Three aldermen and four common councilmen were removed from the corporation in March 1688, and in September the royal electoral agents reported that Richmond would ‘choose John Darcy and Thomas Cradock, both right men’. The 1668 charter was restored in the following month, and Cradock never stood again, possibly because of failing health; but Darcy took a leading part in the Revolution, and was elected to the Convention, four days after his death, with Yorke’s son Thomas, a Whig. A new writ was ordered on 28 Jan. 1689, and Darcy’s brother Philip was returned at the by-election.4

Authors: Paula Watson / Virginia C.D. Moseley


  • 1. C. Clarkson, Richardson, 117.
  • 2. Ibid. 78, 83, 114; CJ, viii. 446; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xliv. 207; Northern Hist. iii. 85-86.
  • 3. L. P. Wenham, Richmond Burgage Houses (N. Yorks. R.O Pubs. xvi), 1; Clarkson, 115, 117; Prot. Dom. Intell. 15 Feb. 1681.
  • 4. London Gazette, 25 Aug. 1681, 16 Aug. 1683, 16 Mar. 1685, 12 June 1687; CSP Dom. 1684-5, p. 43; SP44/335/144; Duckett, Penal Laws (1882), 103.