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 inhabitants paying scot and lot

Number of voters:

over 50


c. Apr. 1660HENRY GORING I
5 July 1660JOHN EVERSFIELD vice Goring, chose to sit for Sussex
25 Mar. 1661(SIR) JOHN FAGG
13 Feb. 1679(SIR) JOHN FAGG
 (Sir) Henry Goring I, (Bt.)
30 Aug. 1679(SIR) JOHN FAGG
 Philip Gell
 [?] Courthope
 GELL vice Tufton, on petition, 3 Jan. 1681
21 Feb. 1681(SIR) JOHN FAGG
12. Mar. 1685(SIR) JOHN FAGG
June 1685SIR JAMES MORTON vice Goring, deceased1
10 Jan. 1689(SIR) JOHN FAGG

Main Article

Steyning was entirely dominated in this period by two local landowning families, the Faggs of Wiston and the Gorings of Highden. Henry Goring I, whose royalist sympathies had never brought him within the scope of the Long Parliament’s ordinance, came from a cadet branch of a well-established family. He was returned in 1660 with John Fagg, a Rumper who had become a Presbyterian Royalist. Although Fagg had acquired the Wiston estate only during the Interregnum and his title was not beyond question, he was successful for Steyning at every general election during this period. When Goring chose to sit for the county he was replaced by his cousin John Eversfield, who had an interest of his own in Steyning, but does not seem to have been politically active. Fagg and Goring were returned again in 1661 and the first election of 1679, probably unopposed. But Goring seems to have stood down in August, and Fagg, now a prominent exclusionist, seized the opportunity to win the second seat for his son-in-law, Philip Gell. A certain John Tufton, doubtless a relative of Cecil Tufton who had purchased a property nearby in 1664, also stood, presumably as a Tory, and the Domestic Intelligencer gives the name of the junior burgess as ‘Courtropp’, presumably one of the sons of Sir George Courthope, who had travelled extensively with Cecil Tufton in his youth. Fagg and Tufton were returned, but on 3 Jan. 1681 George Treby reported from the elections committee that Tufton was not duly elected, and he was unseated in Gell’s favour. But in the following month Sir James Morton regained the second seat for the Tories unopposed. Fagg, who was also returned to the Oxford Parliament for Sussex, probably calculated that he could pass his borough seat to Gell. But though a new writ was ordered for Steyning on 26 Mar., Parliament was dissolved two days later, and no by-election was held. In September Fagg’s sons were nominated as Whig candidates for the next election, Gell being proposed for Shoreham. At the general election of 1685 Fagg himself and Goring’s son were returned on separate indentures. Both were signed by the constable as returning officer, but Goring’s election was attested by about 40 signatures against only 27 for Fagg. After Goring’s death in a duel, a new writ was ordered on 16 June; Morton is said to have been successful at the by-election, but the indenture does not survive. In September 1688 the King’s agents expected ‘a good election’ at Steyning, though the court candidates had not yet been nominated. No doubt the choice was left to Fagg, a Whig collaborator who had been nominated for the county. But in 1689 he was again returned with Morton for the borough.2

Author: B. M. Crook


  • 1. Cobbett, Parl. Hist. iv. 1348.
  • 2. H. Cheale, Hist. Shoreham, 56; Dom. lntell. 5 Sept. 1679; Smith’s Prot. Intell. 28 Feb. 1681; CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 473; Duckett, Penal Laws (1882), 441.