St. Germans


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in householders resident in the borough for one year

Number of Qualified Electors:


Number of voters:



24 Feb. 1690Daniel Eliot
 Henry Fleming
29 Oct. 1695Daniel Eliot
 Henry Fleming
9 Aug. 1698Daniel Eliot
 John Tanner
4 Jan. 1700Henry Fleming vice Tanner, deceased
13 Jan. 1701John Speccot
 Henry Fleming
2 Apr. 1701Daniel Eliot vice Speccot, chose to sit for Cornwall
1 Dec. 1701Richard Edgcumbe
 Henry Fleming
28 July 1702Henry Fleming
 John Anstis
22 May 1705Samuel Rolle
 Henry Fleming
4 Dec. 1705Edward Eliot vice Rolle, chose to sit for Callington
13 May 1708Edward Eliot
 Francis Scobell
20 Oct. 1710Edward Eliot
 John Knight
7 Sept. 1713Edward Eliot
 John Knight

Main Article

Thomas Tonkin* wrote of St. Germans:

as to the choice of Members of Parliament, all the inhabitant householders have votes, that have lived a year within the borough, the bounds of which do not extend very far, and only comprehend about 50 or 60 houses lying near the church, and not the whole vill of St. Germans, great part of which is without the borough, as is the rest of the parish.

The chief interest throughout the period was, as John Trevanion* put it in 1712, ‘entirely in Port Eliot’, the Eliots as lords of the manor appointing the portreeve or returning officer.1

In the first two Parliaments of King William’s reign Daniel Eliot was returned with his nephew Henry Fleming, both of them Tories. In 1698 John Tanner, a Cornish Tory, replaced Fleming, who came in again on Tanner’s death in a by-election, eventually held in January 1700 after the Commons had received a complaint on the last day before the Christmas adjournment (22 Dec. 1699) that the writ issued on 16 Nov. had not been presented to the proper officer in the borough. Fleming retained his seat at the first election of 1701, being returned with John Speccot, Daniel Eliot’s brother-in-law. Eliot replaced Speccot in April when he chose to sit for the county. However, Eliot did not contest the election of December 1701, possibly owing to ill-health, as he died the following year. Fleming was returned with Richard Edgcumbe, whose later Whiggery may not have been apparent at that date.

In 1702 Fleming was partnered by John Anstis, a Cornish Tory, who in May 1705 was reported to have declined to stand again. He was replaced by Samuel Rolle I, who then chose to sit for Callington. A newsletter of November predicted that John Eliot would succeed him, but in fact it was Edward Eliot, nephew and heir of Daniel Eliot, who was returned at the by-election in December. He retained his seat until the end of the period, sitting in 1708 with Francis Scobell and in 1710 and 1713 with John Knight II. Knight, an outsider and a Whig, may have purchased his seat, perhaps because Eliot was piqued at having been denied an office by Robert Harley*.2

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley


  • 1. Polsue, Complete Paroch. Hist. Cornw. ii. 39; Add. 70314–15, Trevanion’s list, June 1712.
  • 2. Bodl. Ballard 21, f. 222; Folger Shakespeare Lib. newsletter 17 Nov. 1705.