Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in inhabitants paying scot and lot

Number of voters:

about 440


 William Elson 
 James Brudenell 
3 Dec. 1719HENRY KELSALL vice Farrington, deceased 
27 Mar. 1722CHARLES LENNOX, Earl of March 
20 Jan. 1724LORD WILLIAM BEAUCLERK vice March, called to the Upper House 
 Sir William Oglander 
16 Aug. 1727CHARLES LUMLEY410
 Henry May166
31 Jan. 1729JAMES LUMLEY vice Charles Lumley, deceased 
13 Mar. 1733SIR THOMAS PRENDERGAST vice Beauclerk, deceased250
 Thomas Yates203
 John Page274
19 Aug. 1746GEORGE KEPPEL, Visct. Bury, vice Brudenell, deceased 
30 June 1747GEORGE KEPPEL, Visct. Bury 

Main Article

An independent borough, with a minor government interest from the customs officers at the port, Chichester returned two Whig townsmen at a contested election in 1715. About 1720 the 1st Duke of Richmond bought Goodwood, three miles away. In 1722 his heir, who succeeded to the dukedom in 1723, was returned unopposed, after which it became the custom to pay the Goodwood family the compliment of permitting them to recommend one Member, on condition that the inhabitants of Chichester should be left to choose the other. From 1727 to 1734 the second seat was filled successively by brothers of the 2nd Earl of Scarborough, whose seat at Stanstead was also not far from Chichester; but in 1734 Lord Scarborough did not put up a candidate, and after his death in 1740 the Stanstead interest lapsed.

In 1741 the candidates were James Brudenell, the Duke of Richmond’s uncle, who had been unsuccessful in 1715 but headed the poll in 1734, and John Page, a local country gentleman, who had stood with the Duke’s support in 1734,1 when he had been defeated by a Tory. This time Page hoped to avoid a contest by standing as an independent Whig, refusing to attend a meeting called by the Duke of Newcastle to choose the government candidates for the county, on the ground that his situation gave him ‘very strong reasons to ... remain ... neutral’.2 At the beginning of 1741 the Duke of Richmond decided to try to gain control of the second seat. With this object he encouraged Sir John Miller, whose father had been returned for Chichester in 1715, to declare himself a candidate in opposition to Page, getting Newcastle to endorse Miller’s candidature publicly. This attempt by Richmond to nominate a second Member raised, in his own words, ‘such a flame as was never seen there before’. He was forced to explain to Newcastle that opposing Page’s interest, ‘which is a strong one’, would ‘hurt you in the county, and me in the town’.3 Page himself afterwards wrote:

The inhabitants were at that time so determined to keep within themselves the free choice of an independent gentleman for one of their members that the Duke of Richmond thought it not only necessary to make Sir John withdraw lest Mr. Brudenell’s election should grow precarious, but likewise to declare that he thought himself highly obliged to the city for allowing him to recommend his uncle, and that he never would think of recommending both their Members.4

In fact the affair proved, one of Newcastle’s local correspondents observed, greatly to Page’s advantage, by ‘engaging the other party [i.e. the Tories] who were before very suspicious (I hope justly too) of Mr. Page’s conduct in Parliament’.5 Returned unopposed with Brudenell, he shared the representation of Chichester with the Duke of Richmond’s nominees till he retired in 1768.

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Richmond to Walpole [1734], Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss.
  • 2. Page to Newcastle, 2 Aug. 1740, Add. 32694, f. 397.
  • 3. Richmond to Newcastle, 2, 6, 7 Jan. 1741, Add. 32696, ff. 6, 11, 19.
  • 4. To Newcastle, 14 Jan. 1767, Add. 32979, f. 225.
  • 5. 14 Jan. 1741, Add. 32696, f. 38.