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:

532 in 1734; 640 in 17541


20 Jan. 1715RICHARD SUTTON419
 Richard Newdigate327
27 Dec. 1715DARCY re-elected after appointment to office 
 Richard Newdigate 
2 Feb. 1720DARCY re-elected after appointment to office 
21 Apr. 1724SUTTON re-elected after appointment to office 
21 Aug. 1727RICHARD SUTTON273
 Alexander Holden235
 Sir Charles Sedley153
23 Apr. 1734RICHARD SUTTON378
 Alexander Holden219
31 Jan. 1738LORD WILLIAM MANNERS vice Sutton, deceased 
 Alexander Holden 
1 Apr. 1751CHARLTON re-elected after appointment to office280
 Robert Cracroft276

Main Article

In 1715 the Whigs at Newark were headed by the Duke of Newcastle, the lord of the manor of Newark; the Tories by Robert Sutton, the last Lord Lexington, who owned the neighbouring estate of Kelham, and Sir Thomas Willoughby, 1st Lord Middleton, who had recently purchased the local property of Sir Matthew Jenison, formerly M.P. for the borough. On Lord Lexington’s death in 1723 his interest passed to his son-in-law, the 3rd Duke of Rutland, whose wife inherited Kelham. After 1736 the vicar of Newark, Dr. Barnard Wilson, having succeeded in obscure, if not shady, circumstances to the bulk of the property of Sir George Markham, former M.P. for Newark, used his fortune to build up a fourth interest.2 Wilson originally supported Newcastle but was converted into an opponent by the Duke’s failure to fulfil repeated promises of preferment.3

From 1715 Newcastle shared the representation of Newark with the Manners-Sutton family, each returning one Member, usually after a contest with a Tory. In 1741 he came to terms with the 2nd Lord Middleton, by nominating a common friend, J. S. Charlton, a Whig, on which Wilson, who as a clergyman could not stand himself, but had announced his intention of putting up a candidate, gave up. However, fearing that ‘the mob would fall upon his house for deserting them’, he first tried to ‘secure himself’ by having ‘all stones and rubble removed from his yards’; then by ordering his steward to treat everyone in the interest of a local man, Alexander Holden, who refused to stand, having already promised to vote for the ducal candidates; and finally, an hour before the poll, by getting someone to put up Holden, who, Newcastle’s agent reported,

voted for Lord William [Manners] and Mr. Charlton and after he had polled 70 and Lord William and Mr. Charlton about 170 gave it up. Thus was the mob diverted from falling upon Dr. Wilson’s house.4

There was no contest in 1747 when Wilson was engaged as defendant in an expensive breach of promise action,5 but at a by-election in 1751, caused by Charlton’s acceptance of an office of profit, Wilson put up his nephew, who nearly won the seat. According to an analysis supplied to Newcastle, about 160 of the nephew’s poll consisted of persons who were ‘sure to be in opposition to the standing interest’. Another source of Wilson’s votes was ‘the thirty sons of thirty voters ... to whom he yearly gives a cap and coat and their schooling’. Eleven of these voted for Charlton and ‘consequently were turned off’, but Newcastle’s friends had subscribed to make it up to them. The balance represented Wilson’s property in the borough.6

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. R. Twells to P. Forbes, 20 Apr. 1734, Add. 32689, f. 204; J. S. Charlton to Newcastle, 27 Mar. 1754, Add. 32734, f. 373.
  • 2. Dickinson, Newark, 211-18, 308.
  • 3. Wilson to Newcastle, 2 Nov. 1734, Add. 32696, f. 379.
  • 4. R. Twells to Newcastle, 6 May 1741, Add. 32696, f. 476.
  • 5. Gent. Mag. 1747, p. 293. The plaintiff asked for £10,000 and was awarded £7,000 damages.
  • 6. R. Heron to Newcastle, 29 Apr., 4 May 1751, Add. 32724, ff. 266-7, 274.