Newtown I.o.W.


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 burgage holders, being freemen

Number of voters:



28 Jan. 1715Sir Robert Worsley 
 James Worsley 
24 Mar. 1722William Stephens 
 Charles Worsley 
23 Aug. 1727James Worsley14
 Thomas Holmes13
 Charles Armand Powlett2
 Sir John Barrington2
 Powlett and BARRINGTON vice Worsley and Holmes, on petition, 25 Apr. 1729 
24 Apr. 1734James Worsley 
 Thomas Holmes 
6 May 1741Sir John Barrington 
 Henry Holmes 
29 June 1747Sir John Barrington 
 Maurice Bocland 

Main Article

At George I's accession the chief interest in Newtown was that of the Worsleys, Tories, who in alliance with other burgage holders, notably the Holmes family, had held both seats since 1705. In 1715 Sir Robert Worsley and his cousin, James Worsley, were returned unopposed, as was his brother, Charles, in conjunction with another Tory, William Stephens, recommended by Henry Holmes, in 1722.1 In 1727 James Worsley and Thomas Holmes were returned against two Whigs, Charles Armand Powlett, whose cousin Charles Powlett, Duke of Bolton, was governor of the Isle of Wight, and Sir John Barrington, a local landowner. A petition against the return was presented by fourteen burgage holders, stating that by virtue of their burgages they had a right to be sworn as freemen to vote in parliamentary elections, according to ancient usage; that on the last day of the election they had demanded to be so sworn, tendering their title deeds; but that the mayor, as returning officer, had refused to read the deeds or to admit the petitioners to poll, alleging that they were not freemen because they had not been sworn. Powlett and Barrington also petitioned, renewing their petition in the next session, when it was heard at the bar of the House. The question turned on the right of election, which the petitioners claimed to be in freemen holding burgages in the borough, but the sitting members to be in freemen elected by the corporation. The House decided the point in favour of Powlett and Barrington, who were awarded the seats.2

In 1734, when the Duke of Bolton had gone into opposition, Worsley and Holmes were unopposed. By 1741 Barrington had established an interest for one seat, while Thomas Holmes had made an agreement with Walpole to support the Administration in return for being made government manager of the Isle of Wight boroughs.3 In 1741 he brought in his brother, Henry, and in 1747 a local landowner, Maurice Bocland, Barrington each time taking the other seat.

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. T. Stephens, The Castle Builders, 46.
  • 2. CJ, xxi. 48, 337-8.
  • 3. Add. 38333, f. 95.