Corfe Castle

Double Member Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in inhabitant householders paying scot and lot

Number of voters:

about 100


19 Apr. 1754Henry Bankes
 John Bond
28 Mar. 1761George Cholmondeley, Visct. Malpas
 Henry Bankes
6 Dec. 1762John Campbell vice Bankes, appointed to office
2 Apr. 1764John Bond vice Malpas, deceased
19 Mar. 1768john Bond
 John Jenkinson
7 Oct. 1774John Bond
 John Jenkinson
9 Sept. 1780Henry Bankes
 John Bond
2 Apr. 1784John Bond
 Henry Bankes

Main Article

Throughout this period Corfe Castle was invariably represented by members or nominees of the families of Bankes and Bond, without a single contest carried to a poll. The two families worked together in the closest association. John Bankes wrote to John Bond on 29 Oct. 1757:1

I assure you it is my sincere desire and intention to adhere to that agreement inviolably, that has for many years so happily subsisted between ourselves, and between your uncle Mr. Denis Bond, your father, and me; and to endeavour that it may always be continued between our respective families, who have now so solid and durable an interest in the borough of Corfe Castle that nothing but our own indiscretion and mismanagement can overturn it. To make our union and friendship as firm as possible, let us never depart from that rule which we have hitherto strictly observed in pursuance of our agreement, to attack with all our force, and with the assistance of all our friends, at our joint expense, any one or more persons who without our consent shall set themselves up as candidates for the borough ... whether they oppose either your family or my own, or both families.

Bond confirmed the agreement in a letter of 4 Nov.

Corfe Castle might therefore seem a complete pocket borough. In reality other neighbouring landowners too could exercise a certain influence, and the care with which the two families watched over it, and the nervousness which they at times displayed, indicate that their hold on it, though strong, was never absolute. In 1757 John Calcraft, having purchased the neighbouring estate of Rempstone, started acquiring house property in Corfe Castle; and for a time offered a serious challenge to the Bankes-Bond interest. But in 1767 he exchanged with John Bankes his houses at Corfe Castle against Bankes’s property in Wareham. Similarly, in the early ’70s the Pitts of Encombe showed signs of challenging the settled interest; and from correspondence in the Bond manuscripts it is clear that attention had to be paid to feeling in the borough.

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Bond mss at Creech Grange, Dorset.