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 persons paying church and poor rates, resident or non-resident

Number of voters:

about 400


16 Apr. 1754Joseph Damer, Baron Milton 
 John Pitt 
11 Dec. 1756Pitt re-elected after appointment to office 
25 Mar. 1761Joseph Damer, Baron Milton 
 Thomas Foster 
7 May 1762John Damer vice Milton, called to the Upper House 
23 Dec. 1765William Ewer vice Foster, deceased 
16 Mar. 1768John Damer218
 William Ewer143
 Laurence Cox85
10 Oct. 1774William Ewer232
 John Damer214
 Anthony Chapman145
11 Sept. 1780George Damer128
 William Ewer112
 John Floyer23
31 Mar. 1784George Damer 
 William Ewer 
4 July 1789Thomas Ewer vice William Ewer, deceased 
30 Jan. 1790Cropley Ashley vice Ewer, deceased 

Main Article

There was no dominant interest, but a number of local landowners had influence: the Earl of Shaftesbury, high steward 1757-71; Lord Milton, high steward 1771-98; the Earl of Cholmondeley; and the Pitts of Encombe. There was also an independent vote. In 1754 John Pitt, one of the sitting Members, concluded a compromise with Lord Milton. Lord Malpas, defeated at Dorchester in 1752, who had intended to stand again, was persuaded by Henry Pelham to support the compromise. William Templeman, of a family of local attorneys much concerned in Dorset borough elections, wrote to Malpas, 23 Mar. 1754,1 that Pitt and Milton, having disobliged the corporation, ‘the town is now in the greatest ferment, and the cry is an opposition they will have’. In the end there was no contest in 1754 nor in 1761, but an opposition they did have at the next three general elections.

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Add. 32734, f. 363.