Durham City

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 the freemen

Number of voters:

about 1,500


15 Apr. 1754Henry Lambton 
 John Tempest 
6 Apr. 1761John Tempest705
 Henry Lambton546
 Ralph Gowland526
7 Dec. 1761Ralph Gowland vice Henry Lambton, deceased775
 John Lambton772
 Lambton vice Gowland, on petition, 11 May 1762 
21 Mar. 1768John Lambton 
 John Tempest 
11 Oct. 1774John Tempest386
 John Lambton325
 Mark Milbanke248
11 Sept. 1780John Lambton 
 John Tempest 
3 Apr. 1784John Lambton 
 John Tempest 
9 Mar. 1787William Henry Lambton vice John lambton, vacated his seat 

Main Article

Throughout this period Durham was represented by the Lambton and Tempest families. At the general election of 1761 they were challenged by the Earl of Darlington, who, with the support of the corporation and of the bishop of Durham, set up Ralph Gowland. Gowland was defeated, but stood again at the by-election in December. This, the most controversial Durham election of the century, resulted in a victory for Gowland by three votes on a poll of over 1,500, but only because the corporation had created over 200 honorary freemen to carry the election.1 On petition the Commons unseated Gowland, and introduced a bill preventing honorary freemen from voting in elections unless they had held their freedom for at least twelve months (the ‘Durham Act’). The Lambton-Tempest influence was again challenged in 1774.

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. E. Hughes, North County Life in 18th Cent 262-3.