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 freeholders and leaseholders for life

Number of voters:

about 100


18 Apr. 1754Sir John Bland
 Thomas Hayward
21 Nov. 1755Henry Digby vice Bland, deceased
28 Mar. 1761Thomas Whatley
 John Paterson
21 Mar. 1768John Stewart, Lord Garlies
 Peniston Lamb
2 July 1768Garlies re-elected after appointment to office
5 Dec. 1772Garlies re-elected after appointment to office
22 Jan. 1774Whitshed Keene vice Garlies, become a peer of Scotland
11 Oct. 1774Penistone Lamb, Visct. Melbourne
 Lord George Gordon
12 Sept. 1780George Augustus Selwyn
 Penistone Lamb, Visct. Melbourne
3 Jan. 1784Selwyn re-elected after appointment to office
3 Apr. 1784George Augustus Selwyn
 Nathaniel William Wraxall

Main Article

Throughout this period Ludgershall was a pocket borough of the Selwyns of Matson, who owned the manor and a considerable amount of property in the town. The franchise was peculiar, comprising all who owned an ‘estate of inheritance’ in the borough. Ludgershall could never be regarded as absolutely safe, but there was no contest between 1747 and 1791.

George Augustus Selwyn, who controlled the borough from 1751 to 1791, used it as a source of revenue, selling the seats to Administration. His properties were made over to friends, relatives, or dependants, most of whom were strangers to Ludgershall. He seems to have visited the town as little as possible, and his interest suffered in consequence: at the general election of 1790 he had a hard fight to hold both seats.

Author: J. A. Cannon