St. Mawes

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 25


19 Apr. 1754Robert Nugent
 Henry Seymour Conway
10 Dec. 1754James Newsham vice Nugent, chose to sit for Bristol
18 Apr. 1757Conway re-elected after appointment to office
4 Dec. 1760Conway re-elected after appointment to office
14 Apr. 1761Edmund Nugent
 Richard Hussey
23 Mar. 1768Edmund Nugent
 George Boscawen
17 Jan. 1770Michael Byrne vice Nugent, vacated his seat
4 Dec. 1772James Edward Colleton vice Byrne, deceased
12 Oct. 1774Robert Nugent, Visct. Clare
 Hugh Boscawen
14 Sept. 1780Robert Nugent, Earl Nugent
 Hugh Boscawen
6 Apr. 1784Robert Nugent, Earl Nugent
 Hugh Boscawen
19 June 1784William Young vice Nugent, vacated his seat

Main Article

Thomas Jones, Lord Edgcumbe’s agent, wrote about St. Mawes in June 1760:

Lord Falmouth and Mr. Nugent, but the latter is lord of the borough and makes the returning officer and thereby has the strongest and most secure interest.

And Nugent himself said in the House on 13 Apr. 1780, during the debate on disfranchising revenue officers:

He was perfectly safe at St. Mawes ... Five-sixths of the borough was his own property, his constituents were his tenants, and he was sure of his election.1

The two co-operated, though not without occasional jealousies. When in 1764 a vacancy seemed imminent in the governorship of St. Mawes castle, the post was ‘eagerly solicited’ by both ‘in support of their respective interests’, Nugent desiring that Falmouth ‘might not name any near relation or dependant of his to it’, while he let his son, Colonel Edmund Nugent, apply for it, though with an offer to depart from it rather than put Grenville under difficulties. In the end neither side was given the appointment.2

Hugh, 2nd Viscount Falmouth, at his death, 4 Feb. 1782, left his interest in the borough to his illegitimate son, Hugh Boscawen, M.P. for St. Mawes 1774-90. Nugent, who had acquired his interest through his marriage with Anne, sister and co-heiress of James Craggs, M.P., bequeathed it, at his death, 14 Oct. 1788, to his daughter Mary Elizabeth, wife of George Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham (Nugent’s only son having pre-deceased him). Boscawen sold out his interest to Buckingham, who thus came to control both seats.

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Add. 32907, ff. 461-2; Almon, xvii. 515.
  • 2. Grenville to Nugent, 27 Oct. 1764, to Ld. Suffolk, 22 Jan. 1765, Grenville letter bk.