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 70


16 Apr. 1754James Brydges, Mq. of Carnarvon
 Henry Penton
30 Mar. 1761Lord Harry Powlett
 Henry Penton, jun.
24 Dec. 1765George Powlett vice Lord Harry Powlett, called to the Upper House
16 Mar. 1768Henry Penton
 George Powlett
8 Oct. 1774Henry Penton
 Lovell Stanhope
28 Dec. 1774Penton re-elected after appointment to office
6 Sept. 1780Henry Penton
 Lovell Stanhope
17 Oct. 1783Henry Flood vice Stanhope, deceased
31 Mar. 1784Henry Penton
 Richard Gamon

Main Article

The corporation of Winchester contained an indefinite number of freemen, many of them non-resident and appointed purely for electoral purposes. One seat was held by two Henry Pentons, father and son, 1747-96. The other was at first contested between the Duke of Bolton and the Duke of Chandos, who in 1751 inherited the Avington estate, within five miles of Winchester. Henry Penton and Chandos’s son, Lord Carnarvon, were returned unopposed in 1754. In the autumn of 1756 there was a contest between Bolton and Carnarvon within the Winchester corporation. On 24 Sept. Carnarvon wrote to the Duke of Bedford, asking for his attendance at a meeting of the corporation at which Lord Winchester’s election was to come up—‘if he is chose, they intend to propose 22 more in opposition to me and my friends’. Bolton too applied for Bedford’s support, which he declined to give to either side, being ‘in general averse to the method of carrying elections by the means of honorary freemen’.1 Bolton won, and held the seat 1761-74, when Chandos secured the return of his candidate, having apparently joined interest with Penton.2 Their co-operation continued to the end of this period—thus on 15 Sept. 1782 Chandos wrote to Hans Sloane: ‘Mr. Penton and I, having found it prudent to make an addition to our friends in the corporation of Winchester, we have ventured to insert your name on the list.’3

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Bedford mss 32, f. 65; 33, f. 69.
  • 2. Penton to Chandos, Oct. 1769, Chandos mss.
  • 3. Sloane-Stanley mss.