Available from Boydell and Brewer
Right of Election:
in burgage holders
Number of voters:
24 in 1790 rising to 73 in 1806 and 1807
|19 June 1790||TIMOTHY SHELLEY||25||101|
|Lord William Gordon||20||15|
|GORDON and BAILLIE vice Shelley and Braddyll, on petition, 10 Mar. 1792|
|24 Oct. 1793||WILLIAM FULLARTON vice Baillie, deceased|
|30 May 1796||SIR JOHN MACPHERSON, Bt.|
|JAMES FOX LANE|
|8 July 1802||EDWARD HILLIARD|
|10 Oct. 1804||JAMES EDWARD HARRIS, Visct. FitzHarris, vice Ross, deceased|
|4 Nov. 1806||FRANCIS JOHN WILDER||44|
|LOVE PARRY JONES||44|
|JAMES EDWARD HARRIS, Visct. FitzHarris||29|
|HENRY TEMPLE, Visct. Palmerston||29|
|Double return. WILDER and JONES declared elected, 20 Jan. 1807|
|12 May 1807||LOVE PARRY JONES (PARRY)||44|
|SIR SAMUEL ROMILLY||44|
|MARRYAT and GOULBURN vice Parry and Romilly, on petition, 26 Feb. 1808|
|9 Oct. 1812||SIR ARTHUR LEARY PIGGOTT|
|15 June 1818||ROBERT HURST|
|GEORGE RICHARD PHILIPS|
The Ingram family, Viscounts Irwin, acquired an influence in Horsham in the early 18th century which in 1737 they converted into control.2 This was unchallenged for some 50 years, but about 1787 the Whig 11th Duke of Norfolk, who had lately succeeded, decided to build up his influence as lord of the manor. At the general election of 1790, the bailiffs (appointed by the duke) returned his candidates after a poll in which they had rejected 42 votes tendered on the Irwin interest, represented since 1778 by the widow of the 9th Viscount. Against a petition, the new Members argued successively that admission at the lord’s court was a necessary feature of the burgage-holding which qualified an elector, that a freeholding was also a qualification and that split burgages were not qualified: each was in turn rejected, the Members were unseated and Lady Irwin’s nominees replaced them.3
For the next 16 years Norfolk put up no opposition and Lady Irwin’s nominees, most of whom purchased their seats, were returned unopposed. By 1804, her interest was managed by her son-in-law, Lord William Gordon*, whose influence may perhaps account for the succession of Scots returned from 1790 to 1802.4 But Norfolk had not abandoned hope of gaining control: his agents, having examined the findings of the 1715 election committee which defined the right of election, decided to split the ducal burgages. Lady Irwin’s party, however, on the basis of the 1792 decision assumed that Horsham was a pure burgage tenure borough, to which an Act of 1696 disqualifying later splittings would apply, and therefore began to consolidate her split parts into whole burgages according to a survey of 1611. At the general election of 1806 Lord William Gordon sold the seats for £4,000 each, no payment to be made until the Members were securely seated.5 Norfolk put up rival candidates who, having a majority of votes, were declared elected, while another indenture returned their opponents, as having a majority of whole burgage votes. The election committee decided in favour of the ducal (and ministerial) Members on the grounds that electors ‘before they voted ought to have been admitted in a court held under the D[uke] of Norfolk’.
The story of 1806 was repeated at the next general election a few months later: the same number of votes being cast on each side as before, the ducal nominees were returned. Lady Irwin’s, who had agreed to pay 4,000 guineas for their seats, petitioned: the election committee upheld them, so reversing the previous year’s decision, again in favour of ministerialists. The committee decided that ‘evidence of rent ... ought to appear in order to constitute a burgage tenement’, and accepted as evidence the poll book—a mere copy of the voters’ conveyances. Romilly, thus unseated, lamented: ‘The committee ... which had decided all the questions raised by counsel in favour of the sitting Members, finally decided against them upon a question of law, which had never been insisted upon by counsel for the petitioners and which was quite incapable of being supported’—no manor court having been held recently enough to apportion the rents in question.6
Between 1790 and 1806 Norfolk spent £14,500 on his efforts to gain control. Lady Irwin died in 1807 and Lord Hertford, husband of her eldest daughter, inherited her estates. In 1810-11, after more than two years’ negotiations,7 he sold the Horsham property (with a rent roll of £807 and a mansion worth £100 p.a.) to the 11th Duke of Norfolk for £91,475. From 1812 until 1832 the 11th and 12th Dukes nominated the Members.
Author: M. H. Port
- 1. Second vote: on scrutiny
- 2. This article is based on W. Albery’s Parl. Hist. Horsham, chs. VI-X.
- 3. Fraser, Election Cases, ii. 3-153; cf. W. Suss. RO Add. 29080-81.
- 4. Malmesbury mss, Pembroke to Malmesbury, 27 Sept. 1804.
- 5. Ibid. Malmesbury to FitzHarris, 17 Oct. 1806, 8 Jan. 1807.
- 6. Lonsdale mss, Ward to Lowther, 20 Jan. 1807, Long to Lonsdale, 5 Mar. 1808; Surr. RO, Goulburn mss 4/6, Goulburn’s memoir; Romilly, Mems. ii. 243; W. Suss RO Add. 29082-85.
- 7. Arundel Castle mss, Hertford to Norfolk, 17 June 1808.