Available from Boydell and Brewer
Right of Election:
in scot and lot voters in Shoreham and in the 40s. freeholders in the rape of Bramber
Number of voters:
[of Shoreham] (1801): 799
|28 June 1790||SIR HARRY GORING, Bt.||379|
|JOHN CLATER ALDRIDGE||379|
|Sir Cecil Bisshopp, Bt.||320|
|30 May 1795||HON. CHARLES WILLIAM WYNDHAM vice Aldridge, deceased|
|1 June 1796||HON. CHARLES WILLIAM WYNDHAM|
|SIR CECIL BISSHOPP, Bt.|
|12 July 1802||SIR CECIL BISSHOPP, Bt.|
|4 Nov. 1806||TIMOTHY SHELLEY|
|SIR CHARLES MERRIK BURRELL, Bt.|
|16 May 1807||SIR CHARLES MERRIK BURRELL, Bt.||478|
|13 Oct. 1812||SIR CHARLES MERRIK BURRELL, Bt.|
|23 June 1818||SIR CHARLES MERRIK BURRELL, Bt.|
|JAMES MARTIN LLOYD|
After the extension of the franchise to the neighbouring freeholders in 1771, the constituency became a county in miniature vied for by Sussex country gentlemen, and elections were conducted with ‘constitutional decorum’.1 In 1784 the sitting Members Sir Cecil Bisshop and John Peachey had warded off the challenge of John Clater Aldridge, a friend of the 3rd Duke of Richmond, who was one of Pitt’s cabinet. The lukewarm support given Pitt by Bisshopp and Peachey was excuse enough for Richmond to sponsor Aldridge again, in company with Sir Harry Goring (whose half-brother had already been Member) in 1790. Peachey’s father, James Peachey†, in vain remonstrated with Pitt: it had not escaped his attention that his son’s applications to Thomas Steele* for patronage had been ignored of late. Peachey, detained in London by bereavement, withdrew a week before the election, on his indignant father’s advice. He was replaced by a feeble substitute, Challen of Shermanbury Place, possibly a Whig. Aldridge and Goring then triumphed after four days.2 Peachey’s father was mollified by a peerage in 1794.
On Aldridge’s death in 1795, the 3rd Earl of Egremont secured the return of his brother unopposed, and soon afterwards he wrote to Pitt, seeking patronage to strengthen his interest, as ‘the only opposition in the borough must proceed from a quarter directly adverse to the present administration’.3 Bisshopp, who had decided against challenging Egremont’s brother, was urged to renew his pretensions in 1796 and drove Goring from the field.4 In January 1802, in anticipation of the next election, the 11th Duke of Norfolk stepped in, sponsoring his friend Timothy Shelley, who appeared ‘in opposition to Sir Cecil Bisshopp’.5 On 12 Apr. The Times reported:
A canvass has lately taken place in the borough of Shoreham, in favour of Mr Shelley, which has turned out so satisfactory to the friends of that gentleman, that a committee was appointed to wait on Lord Egremont, to ask whether or not his lordship would at the next general election again support his brother, the Hon. Charles Wyndham? His lordship declining so to do, Mr Shelley will probably come in, and add another Member to the great parliamentary interest of the Duke of Norfolk.
Shelley was indeed returned unopposed with Bisshopp. The latter withdrew in 1806 when Sir Charles Merrik Burrell, future son-in-law of Lord Egremont, offered. In 1807 Burrell and Shelley (in opposite political camps) resisted a challenge from Bisshopp’s son and heir. Norfolk suspected Egremont of encouraging the contest and complained of the ‘No Popery’ cry against Shelley. The poll lasted three days and 722 votes were cast. Shelley secured 120 plumpers, compared with 45 for Burrell and 44 for Bisshopp. Sir Harry Goring nominated Bisshopp and his son nominated Burrell. The largest parishes were Horsham, Worthing and New Shoreham and they provided Burrell with 200 votes, Shelley with 181 and Bisshopp with 134. At least 140 electors had not voted.6 There was no further contest until 1820, Shelley having made way quietly for another Norfolk nominee in 1818.
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. Oldfield, Boroughs, ii. 160.
- 2. Lewes Jnl. 14, 21 June 1790; PRO 30/8/165, f. 126; 171, f. 149; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Newcastle mss NeC 2580, 2582.
- 3. Sun, 26 May 1795; PRO 30/8/132, f. 93.
- 4. Lewes Jnl. 6 June 1796.
- 5. The Times, 20 Jan. 1802.
- 6. NLI, Richmond mss 69/1227; Arundel Castle mss, Ld. R. Spencer to Norfolk [May 1807]; The Poll (Lee, 1808).