Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Background Information

Estimated number qualified to vote:

about 10,0001

Number of voters:

1,725 in 1830


11 Aug. 1830SIR HENRY EDWARD BUNBURY, bt.1097
 Sir Thomas Sherlock Gooch, bt.627

Main Article

Seven-eighths of Suffolk’s land were given over to arable farming, and the maltings at Ipswich, Lowestoft, Woodbridge, Beccles and Snape were major suppliers of the London breweries. The woollen trade was in terminal decline (manufacturing ceased by 1840), but silk and worsted production continued at Glemsford, Haverhill, Mildenhall and Sudbury. Lowestoft, known for its china factory and herring fishing, petitioned for repeal of the salt duties in 1822, and the problems of adjusting to the peacetime market, intermittent distress and tariff reform prompted petitioning from all sectors of the local economy in the 1820s.2 The historic administrative division between the ‘liberty of Bury St. Edmunds’ and the remainder of the county endured. Quarter sessions were held at Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich and the unfranchised towns of Beccles and Woodbridge. The assizes, which Ipswich vainly applied to host in 1832, remained exclusive to Bury St. Edmunds. County meetings (including the election nomination meeting) were normally held centrally in Stowmarket, and the election itself in Ipswich.3

Since the county had last polled in 1790, the aristocracy had colluded to secure the return of one pro-reform, pro-Catholic emancipation Whig and one anti-Catholic Tory. It was assumed that both Members would be resident squires, sensitive to the agriculturists’ demands and, although they were not deliberately selected on the basis of their strength in the east or west of the county, the Tory Member usually chaired the Ipswich bench and the Whig that of the liberty of Bury St. Edmunds.4 The leading Whigs in 1820 were the 12th duke of Norfolk of Farnham Park and the 4th duke of Grafton of Euston Hall. The party hierarchy included the 3rd Baron Calthorpe of Ampton Park (where his son Frederick Gough Calthorpe* was an occasional resident), the 2nd Baron Huntingfield of Heveningham Hall, Sir William Parker, 7th bt., of Melford Hall, Sir Robert Harland, 2nd bt., of Sproughton and Sir Thomas Charles Bunbury†, 6th bt., of Barton Hall, who in 1812 had relinquished the representation to Harland’s brother-in-law Sir William Rowley. The 5th duke of Rutland and the 2nd Marquess Cornwallis, both absentees, were the titular leaders of the Tories. Their partisan the 5th earl of Rochford of the White House, Easton, was increasingly infirm and delegated business to the Rev. Samuel Kilderbee of Great Glenham and his son Spencer de Horsey Kilderbee*. The 2nd marquess of Hertford of Sudbourne, gave priority to his Irish and borough interests, while the Grenvillite 5th earl (from 1826 1st marquess) of Bristol lived in France and London until 1822, and later while his mansion at Ickworth was refurbished. This left Sir John Rous†, 6th bt. (from 1821 1st Baron Stradbroke), who in 1806 had been succeeded in the representation by his brother-in-law Thomas Gooch. ‘Great exertions had been made by the Dissenters’ to find a second Whig to oppose Gooch at the general election of 1818, but Parker, Sir William Middleton† of Shrubland Park, Huntingfield’s brother-in-law Andrew Arcedeckne* of Glevering Hall and the radical Joshua Grigby of Bury St. Edmunds had declined to stand, and opposition was restricted to ‘clamour and noise of "No Gooch"’.5 Sir Charles Bunbury’s nephew and heir, the Whig Sir Henry Edward Bunbury of Mildenhall Manor, a former under-secretary for war and colonies who aspired to the representation, created a stir in November 1819 by writing to the duke of Norfolk to propose a county meeting on the Liverpool ministry’s response to the Peterloo massacre; but no action was taken and the radicals applied in vain to the Whig leaders for a second candidate at the general election of 1820.6 Fearing unrest, the sheriff drafted in special constables for the nomination, 10 Mar., but expressions of discontent were confined to cries of ‘no Gooch, no gagging bill’. ‘Gaffer’ Gooch was an able and entertaining public speaker, and his promises to attend to agricultural and commercial distress were eventually well received, although his proposer, Admiral George Wilson of Redgrave Hall (the scene of a recent violent affray with poachers) and his seconder, Mileson Edgar of Red House, Ipswich, were hissed throughout. Rowley, whose silent votes with opposition for reform and retrenchment and to limit the Seditious Meetings Act were publicized in the London and local press, was proposed by Parker and applauded.7 According to the banker James Oakes, the Members celebrated their return at Ipswich in ‘different houses, being gentlemen of different politics it was thought the best way, as some unpleasantness occurred [at] the last election dinner’.8 Magistrates, merchants, landowners and occupiers countywide petitioned both Houses in May 1820 for action to combat agricultural distress, and Gooch seconded a motion for, 30 May, and was appointed to a committee of inquiry, 31 May, but its remit was confined to the corn averages.9

Tension rose in the autumn of 1820 in the wake of a poor corn harvest and an inflammatory letter to the freeholders from Bunbury, whose request for a county meeting to consider agricultural distress and Queen Caroline’s trial had been turned down by the sheriff, George Thomas of Woodbridge. His letter complained of the threat posed to ‘constitutional liberty’ by the decision to try the queen by means of a bill of pains and penalties and use of the Seditious Meetings Act to prevent county meetings.10 The schoolmaster of Bungay, W.H. Scraggs, was publicly dismissed for encouraging illuminations in the queen’s honour after her prosecution was abandoned in November. The inhabitants of Woodbridge adopted separate addresses to the king and queen, the former covertly, the latter publicly; and Norfolk ensured that an 800-signature address to the queen was forthcoming from the hundred of Lackford.11 Gooch, who was pleased to see Bunbury denounced and disowned by ministers, categorically refused to present it, but Rowley was eventually prevailed upon to do so.12 In March 1821 Thomas’s successor as sheriff, the moderate Tory Philip Bennet† junior of Rougham Hall, called a county meeting, which, as agreed at a dinner in Bury St. Edmunds in honour of Charles James Fox†, 15 Feb., proposed parliamentary reform as a remedy for distress.13 Bunbury and Grafton’s heir Lord Euston* were the main speakers at Stowmarket, 16 Mar., when, supported by Grafton, Huntingfield, Harland, Middleton and the Bury St. Edmunds reformers, they carried resolutions for parliamentary reform, of no confidence in ministers and for ‘inquiry into the causes of the present distress and the means of remedying it’. Bunbury, Euston, Grafton and Huntingfield were appointed to prepare a petition to both Houses. The Tories, who were equally anxious to be seen acting against distress, accused the Whigs of taking over the meeting unfairly, and a counter-address, from which criticism of ministers and reform were excluded, was organized on their behalf by Edgar, the Kilderbees, Sir Edward Kerrison* of Oakley Park, the Felixtowe merchant and landowner Samuel Sacker Quilter and the 1815 sheriff Charles Tyrell, and signed by 850 freeholders, 17 Mar. The same day, the Tory Ipswich Journal reported that

great pains had been taken to attach an unusual degree of importance to this meeting and to instil a belief into the minds of the many that from its deliberations a new and permanent bias would be given to the political feelings of the county. That such effects will result, we do not for a moment believe. In our view of it, this proceeding has had much the semblance of a passing storm.14

The ‘reform’ petition, signed by between 10 and 11,000, was presented to the Lords by Grafton, 16 Apr., and to the Commons in Rowley’s absence by the Member for Norfolk, Thomas William Coke, 17 Apr.15 Gooch offered to second it, but tried to profit from its association with Bunbury and claimed that the signatories included only three of the county’s 14 nobles, 12 of the 455 magistrates (he later conceded that 33 gentlemen had signed), eight of the 500 clergy, and no more than 1,000 freeholders. He boasted that the counter-address had been signed by ten nobles, 300 ‘gentlemen, esquires and freeholders’, 300 ‘clergy and farmers’ and 200 ‘professional men and traders’; but he could not deny that seven of the nobles had proprietary interests in borough constituencies, and that 55 of the 155 clergymen were not Suffolk parish priests.16 Scrutiny of the counter-address confirms its popularity among the rural squirearchy and well-to-do in the towns, especially in the eastern half of the county.17 Woodbridge, Hadleigh and the hundred of Stow joined Ipswich in petitioning the Commons for repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. 1821.18 Parliament received distress petitions regularly in February and March from ‘landowners and occupiers’ and agriculturists organized by the ‘hundred’, pressing for protection and a reduced tax burden; and these were referred to a select committee chaired by Gooch, who, by the time Lord Erskine presented a further 20 Suffolk petitions to the Lords, 14 June, had deliberately distanced himself from the committee’s report (drafted by William Huskisson and David Ricardo), which favoured a gradual repeal of the corn laws.19 For the next three years Foxite meetings revived as reform dinners and chaired by Bunbury in Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft, and Suffolk Pitt Club dinners, presided over from July 1821 by Gooch in Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich, became focuses of political allegiance.20 Norfolk and Suffolk remained the counties ‘hardest hit’ by agricultural distress, and following the Norfolk meeting, 12 Jan., Bennet was prevailed on to call another at Stowmarket, 29 Jan. 1822.21 It was preceded by vigorous and well-publicized exchanges between Parker and Edgar about the place of reform on the agenda, which otherwise attributed distress to a premature return to the gold standard and high taxation and pressed for retrenchment, lower taxes and agricultural protection.22 An estimated 5,000 attended, including both Members, and while the Whig aristocracy were better represented than their Tory counterparts, the squirearchy of both parties were out in force. Bunbury’s insistence that without the reform resolution there would be no petition prevailed. Grafton reminded Gooch, who deliberately left before reform was considered, that he could lose his seat, and criticized his chairmanship of the 1821 agriculture committee and his votes against retrenchment.23 The Ipswich Journal commented that the meeting’s purpose was ‘not to obtain relief but to introduce Sir Henry Bunbury’, who had succeeded Sir Charles in the baronetcy and to the family estates, ‘to your notice for political purposes’.24 The Times, which sent down a reporter, prompted a local outcry by maintaining that ‘a county meeting of more importance, for the talents, dignity, and general character of the people assembled was ... hardly ever held since England was divided into counties’. Its editor commended the gentry and freeholders for calling for ‘relief by retrenchment and economy ... in which all may participate, and by which none can be injured’, and added:

The proceedings which took place on ... reform ... were of a very curious and interesting nature. Eight resolutions had been passed, of a spirit strictly analogous to the letter of the resolution which called the meeting, when a ninth resolution, requiring a reform in Parliament, was propounded. This was opposed, reform making no article for consideration in the requisition, and the introduction of extraneous matter was forbidden by the celebrated Six Acts ... but it was discovered to be legally in the power of the sheriff to dismiss the present meeting and, upon a new requisition, to call a second instanter to consider the subject ... Thus has a demand for ... reform been made by the greatest union of property and talent that ever took place in the county of Suffolk.25

On 15 Feb. Gooch, who ‘differed from the political sentiments expressed’, presented the ‘reform’ petition to the Commons, where Coke and Sir James Macdonald, who had been present at the meeting, tried to guard against its misrepresentation.26 Meanwhile, to reduce its impact, numerous petitions were dispatched from the hundreds and owners and occupiers, advocating agricultural protection as a remedy for distress.27 The Bury and Norwich Post of 10 Apr. criticized the 1822 agricultural committee’s report co-authored by Gooch, for doing nothing to reduce taxation, but hostility to the admission of bonded corn for milling and re-export under the government’s corn importation bill was greater, and the subject of renewed petitioning from late May to July 1822. Modifications to the sliding scale proposed by government now negotiated by Gooch were well received.28

Macdonald had observed privately that the ‘Suffolk Whigs are more tractable men than those of Norfolk’ and, deterred by Cobbettite meetings from attaching reform to distress, in 1823 they instigated a county meeting specifically to petition for reform, chaired by the sheriff Henry Usborne, 4 Apr.29 On a particularly wet day, Grafton and Norfolk having sent letters apologizing for their absence, Bunbury and Parker dominated proceedings, assisted by Grafton’s chaplain John William Drage Merest† of Lynford Hall, Norfolk, and John Macdonald. They condemned Suffolk’s rotten boroughs and the growing influence as joint patron of Aldeburgh and Orford of Francis Charles Seymour Conway*, his father’s successor in June 1822 as 3rd marquess of Hertford. Scant attention was paid to the constitutional basis for reform or the county constituency, although the desirability of a householder and copyholder franchise was mentioned. Rowley concurred in the petition’s objectives. Gooch did not dismiss reform outright, but stated that ‘no plan of reform has yet been proposed that can satisfy my mind’; and he dissented from the petition’s prayer, when, again taking over from Rowley, he presented it, 24 Apr. 1823.30 Both Houses had recently received petitions for agricultural protection from Woodbridge, Hadleigh, Framlingham and the eastern hundreds, but the arable farmers’ enthusiasm for wideranging meetings and petitioning waned as conditions improved.31 The reeve and inhabitants of Bungay (situated on the Norwich canal) petitioned the Commons for repeal of the duty on coal carried coastwise, 23 June 1823 (and again, 8 Feb. 1831).32 Petitions objecting to the proposed withdrawal of the protective tariff on wool were received by both Houses from the producers of Framlingham, Hadleigh, Stowmarket and Woodbridge, 14 Apr., 7, 11, 18 May 1824; and, with the West Suffolk Agricultural Society and Saxmundham, they forwarded similar petitions annually between 1827 and 1830.33 The hundreds of Bosmere, Claydon and Colneis petitioned the Commons against the release of imported corn for domestic consumption, 11 May 1824; and hostile petitioning ‘by the hundred’ resumed in earnest when further adjustments to the corn laws were proposed in 1825 and in 1826.34 Certain hundreds also petitioned for the small debts bill, 25 Feb., and repeal of the Insolvent Debtors Act, 10 Mar, 15, 18 Apr. 1823.35 Woodbridge, Hadleigh and the hundred of Stow joined in the petitioning for repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. 1821, and the county’s common brewers petitioned against the beer bill, 17 May 1822, and the alehouse licensing bill, 25, 31 Mar., 14 May 1824.36 The latter, together with the game laws, featured in petitions recommending changes received by the Commons, 24 Apr. 1823, and the Lords, 19 May 1824, from the magistrates of the liberty of Bury St. Edmunds, who at their meeting on 14 Apr. had criticized the game and licensing laws as ‘a baneful influence on the morals of our agricultural population’, 14 Apr. 1824.37 The Dissenters and the Beccles, Bungay and Woodbridge branches of the London Missionary Society petitioned the Commons against the indictment in Demerara of the Methodist missionary John Smith, 25, 27 May 1824; and both Houses received anti-slavery petitions from Suffolk in 1823, 1824 and 1826, but the county petition which the Norfolk Quaker Joseph John Gurney of Earlham had hoped for in 1825 did not materialize.38

The partition and sale of the Cornwallis estates around the time of the 2nd marquess’s death in 1823 had given the Kerrisons possession of Brome and the Benyons of Culford. This provided a seat at Eye in 1824 for Sir Edward Kerrison, but made little difference to the relative strengths of the parties;39 and it was apparent before the dissolution that Suffolk would remain uncontested and its representation unchanged at the general election of 1826, when Arcedeckne, Euston and the marquess of Bristol’s heir Earl Jermyn were accommodated in the boroughs.40 Citing ill health, Bunbury had informed his friends in Holland House in November 1824 that he was unlikely to ‘come forward’ and Gooch had made his candidature almost impossible by ensuring that his appeal to the home secretary Peel, against serving as sheriff in 1825-6 was rejected.41 He now planned a long stay in Europe to try to restore his family’s health.42 Concern was voiced in local newspapers and before a crowd of 2,000 at the nomination meeting, 16 June, about government policy on the Holy Alliance and protection, particularly for corn; and, unlike in the boroughs, Catholic emancipation (the subject of a hostile petition to the Lords from the hundred of Risbridge, 16 Mar. 1825) was barely mentioned.43 In Stowmarket, Sir Charles Blois of Cockfield and Edgar sponsored Gooch, and Harland and Middleton’s heir, Sir William Francis Middleton, nominated Rowley; but Bennet was substituted for Edgar in Ipswich, 20 June 1826. Rowley said little. Gooch, who faced further tough questioning on foreign policy and protection, insisted on sitting ‘unfettered and unpledged’. The Members again hosted separate dinners.44

Petitions against alteration of the corn laws and in favour of the ‘Winchester bushel’ were forwarded to Parliament ‘by the hundred’ from the Woodbridge division and from towns and neighbourhoods all over east Suffolk in February and March 1827, many of them deliberately and provocatively based on the president of the board of trade Huskisson’s 1814 pamphlet promoting the 1815 corn law.45 Neither Member supported Canning’s coalition ministry, and Gooch, as an ardent anti-Catholic, denounced it at an election dinner in Ipswich, 18 Apr.46 Farmers attending Hadleigh market petitioned against the government’s ‘destructive’ corn bill, 27 June 1827.47 Memorials prepared and submitted to the new Wellington ministry early in 1828 by the president of the West Suffolk Agricultural Society Sir James Affleck of Dalham and John Moseley of Great Glenham House criticized the proposed corn bill. Petitions objecting to its details, or advocating outright protection were received by both Houses from the hundreds of Blything, 25, 28 Apr., Bosmere and Claydon 29 Apr., Holmbeach, 25 Apr., Plomesgate, 12 May, and Woodbridge, 7, 23 May.48 The landowners, farmers and maltsters of Hadleigh and Lowestoft now joined those of Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich in petitioning for repeal of the 1827 Malt Act.49 Petitions against the Test Acts were organized for the 1827-8 repeal committee in London by the Rev. Charles Atkinson of Ipswich and dispatched from Stowmarket, Woodbridge and individual congregations countywide.50 Lord Eldon presented an estimated 50 Suffolk anti-Catholic petitions to the Lords, 3 Mar. 1829, which ‘Publicola’ in The Times claimed had been collected like ‘small tithes’ and encouraged by millenarians; scrutiny confirms that they came from 16 small rural parishes.51 Others to the Commons against the concession of Catholic emancipation in 1829, which Gooch opposed to the last, were forthcoming from Hadleigh, Lakenheath, Long Melford, Lowestoft, Mildenhall, Rougham, Rushbrooke, Southwold, and Stow Upland.52 The old meeting-house at Framlingham petitioned for the measure, 6 Mar. 1829.53 Distress was again acute, and petitioning ‘by the hundreds’ was anticipated in January 1830, when, at Gooch’s behest, the Tories organized a county meeting to petition both Houses for remedial measures and ensured that it was convened at Ipswich, 6 Feb., to minimize the influence of the west Suffolk Whigs.54 It was preceded by exchanges in the local press between Moseley and Affleck, neither of whom was able to attend. Grafton and Bunbury were also conspicuous absentees.55 The petition, which Parker moved and Kerrison seconded, deplored the precipitate return to the gold standard, called for ‘the severest retrenchment’ and for relief through increased agricultural protection, including the use of growers’ instead of dealers’ prices for calculating corn averages, and lower duties on beer and malt. Supporting the resolutions, Gooch made a jibe at political economists and apparently promised to support retrenchment, which pleased his audience. No vote was taken on alternative resolutions proposed by Samuel Sacker Quilter, who advocated remedies for commercial as well as agricultural distress, measures to improve the circulation of specie and lower taxes on small beer and malt to assist the labourers.56 A letter from Bunbury, cautioning against petitioning for currency change or against free trade, suggested that lower taxes and severe retrenchment afforded the best prospect of relief. Because it was not read out to the meeting by the sheriff John Ruggles Brise as he had requested, Bunbury had it printed. Affleck also later complained that his views had been misrepresented to the meeting.57 Their petition, which was received by the Lords in the name of the nobility, gentry, freeholders and inhabitants, 4 Mar., and by the Commons the following day,58 did not deter the hundreds of Babergh, Colneis and Hoxne and the county’s barley dealers and growers from petitioning independently for relief and suggesting alternative remedies.59 Petitions were also forthcoming from bankers and Nonconformists for abolition of the death penalty for forgery and non-violent crimes, 24 May, 15, 21 June and from publicans and licensed victuallers opposing the sale of beer bill, 5 July.60 The Commons received a petition against the Southwold harbour bill, by which Gooch’s son Edward Sherlock Gooch† was to profit, 3 May 1830.61

From June 1830, when the king’s death was anticipated, letters criticizing Gooch for failing to translate his promise of 6 Feb. into votes for retrenchment appeared regularly in the newspapers, alongside notices that Rowley, who could no longer commit himself to the attendance required of a county Member, was standing down.62 Parker had died in April, and after ensuring that Grafton and Bristol would not act against him Bunbury announced his candidature, 8 July. Gooch had issued notices two days previously, but his brother-in-law Rous had died in 1827 and friend and foe alike thought ‘Gooch would go, if he was well opposed’.63 Bunbury had declared:

I mean to throw myself entirely on the opinion of the county at large; and unless I should find that this opinion is decidedly favourable, I do not propose to press upon the freeholders the offer of my services.64

Realizing the impossibility of canvassing the whole county personally, he organized a network of committees operating from Bury and Ipswich to do so and, like the Ipswich reformers subsequently, he chose to sport red and white, his family’s racing colours, rather than the Whig orange. Gooch, for whom Kerrison campaigned assiduously, kept to Tory blue.65 The third man Charles Tyrell, since 1828 the liberal Tory squire of Gipping, Haughley and Polstead, had organized petitions from agriculturists in the Bury area against corn law reform in 1825 and 1826. He had recently refused to second Gooch’s nomination, but he initially rejected a requisition from Quilter and other Tories dissatisfied with Gooch and was expected to back him, or at least to defer his decision until they met at the assizes. Thus the legitimacy of Tyrell’s candidature, which he announced at the request of his tenant at Gipping, Richard Dalton, and Quilter, 24 July 1830, without further consultation with Gooch, hinged for many on their interpretation of published correspondence between Tyrell, Gooch and the latter’s agent, J. Edgar Rust.66 Neither the pro-reform Bury and Norwich Post nor the more conservative Bury and Suffolk Herald thought Tyrell should be bound by this early promise.67 With opinion polarized for and against Gooch, it was perceived soon after overtures were made to Gilbert John Heathcote* and others that a second Whig might ‘let Gooch in’, and it remained a three-way contest.68 The Tory marquess of Hertford, who returned Wellington’s son Lord Douro for Aldeburgh, ‘decided not to meddle else all my pheasants would be shot by complaisant freeholders and my room full of canvassing parsons asking for the numberless crown livings Suffolk contains’.69 Bunbury vehemently denied reports that he would retire before the poll and of collusion with Tyrell, who, although he had signed the counter-address in March 1821, now agreed with him on the need for parliamentary reform, the abolition of slavery and religious toleration.70 Nevertheless, Bunbury’s supporters joined in the campaign to persuade freeholders to share election transport without charge.71

Accounts of proceedings at the nomination, which was ‘expected to be an opinion for the county’, indicate that the attitude of the Members and candidates to government and to current political issues was a powerful element in the contest.72 Sir William Francis Middleton presided as sheriff and Gooch, proposed by Colonel Robert Rushbroke† of Rushbroke Hall and seconded by Sir Charles Broke Vere† of Nacton, was harangued as a ‘thick and thin supporter of ministers’ who had put the needs of his party before those of his constituents to secure patronage for family members, namely church livings and the Southwood Haven Act. Richard Dalton’s forensic analysis of Gooch’s parliamentary conduct belied his sponsors’ claims that he was ‘a friend of agriculture’, which went unheeded. Bunbury’s eldest son Charles James Fox Bunbury recalled that ‘the people were so enraged against Sir Thomas, that they would not even hear him, but there was no actual violence’. Bunbury’s supporters Huntingfield, Harland and Moseley and his proposers Euston and Sir Hyde Parker† (Parker’s cousin and heir) praised him as ‘a friend to agriculture, an enforcer of economies and an advocate of parliamentary reform’, whose party was Suffolk. Quilter and Rust supported Tyrell, who was introduced to the freeholders by Dalton and John Henry Heigham of Hunston Hall as the man to fight for measures against distress ‘unfettered by party shackles’.73 On the hustings at Ipswich, 10 Aug. 1830, Tyrell insisted that he bore Gooch no malice, but ‘if he has committed errors of judgement ... he must take his political sins on his own head’. At the end of the first day’s poll the trend was clear: Gooch’s 525 plumpers were no match for Bunbury and Tyrell’s 988 split votes and 53 plumpers each. Sixty-seven freeholders split their votes between Gooch and Bunbury and only 12 between the two Tories. Before polling resumed, 11 Aug. 1830, Tyrell’s son Charles brought the news to Polstead that Gooch had decided to concede defeat, and beer was ordered for the populace.74

In an open letter to the freeholders that day Gooch claimed that he had lost because of the coalition against him organized by the election committees, but Moseley, who chaired Bunbury’s in Ipswich, vehemently denied this.75 The Globe concluded: ‘Sir Thomas Gooch seems to have been allowed to praise ... Wellington without interruption [but] he was not listened to with patience when he attempted to excuse himself with the duke’s merits’.76 Others thought him ‘not sufficiently violent to please the sovereign mob’.77 Ministers attributed his defeat to local factors and took comfort in Tyrell’s Tory credentials.78 The verdict of The Times, that ‘liberal opinions have at last forced their way even amongst the electors of Suffolk’, is supported by the presence of the signatures of Tyrell’s key supporters on the 1821 counter-address.79 The Bury and Norwich Post, however, interpreted the result as a manifestation of freeholder independence at the expense of the aristocracy and criticized the Bury St. Edmunds Unitarian minister William Pitt Scargill for stating in his pamphlet, The Peace of the County, that, but for opposition to Gooch, Bunbury would have achieved his objective of creeping into Parliament under the cloak of the aristocracy according to the system instigated in 1790.80 Bunbury’s private correspondence confirms that he had not expected a contest and had anticipated spending ‘no more than three and four hundred pounds’.81 Tory squires had warned Mileson Edgar as early as March 1822 that ‘loyalty will become a rare commodity with the yeomanry’, and Scargill attributed Tyrell’s success to his being a Suffolk Tory yeoman sympathetic to reform, who had more in common with the freeholders than a nominee of the Whig aristocracy; but the pamphlet also acknowledged that the groundswell of support for reform which had brought the Whigs success in Cambridgeshire, Devon, Norfolk and Yorkshire was present in Suffolk.82 Bunbury polled more votes than Tyrell in 12 of the 14 hundreds and Tyrell topped the poll only in the hundreds of Bosmere and Claydon, and Stow, where he held land. They received 43 per cent of their votes from the three western hundreds of Babergh, Blackbourne and Hartismere and Thingoe and Bury. Gooch headed the poll in and gained approximately 41 per cent of his votes from the hundreds of Loes and Wilford, Mutford and Lothingland, Samford and Cosford, and Blything, where his estates lay. Despite Kerrison’s influence, Gooch came third in the hundred of Hoxne and Wangford and at Beccles; while Eye was one of 38 settlements to vote unanimously against him. Only in Colneis and Carlford was Bunbury first, Gooch second and Tyrell third. Bunbury gained 113, Tyrell 106 and Gooch 78 votes from Ipswich and its liberties. Occupations were not specified in the pollbooks, but commentators noted that of 104 clergy polled, 74 plumped for Gooch, six for Tyrell and five for Bunbury, while eight split their votes Gooch-Bunbury and four Gooch-Tyrell.83

Tyrell’s parliamentary conduct differed little from Bunbury’s. Both contributed to the Wellington ministry’s defeat on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830, and voted for the Grey ministry’s reform bill at key divisions in 1831 and 1832. Anti-slavery petitioning had stalled in 1828, but it resumed in the towns before the general election of 1830 and there was extensive petitioning of both Houses for abolition in November and December 1830 and again in March and April 1831.84 Both Members endorsed a petition from Rendham for repeal of the malt duties, 8 Feb. 1831.85 Handbills were printed reminding the freeholders of their duty to promote reform to safeguard their independence, and reform meetings were already scheduled or anticipated at Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Lowestoft, Mildenhall and Woodbridge, when a county meeting, requested by 620 freeholders, was held at Stowmarket, 17 Mar., to petition in favour of the reform bill. It proposed dividing the county constituency in two, leaving Ipswich unchanged, disfranchising Aldeburgh, Dunwich, Eye and Orford and making Bury St. Edmunds and Sudbury single Member constituencies.86 Grafton and both Members sent letters of apology for their absence on account of their parliamentary duties and endorsed in advance the resolutions in the bill’s favour proposed by Harland and Moseley. A crowd of 2-3,000 attended, and after some prevarication the petition was adopted in the name of the sheriff John Read to expedite its presentation to the Commons, 18 Mar., with another from Halesworth. Grafton presented it to the Lords, 21 Mar.87 The anti-reform Bury and Suffolk Herald and Ipswich Journal highlighted the absence of the aristocracy and agriculturists from the meeting, which they claimed was attended by only 1,500 and dominated by the reformers of Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds.88 The Commons received further Suffolk petitions favourable to reform, 16, 21, 22 Mar., when Woodbridge also petitioned against it.89 Both Members sought re-election at the general election precipitated by its defeat. Bunbury had declined to join the administration as secretary at war and had recently taken leave because of illness, and his wife had to act quickly to quash rumours that he was standing down because of indifferent health.90 She informed her brother Sir Charles Napier, 26 Apr.:

They are trying to work up an opposition to Sir Henry, but as yet have only been able to muster three signatures to their requisition. Many have declared their determination to support him who was beaten at the last election, but I trust there will be no contest.91

Gooch had declared for moderate reform, including the enfranchisement of large towns, and false reports of his candidature seems to have deterred the anti-reformer Broke Vere from starting and facilitated the unopposed return of Bunbury and Tyrell.92 Tyrell was proposed as previously, and Huntingfield and Harland sponsored Bunbury at Stowmarket, 3 May, when the freeholders proved sympathetic to pleas that little could be gained for the farmers and landowners until the reform bill had been passed. Both candidates promised to support it and to do all they could to increase the rural vote by extending the franchise to agricultural tenants. Bennet’s challenge to them was drowned out.93 At Ipswich, 10 May 1831, Huntingfield and Harland hailed Bunbury as a lifelong reformer and Huntingfield spoke of own ready sacrifice as co-patron of Dunwich. Negotiations for support at the first post-reform election were already under way, and after Henniker and Blois had proposed Tyrell, the election and attendant dinner became a showcase for Arcedeckne, John Fitzgerald*, Charles Lillingstone, Henniker and Huntingfield to display their credentials as candidates in waiting, while Quilter harangued the mob.94

The Members’ conduct was closely monitored in the local press and both voted for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, attended to its details when present, and generally supported amendments likely to boost the rural vote.95 On 22 July 1831 Bunbury demolished the anti-reformer Croker’s case for a combined Aldeburgh and Orford constituency with a single Member, or transferring their representation to Woodbridge, which by 1831 had a population of 4,060. Tyrell supported the popular campaign to save Sudbury’s second seat, 2 Aug., which was eventually spared.96 Tyrell incurred the wrath of his original backers despite his endeavours to put the agriculturists’ case against the use of molasses in brewing and distilling before the Commons, on bringing up petitions from Bungay, Halesworth and Harleston, 20, 21, 30 July; and again on presenting others requesting amendments to the 1830 Beer Retail Act, 11 July 1831, 6 Feb. 1832.97 Meanwhile the aristocracy, both Whig and Tory, remained resentful at the ease with which Quilter and Dalton had been able to bring in Tyrell and feared, with justification, that he would do the same with Robert Newton Shawe†, ‘a very good fellow but quite a new man in the county’.98 Strong support for the reintroduced bill continued to be manifested, and early in October 1831 Beccles, Lowestoft, Mildenhall and Woodbridge petitioned the Lords for its speedy passage.99 A 1,628-signature requisition for a county meeting was submitted to the sheriff following its rejection by the Lords and the Whig aristocracy assembled in force at Stowmarket, 11 Nov. 1831, when Norfolk proposed and Huntingfield seconded an address to the king regretting its defeat. Both Members were called on to defend and justify their parliamentary conduct, which the meeting commended, and Grafton, the earl of Gosford, Arcedeckne, Harland, Moseley, Shawe and the Bury St. Edmunds reformer Frederick King Eagle were among the main speakers. Read, as chairman, threw out a late resolution criticising the anti-reformer Sir Charles Wetherell’s* involvement in the Bristol riots.100 Suffolk’s anti-reformers had stayed away from the meeting, and Lord Bristol and his son afterwards organized and circulated an address to the king on their behalf.101 During the constitutional crisis of May 1832 Bungay sent the Members an address requesting them to refuse to vote supplies until the reform bill was enacted.102 Petitioning against slavery and for a reduction in the number of capital offences revived with the bill’s passage, and petitions against the Maynooth grant were forwarded to both Houses in April 1832.103

As the boundary commissioners had recommended, by the Boundary Act the hundreds of Hartesmere and Stow were added to the liberty of Bury St. Edmunds to form the new Suffolk West constituency, polling at Bury, Wickham Market, Lavenham, Stowmarket, Ixworth and Mildenhall. The remaining hundreds formed Suffolk East, polling at Ipswich, Needham, Woodbridge, Framlingham, Saxmundham, Halesworth and Beccles.104 Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich and Sudbury retained their representation; Eye, whose boundaries were greatly extended, kept one seat, and the coastal boroughs of Aldeburgh, Dunwich and Orford were disfranchised, reducing the representation from 16 Members to 11. The registration of 3,326 electors in Suffolk West and 4,265 in Suffolk East before the 1832 general election was closely scrutinized.105 In the Western division, Hyde Parker and Tyrell, standing as Liberal reformers and backed by Bunbury, who now retired (a decision he later regretted), defeated the Conservative Henry Waddington†; but the constituency returned a Liberal and a Conservative in 1835 and afterwards became solidly Conservative. It was predicted from the outset that the Conservatives would try to ‘work Suffolk East’, where there was no shortage of rival candidates, like a close borough, by splitting the Liberals; and, although a Liberal and a Conservative were returned in 1832, thereafter it was a Conservative stronghold.106

Author: Margaret Escott


  • 1. W.P.S. [William Pitt Scargill], Peace of the County (1830), 28.
  • 2. VCH Suff. ii. 250-97; CJ, lxxvii. 247.
  • 3. PP (1831-2), xli. 42-43; W. White, Suff. Dir. (1844), 14, 15; CJ, lxxxvii. 449, 486.
  • 4. HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 366, 367.
  • 5. Oakes Diaries ed. J. Fiske (Suff. Recs. Soc. xxxiii), ii. 235.
  • 6. HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 366, 367; Bunbury Mem. 85-92; Suff. Chron. 26 Feb. 1820.
  • 7. The Times, 1 Mar.; Suff. Chron. 18 Mar.; Ipswich Jnl. 18 Mar. 1820.
  • 8. Oakes Diaries, ii. 252, 253.
  • 9. CJ, lxxv. 166, 176, 252; LJ, liii. 83, 86, 93.
  • 10. Suff. Chron. 26 Aug.; The Times, 4 Sept. 1820; Bunbury Mem. 93-99.
  • 11. The Times, 5, 14, 25 Dec. 1820, 6, 30 Jan. 1821.
  • 12. Ibid. 5 Jan., 1 Feb.; Bury and Norwich Post, 3, 10 Jan., 7 Feb.; John Bull, 3 Feb. 1821; Add. 38574, f. 232; HMC Bathurst, 490, 493, 494.
  • 13. The Times, 19 Feb.; Bury and Norwich Post, 7, 14 Mar. 1821.
  • 14. Suff. Chron. 17, 24 Mar.; Ipswich Jnl. 17 Mar.; The Times, 21 Mar. 1821.
  • 15. LJ, liv. 350; CJ, lxxvi. 275; The Times, 17, 18 Apr. 1821.
  • 16. Proprietor of ‘Suff. Chron.’ to Yeomanry of ... Suff. [BL 8135. e. 76.]; Suff. Coll. [BL 1034. m. 1.], f. 203 et seq.
  • 17. J. Raw, Suff. Pocket Bk. (1822); Ipswich Jnl. 31 Mar.; Bury and Norwich Post, 4, 11 Apr. 1821.
  • 18. CJ, lxxvi. 229.
  • 19. LJ, liv. 78, 513-4; CJ, lxxvi. 113, 143; B. Hilton, Corn, Cash, Commerce, 107. See GOOCH.
  • 20. BL, Suff. Coll. f. 199; Bury and Norwich Post, 9 Jan., 1 May 1822, 13, 20, 27 Aug. 1823; Suff. Chron. 27 Apr., 13, 27 July, 24 Aug.; The Times, 23 Aug. 1822; Ipswich Jnl. 9, 23 Aug. 1823.
  • 21. Trinity Coll. Camb. Dawson Turner mss DT2/k2/3; The Times, 4 Jan.; Ipswich Jnl. 19 Jan. 1822.
  • 22. Ipswich Jnl. 26 Jan.; The Times, 31 Jan. 1822.
  • 23. Oakes Diaries, ii. 272; Ipswich Jnl. 2 Feb.; Suff. Chron. 2 Feb. 1822; Hilton, 144.
  • 24. Ipswich Jnl. 9 Feb. 1822.
  • 25. The Times, 31 Jan., 18 Feb. 1822.
  • 26. CJ, lxxvii. 27; The Times, 16 Feb. 1822.
  • 27. LJ, lv. 111, 160, 165, 178, 179, 183, 184, 216; CJ, lxxvii. 16, 47, 88, 142.
  • 28. Bury and Norwich Post, 24 Apr., 29 May; Hilton, 151; LJ, lv. 259, 265, 269, 301; CJ, lxxvii. 254, 284, 301, 356.
  • 29. Lansdowne mss, Macdonald to Lansdowne [Aug.] 1822; Norwich Mercury, 11, 18 Jan.; Ipswich Jnl. 29 Mar. 1823.
  • 30. Ipswich Jnl. 5 Apr.; The Times, 5, 7, 5 Apr.; Bury and Norwich Post, 9 Apr. 1823; CJ, lxxviii. 244, 245.
  • 31. Ipswich Jnl. 5 Apr. 1823; LJ, lv. 540, 628; CJ, lxxviii. 102, 115, 200.
  • 32. CJ, lxxviii. 131; lxxxvi. 222.
  • 33. Ibid. lxxix. 298, 346; lxxii. 528, 548; lxxiii. 283, 361; LJ, lvi. 209, 238; lix. 428, 452; lx. 260, 427; lxi. 514; lxii. 723.
  • 34. CJ, lxxix. 346; lxxx. 350; lxxxi. 115; LJ, lvii. 657-8, 971; lviii. 61, 319, 321, 337.
  • 35. CJ, lxxviii. 69, 102, 200; LJ, lv. 628.
  • 36. CJ, lxxvi. 229; lxxvii. 431; lxxix. 211, 234, 365.
  • 37. CJ, lxxviii. 250; LJ, lvi. 238.
  • 38. CJ, lxxviii. 285, 292; lxxix. 106, 115, 130, 331, 335, 404, 412, 422, 526; lxxxi. 20, 81, 114, 117, 253, 308; LJ, lv. 666; lvi. 57, 75, 141, 467; lviii. 54; Hants RO, Calthorpe mss 26M62/F/C 927.
  • 39. Suff. Chron. 1 Oct. 1823; Cent. Kent. Stud. Darell mss U24/C15, Hogart to Sydney, 15 Dec. 1823. See KERRISON and EYE.
  • 40. The Times, 9 June; Bury and Norwich Post, 14 June 1826.
  • 41. Add. 40372, ff. 73, 75; 40373, f. 1; 51569, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 20 Nov. 1824.
  • 42. Bunbury Mem. 113-17.
  • 43. Bury and Norwich Post, 7, 14, 21 June; Suff. Chron. 17 June 1826; LJ, lvii. 811.
  • 44. Suff. Chron. 24 June; Bury and Norwich Post, 28 June 1826.
  • 45. CJ, lxxxii. 158, 174, 239, 350; LJ, lix. 210, 211, 225.
  • 46. The Times, 26 Apr. 1827.
  • 47. LJ, lix. 427.
  • 48. Bury and Norwich Post, 19 Mar. 1828; LJ, lx. 250, 258, 482; CJ, lxxxiii. 267, 283, 328, 340.
  • 49. CJ, lxxxiii. 209, 361.
  • 50. Committee for Repeal of Test and Corporation Acts ed. T.W. Davis (London Rec. Soc. xiv), 159; CJ, lxxxii. 485; lxxxiii. 96, 104, 105; LJ, lx. 55, 89, 172, 176.
  • 51. The Times, 4, 7 Mar. 1829; LJ, lxi. 102-4.
  • 52. CJ, lxxiv. 121, 141.
  • 53. Ibid. lxxiv. 109.
  • 54. Bury and Norwich Post, 27 Jan. 1830; Wellington mss WP1/1083/13.
  • 55. Bury and Norwich Post, 3 Feb. 1830
  • 56. Ibid. 10 Feb. 1830.
  • 57. Ibid. 10, 17 Feb., 31 Mar. 1830; Bunbury, Address to Agriculturists (Ipswich, 1830).
  • 58. LJ, lxii. 53; CJ, lxxxv. 138.
  • 59. LJ, lxii. 145; CJ, lxxxv. 88, 89, 178, 447, 456.
  • 60. CJ, lxxxv. 463; LJ, lxii. 723, 751, 752, 807.
  • 61. CJ, lxxxv. 356.
  • 62. Bury and Norwich Post, 16, 30 June, 7 July 1830.
  • 63. Ipswich Jnl. 10 July; Lincs. AO, Ancaster mss, Western to Heathcote, 22 July 1830.
  • 64. Suff. RO (Bury St. Edmunds), Hervey mss 941/56/59, Bunbury to Bristol, 9 July 1830.
  • 65. Bury and Norwich Post, 14, 21 July 1830.
  • 66. Suff. Chron. 17, 24 July; Ipswich Jnl. 17, 24, 31 July; Bury and Norwich Post, 28 July 1830.
  • 67. Bury and Norwich Post, 11 Aug.; Suff. Chron. 11 Aug. 1830.
  • 68. Ancaster mss, Western to Heathcote, 23 July; Bury and Norwich Post, 4 Aug. 1830.
  • 69. Add. 60288, f. 282.
  • 70. Globe, 20 July; Bury and Norwich Post, 11 Aug. 1830.
  • 71. Ipswich Jnl. 7 Aug.; Suff. Chron. 7 Aug. 1830.
  • 72. Suff. RO (Ipswich), Henniker mss S1/2/8/3.1, diary of Samuel Gross of Pettistree, 6 Aug. 1830; F. O’Gorman, Voters, Patrons, and Parties, 339.
  • 73. Bury and Norwich Post, 11 Aug.; Suff. Election: the Nomination (1830); Suff. RO (Bury St. Edmunds), Bunbury mss E18/750/4/2(6).
  • 74. Bury and Norwich Post, 18 Aug. 1830; Suff. RO (Bury St. Edmunds), Election handbills Acc. 2396/3.
  • 75. Bury and Norwich Post, 18, 25 Aug. 1830.
  • 76. Globe, 12 Aug. 1830.
  • 77. Northants. RO, Cartwright mss C (A) 8173.
  • 78. Bury and Norwich Post, 18, 25 Aug.; Add. 40401, f. 125; Wellington mss WP1/1134/6; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 12 Aug. 1830.
  • 79. Suff. Chron. 17, 24 Mar. 1821; The Times, 12 Aug. 1830.
  • 80. Bury and Norwich Post, 18 Aug. 1830.
  • 81. Bodl. ms Eng. lett. d. 236, f. 38.
  • 82. Peace of the County, passim.
  • 83. Suff. RO (Ipswich), Edgar mss HA247/5; Bury and Norwich Post, 18, 25 Aug. 15 Sept.; Suffolk Pollbook (1830).
  • 84. CJ, lxxxiii. 372, 383, 389; lxxxvi. 55, 57, 74, 107, 155, 454; LJ, lxiii. 72, 74, 75, 77, 86, 87, 90, 95-100, 105, 174, 175, 200, 201, 408, 409, 414-6, 446-8, 451-7.
  • 85. CJ, lxxxvi. 240.
  • 86. Suff. RO (Bury St. Edmunds), election handbills Acc. 2396/4; The Times, 2, 10, 16 Mar. 1831.
  • 87. The Times, 16, 19, 21, 22 Mar.; Bury and Suff. Herald, 23 Mar. 1831; CJ, lxxxvi. LJ, lxiii. 347.
  • 88. Ipswich Jnl. 20 Mar.; Bury and Suff. Herald, 23 Mar. 1831.
  • 89. CJ, lxxxvi. 387, 402, 403, 415, 419.
  • 90. Bury and Norwich Post, 23 Mar., 27 Apr. 1831; Bunbury Mem. 158-61.
  • 91. Add. 54530, ff. 12, 13.
  • 92. TNA 30/29/9/5/80; Bury and Norwich Post, 27 Apr., 4 May; The Times, 28 Apr.; Ipswich Jnl. 30 Apr. 1831.
  • 93. Bury and Norwich Post, 4 May; The Times, 5 May 1831.
  • 94. Ipswich Jnl. 14 May 1831.
  • 95. Bury and Norwich Post, 13, 27 July, 24 Aug. 1831.
  • 96. Bury and Suff. Herald, 27 July; Bury and Norwich Post, 3, 10 Aug. 1831.
  • 97. CJ, lxxxvi. 639, 677, 684, 711; Bury and Norwich Post, 27 July, 7 Sept. 1831.
  • 98. CUL Vanneck-Arc1/5, Huntingfield to Arcedeckne, 13 May, Harland to Huntingfield, 16 May 1831.
  • 99. LJ, lxiii. 1040, 1048, 1053, 1072, 1083.
  • 100. The Times, 8, 12 Nov.; Bury and Norwich Post, 16 Nov. 1831.
  • 101. Bury and Norwich Post, 14 Dec. 1831; Hervey mss 941/11B, 11C; 56/24.
  • 102. The Times, 12 May; Bury and Norwich Post, 16 May 1832.
  • 103. LJ, lxiv. 30-31, 151, 236, 252; CJ, lxxxvii. 403.
  • 104. PP (1831-2), xl. 42, 43.
  • 105. Bury and Suff. Herald, 6 June; Bury and Norwich Post, 31 Oct. 1832.
  • 106. CUL Vanneck-Arc1/5, passim.; Bunbury Mem. 164-5; Bury and Norwich Post, 30 May; The Times, 15 June, 17 Dec.; Bury and Suff. Press, 31 Oct. 1832; Suff. RO (Bury St. Edmunds), Election handbills Acc. 2396/33, 41-45.