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|2 Jan. 1559||SIR NICHOLAS THROCKMORTON|
|18 Apr. 15721||JOHN ASTLEY|
|31 Oct. 15842||EDWARD DREW|
|10 Oct. 15863||THOMAS HUGHES|
|19 Oct. 15884||HAMPDEN PAULET|
|26 Sept. 1597||RICHARD TICHBORNE|
Lyme Regis was incorporated in 1559, and a new charter obtained in 1591.5 The general pattern of elections was one outsider (named first of each pair in the above list until 1601) and one local man, though in 1563 both MPs were outsiders. Until his death in 1585 the patron was the 2nd Earl of Bedford, whose letter6 to his ‘very loving friends the mayor and his brethren of the town of Lyme’ nicely illustrates relations between a great man and a dependent borough at this time:
After my hearty commendations. Because it hath pleased the Queen’s Majesty to cause a Parliament to be called which shortly after Christmas will be assembled here at Westminster, [this] shall be therefore heartily to desire you that I may obtain at your hands and have the nomination and appointing of one of your burgesses for your town. In which as you shall thereby do your country good service and me much pleasure. Even so shall I upon the declaration of your goodwill and readiness hereunto (which I shall look for at your hands with as much convenient speed as ye may) not only give you my hearty thanks, but also signify unto you whom I have named and chosen for that place. And thus I bid you most heartily farewell, from London this xiiith of December 1558.
Your assured friend
The practice of submitting a return, complete but for the name of the MP, was frequently followed, as in 1586, when Thomas Hughes’s name was inserted. He owed his return to the Earl of Warwick, guardian of the young 3rd Earl of Bedford. One seat continued to be taken by a local man for the rest of the period, but the other slipped into the hands of the Paulets, who owned rights along the neighbouring coastline.7 The 3rd Marquess of Winchester nominated his cousin Hampden Paulet in 1588, and his servant Bethell in 1593. Richard Tichborne (1597) was also his servant and was related to Winchester’s mistress. In 1601 for the first time the senior seat was taken by a local man (the recorder John Fitzjames), while the outsider, Nicholas Throckmorton, Ralegh’s brother-in-law, was put in second place.
Accounts have survived8 showing that John Hassard was paid £26 11 s. 2 d. for his service as MP in 1584 and £20 17 s. 0 d. for 1586. Lyme Regis paid more than £50 for its bill about the cobb in the Parliament of 1584.