Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen

Number of voters:

21 in 1625


12 Mar. 16141PHILIP FLEMING  
 Sir John Mill , bt.*1 
 John More II 5
19 Jan. 1624NICHOLAS FERRAR11 
 Henry Campion77
12 Apr. 1625JOHN BUTTON18 
 Sir William Uvedale*  
 Herbert Dodington  
 Henry Campion  
 Nicholas Ferrar  
  Double return of Mill and More  

Main Article

Lying on the Hampshire coast opposite the Isle of Wight and almost surrounded by the New Forest, Lymington was known chiefly for its salterns, which in this period supplied nearly all the west of England.2 Although granted a seigneurial charter before 1216, the borough was never incorporated, and first sent Members to Parliament in 1584. It was governed by a mayor, who was assisted by a town clerk, serjeant, and recorder.3 The high steward, Sir Henry Wallop*, traditionally had some influence in borough elections, and this continued to be sporadically exercised during the early Stuart period, although competition for seats between various members of the local gentry became increasingly heated from 1621 onwards.4 The 3rd earl of Southampton, as lord lieutenant of Hampshire, could have made nominations, but the only occasion on which he apparently did so was in 1624. There is no evidence that wages were paid to any of the Members returned during this period.

The two Members returned to the first Stuart Parliament in 1604 were drawn from the local gentry, and were already freemen before the election. Thomas Marshall, who took the first seat, may have enlisted Wallop’s support, while Thomas South, in second place, was a lawyer who later served as recorder of Lymington. In 1614 Philip Fleming of Newport, Isle of Wight, was returned in first place, with Charles Thynne, a resident freeman and salt patentee. Both seats were contested at the next general election. Sir William Dodington of Breamore, regarded as ‘one of the worthiest knights of these parts’, probably had the support of his fellow puritan and friend, Wallop, and defeated Sir John Mill, 1st bt.*, of Newton Bury, by three votes to one for the senior seat; most voters, reluctant to offend either magnate, must have abstained. The second seat was won by Henry Campion, whose father had acquired the two manors of Old and New Lymington in 1609, beating John More II, one of Thynne’s partners in the salt monopoly and also a tenant of the earl of Southampton, by ten votes to five.5 In 1624 Southampton, anxious to defend the Virginia Company charter in the Commons, nominated Nicholas Ferrar, the Company’s deputy, for the first seat, and perhaps supported More, who was also a shareholder, for the second. Campion, who was in financial difficulties, stood for both seats, polling seven votes for each, which was insufficient. An entry in the town records allowing 6s.1d. for taking the indenture to the earl’s residence at Tichfield suggests that both Members were returned in their absence.6

Seven names were put forward at the next general election, in 1625. John Button, the brother-in-law of the town’s recorder, South, was unanimously elected in first place with 18 votes. More and Campion both stood again, while Ferrar seems to have been nominated as a compromise, perhaps without his knowledge. The other contenders were Sir William Uvedale*, a courtier and Hampshire magnate with as yet no firm electoral base; Mill’s 18-year old son and heir, John; and Dodington’s second but oldest surviving son, Herbert. More polled ten votes, including his own, for the second seat, tying with Mill; no votes were cast for either seat for Campion, Dodington, Ferrar or Uvedale. A second poll was held, but the result was unchanged. This produced a double return, but as he explained on the indenture, the mayor refrained from giving Mill his casting vote because he was under age, and left it to the Commons to decide. The case was one of the many still outstanding when Parliament was dissolved.7

In 1626 Dodington and More were returned ‘with one consent’.8 Dodington, probably fearing another contest, also stood successfully for Downton, opting for Lymington on 9 Feb. 1626.9 Dodington stood again in 1628, and was joined by Richard Whithed, a friend of John Button who had protested with him against the Forced Loan.10 It may have been as a sign of royal displeasure that on 27 May orders were given for billeting a regiment upon Lymington.11

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Hants RO, 27M74A/DBC1, p. 108.
  • 2. R. Warner, Colls. for Hist. of Hants, iv. 16.
  • 3. VCH Hants, iv. 640-4.
  • 4. E316/3/191.
  • 5. Hants RO, 27M74A/DBC1, p. 123; VCH Hants, iv. 646.
  • 6. Hants RO, 27M74A/DBC1, p. 135; R.E. Ruigh, Parl. of 1624, pp. 124-5.
  • 7. Hants RO, 27M74A/DBC1, p. 137; C219/39/176.
  • 8. C219/40/233.
  • 9. CJ, i. 816b.
  • 10. P. Haskell, ‘Ship Money in Hants’, in Hants Studies ed. J. Webb et al. 91, 104.
  • 11. Add. 21922, f. 137v.