Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in inhabitants paying scot and lot

Number of voters:

138 in 1751


28 Jan. 1715HENRY LUMLEY 
26 Apr. 1717MICKLETHWAIT re-elected after appointment to office 
29 Mar. 1718JOSEPH MICKLETHWAIT vice Thomas Micklethwait, appointed to office 
21 Mar. 1722THOMAS LUMLEY 
18 Aug. 1727SIR JOHN SHELLEY107
 THOMAS GAGE, Visct. Gage90
 John Lumley48
 LUMLEY vice Gage, on petition, 23 Feb. 1728 
23 Nov. 1739GARTON ORME vice Lumley, deceased 
6 May 1741GARTON ORME129
 Sir John Shelley36
29 June 1747GARTON ORME110
 Robert Brudenell42
 William Leaves12

Main Article

Till 1747, the chief interest at Arundel was in the Lumleys, earls of Scarborough, who had inherited the estates of the earls of Arundel in the sixteenth century and sat for one of the Arundel seats in every Parliament from 1708 to 1747. The mayor, as returning officer, and the corporation were an important factor, while the government had a certain influence from the customs service at the port. The Duke of Norfolk was lord of the manor and owner of Arundel Castle, but as a Roman Catholic seldom intervened in elections.

At every general election till 1741 government supporters were returned for both seats. The only contest during these years was in 1727, when Lord Gage, a convert from Roman Catholicism, to whom the Duke of Norfolk appears to have given his interest,1 defeated a Lumley candidate, only to be unseated on petition on the ground that 52 out of his 90 votes were invalid.

In 1741 Sir John Shelley, the Duke of Newcastle’s brother-in-law, who had represented the borough since 1727, was defeated by an opposition candidate, Garton Orme, who had been returned for the borough unopposed at a by-election in 1739. Shelley’s defeat seems to have been due to a hostile majority in the corporation, who fixed the poor rate in such a way that

many very poor persons were occasionally taxed as friends to one of the candidates at the next election and several other persons of sufficient substance and ability to be taxed were omitted because they would not promise to vote against another of the candidates.

His supporters retorted by refusing to attend the court leet summoned for the election of municipal officers on 30 Sept. 1740, with a view to making it impossible to elect a new mayor owing to the lack of a quorum. In the absence of a mayor at the time of the election the duties of returning officer would have devolved on the senior burgess, who could have been relied on to re-instate Shelley’s voters and to reject Orme’s. The manoeuvre, however, was unsuccessful.2

In 1747, when the Lumleys put up no candidate, the 2nd Duke of Richmond attempted to gain control of the borough but his candidates were defeated by ‘the bribery of Orme and Taaffe’.3 Soon after the election the Duke reported that he had ‘got the corporation of Arundel filled up by four of my friends, by which I shall have it sure for the future.’4 After Richmond’s death in 1750 the mayor of Arundel reported to the young Duke’s agent that perhaps ‘one half or something more of the voters will go to the best bidder’. Transmitting this information to Newcastle, the Duke’s trustee, the agent observed:

From my personal acquaintance with several of the principal people of Arundel I know their strong attachment to the Shelley family, and though nothing can be done there without money, yet the Government and the Shelley interest will carry a great way.5

About the same time an analysis supplied to Pelham classified more than a quarter of the 138 voters as venal and another quarter as unattached.6

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Lady Shelley to Newcastle, 4 Sept. 1733, Add. 32688, f. 249.
  • 2. G. W. Eustace, Arundel Borough and Castle, 209-15.
  • 3. Pelham to Richmond, 2, 16 July 1747, Richmond mss.
  • 4. Richmond to Newcastle, 2 Oct. 1747, Add. 32713, f. 205.
  • 5. Thos. Birch to Rich. Buckner, 26 Jan. 1751, Add. 32724, ff. 99, 101.
  • 6. Newcastle (Clumber) mss.