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Number of voters:
about 2,600 in 1722
|16 Feb. 1715||FRANCIS WILLOUGHBY|
|4 Apr. 1722||SIR ROBERT SUTTON||1349|
|EMANUEL SCROPE HOWE, Visct. Howe||1339|
|28 Aug. 1727||EMANUEL SCROPE HOWE, Visct. Howe|
|SIR ROBERT SUTTON|
|30 May 1732||THOMAS BENNETT vice Sutton, expelled the House|
|30 May 1732||WILLIAM LEVINZ vice Howe, appointed to office|
|15 May 1734||THOMAS BENNETT|
|14 Feb. 1739||JOHN MORDAUNT vice Bennett deceased|
|6 May 1741||JOHN MORDAUNT|
|WILLIAM LEVINZ jun.|
|6 July 1747||LORD ROBERT SUTTON|
The head of the Whig interest in Nottinghamshire was the lord lieutenant, Thomas Pelham Holles, Duke of Newcastle, who had inherited the estates there of his uncle, John Holles, Duke of Newcastle. In his old age he recalled how
it was myself, and I may almost say myself alone, who rescued the county of Nottingham, and all the boroughs in it, out of the hands of the Tories; the county from Willoughby and Levinz, the town of Retford from Levinz and Digby, the town of Newark from Willoughby, the town of Nottingham from Warren and Sedley.1
In county elections Newcastle, himself a non-resident, made a point of ascertaining and supporting the views of the local Whig gentry. When invited to recommend a candidate he would reply:
Ever since I have had any concern in Nottinghamshire, I have always thought the gentlemen of the county, with whom I have ever acted, were much the best judges who were the most proper for that purpose, and I have always ... given all the assistance in my power to such persons as they have thought proper to pitch upon.2
Next to Newcastle, the leading Nottinghamshire Whigs were the Duke of Kingston; the Sutton and Manners families, linked after 1723 by the 3rd Duke of Rutland’s marriage to the heiress of the last Lord Lexington; the Howes; and the Thornhaghs.
On the Tory side Newcastle’s opposite numbers were successively Thomas and Francis Willoughby, 1st and 2nd Lords Middleton. In 1715 the sitting county members were Francis Willoughby and another Tory, William Levinz, both of whom were returned unopposed. At the general election of 1722 they were defeated by two Whigs, Sir Robert Sutton and Lord Howe, after a contest so costly that thenceforth both sides preferred to compromise rather than face another.3 In I727 the Tories agreed to give Sutton and Howe a walkover for the county in return for one of the Nottingham seats and an undertaking not to oppose Levinz’s nominee at Retford. In 1732 both Sutton and Howe vacated their seats in circumstances which were thought to give the Tories a good chance of bringing in two of their own men, but the seats were divided between the two parties. This arrangement continued till 1747, when Levinz’s son, who had succeeded his father, went over to Newcastle for financial reasons, whereupon Middleton, whose son was not old enough to stand, agreed to support two Whigs for the county in return for one seat at Nottingham. Newcastle as usual ‘resolved to be determined by the majority of the gentlemen of the county’, who chose Lord Robert Sutton and John Thornhagh.4
Author: Romney R. Sedgwick
- 1. Newcastle to John White, 13 Oct. 1767, Add. 33003, f. 386.
- 2. Newcastle to Duke of Kingston, 1 July 1738, Add. 32691, f. 218; see also Newcastle’s circular letter, 24 Aug. 1731, Add. 32687, f. 405; Robt. Sutton to Newcastle, 26 Mar. 1740, Add. 32693, f. 115.
- 3. John Plumptre to Newcastle, 21 July 1733, Add. 32688, f. 30; Thos. Bennett to Newcastle, 29 Oct. 1737, Add. 32690, f. 406.
- 4. Newcastle to Lady Oxford, 23 May 1747, Add. 32711, f. 118.