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 burgage holders

Number of voters:

about 270


1 Feb. 1715THOMAS YORKE 
 Marmaduke Wyvill 
5 Mar. 1717JOHN YORKE vice Thomas Yorke, deceased 
25 Jan. 1720RICHARD ABELL vice Mordaunt, deceased 
27 Mar. 1722CONYERS DARCY 
 John Yorke146
 Sir Conyers Darcy126
 YORKE and DARCY vice Bathurst and Wyvill, on petition, 14 Mar. 1728 
29 May 1730DARCY re-elected after appointment to office 
11 Dec. 1747WILLIAM KERR, Earl of Ancram, vice Darcy, chose to sit for Yorkshire 

Main Article

At the beginning of the eighteenth century the chief interests in Richmond were those of Lord Wharton and the Yorkes of Richmond, who shared the representation. After Wharton’s death, Lord Holdernesse, the head of the Whig interest in the North Riding, put up his brother, Conyers Darcy, with a promise from Lord Sunderland ‘to procure a thousand pounds as an inducement to Mr. Yorke to come into our interest’.1 On 21 Oct. 1721 Holdernesse reported to Sunderland:

My brother and Mr. Yorke are now declared friends for the borough of Richmond, and I hope we are in a fair way to ruin the Duke of Wharton’s interest, though I am persuaded he is so bent upon carrying his point there that if it is possible for him to receive a sum of money he will employ it in that service, though it end in his destruction. Ready money is at present of great use in these affairs and the remaining five hundred pounds your lordship was pleased to promise would do singular service at this time.

On 18 Dec. Darcy again reminded Sunderland of his promise of the remaining £500, in expectation of which he had engaged himself

in greater expense and more purchases in the borough than otherwise I would have undertaken. The weight of that, and South Sea stock, are two such burdens to a younger brother as incline me to hope your lordship will pardon the liberty I take in desiring you will have the goodness to order the payment of the £500 to the bearer, which will be very serviceable at this time and esteemed a particular obligation.

It does not transpire whether the £500 was forthcoming but on 9 March Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, a neighbouring landowner, told Sunderland that, having been informed by Henry Kelsall, a Treasury clerk, that ‘your Lordship did not approve of my son’s standing candidate at Richmond ... neither he nor I will ever attempt anything that we know to be disagreeable to you’. On 27 March Darcy wrote to Sunderland:

As I some time since gave your Lordship the trouble of an application to prevent any unnecessary expense in this place, I think myself now obliged to acquaint you with the success of our election, which was this day determined in my favour without opposition, and I think I may venture to say the interest is so strongly riveted that ’twill never more be in the power of our late antagonist, the Duke of Wharton, to shake it. I can’t avoid taking this opportunity of repeating my thanks to your Lordship for all your favours.2

At the general election of 1727 William Jessop reported to Newcastle that Darcy was

in a fair way to be turned out, notwithstanding I believe he will have a fair majority of legal votes, that is of those who hold by burgage tenure, who are the only persons that have voted time out of mind for that borough, and the mayor was so sensible that his friends Sir Marmaduke Wyvill and Mr. Bathurst could make nothing of it upon the old foot that he introduced about 250 freemen of the town, who never voted before and seem to me to have no colourable pretence to vote.3

On petition the House of Commons decided that the right of election was in the burgage holders, on which Wyvill and Bathurst went out of the House, leaving Darcy and Yorke to be declared duly elected.4

Between 1730 and 1750 the Darcys strengthened their position by buying the Wharton burgages, securing a total holding of 117 burgages.5 Darcy and Yorke continued to share the representation till 1747, when Lord Ancram was brought in by Lord Holdernesse vice Darcy, who chose to sit for Yorkshire.

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Conyers Darcy to Newcastle, 29 May 1721, Sunderland (Blenheim) mss.
  • 2. Sunderland (Blenheim) mss.
  • 3. SP Dom. 36/3, f. 37.
  • 4. Knatchbull Diary, 14 Mar. 1728.
  • 5. C. Clarkson, Richmond, 120-1.