Double Member Borough
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Right of Election:
in the corporation
Number of voters:
|16 Apr. 1754||Marshe Dickinson||33|
|20 Nov. 1755||Sir William Morton vice Humberston, deceased|
|26 Mar. 1761||Marshe Dickinson|
|17 Jan. 1765||Wood re-elected after appointment to office|
|15 Feb. 1765||John Montagu, Visct. Hinchingbrooke, vice Dickinson, deceased|
|18 Mar. 1768||Robert Wood|
|4 Oct. 1771||Timothy Caswall vice Wood, deceased|
|6 Oct. 1774||William Egerton|
|9 Sept. 1780||Timothy Caswall|
|John William Egerton|
|31 Mar. 1784||Timothy Caswall|
|John William Egerton|
|6 July 1789||Samual Haynes vice Caswall, appointed to office|
Brackley was always counted as a pocket borough of the Duke of Bridgwater. In 1754 Bridgwater, a minor, was on the grand tour, and his affairs were managed by his uncle the Duke of Bedford. At Brackley a complete stranger, Thomas Humberston, bribed a majority of the corporation into promising him single votes. Bedford, with Dickinson and Vernon, the Bridgwater candidates, went down to try and retrieve the situation.
Mr. Humberston and his agents had been so alert [wrote Bedford to Bridgwater on 29 Apr. 17541] that though I and the candidates walked the town from house to house to invite them to dinner and to ask their votes for both candidates, yet but 15 of the 33 came or promised their double votes. The other 18 declared they were engaged to Mr. Humbertston, and some of them even threatened that if we would not be contented with one vote, which they offered to Mr. Dickinson, they would bring another candidate into town to join Mr. Humberston and throw both your candidates out.
Humberston’s early death prevented him from consolidating his position in the borough,2 and Bridgwater authorized Bedford to take steps to win back ‘those votes which had been seduced by Mr. Humberston’s bounty’.3 On 8 Sept. 1755 Robert Wood, Bridgwater’s travelling tutor, wrote from Aix-en-Provence to Bedford:4 ‘Upon the receipt of a letter from Mr. Tyler [Bridgwater’s agent] giving an account of the desperate state of affairs at Brackley, our resolutions were immediately taken for coming home.’
Bridgwater on his return re-established his interest, and for the remainder of this period controlled both seats without opposition.