Double Member Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen and inhabitant householders paying scot and lot

Number of voters:

below 200


15 Apr. 1754Edward Montagu
 Robert Jones
26 Mar. 1761Edward Montagu
 Robert Jones
18 Mar. 1768Henry Seymour
 Robert Jones
28 Feb. 1774William Augustus Montagu vice Jones, deceased
7 Oct. 1774William Augustus Montagu
 George Wombwell
31 Jan. 1776Constantine John Phipps, Baron Mulgrave, vice Montagu, deceased
15 Dec. 1777Mulgrave re-elected after appointment to office
8 Sept. 1780Constantine John Phipps, Baron Mulgrave
 Sir George Wombwell
28 Nov. 1780Sir Hugh Palliser vice Wombwell, deceased
31 Mar. 1784Sir Walter Rawlinson
 Lancelot Brown
9 May 1787John Willett Payne vice Brown, vacated his seat

Main Article

Oldfield wrote about Huntingdon in 1792:1

The interest of the Earl of Sandwich is so powerful as always to return two Members; and this he effects, not by weight of property, for his Lordship has but one house in the whole town, but by his popularity, and the obligations which he was enabled to confer upon some of his principal friends during his connexion with Lord North’s Administration.

The accuracy of this statement is borne out by the mass of patronage correspondence in the Sandwich and Abergavenny mss, and by the lists of burgesses carefully kept by Sandwich.2 There are eight such lists, the first for 1765, and the last for 1787; and what they show is that the resident burgesses were mostly artisans or tradesmen, and even the non-resident were not strangers of the honorary freeman type, but genuine Huntingdon burgesses, with a growing number among them established in Government service. The list of 1782 alone shows a small majority of non-resident burgesses: 82 to 80; among these 82 are at least 20 placed in the Post Office, Greenwich Hospital, dockyards, etc.

Every single Member for Huntingdon 1754-90 was a Sandwich nominee: relatives (Edward Montagu, Henry Seymour, William Augustus Montagu); paying guests of the merchant class (Robert Jones, George Wombwell, Sir Walter Rawlinson);3 naval officers (Lord Mulgrave, Sir Hugh Palliser, John Willett Payne). Lancelot Brown, son of ‘Capability’ Brown, alone fits into none of these categories.

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Boroughs, ii. 143.
  • 2. Trans. Cambs. Hunts. Arch. Soc. v. 201-44.
  • 3. On the form that their payments took see WOMBWELL, George.