Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the corporation

Number of voters:



(1801): 7,668


5 July 1802WILLIAM PLEYDELL BOUVERIE, Visct. Folkestone 
31 Oct. 1806WILLIAM PLEYDELL BOUVERIE, Visct. Folkestone 
6 May 1807WILLIAM PLEYDELL BOUVERIE, Visct. Folkestone 
17 Oct. 1812WILLIAM PLEYDELL BOUVERIE, Visct. Folkestone 
17 Feb. 1813 GEORGE PUREFOY JERVOISE vice Hussey, deceased28
 Wadham Wyndham21
19 June 1818WILLIAM PLEYDELL BOUVERIE, Visct. Folkestone 

Main Article

At Salisbury, an eminently respectable corporation borough, one seat was awarded to the recorder, the 2nd Earl of Radnor, who in 1795 presented the city with a new Council House:

Honoured as my family has been by you, upon various occasions, and especially by the delegation of different individuals of it, during a period of more than half a century, without a single interruption, to represent your city in Parliament, a circumstance seldom paralleled in the annals of this kingdom, I am proud to deliver to you a monument of my respect, gratitude, and attachment, which I believe to be without a parallel.1

Until 1802, the Radnor interest was represented by the earl’s brother; then for 26 years by his son. The earl dilated upon its respectability. In advising Lord Folkestone to canvass the corporation individually, he wrote, 19 June 1802:

You will profess to those who may enter at all into the subject a perfect independence in your political conduct, both of minister and opposition, and if you have any notice taken of your conduct respecting the peace, you will say that you followed your own opinion ... and acted as you thought for the best.

He advised against a newspaper address. In fact Folkestone’s radicalism caused some disquietude in Salisbury, but his father dissuaded him from looking elsewhere for a seat in 1812:

I have considered this interest not merely in a parliamentary view, but as individually creditable ... it is interest neither begun nor kept up by the gross mode of corruption, nor the more common mode of obtaining favours from government. It has been preserved by individual attentions and general upright and fair conduct. I might add the very handsome Council House erected at my sole expense of many thousand pounds must have some hold upon honourable minds.2

The other seat had been held since 1774 by the independent William Hussey. Lord Herbert suggested to his father the Earl of Pembroke that had Hussey retired about 1790 they might have contrived to get the seat and keep it in their family.3 According to Folkestone, one or two of the electors in 1812 complained to him of the direct interference of Hussey in the election of new members to the corporation. Hussey’s death soon afterwards provided an opening that had been anticipated for some time. The county Member Henry Penruddocke Wyndham had secured secret promises from some of the corporators to support his son Wadham. This came out when another respectable local candidate, Jervoise, appeared while Wadham Wyndham was in Scotland. Jervoise was told by Wyndham senior that he did not know his son’s intentions, but would write. Jervoise, who had said that he would not stand if Wyndham did so, thereupon declared that he could not wait— and discovered the secret pledges. The ensuing quarrel between Wyndham and three of his promised voters further damaged his prospects, though he put up a good fight on his arrival. There was ‘a show of entire reconciliation’ for the two men were thought not to differ as to politics, but thenceforward the corporation was divided into two camps and there were several bitter contests to fill up vacancies. In 1818 Folkestone discovered that his long absence from the district and his politics were disliked, as were those of Jervoise, who had frequently supported opposition. There was talk of ‘an effort ... to displace one if not both of the present Members and bring in others whose interest with gov[ernmen]t might be more useful to the city or at least to some of the members of the corp[oratio]n’. William Sturges Bourne* was a possible candidate. A contest was averted when Jervoise withdrew in Wyndham’s favour. The latter pleased the corporation by promising opposition to Catholic relief, which Folkestone was restrained by his father from supporting. He believed that the divisions in the corporation were now healed and that, his family’s interest being ‘as strong as it ever was’, Salisbury might reasonably enjoy electoral peace.4 So it did until 1831.

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Hoare, Wilts. Salisbury, 550.
  • 2. Berks. RO, Pleydell Bouverie mss 028/15, 69, 76; VCH Wilts. v. 221.
  • 3. Pembroke Pprs. 450.
  • 4. Pleydell Bouverie mss 027, Folkestone diary of Salisbury election; 028/118; H. A. Wyndham, A. Fam. Hist. 1688-1837, p. 338.