Bury St. Edmunds


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 the corporation

Number of voters:



2 Feb. 1715CARR HERVEY, Lord Hervey 
16 May 1717JAMES REYNOLDS vice Porter, deceased 
21 Mar. 1722JAMES REYNOLDS31
 Carr Hervey, Lord Hervey15
2 Apr. 1725JOHN HERVEY, Lord Hervey, vice Reynolds, appointed to office 
18 Aug. 1727JOHN HERVEY, Lord Herveynem.con.
 Sir Jermyn Davers9
16 May 1730HERVEY re-elected after appointment to office 
16 May 1730 NORTON re-elected after appointment to office 
27 June 1733THOMAS HERVEY vice John Hervey, Lord Hervey, called to the Upper House 
25 Apr. 1734THOMAS HERVEY 
2 June 1738HERVEY re-elected after appointment to office 
3 July 1747WILLIAM STANHOPE, Visct. Petersham 
21 May 1748PETERSHAM re-elected after appointment to office 

Main Article

From 1705 to 1747 the representation of Bury was almost monopolized by its hereditary high steward, John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol, seated at Ickworth, three miles from the borough, which he had represented from 1694 till he was raised to the peerage in 1703. With one exception, the Members during this period consisted of his sons, his brother-in-law, his wife’s cousin, and the recorder, whose father had married a Hervey. The exception occurred in 1722, when Carr, Lord Hervey, lost his seat, because, in Lord Bristol’s words, he ‘had not industry enough to preserve [an interest] in an old borough, where never family had a more entire credit than my own’.1 This monopoly came to an end in 1747, when the Duke of Grafton secured the return of his son-in-law, Lord Petersham, on which Lord Bristol wrote to his son, Felton, who was returned with Petersham:

So long as Bury continued a chaste and constant mistress I loved and valued her; but since she is grown so lewd a prostitute as to be wooed and won by a man she never saw or heard of, let who will take her after you.2

Thenceforth the representation was shared by the Dukes of Grafton with the Earls of Bristol.

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Letter Bks. of John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol, ii. 234.
  • 2. Ibid. iii. 334; Grafton to Newcastle, 2 July 1747, Add. 32712, f. 17.