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 inhabitants paying scot and lot

Number of voters:

about 200


28 Jan. 1715THOMAS PELHAM of Lewes 
23 July 1717PELHAM re-elected after appointment to office 
21 Apr. 1719PHILIP YORKE vice Trevor, deceased 
30 Mar. 1720YORKE re-elected after appointment to office 
24 Mar. 1722HENRY PELHAM of Stanmer116
 THOMAS PELHAM of Lewes109
 John Spence62
27 Jan. 1726SIR NICHOLAS PELHAM vice Henry Pelham, deceased 
14 Aug. 1727THOMAS PELHAM of Lewes 
 THOMAS PELHAM of Stanmer 
27 Apr. 1734THOMAS PELHAM of Stanmer84
 Nathaniel Garland75
 Thomas Sergison70
13 Feb. 1738JOHN TREVOR vice Pelham of Stanmer, deceased 
2 May 1741THOMAS PELHAM of Crowhurst156
 Thomas Sergison117
6 Dec. 1743SIR JOHN SHELLEY vice Pelham, deceased 
6 Dec. 1743 SIR FRANCIS POOLE vice Trevor, deceased 

Main Article

Both Members for Lewes were returned by the Duke of Newcastle, whose interest was based on his property in the town, on his own and his cousins’ seats at Halland, Bishopstone and Stanmer, and on traditional regard for the Pelham family; but it was a troublesome borough requiring constant attention. When in 1733 Thomas Sergison, a local landowner, with property in Lewes, joined Nathaniel Garland, ‘a rigid Dissenter’, in ‘a sort of compromise between the Dissenters and the Tories’, Newcastle’s candidates, two Thomas Pelhams, only scraped through by ‘having the constables’,1 i.e. the returning officers, chosen annually at the court leet held alternately by the Dukes of Dorset and Norfolk and Lord Abergavenny. Sergison stood again unsuccessfully in 1741, and again in 1743, when he withdrew before the poll, till in 1747 Newcastle solved the problem by adopting him as his own candidate. In 1749 James Pelham congratulated his cousin, Thomas Pelham of Stanmer, on having been provided with a seat at Rye which would put him to ‘no trouble or expense’, instead of having to ‘stand a contest within five miles of your own house, amongst a populace of the most ungrateful rascals in the kingdom’.2

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Newcastle to the bishop of Bangor, 4 Sept. 1733, Add. 32688, f. 257; to the Duchess of Newcastle [1733] and 7 Dec. 1733, Add. 33073, ff. 80, 84; CJ, xxii. 340.
  • 2. Add. 33087, f. 15.