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Right of Election:
in inhabitants paying scot and lot
Number of voters:
|28 Jan. 1715||JOHN PEPPER|
|WALLIS vice Leeves, on petition, 12 Apr. 1717|
|24 Mar. 1722||JOHN GUMLEY||65|
|Sir Robert Fagg||19|
|Sir Henry Goring||16|
|23 Nov. 1724||GUMLEY re-elected after appointment to office|
|26 Jan. 1726||JOHN BRYDGES, Mq. of Carnarvon, vice Pepper, deceased|
|24 Apr. 1727||WILLIAM STANHOPE vice Carnarvon, deceased|
|16 Aug. 1727||WILLIAM VANE, Visct. Vane|
|Sir Robert Fagg|
|27 Apr. 17341||ROBERT FAGG||93|
|HENRY BRYDGES, Mq. of Carnarvon||72|
|William Vane, Visct. Vane||36|
|26 Nov. 1740||HITCH YOUNGE vice Fagg, deceased||60|
|Sir Charles Matthew Goring||30|
|6 May 1741||CHARLES EVERSFIELD|
|27 June 1747||HITCH YOUNGE|
Steyning was an independent venal borough, always returning government supporters, except in 1715, when on a petition against Robert Leeves, a Tory,
it was proved that thirty-four of the sitting Member’s voters received bribes for their votes from the sitting Member a few days before the election; some had five pounds, and others four guineas a piece, and that several hogs and some corn were distributed to them by the sitting Member’s orders.2
There was no predominant interest, though the Duke of Chandos tried hard to establish one after the general election of 1722, buying about one-third of the houses in the borough, for which his sons were returned in 1726 and 1734. When an opposition was threatened in 1726, the returning officer refused £500 for a false return and a voter 60 guineas to vote against the Duke, who estimated, nearly a month before the election, that he had already overdrawn his account between £700 and £1,000 ‘on account of the expense I am put to by Lord Carnarvon’s stand for Parliament man’, which was eventually unopposed. After the general election of 1727 he told a supporter that ‘though I cannot but say this has been the dearest election of any I have yet heard of, I am persuaded it would not have been had cheaper’.3 Chandos returned one Member from 1726 to 1741, when he transferred his son, Carnarvon, to Bishop’s Castle, leaving the borough to Charles Eversfield, who owned most of it4 and told Newcastle in 1740 that ‘Steyning is our own in every shape’.5 In 1747 two London business men were unopposed, one of them, Hume, paying £2,000 for his seat.6 In the 2nd Lord Egmont’s electoral survey, c.1749-50, Steyning is described as ‘to be bought for about £3,400 for two’.
Author: J. B. Lawson
- 1. Duke of Chandos to Brydges, 29 Apr. 1734, Chandos letter bks.
- 2. CJ, xviii. 535.
- 3. R. G. Shafer, ‘A By-Election in a Rotten Borough’, Huntington Lib. Quarterly, xvii. 397-405; Chandos to Lewis, 25 Aug. 1727, Chandos letter bks.
- 4. Dallaway & Cartwright, Western Sussex, iii. 159-60.
- 5. 12 Nov. 1740, Add. 32695, f. 395.
- 6. Add. 32995, f. 173.