Wallingford

Borough

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:

150-180

Elections

DateCandidateVotes
27 Jan. 1715EDMUND DUNCH 
 WILLIAM HUCKS 
 Richard Bigge 
 Thomas Renda 
1 Dec. 1719HENRY GREY vice Dunch, deceased 
 Gilbert Douglas 
21 Mar. 1722GEORGE PARKER, Visct. Parker110
 WILLIAM HUCKS88
 Thomas Renda64
 John Dormer 
15 Aug. 1727GEORGE LEWEN95
 WILLIAM HUCKS93
 Isaac Leheup55
 Richard Bigge55
23 Apr. 1734WILLIAM HUCKS 
 THOMAS TOWER 
 George Lewen 
22 Dec. 1740JOSEPH TOWNSEND vice Hucks, deceased 
 James Lamb 
6 May 1741JOHN BANCE 
 JOHN RUSH 
 Sir John Rawdon 
 Wysley Birch 
26 June 1747JOSEPH TOWNSEND 
 RICHARD TONSON 
 John Bance 

Main Article

Wallingford was an independent borough, ‘in the hands of the lower people’. There was no predominant territorial influence; the corporation were divided, half for and half against the Administration;1 every election was contested. The most important interests were those of wealthy business men, such as William Hucks, the King’s brewer, who carried the borough for the Government from 1715 till his death in 1740, except in 1727 when he appears to have compromised with a Tory, George Lewen. The 1719 by-election was fought by two Whigs. The Earl of Sutherland wrote to Lord Stanhope, 19 June 1719, ‘I am doing what I can to have Mr. Douglas chose member of parliament for Wallingford, knowing him to be at your lordship’s disposal’.2 But Douglas was beaten by a local landowner, Henry Grey, also a government supporter.

On Hucks’s death his son, Robert, who was already sitting for Abingdon, asked Walpole to nominate a candidate.3 Walpole put up Joseph Townsend, whose cousin, Chauncy Townsend, a wealthy merchant, had an interest in the borough of Westbury, Wilts. The opposition candidate was James Lamb, brother-in-law of John Bance, a director of the Bank of England, sitting as an opposition Whig for Westbury. Townsend was successful after an expensive contest.

At the general election next year Bance stood for both Wallingford and Westbury; Townsend transferred to Westbury; and Walpole was asked to find two new candidates for Wallingford.4 Both Walpole’s candidates were defeated at Wallingford, while Townsend ousted Bance from Westbury.

In 1747, Chauncy Townsend wrote:

Mr. Pelham recommended John Bance to join Mr. Joseph Townsend at Wallingford or me at Westbury. He answered, both boroughs were under his command and he would bring in whom he pleased. On my assuring Mr. Pelham I could carry both with his support he desired me to undertake them and if I carried them he would help me out to my satisfaction.5

Townsend duly carried both boroughs, Westbury on petition.

Author: R. S. Lea

Notes

  • 1. John Hervey to Ld. Hardwicke, 10 Jan. 1753, Add. 35592, ff. 6-7.
  • 2. Sir W. Fraser, Sutherland Bk. ii. 225.
  • 3. 5 Feb. 1741, Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. T