Double Member Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in inhabitant householders and in the freemen

Number of voters:

about 500


15 Apr. 1754Nathaniel Brassey 
 George Harrison 
13 Dec. 1759George Cowper, Visct. Fordwich, vice Harrison, deceased 
26 Mar. 1761John Calvert 
 Timothy Caswall 
17 Mar. 1768John Calvert 
 William Cowper 
15 Jan. 1770Paul Feilde vice Cowper, deceased244
 Lionel Lyde122
8 Oct. 1774John Calvert 
 Paul Feilde 
7 Sept. 1780Thomas Dimsdale286
 William Baker256
 John Calvert241
30 Mar. 1784John Calvert365
 Thomas Dimsdale292
 William Baker223

Main Article

Hertford was an independent borough, generally reckoned one of the most uncorrupt in the kingdom. ‘The Dissenting interest is very considerable there’, wrote Paul Feilde in 1769,1 particularly the Quakers. The representatives were nearly all drawn from local gentry; and the leading families concerned in the borough were the Harrisons of Balls Park, the Cowpers of Panshanger, the Calverts, and the Dimsdale and Brassey families. But almost any substantial Hertfordshire country gentleman would have had a chance. Since the number of honorary freemen could not exceed three, the borough was free from the worst excesses of corporation influence.

Author: J. A. Cannon


  • 1. Add. 35639, f. 124.