Weymouth and Melcombe Regis

Four Members 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

The two boroughs were united by Act of Parliament in 1571, and returned four Members

Right of Election:

in the freeholders

Number of voters:

about 300


15 Apr. 1754Lord John Cavendish
 George Bubb Dodington
 Welbore Ellis
 John Tucker
31 Dec. 1755DODINGTON and ELLIS re-elected after appointment to office
28 Mar. 1761Sir Francis Dashwood
 John Tucker
 John Olmius
 Richard Glover
9 June 1762Dashwood re-elected after appointment to office
1 Dec. 1762Richard Jackson vice John Olmius, Baron Waltham, deceased
30 Apr. 1763Charles Walcott vice Dashwood, called to the Upper House
18 Mar. 1768Drigue Billers Olmius, Baron Waltham
 Sir Charles Davers
 Jeremiah Dyson
 John Tucker
28 Dec. 1768Dyson re-elected after appointment to office
14 Mar. 1774Dyson re-elected after appointment to office
7 Oct. 1774Welbore Ellis
 William Chaffin Grove
 John Purling
 John Tucker
13 June 1777Ellis re-elected after appointment to office
10 June 1778Gavriel Steward vice Tucker, vacacted his seat
7 Sept. 1780Welbore Ellis
 William Chaffin Grove
 John Purling
 Warren Lisle
30 Nov. 1780Gabriel Steward vice Lisle, vacated his seat
30 Apr. 1781William Richard Rumbold vice Grove, vacated his seat
18 Feb. 1782Ellis re-elected after appointment to office
31 Mar. 1784Welbore Ellis
 John Purling
 Gabriel Steward
 Sir Thomas Rumbold
27 Mar. 1786George Jackson vice Steward, vacated his seat
27 Dec. 1788Gabriel Steward vice Jackson, vacated his seat

Main Article

Government had considerable interest through the customs and the Crown quarries at Portland. The most important private interest belonged to the Tucker family, who for many years held the post of supervisor of the Portland quarries, and to George Bubb Dodington, who joined his interest to that of Tucker and acted as intermediary with Government. In 1744 Dodington came to an agreement with Henry Pelham by which Government should recommend to two seats in exchange for the disposal of patronage. Under this agreement, Dodington arranged the Members in 1754 with Newcastle and in 1761 with Bute.

On Dodington’s death in 1762 Tucker became sole patron, and the arrangement with Government remained unchanged. In 1779 Tucker was succeeded by his nephew Gabriel Steward, who in 1790 sold his property in the borough to William Pulteney.

Author: J. A. Cannon