Available from Boydell and Brewer
|1558/9||RICHARD REYNELL 1|
|RICHARD FORSETT 2|
|1566||HENRY KILLIGREW vice Carew, deceased3|
|22 Apr. 1572||WILLIAM PAGE|
|7 Nov. 1584||RICHARD CAREW|
|WILLIAM CLERKE II|
|4 Oct. 1586||JOHN ACLAND|
|21 Oct. 1588||GEORGE CAREW|
|27 Sept. 1597||GREGORY DONHAULT|
|28 Sept. 1601||(SIR) ROBERT CROSSE|
A duchy of Cornwall borough, Saltash was enfranchised in the reign of Edward VI. According to the antiquary Richard Carew, the town prospered through ‘honest trade of merchandise’, and was ‘of late years well increased and adorned with buildings’. He added that ‘it was not long since that the neighbouring ministers successively bestowed their pains in preaching there on the market days, and the bordering gentlemen yielded their presence’.4 In Elizabeth’s reign the town made more than one attempt to obtain a new charter. In 1574 the mayor and corporation entered into an agreement with Peter Edgecombe, allowing him to procure a new charter for them at his own expense. In return, they promised, among other things, that he should receive an annuity of 20s. and the nomination of one burgess for the town at every Parliament, the mayor and corporation to be ‘exonerated from the charges of such burgesses’. Edgecombe’s efforts were apparently unsuccessful, for the town did not receive a new charter until 1585.5
Parliamentary elections were conducted by the ‘mayor and free burgesses’, though in 1572 return was made by the mayor ‘in the name of all the burgesses and inhabitants according to the old custom, time out of mind, used in the said borough’. Most of the Members chosen were returned on ‘blanks’.
The Carew family, whose estate of Antony lay within four miles of Saltash, exercised a consistent influence on borough elections throughout the reign. A Carew occupied a seat in five of the ten Elizabethan Parliaments and Carew influence can be seen in the elections of other MPs: Richard Reynell (1559), a Devonshire landowner, was a friend of the family; the lawyers, Gregory Donhault and Ellis Wynn (both 1597), no doubt owed their seats directly or indirectly to their fellow Chancery official, George Carew; George Garth (1589), about whom little is known, was a son of a clerk of the petty bag, which makes it possible that he was returned for Saltash by George Carew, himself senior burgess in that Parliament; and lastly Henry Killigrew, who replaced Thomas Carew in 1566, probably owed his returned to an arrangement with the Carews. The 2nd Earl of Bedford also had some influence in the borough: he was responsible for the return of James Dalton, a puritan lawyer, and William Page his servant, who together monopolized the Saltash seats in 1571 and 1572. Either Bedford or Burghley was behind the return of Richard Forsett, the London lawyer, in 1559. John Acland (1586), a Devonshire landowner, had no obvious connexion with Saltash; he was, however, brother-in-law to James Dalton, who may in some way have engineered his return. Burghley’s influence probably accounts for the return in 1584 of William Clerke II, an ecclesiastical lawyer, and in 1601 Robert Cecil exercised his influence to return (Sir) Robert Crosse, a soldier and Cecil’s dependant, and Alexander Neville, secretary to Archbishop Whitgift. It is not clear how Jerome Horsey came to be returned for Saltash in 1593: possibly Walter Ralegh was responsible.