Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the inhabitant householders

Number of voters:

c.30 in 1628


13 May 1628William Walter

Main Article

Originally the administrative centre for the Lacy Marcher lordship, Weobley declined as Ludlow rose. Nevertheless, the borough sent Members to the Model Parliament, and continued to do so until 1306, when Bromyard, Ledbury, and Ross-on-Wye were also represented, but thereafter only Hereford and Leominster regularly returned. In 1628 Weobley formed part of the estates of the 3rd earl of Essex; but it was dominated by a local gentleman, James Tomkins* of Garnstone, who secured the borough’s re-enfranchisement in alliance with Edward Littleton II*, his partner at Leominster in the Parliaments of 1625 and 1626.1

Littleton’s researches into the legal precedents failed to uncover any returns for most of the thirteenth century, enabling him to claim that during this period Weobley and Milborne Port had ‘as much proof for their sending as any borough here has’. He was doubtless the ‘worthy Member of this House’, who declared their status proved by the existence of suburbs and ancient burgages, and by the liability to pay tenths rather than fifteenths in parliamentary grants of taxes. With William Hakewill in the chair of the committee for privileges these arguments received a favourable hearing, and on 1 May 1628 the House endorsed his report and ordered writs to be issued.2

No franchise had been specified, but it was intended, on the precedent of Pontefract, Yorkshire, that it should be exercised by the inhabitant householders. The election at Weobley, 12 days later, was supervised by the sheriff of the county. No contest is likely; Tomkins’s son William and Littleton’s first cousin, William Walter, were returned by about 30 named ‘burgesses’.

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Simon Healy


  • 1. Trans. Woolhope Field Club, xxxix. 105-8; C.J. Robinson, Castles of Herefs. 130.">[footnote]
  • 2. CD 1628, iii. 154, 185; Procs. 1628, vi. 107-9.">[footnote]