Available from Boydell and Brewer
Right of Election:
in the freemen
Number of voters:
over 70 in 1698
|14 Apr. 1660||WILLIAM OAKELEY|
|3 May 1661||EDMUND WARING|
|10 Feb. 1679||EDMUND WARING|
|Sir Richard Mason|
|16 Sept. 1679||EDMUND WARING|
|14 Feb. 1681||SIR RICHARD MASON|
|9 Apr. 1685||EDMUND WARING|
|14 Jan. 1689||RICHARD MORE|
The chief interest in Bishop’s Castle lay in the corporation. The 15 common councilmen controlled the electoral roll, and annually elected a bailiff, who acted as returning officer. Between 1572 and 1690 this post was monopolized by four local families, the Oakeleys, the Warings, the Mores and the Masons. The lords of the manor do not seem to have exercised their interest during this period. The corporation repeatedly extracted undertakings from Members not to claim parliamentary wages, and in September 1661 ordered eight new freemen to be chosen, ‘persons of good quality, and such as will give very considerable sums of money for their burgesships’.1
At the general election of 1660 William Oakeley and Edmund Waring were returned, though as sons of commissioners of array their eligibility was questionable under the Long Parliament ordinance. They were re-elected to the Cavalier Parliament (in reverse order of precedence) and to the first Exclusion Parliament, but both were absent from the division on the exclusion bill. Sir Richard Mason, a Household official and a local man, also apparently stood in February 1679, since Shaftesbury classed him under Bishop’s Castle as ‘base’. Before the next election Philip Foley wrote to John Swinfen, another stalwart of the country party:
I met Sir Edward Harley, who saith he hath done what he can to persuade Mr [Richard] More to stand for Bishop’s Castle, but he still resolves against it. In case therefore Mr Turton shall not incline to get in there himself or that you do not think of some other person more worthy, he doth conceive with Mr Turton’s assistance it may then be probable to get in Mr Herbert, for that Mr Herbert hath a kinsman lives in the town and hath a vote, and Sir Edward Harley’s brother hath a vote there.
It is unlikely that any of the candidates named went to the poll, and Foley’s chief purpose in recommending Henry Herbert was clearly to remove an embarrassing rival for the Bewdley seat. Oakeley also dropped out, and was replaced in the second Exclusion Parliament by the old Cavalier, Richard Scriven. In 1681 More was at last persuaded to stand, and divided the borough with Mason. The corporation sent an address congratulating James II on his accession, and at the general election Waring regained his seat, accompanied by his sister’s step-son, Francis Charlton. Quo warranto proceedings against the Bishop’s Castle charter were begun in 1688. At first, the corporation attempted to defend its charter, but withdrew after spending ‘£60 or £80 in pleading, etc.’. A new charter was issued on 12 Sept., but More and Waring’s son Walter were returned to the Convention.2
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Borough of Bishop’s Castle List of Mayors; Salop Arch. Soc. Trans. (ser. 2), x. 34, 45; liii. 80-83.
- 2. Add. 29910, f. 141; Herbert Corresp. (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xxi), 344; London Gazette, 30 Mar. 1685; Duckett, Penal Laws (1883), 185; CSP Dom. 1687-9, pp. 261, 266, 272.