Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of voters:

about 5,000 in 1710


18 Mar. 1661CHARLES POWLETT I, Lord St. John 
26 Apr. 1675(SIR) FRANCIS ROLLE vice St. John, called to the Upper House 
24 Feb. 1679HON. EDWARD NOEL 
11 Aug. 1679WILLIAM RUSSELL, Lord Russell 
 Hon. Edward Noel 
 Sir Richard Knight 
 [Frederick] Tilney16
29 Nov. 1680THOMAS JERVOISE vice Russell, chose to sit for Bedfordshire 
21 Feb. 1681CHARLES POWLETT II, Earl of Wiltshire 
16 Mar. 1685WRIOTHESLEY BAPTIST NOEL, Visct. Campden 
 CHARLES POWLETT II, Earl of Wiltshire 
16 Jan. 1689CHARLES POWLETT II, Earl of Wiltshire 
19 Feb. 1689THOMAS JERVOISE vice Lord William Powlett, chose to sit for Winchester 
 Sir Robert Henley 

Main Article

In 1660 Andrew Henley stood down in an electoral bargain, and two leading Presbyterians, John Bulkeley and Richard Norton, were returned, probably unopposed. In 1661 they were replaced by members of two of the prominent royalist families in the county, Sir John Norton and Lord St. John, the Marquess of Winchester’s heir. By the time St. John succeeded to the peerage in 1675, he had become one of the leaders of the Opposition, and his seat was taken at an uncontested by-election by Sir Francis Rolle, a member of the country party and a dissenter. The new Marquess was replaced as lord lieutenant in the following year by a reliable court supporter, Edward Noel, who had succeeded to the Titchfield estate in the right of his wife. By 1679 Winchester, weary of opposition, was entertaining hopes of office, possibly even of succeeding Danby as Lord Treasurer. Consequently both he and Shaftesbury wrote letters ‘in all which they gave their friends great caution not to choose fanatics, at which the king was much pleased, and said he had not heard so much good of them a great while’. The Duke of York ordered Noel to join with the moderate Richard Norton, and they were elected unopposed in February. It was thought that Noel was sure of retaining his seat in August, and that the other would be contested by Rolle and Sir Richard Knight, whose campaign was managed by Frederick Tilney, though he qualified only dubiously as a voter in his father’s lifetime. ‘There is great odds in their estates as well as in their sobriety’, wrote Winchester, who had, it appeared, another candidate up his sleeve in the shape of Lord Russell, whose wife was Noel’s sister-in-law. The outcome was that the country party won both seats. According to one of their newspapers:

The freeholders generally cried up Rolle, some few Noel and a less number Knight. After some time the Lord Russell was named (who before was not thought of for this county), and his name began [to go round] ... the whole court, above any except Rolle. Whereupon the court was adjourned into the field, that the parties might divide and the sheriff judge upon the view who was elected, if possible, and so he might very well have done, for Rolle and Russell had apparently the majority, five to one, but one Mr Tilney, a gentleman’s son of this county, demanded the poll for Sir Richard Knight. ... But in the conclusion the Lord Russell and Sir Francis Rolle carried it (as it appeared on the view) five to one. During the whole time of the election the freeholders behaved themselves like true Englishmen ... though they bore their own expenses and would not suffer their knights to spend a penny upon them. ... Mr Tilney ... had sixteen voices for himself to have been chosen.

‘Sir Richard Knight died the day after they had chosen, which is sad to think of.’ Russell was also elected for Bedfordshire, and decided to sit for that county, enabling another exclusionist, Thomas Jervoise, to be returned in an uncontested by-election. In the 1681 elections the seats were again held by the country party; Rolle was accompanied by Winchester’s son, Lord Wiltshire.1

Noel’s son, Lord Campden, was returned as a Tory in 1685 with Lord Wiltshire, who was still in Opposition, and at this time on bad terms with his father. Campden and his father opposed the religious policies of James II, and were replaced in the lord lieutenancy by the Roman Catholic Duke of Berwick. Despite this change James II’s electoral agents reported that Wiltshire and Campden intended to stand for the county and were expected to carry it against all other interests. In fact Lord Wiltshire was returned with his brother, Lord William Powlett, who, in a highly exceptional move, chose to sit for a borough, presumably to let another Whig in for the county. There was in fact a contest, but Campden’s father was mortally ill and both candidates were of the same party. The only description of the by-election comes from a visitor from New England, Judge Sewell, who appears to have mistaken the sheriff, Edward Fleming, for one of the candidates:

I went to Winchester into the Hall and arbour to see the choice of knights of the shire. Jervoise, Henley and Fleming stood. It came to the poll. I offered my voice, but was refused because I would not lay my hand and kiss the book, though I offered to take my oath.

Jervoise was returned.2

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Sloane 813, f. 16; East Anglian Peds. (Harl. Soc. xci), 220-1; Lady Russell’s Letters (1853), i. 47; BL, M636/32, Sir Ralph to Edmund Verney, 25 Feb., 5 Sept. 1679; M636/33, Cary Gardiner to Sir Ralph Verney, 20 Aug., 3 Sept. 1679.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1685, p. 42; Duckett, Penal Laws (1882), 431; N. and Q. (ser. 10), ix. 496.