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

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen

Number of voters:

about 230 in 1690


12 Apr. 16601HENRY OXENDEN
 Sir John Mennes
 Sir Edward Partherich
27 Oct. 1665JOHN STRODE II vice Montagu, deceased
 John Strode II
28 Mar. 1685JOHN STRODE II
 John Thurbarne
 ?John Cason
10 June 1685SIR PHILIP PARKER vice Pepys, chose to sit for Harwich
 John Cason

Main Article

The strongest independent interests at Sandwich were enjoyed by the Oxenden and Thurbarne families, both country-oriented. Only in 1661 and 1685 did the Admiralty interest achieve success, and even in 1661 one of the government candidates was defeated by James Thurbarne, the town clerk. At the general election of 1660 the corporation rejected the nomination of the Hon. Edward Montagu by his cousin Admiral Edward Montagu I, and returned Thurbarne with Henry Oxenden, a neighbouring country gentleman. Shortly before the dissolution of the Convention two Cavaliers, Admiral Sir John Mennes, who came from an old Sandwich family, and Sir Thomas Peyton, the ringleader of the Kentish conspirators during the Interregnum, elicited offers of support from the corporation for the next election. But Peyton was returned for the county in 1661, and Montagu came forward again as the second court candidate. Oxenden, who had sat in the Protectorate Parliaments, tactfully stood down, and Thurbarne’s partner as country candidate was the more radical Sir Edward Partherich, who with Peyton had represented the port in the Long Parliament. Montagu and Thurbarne were successful. Mennes considered petitioning against the latter, who was unpopular in the House and about to lose office as town clerk, but thought better of it. On Montagu’s death in 1665, he applied unsuccessfully for the government interest at the by-election. Montagu’s brother Ralph also made inquiries, while his cousin (now Lord Sandwich) wrote on behalf of his son-in-law, Philip Carteret. But the Duke of York preferred to nominate John Strode, ‘judging it somewhat useful, if not necessary, that the lieutenant of Dover Castle (who, under the lord warden, ... manageth the Cinque Ports) should be in the Parliament, where many times the Ports are concerned’; and there was probably no contest.2

In February 1679, however, neither use nor necessity could prevail with Sandwich to re-elect Strode. Thurbarne retired, but his son John, a barrister, was returned to all three Exclusion Parliaments with Oxenden’s son, Sir James. They both supported exclusion, though Thurbarne was absent sick from the division on the bill, and were apparently unopposed in the October election. In April 1680 the Privy Council ordered Strode to investigate possible violations of the Corporations Act at Sandwich. After inspecting the records, he reported that he could find no evidence that officials and freemen had subscribed to the oaths or given proofs of taking the sacrament. He suspected that this was by design as well as neglect. The mayor was summoned before the Council, but dismissed with a reprimand on promising to suppress the conventicles in the town. This episode had no effect on the 1681 election, which was again apparently uncontested.3

The corporation produced loyal addresses approving the dissolution of Parliament and abhorring the ‘Association’. In November 1683 they acknowledged the lord warden’s right to nominate one Member, but quo warranto proceedings had already begun, and in January 1684 the charter was surrendered. In the replacement Strode was appointed high steward and the 2nd Duke of Albemarle (Christopher Monck) recorder. The franchise was limited to the mayor, jurats and freeholders, thus disfranchising the poorer freemen. At the general election of 1685 Samuel Pepys was returned with Strode; but he wrote to Albemarle on 9 Apr. that the King insisted that he should also stand for Harwich,

notwithstanding my supposed election for Sandwich. I thought it becoming to let your grace know that, although the [lieutenant] governor of Dover Castle and myself were unanimously chosen by the mayor, jurats, common council and all that they thought fit to own as freemen under the new charter, the body of the old freemen (much more in number than the other) had since proceeded to a separate election and made their distinct return of Mr Thurbarne and another for their barons for that port, declaring they’ll make the same good by virtue some of them of their old freedom, and others of their being legally made free even by the new charter.

This second election presumably provided the grounds for a petition presented to the House on 1 June by ‘divers inhabitants’, but never reported. Meanwhile Pepys had come to an agreement with Sir Philip Parker, who had a strong interest at Harwich. He had already opted for the Essex constituency, and on 10 June Parker was returned in his place for Sandwich, defeating a neighbouring squire, John Cason. By the summer of 1688 the corporation was clearly disaffected, the majority refusing to send an address of congratulation on the birth of the Prince of Wales. But no regulation is recorded. At the general election of 1689 a seat was offered to Oxenden’s brother-in-law Lewis Watson, but he preferred to wait for a vacancy at Higham Ferrers, and Sandwhich was again represented in the Convention by the Whigs, Oxenden and Thurbarne.4

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. W. Boys, Hist. Sandwich, 411.
  • 2. A. M. Everitt, Community of Kent and the Great Rebellion, 313, 319; Kent AO, SN1, ff. 174-5; SA/C4/21, 22; HMC 13th Rep. IV, 241; Bodl. Carte 75, f.357.
  • 3. D. Gardiner, Historic Haven, 293, 294; PC2/69/423.
  • 4. London Gazette, 28 July 1681, 6 July 1682; Boys, 585-7, 611, 717, 758; CSP Dom. 1683-4, pp. 117, 155, 267; HMC Buccleuch, i. 341-2; CJ, ix. 722, 723; Kent AO, SA/AC8, f. 251; Hasted, Kent, x. 143; Add. 33512, f. 114.