Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen

Number of Qualified Electors:


Number of voters:

at least 83 in 1715


25 Feb. 1690Bernard Granville
 William Harbord
 Ambrose Manaton
15 Nov. 1692Henry Hyde, Ld. Hyde vice Harbord, deceased
 John Cloberry
25 Oct. 1695Henry Hyde, Ld. Hyde
 William Cary
 John Cloberry
4 Aug. 1698Henry Hyde,  Ld. Hyde
 William Cary
 John Cloberry
15 Mar. 1701Henry Hyde, Ld. Hyde
 William Cary
4 Dec. 1701Henry Hyde, Ld. Hyde
 William Cary
25 July 1702Henry Hyde,  Ld. Hyde
 William Cary
22 May 1705Henry Hyde, Ld. Hyde
 William Cary
15 May 1708Henry Hyde, Ld. Hyde
 William Cary
24 Oct. 1710Henry Hyde,  Ld. Hyde
 Francis Scobell
29 May 1711George Clarke vice Hyde, called to the Upper House
15 Mar. 1712Scobell re-elected after appointment to office
7 Sept. 1713Edward Herle
 John Anstis

Main Article

When Celia Fiennes visited the borough in the 1690s she described it as ‘the chief town in Cornwall where the assizes are kept’. The main interests at Launceston were those of the corporation, who controlled the admission of freemen, and of the duchy of Cornwall. The Granville family had a longstanding connexion with the borough, monopolizing the recordership during this period. The Morices of Werrington also had an interest, although their main influence was in the adjacent borough of Newport, which lay in the same parish.1

In 1690 Bernard Granville I, brother of Lord Bath, the recorder, was returned with William Harbord, auditor to the duchy. Ambrose Manaton†, a Tory, who had an interest in the adjoining borough of Newport, had opposed Harbord, but not Granville. On Harbord’s death, the Earl of Rochester’s (Laurence Hyde†) son Lord Hyde, a High Tory, was returned after a ‘strenuous contest’ with John Cloberry*, the son of John Cloberry who sat for Launceston in 1660. Thereafter, Lord Hyde appears to have been safe, for in the next two elections Cloberry opposed William Cary, a Country Tory and a Devon squire, in contests ‘which were carried on to as great a height as any of the former’. Indeed, Richard Tregeare, the receiver-general for Cornwall, was attacked over dealings with clipped coin some time in the mid-1690s because the ‘Jacobites’ were ‘picqued at him for opposing them in the last election for Launceston’.2

From January 1701 to 1708 Lord Hyde and Cary were returned unopposed for the borough. During this time of Tory electoral dominance, the corporation of Launceston issued instructions to its Members in December 1701. The death of Bath merely saw Hon. John Granville* succeed as recorder. Daniel Defoe, writing to Robert Harley* in 1705, reported that Launceston was one of the Cornish boroughs in which there was ‘nothing to be done’ being ‘guided by the gentlemen and townsmen’.3

Launceston was to the forefront of the Tory resurgence in 1710, drawing up such a violently pro-Sacheverell address in the spring that the Gazette would not print it, and the Queen took it from the young Earl of Bath without saying a word. The Dutch envoy, reporting this, commented that he was not surprised, as Cornwall was more full of Tories than any other county. This was followed up in August by a second address, presented by Lord Hyde, Cary and George Granville*, the new recorder, in which Launceston declared

our utmost detestation and abhorrence of those and all such anti-christian, anti-monarchical, republican, and factious principles, and to render your sacred Majesty’s hereditary right, our ancient constitution, and the Protestant succession, as by law established, against all enemies whatsoever,

adding that the borough was fortunate in being represented by ‘two gentlemen of unspotted loyalty, and unbiassed zeal for our church and government’. Following Cary’s death, there was a vacancy at Launceston. Before the general election, Humphry Morice*, a Whig, asked to be put up at Launceston by his cousin, Sir Nicholas Morice, 2nd Bt.*, who replied on 3 Oct.:

As for Launceston, Mr [George] Granville was elected by the common hall to succeed Mr Cary before I ever received your letter, so that I hope I am giving you such satisfaction as will convince you that I want power, not a free will, to serve you.

In the event, Granville did not stand and Francis Scobell, receiver-general of the Stannaries, was brought in to partner Lord Hyde. In May 1711 Hyde succeeded his father as Earl of Rochester and was replaced at Launceston by George Clarke, a lord of the Admiralty. In 1712 the assessment of John Trevanion* was that at Launceston ‘Piper’s two brothers: some for Sir Nicholas Morice’ were most likely to succeed. The Mr Piper mentioned was almost certainly, Hugh Piper of Tresmarrow, the grandson of Sir Hugh Piper†, who had represented Launceston until his death in 1687. For once Trevanion appears to have been mistaken. In 1713, Humphry Morice was again keen for Sir Nicholas Morice to promote his interest, but Morice’s steward disillusioned him on 19 Apr. with an assessment of the situation:

Mr Anstis by making timely application to the corporators of Launceston, by treating them highly, hath obtain’d their promise to be one of their next representative, and Mr John Bewes [the mayor] and some others with whom I discoursed yesterday assure me that they have agreed to offer the Lord Lansdown the nomination of the other. Although I don’t doubt but you could make a good interest there provided the mayor would not swear freemen to serve a turn (if need should be), the best and easiest way would be to come in by my lord’s [Lansdown] recommendation.

Anstis, high steward of the Cornish tinners, and Edward Herle, another Tory, were returned. In the less propitious circumstances of 1715 Anstis and Herle retained their seats, after being backed by Lansdown, Morice and Piper.4

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley


  • 1. Journeys of Celia Fiennes ed. Morris, 269; Willis, Not. Parl. ii. 20.
  • 2. N. and Q. ser. 8, xii. 442–3; Egerton 929, f. 9.
  • 3. W. A. Speck, Tory and Whig, 29–30, 149; Add. 17677 WW, f. 395; HMC Portland, iv. 270.
  • 4. Add. 17677 DDD, f. 469; 70314–15, Trevanion’s list; Post Boy, 5–8 Aug. 1710; Morice mss at Bank of Eng. Sir Nicholas to Humphry Morice, 3 Oct. 1710, Richard Blighe to Humphry Morice, 19 Apr. 1713; N. and Q. 442–4; Bodl. Ballard 18, ff. 71–72.