Anstruther Easter Burghs
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Crail (1715, '47), Kilrenny (1722), Anstruther Easter (1727), Pittenweem (1734), Anstruther Wester (1741), all in Fife
Number of voters:
|16 Feb. 1715||PHILIP ANSTRUTHER|
|13 Apr. 1722||PHILIP ANSTRUTHER|
|Double return. ANSTRUTHER declared elected, 27 Oct. 1722|
|12 Sept. 1727||PHILIP ANSTRUTHER|
|20 May 1734||PHILIP ANSTRUTHER|
|29 May 1741||JOHN STEWART|
|23 July 1747||PHILIP ANSTRUTHER|
The predominant interest in these five small decaying coastal burghs lay in the Anstruther family, headed by Sir John Anstruther, whose nephew, Philip Anstruther, was returned unopposed in 1715.
During the election meeting in 1722 Anstruther, who himself represented Anstruther Easter, had the votes of Sir John Anstruther, representing Anstruther Wester, and of the delegate from Kilrenny, the latter allegedly under physical duress, thus giving him a majority; whereupon Scott, who represented Crail, with the delegates from Pittenweem, withdrew from the meeting to hold one of their own, which returned Scott. At first the hereditary sheriff, Lord Rothes, one of the Squadrone leaders, refused to accept Anstruther’s return, saying ‘he would do nothing therein, till he could take advice about it’; but eventually both returns were annexed to the writ by the deputy sheriff. On 27 Oct. 1722, by order of the House, Scott’s return was taken off the file, his petition being referred to the elections committee, who resolved that it was ‘groundless, frivolous, and vexatious’ and ordered him to make good Anstruther’s costs.1
Anstruther was unopposed in 1727 and 1734 but was defeated in 1741. Though he had the votes of the three delegates from Anstruther Easter, Anstruther Wester and Kilrenny, whose town councils petitioned in his favour, at the election meeting two other delegates appeared from Anstruther Wester and Kilrenny, who were both allowed to vote for his opponent, John Stewart. As Stewart already had the votes of Crail and Pittenweem, this gave him a majority of four to three, on which he was returned by the hereditary sheriff. Following Walpole’s fall, the petitions were withdrawn,2 after ‘all the Scotch Members had to a man voted against’ Anstruther,3 who was extremely unpopular in Scotland because of his vote on the Porteous affair.
In 1747 Anstruther regained the seat with Pelham’s support by the unanimous vote of the five burghs.4