Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen

Number of voters:

about 400


1 Feb. 1715GREY NEVILLE 
31 Mar. 1722GREY NEVILLE236
 JOHN BARRINGTON, 1st Visct. Barrington222
 Milford Crowe152
11 Mar. 1723HENRY GREY vice Barrington, expelled the House 
7 May 1723WILLIAM KERR vice Neville, deceased 
 George Bowes 
 John Barrington, Visct. Barrington 
30 Apr. 1734GEORGE LIDDELL338
 HUGH HUME CAMPBELL, Lord Polwarth270
 John Barrington, Visct. Barrington266
13 Mar. 1740WILLIAM WILDMAN BARRINGTON, 2nd Visct. Barrington, vice Polwarth, called to the Upper House 
27 Nov. 1740THOMAS WATSON vice Liddell, deceased 
6 May 1741WILLIAM WILDMAN BARRINGTON, Visct. Barrington 
1 Mar. 1746BARRINGTON re-elected after appointment to office 
29 June 1747WILLIAM WILDMAN BARRINGTON, Visct. Barrington 

Main Article

Apart from the corporation, the chief interest at Berwick was in the Government, derived from the local revenue officers, the garrison and the ordnance. In 1715, 1722 and 1727 the Government carried both seats, but on 24 Nov. 1732 one of the sitting Members, George Liddell, reported to Walpole, that ‘my corporation have named several candidates for a third man, to make some sport, as they call it’. By 1733 there were three prospective candidates: Liddell himself, standing with the support of the Government; Lord Barrington, a prominent dissenter and ‘a great favourite with the corporation’, who had sat for Berwick as a government supporter from 1715 to 1723, when he had been expelled from the House of Commons; and Lord Polwarth, whose father was dismissed in June that year for opposing the Government. On 29 May 1733 Liddell wrote to Walpole:

I dare not propose nor espouse any person publicly, lest I should disoblige such of his or Lord Barrington’s friends as are also mine. But I think if a popular person were recommended by some of the leading Dissenters in London he would succeed. I should give any person that you approve what assistance I could privately, for I should be concerned to have any person for my partner, that were not a well-wisher of yours.

On 10 July he wrote again:

Three weeks ago Lord Barrington came to Berwick, and declared himself a candidate, and has made a pretty good interest. Several of my friends have a friendship also for him, which occasioned me a journey thither and some expense: I was pressed hard to give him my second votes, which are three times the number in exchange for his. I refused that, as I had before done Polwarth; but consented that my friends might exchange vote for vote, with which of the lords they pleased; but this did not please Lord Barrington, nor his friends. I have given neither of them encouragement till I have your thought which of the lords is eligible, it being now in my opinion too late to name any other. I therefore earnestly desire you to let me have your determination, by any pen by the first post; and which shall be as much a secret as you can desire.1

In December Liddell saw Walpole, who told him that nobody had applied to him for the second seat but that he would on no account give the government interest to Barrington.2 Before the election Liddell sent his agent a thousand guineas, hoping ‘800 of them will pay the premiums’, i.e. bribes. He easily headed the poll, Polwarth narrowly defeating Barrington for the second seat.

On Polwarth’s accession to the peerage and Liddell’s death in 1740 they were succeeded respectively by Barrington’s son, then an opposition Whig, and Thomas Watson, a government supporter, who shared the representation unopposed till 1754.

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss.
  • 2. E. Hughes, N. Country Life in 18th Cent. 275 n. 2.