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

Background Information

Number of voters:

about 2,500


17 Feb. 1715JOHN BROMLEY1342
 Granado Pigot1145
18 Apr. 1717ROBERT CLARKE vice Jenyns, deceased 
27 Nov. 1718FRANCIS WHICHCOTE vice Bromley, deceased 
 EDWARD HARLEY, Lord Harley1494
 Sir Francis Whichcote945
 Sir Robert Clarke918
19 Nov. 1724SAMUEL SHEPHEARD vice Harley, called to the Upper House1337
 Francis Pemberton1239
24 Aug. 1727HENRY BROMLEY1668
 — Partriche338
 Sir John Hynde Cotton32
25 Apr. 1734HENRY BROMLEY 
16 July 1747PHILIP YORKE 

Main Article

At George I’s accession the leading Cambridgeshire Tories were Sir John Hynde Cotton of Madingley, who sat for Cambridge, and Lord Oxford’s son, Lord Harley, who had recently acquired Wimpole by marriage. The sitting Members, John Bromley, classed as a Whig who would often vote with the Tories, and John Jenyns, classed as a Tory who might often vote with the Whigs, were re-elected, defeating a Jacobite, Granado Pigot.1

On the deaths of Jenyns and Bromley in 1717 and 1718 no Tory candidates were available, Cotton being seated at Cambridge, and Harley refusing to stand. Two Whig country gentlemen were returned as stopgaps without opposition, but at the next general election they were defeated by Cotton, who gave up his seat at Cambridge, and Harley, who was at last persuaded to stand.

Soon after this the scale was decisively turned against the Tories by the entry into county politics of a wealthy London merchant, Samuel Shepheard, carrying with him the Jenyns and Bromley interests. At a by-election caused by Harley’s accession to the peerage in 1724, Shepheard was returned for the county, which he thenceforth represented with John Bromley’s son, Henry, till 1741, when Bromley on being raised to the peerage was replaced by another government supporter, Soame Jenyns.

In 1740 the Whig hold on the county was strengthened through the purchase of Wimpole by Lord Hardwicke, whose eldest son, Philip Yorke, replaced Shepheard as knight of the shire in 1747. The cost of this unopposed election to the two Whig candidates was over £2,000, mostly expended on entertaining the local gentry and paying the common freeholders as ‘expenses’ a guinea to those from the isle of Ely and half a guinea to the others.2

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. G. Pigot to Ld. North and Grey, undated, Bodl. North mss c. 9, f. 116.
  • 2. Philip Yorke to Hardwicke, 22 June 1747, Add. 35351, f. 117.