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


25 Apr. 1717WILLIAM CHETWYND re-elected after appointment to office 
20 Mar. 1722THOMAS FOLEY230
 Walter Chetwynd, Visct. Chetwynd143
 William Chetwynd115
19 Nov. 1724FRANCIS ELDE vice Dolphin, deceased207
 Walter Chetwynd, Visct. Chetwynd163
 CHETWYND vice Elde, expelled the House, on petition, 4 Feb. 1725 
18 Aug. 1727WALTER CHETWYND, Visct. Chetwynd 
25 Apr. 1734THOMAS FOLEY231
 Thomas Parker194
 John Dolphin81
31 Jan. 1738JOHN CHETWYND, Visct. Chetwynd, vice Foley, deceased 
5 May 1741JOHN CHETWYND, Visct. Chetwynd 
31 Dec. 1744WILLIAM CHETWYND re-elected after appointment to office 

Main Article

In 1715 Walter and William Chetwynd, two Whigs, whose family seat, Ingestre Hall, was less than five miles from Stafford, were returned unopposed. In 1716 the corporation petitioned against the septennial bill as ‘overturning our present constitution and an infringement of our liberties’.1 In 1722 Thomas Foley, a Tory, who had a strong interest in the borough, and John Dolphin, a Tory member of the corporation, defeated the Chetwynds, who petitioned on the grounds that many of their supporters had been excluded because, though freemen, they had not been presented and sworn burgesses by the court leet. The House, not finding enough evidence as to the poll, confirmed the election of the Tories, but resolved that ‘the right of election is in the mayor, aldermen and burgesses resident within the said borough’, no presentment by the court leet being necessary. On the death of Dolphin in 1724, Francis Elde, a Whig, defeated Walter Chetwynd, who petitioned, alleging that before the election 50 freemen in the interest of Elde had been created and that many of the older freemen had not been allowed to vote. On 4 Feb. 1725 the House expelled Elde as guilty of illegal and corrupt practices and disallowed the votes of the 50 newly created freemen, thus giving a majority of 6 to Chetwynd, who was declared duly elected.2 In 1727 Chetwynd, now in opposition, was unopposed with another opposition Whig. He was again returned in 1734, this time with Foley, against a government Whig, Thomas Parker, who petitioned unsuccessfully. After Foley’s death in 1738, the Chetwynds held both seats until 1747, when they were forced to concede one to Robins, a local Tory, after riots during which their house in Stafford was demolished.3

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. CJ, xviii. 429.
  • 2. CJ, xx. 65-66, 350, 379, 391.
  • 3. Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), ii (2), p. 252.