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 3,500 in 1722


26 Jan. 1715SIR RICHARD ONSLOW2075
 HENEAGE FINCH, Lord Guernsey1770
 Edward Harvey1732
30 Nov. 1715THOMAS ONSLOW vice Sir Richard Onslow, appointed to office 
25 Dec. 1717DENZIL ONSLOW vice Thomas Onslow, called to the Upper House1600
 Sir John Evelyn1287
15 Dec. 1719JOHN WALTER vice Guernsey called to the Upper House1735
 Sir Francis Vincent1629
24 July 1721SIR WILLIAM SCAWEN, vice Denzil Onslow, deceased 
2 Apr. 1722JOHN WALTER1923
 Henry Temple1587
 Charles Calvert, Baron Baltimore1501
12 Apr. 1727THOMAS SCAWEN vice Carew, deceased 
30 Aug. 1727ARTHUR ONSLOW2520
 John Walter1492
 CHARLES CALVERT, Baron Baltimore 
24 Mar. 1742BALTIMORE re-elected after appointment to office1726
 George Woodroffe1702
 CHARLES CALVERT, Baron Baltimore 
8 May 1751THOMAS BUDGEN vice Baltimore, deceased 

Main Article

The Onslows were the premier Surrey Whig family, with an almost prescriptive claim to one of the county seats. They did not attempt to gain control of the other, having learned by experience that the county ‘would not like it; would deem it an imposition, and taking too much upon ourselves, which is always unpopular’.1 Sir Richard Onslow, created Lord Onslow in 1716, ‘used always to talk to the Surrey country gentlemen as if he was nothing, and it was their interest and support only that he relied upon, which took with them extremely’.2

In 1715 Sir Richard Onslow headed the poll but later in the year gave up his seat to his eldest son, Thomas, who on succeeding to the peerage in 1717 was replaced by his cousin, Denzil. When Denzil died in 1721 the vacancy was filled by Sir Thomas Scawen, a London merchant, who had represented the county as a Whig, 1705-6. The second seat was held by Lord Guernsey, a Hanoverian Tory, the Tory vote being split by Edward Harvey, a Jacobite. On Guernsey’s succeeding to the peerage in 1719 the vacancy was filled by another Tory, John Walter, a wealthy West Indian, after a contest.

In 1722, no Onslow candidate being available, the seats were shared, after a contest, by Walter and Sir Nicholas Carew, a Whig country gentleman, whose family had frequently represented the county. On Carew’s death at the end of the Parliament he was succeeded by a Whig, Thomas Scawen, Sir William Scawen’s heir, who went into opposition.

In 1727 Walter and Scawen joined interests against Arthur Onslow, the future Speaker, standing single.

When the two other candidates [Onslow writes] perceived upon the run of the poll how much it was against them, and not knowing upon which of them the loss of the election would fall, they began to act against one another, each endeavouring to poll single votes for himself, and reproaching one another with it ... The father [Sir Thomas Scawen] of one of them ... in the most abject manner, begged I would ... engage my friends, who had not polled and were single for me, to give their second votes for his son. I rejected him with the scorn he deserved.


many of my friends, without my interposition, did throw their second votes upon Mr. Scawen, by which he obtained a small majority above Mr. Walter.3

Returned at the head of the poll, Onslow retained the seat without a contest till he retired in 1761. The other seat was held successively by Scawen, Lord Baltimore, also an opposition Whig, who was nearly defeated on accepting office in 1742 and Thomas Budgen, a government supporter.

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. HMC 14th Rep. IX, 519.
  • 2. Ld. Hardwicke to Philip Yorke, 24 July 1753, Add. 35351, ff. 239-40.
  • 3. HMC, op. cit. 518-19.