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 such persons only as pay to church and poor'

Number of voters:

about 500


 George Moxon87
 — Saunders98
22 Nov. 1722SIR WILLIAM KEYT vice Colemore, deceased 
 Henry Delves 
27 Apr. 1734SIR WILLIAM KEYT286
 Thomas Archer228
 Henry Archer219
 THOMAS ARCHER and HENRY ARCHER vice Keyt and Bromley, on petition, 25 Feb. 1735 
5 May 1741WILLS HILL 
2 July 1747WILLS HILL, Visct. Hillsborough 

Main Article

Up to 1734 Warwick returned Tories for both seats on the recommendation of William Greville, 7th Lord Brooke, recorder of the borough. At a hard fought by-election in November 1722 Lord Brooke, by gaining the support of a majority of the corporation, was able to secure the return of his nominee, Sir William Keyt, against a Whig opponent, Henry Delves, at great expense. His London agent was

of opinion that Delves will petition. If he does, I fancy the money spent and given will prevail with the major party in the House to make it a void election. If so, his Lordship must either quit the stage (which I wish he would) or engage in a new expense ... Seeing Mr. Delves, or rather his mother, parted with their money so profusely, I wonder Sir William Keyt carried it. £2,500 offered for 25 votes I believe is without precedent and whence the money he had to pay the sum?

On petition

Mr. Walpole and his brother [are said to have] promised not to appear for Mr. Delves in the committee and [Mr. Hugh Clopton, a Warwickshire Tory] hath engaged Mr. Walpole’s lady to prevail with her husband to keep his word. The party is very strong against Sir William Keyt; Mr. Clopton thinks they’ll overturn the manner and way of election and only allow freemen to have votes. I fancy the Commons are utterly against any peer meddling in elections for Members of the House of Commons. Mr. Clopton thinks it would be of great service if [Lord Brooke] would come to Sir William Keyt’s ... to appear among the voters to keep them tight for a few days.1

However, the report of the elections committee was in favour of Keyt and the right of election was determined to be ‘in such persons only as pay to church and poor’, Walpole’s brother acting as teller against the latter resolution.2 In 1734 Brooke’s son, the 8th Lord Brooke, wrote to the mayor and corporation:

I am informed that at the ensuing election an opposition is designed against Sir William Keyt and Mr. Bromley, whom upon my father’s recommendation you were pleased to choose your representatives in Parliament. If you have no exception to the conduct of those two gentlemen, I think I should be guilty of injustice to the memory of my father should I forbear anything in my power to promote their interest. Therefore I hope you will excuse me if at these tender years I presume to interest your favour for them ... I look upon their success to be the most effectual means of cementing the ancient harmony between the corporation and my family.3

Both his candidates were returned, but were unseated on petition in favour of the government candidates, Thomas Archer and his brother Henry. Thenceforth the representation was shared by Brooke, who nominated Lord Hillsborough, and Thomas Archer, who nominated his brother. In 1752 Brooke, who had gone over to the government, informed Newcastle that at Warwick he, Brooke, ‘joined with Mr. Archer and the Whig interest there, carries two in concurrence with them, and no opposition can of any consequence possibly happen there’. He added:

Formerly the county, the city of Coventry, and town of Warwick were all in the opposite interest. At present the county stands in awe and is fearful of some attack, consequently must be passive, particularly as to Warwick.4

Author: Shirley Matthews


  • 1. Ld. Brooke, 4 Nov., John Newsham, 7 Nov., John Lanyon, 21 (sic) Nov. and 18 Dec. 1722, to Thos. Newsham, C108/231.
  • 2. CJ, xx. 113-14.
  • 3. Northumberland mss at Alnwick.
  • 4. Add. 32730, f. 465.