Double Member Borough
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Right of Election:
in inhabitant householders paying scot and lot
Number of voters:
|19 Apr. 1754||Henry Bankes|
|28 Mar. 1761||George Cholmondeley, Visct. Malpas|
|6 Dec. 1762||John Campbell vice Bankes, appointed to office|
|2 Apr. 1764||John Bond vice Malpas, deceased|
|19 Mar. 1768||john Bond|
|7 Oct. 1774||John Bond|
|9 Sept. 1780||Henry Bankes|
|2 Apr. 1784||John Bond|
Throughout this period Corfe Castle was invariably represented by members or nominees of the families of Bankes and Bond, without a single contest carried to a poll. The two families worked together in the closest association. John Bankes wrote to John Bond on 29 Oct. 1757:1
I assure you it is my sincere desire and intention to adhere to that agreement inviolably, that has for many years so happily subsisted between ourselves, and between your uncle Mr. Denis Bond, your father, and me; and to endeavour that it may always be continued between our respective families, who have now so solid and durable an interest in the borough of Corfe Castle that nothing but our own indiscretion and mismanagement can overturn it. To make our union and friendship as firm as possible, let us never depart from that rule which we have hitherto strictly observed in pursuance of our agreement, to attack with all our force, and with the assistance of all our friends, at our joint expense, any one or more persons who without our consent shall set themselves up as candidates for the borough ... whether they oppose either your family or my own, or both families.
Bond confirmed the agreement in a letter of 4 Nov.
Corfe Castle might therefore seem a complete pocket borough. In reality other neighbouring landowners too could exercise a certain influence, and the care with which the two families watched over it, and the nervousness which they at times displayed, indicate that their hold on it, though strong, was never absolute. In 1757 John Calcraft, having purchased the neighbouring estate of Rempstone, started acquiring house property in Corfe Castle; and for a time offered a serious challenge to the Bankes-Bond interest. But in 1767 he exchanged with John Bankes his houses at Corfe Castle against Bankes’s property in Wareham. Similarly, in the early ’70s the Pitts of Encombe showed signs of challenging the settled interest; and from correspondence in the Bond manuscripts it is clear that attention had to be paid to feeling in the borough.
Author: Sir Lewis Namier
- 1. Bond mss at Creech Grange, Dorset.