East Grinstead

Double Member Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in burgage holders

Number of voters:



19 Apr. 1754Joseph Yorke
 Sir Whistler Webster
31 Mar. 1761Charles Sackville, Earl of Middlesex
 Lord George Sackville
8 Dec. 1761Sir Thomas Hales vice Lord George Sackville, chose to sit for Hythe
30 Nov. 1762John Irwin vice Hales, deceased
30 Dec. 1765Sir Charles Farnaby vice Middlesex, called to the Upper House
18 Mar. 1768Lord George Sackville
 John Irwin
10 Oct 1774Lord George Germain (formerly Sackville)
 John Irwin
15 Nov. 1775Germain re-elected after appointment to office
8 Sept. 1780Lord George Germain
 Sir John Irwin
19 Feb. 1782Henry Arthur Herbert vice Germain, called to the Upper House
3 May 1783George Medley vice Irwin, vacated his seat
30 Mar. 1784Henry Arthur Herbert
 George Medley
3 Mar. 1786James Cunninghame vice Herbert, vacated his seat
8 Oct. 1788Robert Cunninghame vice James Cunninghame, deceased
27 Feb. 1789Richard Ford vice Cunninghame, vacated his seat

Main Article

The Dorset family owned a majority of the burgages and had absolute control of the borough.

In 1754 Lionel, 1st Duke of Dorset, conveyed 14 burgages to his younger son, Lord George Sackville; and on his death in 1765 left Lord George the remainder of his holding. Shortly afterwards Lord George wrote to his brother Charles, Lord Middlesex, now 2nd Duke:1

The interest of East Grinstead requires an immediate consideration, and though Lord George understands that he is entitled to all the burgage holds which the Duke of Dorset died possessed of, yet as Lord Middlesex apprehends that under his settlement he has a claim to some of them, Lord George is willing to give up the recommending any particular friend of his own, upon the present vacancy, and will join in supporting some gentleman in this neighbourhood of fortune and independency, whose principles and connexions have induced him to act with this family.

And on 27 Mar. 1766 to John Irwin:2

I have settled my business at East Grinstead entirely to my satisfaction, his Grace having joined with me in directing Bale to convey all the votes to Wedderburn, who declares he receives them in trust for the uses of the late Duke’s will. So that there is no notice taken of the settlement upon Lord Middlesex’s marriage, the words of which certainly in law would have carried many of the votes, but my title in equity was strong ... which when I communicated to the Duke he very handsomely declared he would have no dispute with me, and immediately joined in ordering the conveyance.

Sackville controlled the borough until his death in 1785.

In 1780 Sackville bought the burgages belonging to Godfrey Webster, the second largest holder.3 These were Sackville’s personal holding, and were bequeathed to his son; the remainder were inherited by his nephew, John Frederick, 3rd Duke of Dorset, who controlled the borough after Sackville’s death.

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. HMC Stopford-Sackville, i. 46-47.
  • 2. Germain mss, William L. Clements Lib.
  • 3. Sackville to John Frederick, 3rd Duke of Dorset, Sackville mss, Kent RO.