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 the freemen

Number of voters:

about 1,000


16 Apr. 1754Charles Fitzroy Scudamore190
 John Symons180
 James Peachey11
27 Mar. 1761Charles Fitzroy Scudamore767
 John Symons625
 William Hussey197
23 Jan. 1764John Scudamore vice Symons, deceased237
 Richard Cope Hopton111
19 Mar. 1768John Scudamore 
 Richard Symons 
7 Oct. 1774John Scudamore 
 Sir Richard Symons 
11 Sept. 1780John Scudamore 
 Sir Richard Symons 
5 Apr. 1784John Scudamore 
 Charles Howard, Earl of Surrey 
12 July 1784Robert Phillipps vice Surrey, chose to sit for Carlisle301
 John Rodney116
11 Apr. 1785James Walwyn vice Phillipps, vacated his seat 

Main Article

Hereford was an independent constituency, and preferred local men to strangers. The leading interest was in the Scudamore family, who held at least one seat throughout this period. Next came that of the Symons family. Others who had some interest were Lord Oxford, Lord Bateman, the Cornewalls of Moccas Court, and the Foleys.

In 1754 and 1761 there was an opposition to Charles Fitzroy Scudamore and John Symons from a ‘third man’—obviously there were independent electors who wished to prevent Hereford becoming a close borough. At the by-election of 1764 the first candidate in the field was John Drummond, supported by Thomas Harley, the bishop of Hereford, and Administration. An advertisement in the Glocester Journal, 2 Jan. 1764, denounced ‘this attempt to impose a Scot upon the capital of a cider county’, and Drummond was forced to withdraw. The candidates who went to the poll were both local men: John Scudamore, of a junior branch of the family; and Richard Cope Hopton, whose father had represented Hereford 1741-7.

From 1764 to 1768 the Scudamores held both seats. In 1768 Charles Fitzroy Scudamore was forced to withdraw, and from then until 1784 John Scudamore and Richard Symons represented the borough without serious opposition.

Charles Fitzroy Scudamore died in 1782, and his interest was inherited by his son-in-law Lord Surrey. At the general election of 1784 Surrey squeezed out Richard Symons. Surrey, who made his election for Carlisle, intended that James Walwyn should come in at Hereford. Walwyn, however, was sheriff for that year and thus ineligible to stand; and it was arranged that his brother-in-law Robert Phillipps should hold the seat for him. Surrey was accused of treating the city as if it were a pocket borough, and Phillipps was opposed by John Rodney, standing on the Harley interest. Rodney declined after polling for one day, and the Scudamore interest again held both seats.

Author: J. A. Cannon