Double Member County

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

Number of voters:

about 6,000


2 May 1754Sir Thomas Palmer 
 Edward Smith 
9 Apr. 1761Sir Thomas Palmer 
 Edward Smith 
25 Mar. 1762Sir Thomas Cave vice Smith, deceased 
26 Dec. 1765Sir John Palmer vice Sir Thomas Palmer, deceased 
31 Mar. 1768Sir Thomas Cave 
 Sir John Palmer 
20 Oct. 1774Sir John Palmer 
 Thomas Noel 
12 Jan. 1775John Peach Hungerford vice Noel, called to the Upper House2717
 William Pochin2597
14 Sept. 1780John Peach Hungerford 
 William Pochin 
22 Apr. 1784John Peach Hungerford 
 William Pochin 

Main Article

Although there were important aristocratic interests in Leicestershire, notably those of the Duke of Rutland and the Earls of Stamford, Huntingdon and Harborough, the county representation was almost completely dominated by the country gentlemen. Only one son of a peer sat for Leicestershire during this period: the other Members were all country gentlemen, and it was only in alliance with one of these that an aristocratic interest could be effective. But too overt aristocratic interference was resented: Pochin in 1775, though strongly supported by the Duke of Rutland, lost the election—probably Rutland’s support lost him more votes than it gained.

The Leicestershire Members were undistinguished: of the seven men who represented the county during this period only Sir Thomas Cave is known to have spoken in the House—and he only once.

Author: John Brooke