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 corporation

Number of voters:



22 Apr. 1754James Edward Colleton
 Thomas Clarke
9 Dec. 1754Clarke re-elected after appointment to office
31 Mar. 1761George Howard
 James Edward Colleton
4 Apr. 1766Francis Seymour Conway, Visct. Beauchamp, vice Howard, appointed to office
19 Mar. 1768Henry Cavendish
 Charles Brett
11 Oct. 1774Arthur Hill, Visct. Fairford
 Charles Brett
28 Nov. 1776Thomas Potter vice Brett, vacated his seat
27 May 1778Potter re-elected after appointment to office
9 Sept. 1780John St. John
 Thomas de Grey
1 Dec. 1780George Johnstone vice St. John, chose to sit for Newport
4 June 1781George Capel, Visct. Malden, vice de Grey, called to the Upper House
8 Apr. 1784John Sinclair
 John Thomas Ellis

Main Article

The dominant interest was in Lord Edgcumbe, and in 1754 and 1761 he returned two Treasury candidates. In June 1764, with Edgcumbe in opposition to the Grenville Administration, Thomas Pitt jun. was approached through his uncle, Charles Lyttelton, bishop of Carlisle, with the suggestion that he should try to re-establish his family interest at Lostwithiel. He replied in a letter of 16 June which the bishop sent on to Grenville:1

It is true that borough has cost us some money and not a little plague; we had, and I believe I still have, in the town and among the seventeen [common councilmen] a natural interest which might easily be revived; but from the constitution of the borough you will see the whole power is thrown into the aldermen.

He saw little chance of destroying Edgcumbe’s hold on Lostwithiel, and for his own part was unwilling to make the attempt. Edgcumbe retained the nomination of both Members throughout the period.

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Grenville mss (JM).