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 3,000


1 May 1754Lord Robert Manners Sutton
 John Thornhagh
8 Apr. 1761Lord Robert Manners Sutton
 John Hewett (formerly Thornhagh)
13 Dec. 1762Thomas Willoughby vice Manners Sutton, deceased
28 Mar. 1768Thomas Willoughby
 John Hewett
19 Oct. 1774Henry Fiennes Pelham Clinton, Earl of Lincoln
 Thomas Willoughby
11 Jan. 1775Lord Charles Edward Bentinck vice Willoughby, called to the Upper House
9 Dec. 1778Charles Medows vice Lincoln, deceased
13 Sept. 1780Lord Charles Edward Bentinck
 Charles Medows
21 Apr. 1784Lord Charles Edward Bentinck
 Charles Medows

Main Article

‘The idea I gave Lord Rockingham of this county’, wrote Sir George Savile in 1769,1 ‘was four dukes [Newcastle, Portland, Kingston, and Rutland], two lords [Willoughby and Howe], and three rabbit warrens [Nottingham, East Retford, and Newark], which I believe in fact takes in half the county in point of space.’ And Oldfield in 1792:2 ‘This county is entirely under the influence of aristocracy.’ Throughout this period the Dukes of Newcastle and Portland were closely united on electoral matters, and the other leading interests in the county were content to follow their lead. The fact that Henry, 2nd Duke of Newcastle, supported North’s Administration while Portland was one of the pillars of the Rockingham party made no difference. In December 1774, when Lord Edward Bentinck was threatened with an opposition, Newcastle wrote to Portland:3

The peace of the county, as well as every public and private consideration, makes me most sincerely congratulate your Grace and Lord Edward on Mr. Masters’ declining ... your Grace will ever find me most desirous and ambitious of cementing the strictest cordiality and friendship between our families.

‘The part your Grace took’, replied Portland,4 ‘contributed so much to ... preserve the peace of the county and preserve the true Whig cause that both as a public and a private man I think myself much obliged to you.’

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Rockingham Mems. ii. 138.
  • 2. Boroughs, ii. 345.
  • 3. Portland mss.
  • 4. Newcastle (Clumber) mss.