- Derbyshire (UK Parliament constituency)
Derbyshire Former County constituency for the House of Commons 12901832– Number of members two Replaced by North Derbyshire and South Derbyshire
Derbyshire is a former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It was represented by two Knights of the Shire.
Boundaries and franchise
The constituency, which first returned members to Parliament in 1290, consisted of the historic county of Derbyshire. (This included the borough of Derby; even though Derby elected two MPs in its own right, it was not excluded from the county constituency, and owning property within the borough could confer a vote at the county election.)
In medieval times, the MPs would have been elected at the county court, by the suitors to the court, which meant the tiny handful of the local nobility who were tenants in chief of the Crown. However from 1430, the Forty Shilling Freeholder Act extended the right to vote to every man who possessed freehold property within the county valued at £2 or more per year for the purposes of land tax; it was not necessary for the freeholder to occupy his land, nor even in later years to be resident in the county at all.
Except briefly during the period of the Commonwealth, Derbyshire had two MPs elected by the bloc vote method, under which each voter had two votes. (In the First and Second Parliaments of Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate, there was a general redistribution of seats and Derbyshire elected four members; the traditional arrangements were restored from 1659.)
From Elizabethan times, elections in Derbyshire were dominated by the Cavendish family at Chatsworth, later Dukes of Devonshire. This influence was originally established by the formidable Bess of Hardwick, whose second husband was a Cavendish and who in 1572 manoeuvred to secure her son from that marriage a seat as MP for the county - a considerable honour for a young man from what was then a family of only minor importance. She had meanwhile married the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, and her stepson, the future 7th Earl, was elected to the second seat for the county at the same time, despite being two-and-a-half years too young to take his seat. From this point onwards until the Reform Act, one of the two MPs was almost invariably a Cavendish or a Cavendish nominee, although the other seat was generally left to the other leading families of the county; the continuance of this dominance was all the more remarkable because Derbyshire did not have a rash of boroughs where the local gentry could find a seat when unable to secure election for Derbyshire - indeed, in the one borough that there was, Derby, the Dukes of Devonshire kept as tight hold on one of the two seats as they did in the county.
As in most counties of any size, contested elections were avoided whenever possible because of the expense. Elections were held at a single polling place, Derby, and voters from the rest of the county had to travel to the county town to exercise their franchise; candidates were expected to meet the expenses of their supporters in travelling to the poll and to entertain them lavishly with food and drink when they got there. There were only four general elections between 1700 and 1832 when Derbyshire's seats were contested: on every other occasion the various competing interests in the county managed to reach agreement on who should represent the county without taking the matter to a poll.
In the pre-industrial era, Derbyshire was a flourishing agricultural county, but it was one of the English counties most dramatically affected by industrialisation in the 18th and early 19th centuries, becoming noted in particular for the manufacture of heavy machinery and (during the Napoleonic Wars) of armaments. Its population grew swiftly (having reached 237,170 by 1831); but the electorate has been estimated at only 3,000 or 4,000 in the second half of the 18th century, and was probably not much higher by the time of the Reform Act. The Dukes of Devonshire were able to maintain much of their traditional influence, Cavendish members occupying one of the two seats as a Whig MP; but the county itself was predominantly Tory, and usually ensured that the other MP was returned in that interest.
Few of the industrial workers, of course, had the vote since they were not property owners, and in the early 19th century political unrest was common - most notably the "Pentrich Revolution" or "Derbyshire Rising" of 1817. Derbyshire soon became one of the most vocal centres of agitation for Parliamentary reform, and by 1830 this sentiment had spread to the voters as well. At the 1831 election their sitting Tory MP was summarily swept out of his seat for supporting a destructive amendment to the Reform Bill.
But the Duke of Devonshire, a supporter of Reform even though it entailed the loss of his own pocket boroughs around the country, was able to retain the voters' support, telling a county meeting in 1832:
The members of the aristocracy have sometimes been considered in an unfavourable light by the people. For much of this they are indebted to the manner in which the present constitution of Parliament has enabled them to interfere and dictate in the representation... Let them stand on their own merits; and I have no fear that the people of England will be unjust to the aristocracy of England, united by mutual kind feelings and good offices, and not by close boroughs and mock representation.
- Speech recorded in the Duke of Devonshire's diary, quoted in Brock
This seems to have sufficiently satisfied the Derbyshire voters that they allowed the Dukes to continue to "interfere and dictate in the representation" to the extent that they continued electing Cavendishes (in the Northern division after the county was divided by the Reform Act) well into the 20th century.
Members of Parliament
- Constituency created (1290)
Parliament First member Second member 1295 Henry de Kniveton Giles de Meynell 1297 Robert Dethick Thomas Foljambe 1298 Henry de Brailsford Henry FitzHerbert 1300 Geffry de Gresley Robert de Frechville 1300 Ralf de Frechville Geffry de Gresley 1301 Ralf de Frechville Geffry de Gresley 1302 Thomas Foljambe Robert de Touks 1305 Henry Foljambe William Faunel 1306 Robert Dethick Giles de Meynell 1308 Ralph Frechville William Faunel 1309 Thomas Foljambe 1311 William Faunel Thomas Foljambe 1312 William Ressol William Faunel 1313 Ralph Frechville 1315 Ralph Frechville Thomas Foljambe 1315 Robert Staunton John Twyford 1316 John Beaufay Robert Staunton 1317 Robert Staunton John Deynecourt 1319 John de Twyford Ralf de Cromwell 1319 John Deynecourt John de Twyford 1324 Hugh de Meynell Nicholas de Longford 1325 Ralf de Reseby William Rosell 1326 William Rosell John de Beaufay 1327 Thomas de Stanton William Michell 1327 William de Samperton Simon de Cestre 1327 William Michell Robert Ingram de Etewell 1328 John de Beaufay William Michell 1328 Robert de Meynell John de Beaufay 1330 Edm. de Appleby John de Verdon 1330 Hugh de Meynell Robert de Meynell 1331 Hugh FitzHugh de Meynell Roger de Okeover 1332 Robert de Meynell William Michell 1332 Hugh de Meynell Robert de Meynell 1332 Robert de Meynell Peter de Wakebrigg 1333 William de Saperton Simon de Chester 1333 Robert de Meynell Peter de Wakebrigg 1334 Robert de Ingram John de Hambury 1334 William de Saperton Simon de Chester 1335 Henry de Kniveton John Cockeyn 1336 Peter de Wakebrigg Hugh de Muskham 1337 William Michell Thomas? Adam 1337 Giles de Meynell Robert Franceys 1337 Giles de Meynell John Cockeyn 1338 Giles de Meynell Robert Franceys 1338 John Cockeyn Godfrey Foljambe 1338 John Deyncourts John de Twyford 1339 John Cokeyn Thomas Adam 1339 John Cockeyn Robert de Chester 1340 Sir Godfrey Foljambe John Cockayn 1340 Robert Ingram Robert Gresley 1340 Robert Ingram 1340 Robert Touks John Beausey 1341 John Cockeyn Robert of Ireland 1343 Thomas Adam Robert Asheburn 1344 John Cockeyn John Foucher 1346 Giles de Meynell Roger de Emerton 1346 William de Ashewell John de Chellaston 1347 Roger de Enyton Robert de Ashbourn 1348 John de Rochford John de Chellaston 1348 Roger de Enynton Robert de Ashbourn 1350 John Cockeyn John Foucher 1351 John Cockeyn John Foucher 1352 Roger de Padley William de Chester 1352 Robert de Twyford 1353 Robert Franceys 1354 Henry de Braylesford Robert Franceys 1355 Thomas Adam John Beck 1357 Robert Franceys Thomas Adam 1357 William de Wakebrigg Mi. de Breideston 1357 Robert Franceys Thomas Adam 1358 William de Wakebrigg Roger Michell 1360 Robert Franceys John Foucher 1360 Henry de Braylesford John Cockayn 1361 Henry de Braylesford John Cockayn 1362 John Cockayn Robert Franceys 1363 Edmund de Appleby 1364 Sir Godfrey Foljambe Henry de Braylesford 1365 Robert de Twyford Ralph de Stathom 1368 Robert de Twyford John Foucher 1369 Sir Godfrey Foljambe Robert de Twyford 1371 Sir Godfrey Foljambe John Foucher 1371 Sir Godfrey Foljambe John Foucher 1372 Alured de Sulney John Franceys 1373 William Bokepnys Ralph de Stathom 1377 Edmund de Appleby Ralph de Stathom 1377 John de la Pole de Hertingdon E. Foucher 1378 Alured Sulwey Sir Robert Twyford 1379 Oliver de Barton Ralph de Stathom 1379 Alured Sulwey John Curson de Ketilston 1380 Sir Thomas Marchington Henry de Braylesford 1381 Oliver de Barton William de Sallowe 1382 T. (Robert?) de Twyford Sir Thomas Marchington 1382 Sir Thomas Marchington Sir Philip Okeover 1383 Thomas de Wernesley John Curson 1383 Sir Thomas Marchington Ralph de Braylesford 1384 John Curson Ralph de Braylesford 1384 Robert Franceys William de Adderly 1386 Sir Thomas Wensley of Wensley Sir William Dethick of Dethick 1388 (Feb) Robert Franceys William de Adderly 1388 (Sep) Sir Nicholas Montgomery of Marston Montgomery Robert Franceys 1390 (Jan) Sir Thomas Wensley of Wensley Sir Nicholas Montgomery of Marston Montgomery 1390 (Nov) William Adderly Thomas Foljambe 1391 Sir Philip Okeover Thomas Foljambe 1393 John Dabrichecourt Nicholas Gousill,jnr 1394 Sir Thomas Wensley of Wensley John de la Pole 1395 John Cockayne Peter de Melbourne 1397 (Jan) Sir William Dethick of Dethick Roger de Bradburn 1397 (Sep) John Dabrichecourt William Meynell 1399 Walter Blount John Curson
Parliament First member Second member 1400 Thomas Gresley Peter de la Pole 1402 John Cockayne Roger Leche 1403 Nicholas de Longford John Curson 1404 John Cockayme Roger Bradburn 1405 Roger Leche Roger Bradshaw 1406 Robert de Strelley Thomas Okeover 1409 Sir Nicholas Montgomery of Marston Montgomery Robert Franceys 1413 Robert Leche Thomas Chaworth 1414 (Apr) Philip Leche Nicolas Montgomery 1414 (Nov) Roger Leche Thomas Gresley 1416 (Mar) Nicholas Montgomery John de la Pole 1417 Thomas de Gresley John de la Pole 1419 Sir John Cockayne Hugh Erdeswyck 1420 Thomas Blount Henry Booth 1420 John de Strelley John de Okeover 1421 (Dec) Nicholas Gosell Thomas Okeover 1422 Sir Richard Vernon John Cockayne 1423 Henry Booth John Curson 1424 Henry Booth Thomas Makworth 1425 Sir Richard Vernon John de la Pole 1427 John Cockayne Henry Booth 1429 John Curson Gerard Meynell 1430 John Cockayne Thomas Makworth 1432 Sir Richard Vernon 1433 Sir Richard Vernon 1434 John Curson Gerard Meynell 1436 Fulk Vernon Robert Franceys 1441 John Curson William Vernon 1446 Walter Blount Nicholas FitzHerbert 1448 John Sacherevel Walter Blount 1449 William Vernon John Sacherevel 1450 William Vernon Walter Blount 1452 Walter Blount Nicholas FitzHerbert 1454 Walter Blount Robert Bailey 1460 Sir John Greisley Walter Blount 1468 William Blount William Vernon 1473 Nicholas Longford James Blount 1478 John Gresley Henry Vernon 1479–1499 Records lost
Parliament First member Second member 1510–1523 No Names Known  1529 Sir Roger Mynors William Coffin  1536 1539 Francis Leke John Port  1542 ? Sir George Vernon  1545 Richard Blackwell Vincent Mundy  1547 Sir William Bassett Thomas Powtrell  1553 (Mar) Sir Thomas Cockayne Sir Humphrey Bradburn  1553 (Oct) Sir John Port Richard Blackwell  1554 (Apr) Francis Curzon Thomas Powtrell  1554 (Nov) Sir Peter Freschville Henry Vernon  1555 Sir Humphrey Bradburn Vincent Mundy  1558 John Zouch Godfrey Foljambe  1558–1559 Nicholas Longford Thomas Kniveton  1562–1563 Sir William St Loe, died
and replaced in 1566 by George Hastings)
Robert Wennersley  1571 Francis Curson Robert Wennersley  1572–1584 Gilbert Talbot Henry Cavendish 1585–1587 Henry Talbot Henry Cavendish 1588-1592 John Zouch Henry Cavendish 1593–1596 George Manners Henry Cavendish 1597–1600 Thomas Gresley John Harpur 1601 Francis Leeke Sir Peter Fretchville  1605–1611 Sir John Harpur William Kniveton 1614 Sir William Cavendish Henry Howard 1621 Sir William Cavendish Sir Peter Fretchville 1624 Sir William Cavendish John Stanhope 1625 Sir William Cavendish John Stanhope 1626 Sir William Cavendish John Manners 1628 Sir Edward Leeke John Frescheville 1629–1640 No Parliaments summoned
Year First member First party Second member Second party April 1640 Sir John Curzon, 1st Baronet John Manners November 1640 Sir John Curzon, 1st Baronet Parliamentarian Sir John Coke Parliamentarian December 1648 Curzon excluded in Pride's Purge; Coke went abroad and died in 1650 1653 Gervase Bennet Nathaniel Barton
Year First member Second member Third member Fourth member 1654 Nathaniel Barton Thomas Sanders Edward Gell John Gell 1656 Sir Samuel Sleigh German Pole
- Representation restored to two members in the Third Protectorate Parliament
Year First member First party Second member Second party January 1659 John Gell Thomas Sanders May 1659 Not represented in the restored Rump April 1660 Viscount Mansfield John Ferrers 1661 Lord Cavendish John Frescheville 1665 John Milward 1670 William Sacheverell 1685 Sir Robert Coke, 2nd Bt. Sir Gilbert Clarke January 1689 Sir John Gell, 2nd Bt. April 1689 Sir Philip Gell, 3rd Bt. Whig 1690 Henry Gilbert 1695 Marquess of Hartington Whig 1698 Thomas Coke January 1701 Lord Roos December 1701 Thomas Coke Sir John Curzon, 3rd Bt. Tory 1710 Godfrey Clarke 1727 Sir Nathaniel Curzon, 4th Bt. Tory 1734 Lord Charles Cavendish Whig 1741 Marquess of Hartington Whig 1751 Lord Frederick Cavendish Whig 1754 Lord George Cavendish Whig Sir Nathaniel Curzon, 5th Bt. Tory 1761 Sir Henry Harpur, 6th Bt. Tory 1768 Godfrey Bagnall Clarke Tory 1775 Hon. Nathaniel Curzon Tory 1780 Lord Richard Cavendish Whig 1781 Lord George Cavendish Whig 1784 Edward Miller Mundy Tory 1794 Lord John Cavendish Whig 1797 Lord George Cavendish Whig 1822 Francis Mundy Tory 1831 Hon. George Venables-Vernon Whig 1832 Constituency abolished: see Northern Derbyshire, Southern Derbyshire
General Election 1734: Derbyshire Party Candidate Votes % ±% Whig Lord Charles Cavendish 697 74.1 Tory Sir Nathaniel Curzon, 4th Baronet 134 14.2 Henry Harpur 110 11.7
- The history of the county of Derby By Stephen Glover
- Michael Brock, The Great Reform Act (London: Hutchinson, 1973)
- D Brunton & D H Pennington, Members of the Long Parliament (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954)
- John Cannon, Parliamentary Reform 1640–1832 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972)
- Cobbett's Parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the year 1803 (London: Thomas Hansard, 1808) 
- Lewis Namier & John Brooke, The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1754–1790 (London: HMSO, 1964)
- J E Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London: Jonathan Cape, 1949)
- T H B Oldfield, The Representative History of Great Britain and Ireland (London: Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 1816)
- J Holladay Philbin, Parliamentary Representation 1832 - England and Wales (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965)
- Henry Stooks Smith, The Parliaments of England from 1715 to 1847 (2nd edition, edited by FWS Craig - Chichester: Parliamentary Reference Publications, 1973)
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "D" (part 1)
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